How to start people off on DWJ

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Sep 1 13:10:08 EDT 1999


Interesting question, and one I have often considered.  It definitely depends on
whom you are aiming at.

I won't try and comment directly on others' suggestions - all our DWJ
experiences are equally valid - but I cannot resist putting my own bit in.

I recall first encountering DWJ when I was 8 or 9, in the Children's section of
the local library, my Papa [1] came up behind me and said, "Look, there's a book
called Dogsbody; do you think it'll be any good" or words to that effect.  It
certainly worked for me - by the time I was 11, taking entrance exam for a
Public School [NB in the US this would be called a Private School], when asked
my favourite book I cited Power of Three "by Diana Whynne Jones" (Don't worry, I
soon learned the correct spelling!)

A friend of mine started by picking up another friend's copy of The Lives of
Christopher Chant in order to kill some time.  (He killed far to much time, of

Another friend I started off on Power of Three, and I think it might have borne
fruit if we had had the opportunity to pursue it further.

Some more general recommendations:  Sudden Wild Magic is a good starting point
for people who like Douglas Adams.  No other book comes close to "Dirk Gently's
Holistic Detective Agency" for a book on "the fundamental interconnectedness of
all things" IMHO (not even "The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul", [the sequel to
Dirk Gently] of which I loved the title but didn't much enjoy the book).

For those who like a romance in the boy meets girl sense, I would have thought
Fire and Hemlock or Hexwood (if they're up to the complexity), Howl or Castle in
the Air if they're not.

Personally, I wouldn't start anyone on Witch Week or Time of the Ghost - they
are the DWJ novels that have least resonance with me.  But I suppose Witch Week
might not be too bad for someone who likes school stories...

Oh well, enough waffle.


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