Diana Wynne Jones

March 26, 2011

I am bereft. Her books have been a joy to me for so much of my life. I introduced both my children to them, to their delight.

I’ve never understood why Diana Wynne Jones is not acclaimed in Britain and the world as the foremost author for children, young adult, and adult. No two books were the same for her. Her creativity seemed limitless. Fantasy, myth, science fiction: perhaps they all fall into speculative fiction. But though the approach varied, she always created worlds you wanted to live in. She always created characters you wanted to know. You picked up a story of hers and finished it with a bittersweet sigh compounded of sheer contentment and delight mixed with sorrow that it was over.

She is one of the few authors I would buy a book from without stopping to wonder if it would be good. I knew it would. They always were. I reread her books regularly. Not many authors can stand up to that sort of scrutiny, but she never seemed to put a foot wrong. Everything worked. Nothing jarred.

Her book, ‘Sudden Wild Magic’ is the only one labelled adult, but stories such as ‘Deep Secret’ or ‘Dark Lord of Derkholm’ are equally complex. And even the most simple stories held that inimitable charm. Chrestomanci, ‘Dogsbody’, the Dalemark Quartet: they enriched my life. The inimitable ‘Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ is a delight.

Her wealth of ideas, the joy of her style, the warmth and love she brought to each book: no one I’ve read has come close.

And cats. She loved cats.

I shall miss knowing she’s in the world, weaving her spells of joy for me to share.

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A few gleanings from the intertubes:

/ Meditation by a natural /

Cat-friendly bookshelves. I want  / these ! /

And / this / is pretty sweet, too.

Fun with Physics:

nuclear fission chain reaction /  with mousetraps /. Way cool.

/ How to tell / if that miraculous invention just might be fraud.

However, physicists often have problems dealing with the ‘real’ world:  

http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/archive/?c=510

and again, from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:  http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20110326.gif

Problems in the political world.

First, ignorance is rife. / Go north to reason / Until we gain / Cascadia /, and for the rest of the country, maybe we should only let Canadians vote in US politics?

And while I’m sort of on the topic of religion,  / this / refutes a common claim on power of prayer. Social networks provide comfort and security, and a religious organization is  a common place to acquire one. But that doesn’t make the religion any more powerful than any other social support group.

And these. In “The Last Continent”, Terry Pratchett mentions throwing political leaders in jail as soon as they’re elected. Sounds more and more like a truly wise idea. For serious research on the topic, go  / here / and  / here /.

And last, lots of fun with statistics and dating:

http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-best-questions-for-first-dates/

Update:

I kept on reading when I should have been writing. Found several really intriguing articles.

One very depressing one on health care myths in the US, that everyone should know about: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=demand-better-health-care-book

A book review about the inability of experts to predict the future:  http://www.quillandquire.com/reviews/review.cfm?review_id=6973

And one that depresses me even while I’m saying  / “This is truly cool!” /.  When writing speculative fiction it is so hard to stay just one step ahead. Science Fiction has more freedom to make up technologies that have no clear connections to current possibilities. The more I read, the more excited I am about the incredible amazing discoveries and inventions humans make and create.

I have an character’s entire career pattern based on a ‘just barely’ future technology, and a few weeks ago found that much of what I’d envisioned,  / others were already at work on /. And /  in medicine /, for example Exciting? Absolutely. But now I have to find a new step-beyond for her to work on.

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