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intertext: (take that!)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 09:45 am
The diss chapter that I'm working on right now is on parody, so of course I'm browsing through A Tough Guide to Fantasyland.  One of the entries is on "Gestures": specifically that Mages are given to exaggerated gesturing when casting spells.  Recently, I read Melissa McShane's Regency fantasy Burning Bright (which is really super, by the way, and I thought its sequel was even better). There was a scene there, involving a night-time naval battle with fire-wielding magic users on both sides attempting to set fire to their respective ships and, if it was possible to determine which of the shadowy figures on the enemy ship was the magic user, each other. The less experienced and rather showy mages on our heroine's ship used gestures, which our heroine quickly realized made targets of themselves, and she snaps at them to stop it.  I wonder if McShane has read DWJ? (I think it's likely).
intertext: (gorey books)
Friday, May 8th, 2009 05:50 pm
Pursuant to my earlier post about best and favourites of children's lit - everything I wrote about there I read as a child, and, indeed, began reading at or before the age of seven. One author that I did not discover until I was in my late teens or early twenties, but whom I have continued to read and delight in ever since is, of course, Diana Wynne Jones. I feel as if I am part of an exclusive club - Those Who Know How Great DWJ Is!

Thus, I was thrilled to see Neil Gaiman's tweet this morning, announcing the lovely article about DWJ in the Guardian Book Blog. You can read it for yourselves, so I won't discuss the contents, except to say that she talks about how wonderful DWJ is and how difficult it is to choose an all-time favourite.

I have no difficulty choosing an all-time favourite ... well ... almost no difficulty ... maybe it's a tie. I think, if I were tied down and poked with sticks, I would plump for Fire and Hemlock as both my favourite and undoubtedly her best. I love it for its complexity, the dense intertextuality, the lovely relationship between Tom and Polly and indeed the unusual for DWJ emphasis on close human relationships of all kinds. And I've never found the ending ambiguous at all (but then, I'm a hopeless romantic and an optimist).

But, as a close second, by only a shade of a whisker, is Howl's Moving Castle, which for me is the ultimate comfort read: funny, irreverent, romantic, charming ... what can I say?

And then there's Dogsbody, with its remarkable presentation of the dog's point of view. And Time of the Ghost, and The Homeward Bounders, which I think is possibly my THIRD favourite DWJ book, maybe. But that would mean that I'd be leaving out Charmed Life, which was the first of her books that I read but still one that I love. Or The Ogre Downstairs which still cracks me up.

I can't wait for this summer's conference - All DWJ All The Time! What could be cooler than that?


PS: I need a DWJ icon.
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intertext: (little my)
Thursday, September 28th, 2006 08:19 pm
The Pinhoe Egg was waiting on my doorstep when I came home this evening. This was a Good Thing, as the last couple of days have been stressful and dismal, lowlighted by the most petty of nasty office politics and I need cheering up. I shan't go in to the office tomorrow, and am tempted not even to turn on the college email system over the weekend. I wouldn't at all, except that students whom I actually like (unlike certain colleagues) might be trying to get in touch with me.
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2006 03:36 pm
As reported in Dave Langford's Ansible newsletter, Diana Wynne Jones is to be given an honorary DLitt from Bristol University. She is reported as saying she doesn't know how this could have happened when "this sort of thing has to go through Solemn Committees full of serious men who do not know fantasy exists." Richly deserved, I say! This on top of the fact that the movie of Howl's Moving Castle has been nominated for an Oscar (best animated feature) - though considering it's up against Wallace and Gromit, Curse of the Wererabbit, I shall be in a quandary about whom to root for.
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Tuesday, January 25th, 2005 02:14 pm
Although Ursula Le Guin was miserable about the Earthsea adaptation, happily, the situation is different with the Miyazaki version of Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle, which apparently has been causing a sensation in Japan and was a big hit at the Venice Film Festival. DWJ has seen it and from all accounts is thrilled. David Langford reports in the January issue of his Ansible:
Diana Wynne Jones is ecstatic after a secret première of Howl's Moving Castle, practically on her doorstep in Bristol: `Miyazaki came in person, carrying with him a tape of the film, an interpreter and sundry other shadowy figures (all this was supposed to be secret for fear of the Japanese media, who then descended on me afterwards, so I couldn't mention it beforehand) and we had a private showing at the Watershed cinema. The film is goluptuously splendid with breathtaking animation. I had grown used to young ladies regularly writing to me to say that they wanted to marry Howl. Now, Howl in the film is so plain stunning and sexy that I think I have joined them. And after the showing and the scamper through Bristol I had a long talk with Mr Miyazaki and it began to seem that we were soulmates.' Some writers have all the luck.

I was worried (much as I love Miyazaki) because Howl is one of my all-time favourite books; now I can't wait!