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Topic: Diana Wynne Jones passed away on Saturday, March 26

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Amy
Subject: Diana Wynne Jones passed away on Saturday, March 26
Date Posted: 3/28/2011 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/889932-312/famed_british_fantasy_writer_diana.html.csp

She was 76.

frown

Date Posted: 3/28/2011 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I'd heard about this.

It's very sad.  I liked her writing as a kid, and I haven't looked at epic fantasy quite the same way after reading A Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

Amy
Date Posted: 4/1/2011 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 1,716
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Wow, I'm surprised at the lack of response. Heh.

Subject: Just Read This. Sad!
Date Posted: 4/1/2011 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2009
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I am a huge fan of DWJ and I think J.K. Rowling should be spanked for failing to come out and admit that Wynne-Jones' creations--including a school for wizards and warlocks and talking portraits-- were an inspiration for the Harry Potter series. "Howl's moving Caslte" was one of my favorite books and I loved the recent animated adaptation with Christian Bale doing the voice of Howl the Wizard. Some of DWJ's works are out of print but I hope she will get a revival of interest soon so a new generation can enjoy her wonderful, warm-hearted and imaginative stories.

Date Posted: 4/3/2011 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
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Neil Gaiman's post about DWJ was very moving. http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/03/being-alive.html     



Last Edited on: 4/3/11 7:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/11/2011 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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I was so sad when I heard this. My whole family grew up on her books. My sister was lucky enough to go on a writing course when she was 11 and DWJ was the writer in residence. My mother wrote to DWJ a few years ago to say how much my entire family loves her books, and received a wonderful letter in response which is proudly framed and hanging in the office in my parents home.

When we were kids, when a new DWJ book came out it was a free-for-all. You guarded your copy closely because you knew that if you put it down, somebody else would grab it and it would be ages before you got it back.

Still now, when we are all together (which is rare) we will rate our top 5 DWJ books. Everyone's list is different.

I will be even more sad when I have read Earwig and the Witch later this summer, and realise that there truly will be no more.

 

 

Date Posted: 4/11/2011 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
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L.A.K- do we even know if J K Rowling even read Wyne Jones books?  Truth be told I've only ever seen the movie "Howls Moving Castle" and I am a fantasy writer. Yes I do plan on reading some of the books just never got around to it.

Subject: Hi AllyPally and Xengab
Date Posted: 4/12/2011 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2009
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What a beautiful remembrance of Wynne-Jones, AllyPally.  I was living in London when they tore the Alexandria Palace down. My mates and I used to dress up like the band members of Blondie and go out therefor concerts and to dance and have fun. Gosh that seems SO long ago. 

Re: Xengab's question about whether Rowling ever read DWJ, of course I don't have first-hand info but it's difficult for me to imagine any young reader growing up in the U.K. not coming into contact with DWJ's work, especially readers intersted in wizards and fantasy. I would say it's about as likely that Rowling hasn;t read DWJ as it would be that an American never read any  Dr. Seuss, which is to say--not bloody likely! Rowling's work is full of ideas from other writers.

In DWJ's "Charmed Life", two orphans receive magical education while living in a castle. The setting is a world resembling early 1900s Britain, where magic is commonplace. Diana Wynne Jones has stated in answer to a question on her webpage: "I think Ms Rowling did get quite a few of her ideas from my books - though I have never met her, so I have never been able to ask her. My books were written many years before the Harry Potter books (Charmed Life was first published in 1977), so any similarities probably come from what she herself read as a child. Once a book is published, out in the world, it is sort of common property, for people to take ideas from and use, and I think this is what happened to my books." Link to Rowling influences is below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_influences_and_analogues



Last Edited on: 4/12/11 8:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/13/2011 8:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2009
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I was not familiar with her.  This thread has made me curious, and I am wondering if you all have favorites of her works, and are wiling to make a list?  I see that there is a reprint of Howls Moving Castle available at Borders.  I thought I might check for others if you recommend them.

Date Posted: 4/13/2011 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2009
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"Charmed Life" is a good start, I think, but maybe other folks have suggestions.

Date Posted: 4/14/2011 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I loved Howl's Moving Castle as a kid.  I tried Charmed Life last year and didn't care for it as much - but I think that's more to do with my tastes changing over the years.

A Tough Guide to Fantasyland is a pseudo-travel guide through a generic fantasy world -- especially 80's epic fantasies.  It's very tongue in cheek and assumes that anything most books don't mention doesn't exist then makes up a reason why.  So, therefore, you have entire worlds devoid of socks, insects, and weather (other than horrible storms when you're on a mountain pass).  People don't wear coats because cloaks look cooler - they billow nicely when you are galloping on a stallion.  Oh, yes.  And horses must be the product of cloning, since there's so many stallions, a smattering of geldings, and not nearly enough mares to account for all the male horses. 

It's typical brittish humor and hilarious.  It's more like an encyclopedia of fantasy tropes/cliches than it is fiction and is not really meant to be read straight through.   It's best read an entry or two at a time.

Date Posted: 4/14/2011 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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Charmed Life makes a great introduction. It was the first one I read, at the ripe old age of 9. It explains the nine related worlds concept really well, so then you can explore others in the Chrestomanci series if you choose.

Others that I really like are Fire and Hemlock, Deep Secret, Archer's Goon, A Tale of Time City and of course, Howl's Moving Castle. Hexwood is one of my personal favourites, though that one is a little weirder than most and probably not a good place to start.

They're all great, though. Never met a DWJ book I didn't like (except perhaps Eight Days of Luke. And I don't dislike it, I just don't like it as much as the others!)

 

 

 

Date Posted: 4/14/2011 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2009
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Thanks, that gives me a good start.

 

Date Posted: 5/2/2011 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
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@Melanti: The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is a terrific little volume.  IMHO it should be required reading for anyone wanting to write fantasy, with the instruction "do your very best to avoid these elements as much as possible or, at the very least, tweak them in new and unusual ways." 

Date Posted: 5/5/2011 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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Jason, I know!  Now, anytime I run across one of the elements so often used that it ended up in that guide, I can't help but snicker.