Guardian review

camillasaly camillasaly at
Sat Apr 29 23:42:20 EDT 2000

My experiences have been similar.  It takes alot to initially convince
someone to read a "children's book", and it's complicated and sometimes even
embarassing to explain oneself (not that I should care, of course.)
"Speculative fiction," as you put it, would be a much better way of putting
the genre that I love so much.  The category could embrace other stuff not
necessarily thought of as "children's".  This could include my fave Gaiman
(esp. Sandman), some Sci Fi (someone mentioned Heinlein) and even some of
the best movies and tv stuff might fit the category.  (How about the 1960's
TV show "The Prisoner" and/or some of the better "Avengers" episodes?
Perhaps the brilliant TV movie version of LeGuin's "The Lathe of Heaven"?
This genre may be a way to explain a link between my reading habits and why
I love Nicholas Roeg's 1969 film "Performance," Antonioni's "Blow-up" and
this past year's "Fight Club"!)   The term "Fantasy" ill-fits this genre:
Diana best lampooned what that has come to mean in her tourbook of

The frustrating thing about Harry Potter is that I want to see Diana's books
on the big display racks at Barnes & Noble, etcetera.  She's the one who
deserves accolades like the ones Rowling's getting.  I saw Rowling
interviewed about a year ago and she seemed somewhat sheepish.  Maybe she
knows just how derivative she is.  At any rate, it is maddening that Diana's
brilliance continues to go unrecognized by the larger public.

Best, Camilla (who reads her email once every two weeks and is ashamed of

----- Original Message -----
From: Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at>
To: <dwj at>
Sent: Friday, April 28, 2000 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: Guardian review

>I'm not dissing her.  I do like the Harry Potter books.  The point is,
>they're not what I'm anxiously waiting for.  :)
>The thing that really, really interests me about the Harry Potter
>is that it demonstrates the gap between diehard fantasy readers and casual
>or mainstream readers.  Reactions like those in the _Guardian review_ are
>fairly common, I think; there are people who simply have no idea what's
>available in the world of fantasy literature and hence see Rowling's books
>as incredibly fresh and original and groundbreaking.  Which they
>all their other wonderful qualities (first among which is Rowling's
>to get better with each book, which I love to see in new writers).  I mean,
>as long as they're wildly popular, at least they're pretty good and not
>(I try not to be uppity and elitist about this, but a lot of what I read
>from the popular media (*not* literary reviewers) about the Harry Potter
>books just reminds me how little most people know about speculative fiction
>in general.  This probably just makes me a nerd.  Oh well.)
>And truthfully, the _Guardian_ reviewer is right in a sense: DWJ has fallen
>out of sight of many readers.  Probably it's the fate of a lot of so-called
>"young adult" authors; I know when I gave my sister-in-law _Howl's Moving
>Castle_ she said "This is a *kid's* book" in much the same tone you might
>say "This is a disgusting *worm*."  And then came back after reading it and
>said "sorry, I passed it on to my sister, I liked it so much I knew she
>would too."  I was really fortunate to get the thing back at all.  Too many
>adult readers make unwarranted assumptions about her books and never get
>around to finding out that these "kids'" books are more complex than a lot
>of what floats around on the bestseller lists these days.
>Anyway, I say cheers to J.K. Rowling for finding an unexploited market
>and making a bundle off it!  And--do you suppose that all those DWJ
>are in reaction to the fabulous success of Harry Potter?  :)
>Melissa Proffitt
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