Identity/personality

Rowland, Jennifer jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Tue Jun 13 11:55:38 EDT 2000


Hello! This will probably be a long letter as I am a newbie, although 
I've been reading the archives for a while (btw I keep going to a post 
from e.g. March 2000, getting interested and hitting "next in thread"
a few times and finding myself reading something from 1999- can you 
people read backwards in time? Amazing what DWJ can do, or is it
Pratchett?)
Well, I'm 24, think of myself as a scientist but have just gotten my first
professional job as a librarian at Imperial College, London, and (of 
course)love reading, science, history, classical (ie old stuff), crime and
fantasy especially.
DWJ has been among my favourite authors since I was about 12, so finding a
whole list of people who also like her- and can swap recommendations about
other good writers- was wonderful. My boyfriend is also a big sf/fantasy
reader but tends to go for plot rather than character or worldbuilding,
which are what make me reread. (He likes dwj's adult books but when I 
recommended HMC said "Isn't that a children's book?". Some way to go there.)
What I wanted to ask was if anyone else has noticed what seems to me to be
a recurring theme through Diana's books, characters who are in disguise in
some way, either through mistaken identity, deliberately posing as someone
else, or having been turned into someone else/forgetting who they were, but
in any case are showing a different face. (The new one can be more "real" 
than their previous identity, eg Sophie, or let us see different parts of 
themselves). This is in so many ways that it seems to go beyond the "true 
virtue of the hero showing through" thing in many heroic books.
Random examples 
POSSIBLE SPOILERS
(I don't have the books with me so this is just what springs to mind)-
 Vierran, Mordion etc in Hexwood, Vivian in Tale of Time City, the ghost in 
Time of the Ghost, Clennen and most of the Undying in the Dalemark ones,
 Tancred in Christpher Chant, (and Christopher himself, in some ways), the 
Emperor (I've forgotten his name- the magid's next door neighbour) in Deep 
Secret, Howl posing as the Wicked Wizard, all the people in Derkholm having 
to be Stock Characters for the Tourists, Sirius in Dogsbody.
I know other authors play with identity, but dwj seems to me to have it 
happen more often. I was wondering what the lit-crit members of the list 
think?

I was relieved to find that I wasn't the only one who didn't like Dark Lord
as much as her others. It seems to me like a good fantasy novel but without
the certain Jones "spark". 
Other likes- McKinley, especially Damar, Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes
Lackey (yes, I admit it- I like the world, and the books where people are
fighting against a person-size problem rather than The End Of The World,
like her new one Owlflight or the Oath books), Le Guin (Always Coming Home
would be one of my desert island books- providing I could have a DWJ
Collected Works), David Brin, C. J. Cherryh (however you pronounce that),
Pratchett, etc.
Outside sf- Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham are brilliant mystery
writers, also a very funny American one called Charlotte Macleod (I have
troubles getting her books like non-English Jones fans have to get hers).
Catullus. Steven Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Matt Ridley, and other
evolutionists. John Donne- it was strange when I read HMC after his poems to
find "Go and catch a falling star" as the spell! Sei Shonagon. Collected
essays or journalism.
Dislikes- too long to go into. Mainly those with cardboard characters, like
Piers Anthony (he only has one woman, she just gets different names. And
none of them *talk like people*. They have long stilted discussions rather
than conversations.)
I don't read that much YA stuff other than dwj any more, it's over too
quickly. One I like is called Dragonsbane, the author is on the tip of my
tongue- Jane Yolen? Patricia Wrede? about a princess who goes to find a
dragon to live with and cook for and ends up helping her become King of the
Dragons, over dastardly opposition. And Harry Potter. And M. M. Kaye.

When I get withdrawal symptoms from Hershey's Chocolate Fudge Sauce (my
mum's American. I say or-EGG-an-o instead of or-eg-AHN-o and get funny looks
from English Italian cooks)I make what I suppose is really a sort of butter
icing and have it on wholemeal bread- creamed together roughly equal
quantities of cocoa (NOT drinking chocolate) and icing sugar, a little bit
of hot water, and enough marge to make it spread. Much nicer than it sounds.

Jennifer Rowland
Who should be cataloguing Materials Science webpages.

  
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