NASHVILLE, Tenn. Science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton, who wrote the popular "Witch World" series, has died. She was 93.
Her death was announced by friend Jean Rabe, who said Norton died Thursday of congestive heart failure at her home in Murfreesboro, a Nashville suburb.
Norton requested before her death that she not have a funeral service, but instead asked to be cremated along with a copy of her first and last novels.
Born Alice Mary Norton on Feb. 17, 1912, in Cleveland, she wrote more than 130 books in many genres during her career of nearly 70 years. She used a pen name which she made her legal name in 1934 because she expected to be writing mostly for young boys and thought a male name would help sales.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America recently created the Andre Norton Award for young adult novels, and the first award will be presented in 2006.
"She was wonderful with new or younger writers," said Jane Jewell, executive director of SFWA. "On many occasions, she worked with new writers and collaborated with them on novels to help them get started."
Her first novel, "The Prince Commands," is set in a mythical European kingdom and tells of a young nobleman who returns from exile to stop a communist takeover of his homeland. It was published in 1934 when Norton was 22. The "Witch World" series, which details life on an imaginary planet reachable only through hidden gateways, included more than 30 novels.
She was the first woman to receive the Grand Master of Fantasy Award from the SFWA in 1977, and she won the Nebula Grand Master Award in 1984.
Her last complete novel, "Three Hands of Scorpio," is set to be released in April. Norton's publisher, Tor Books, rushed to have one copy printed so that the author, who had been sick for almost a year, could see it.
"She was able to hold it on Friday," Jewell said. "She took it and said, 'What a pretty cobalt blue for the cover."'
Norton spent most of her life in Cleveland, where she worked as a librarian from 1932 to 1950, except for a brief stint in the 1940s when she ran her own bookstore in Mount Ranier, Md., and worked at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Norton and her mother, Bertha Stemm Norton, who also served as her in-house proofreader and editor for decades, moved to Winter Park, Fla., in 1966 for their health. Norton moved to Tennessee in 1996 because she wanted to start a library for genre writers and didn't like the population explosion in Florida. She found a farm in rural Monterey, about 85 miles east of Nashville.
But the hills of east Tennessee were too isolated for her and her assistant, Rose Wolf. A friend helped them find the house in Murfreesboro.
She established The High Hallack Genre Writer's Research and Reference Library in 1999 on a quiet residential street in the town about 30 miles southeast of Nashville. High Hallack is the name of a country in "Witch World."
Norton opened the library in a converted three-car garage as a retreat where authors could research ancient religions, weaponry, mythology or history that they need to bring their stories to life. The library includes biographies, diaries, histories, science books almost anything a writer might need to craft a realistic setting on any world in any time.
Norton said detailed research matters in fiction because today's education is so inadequate that many people must get their history from novels. If an author makes historical detail interesting, a reader might be inspired to research the subject more.
"It's an opening to another kind of life," she said in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press.