Saturday, March 26, 2011

RIP Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones died today. I discovered her books in the late 1990s when she was re-released because of the Harry Potter craze. My eldest and I enjoyed her works very much before he moved into Terry Pratchett. My favourites tended to be things like the Dark Lord of Derkholm which is a send up of cliched Fantasyland. She also wrote Howl's Moving Castle which was turned into an animated film where Christain Bale voiced Howl  and Hexwood  which has complicated plot and involves a teenager who is not what she seems -- both books bear re-reading. I loved how her mind worked. The Homeward Bounders and Dogbody linger in my mind. Although sometimes, I had to wonder if she couldn't have gone deeper into her characters or maybe I just wanted to spend more time inthe worlds she created.  My daughter preferred the Chrestomanci series. She knew how to create a world that totally drew you in. Plus she had this wonderful sense of humour. They couldn't be classifed as just one thing -- were they sci fi or fantasy? They often had elements of both. I suspect she drove the marketing bods insane!
When I first started writing, my editor Helen French learnt that I liked Fantasy and reccommended Tough Guide to Fantasyland. It was a singular lesson in cliche and thinking outside the box. If you are interested in the genre at all, it is worth a read...provided you can find it.
If you haven't discover DWJ, she is worth reading. Luckily with the authors, their work is their legacy and can be enjoyed by future generations.

1 comment:

Jessica Gilmore said...

Diana Wynne Jones has always been one of my favourite writers. I first read Archer's Goon and Witch Week when I was just 10 and have reread everything she has written many times. Even as an adult the release of a new book involved taking a day away from the family to lose myself in her elaborately fantastical world.