Essential Library for DWJ fans.

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Apr 18 13:06:27 EDT 2001


> I have begun to compile the "essential library" for DWJ fans - that is,
> apart from the books by DWJ herself. Each other book has to earn its place
> by some knd of tie-in or rationale.

Well, I'd better start by saying I disapprove on principle of the concept of an
"essential library".  But I might as well comment on my own version of the
"recommended library"...

Sally's suggestions:

> Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (because it's another version of the story that
> embraces Fire and Hemlock.)

Well, I don't like it, but that's no reason to exclude it...

On the other hand, if you take a tie-in like that, you might have to add "The
Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul" (D. Adams) or "Expecting Someone Taller" (Holt)
for the Norse gods tie-in with 8DoL.  (FWIW I prefer the Holt)

> The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping
> (because it sits well alongside The Tough Guide and also because some Dr Who
> stories feature "puppet master" characters that match up well with The
> Homeward Bounders.)

Thanks for the recommendation.  I shall go out and order that.  Not least
because Martin Day and I used to give each other lifts to fencing club.  (We
rather lost touch after he went to live in, of all places, Yeovil.  Well, I
suppose it is in Somerset...)

> The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein (ditto)
> Job by Robert Heinlein (alternative universes, as in the Chrestomanci
> books.)

I can't at the moment place the Puppet Masters.  Job is a very good example of
how not to write a multiverse novel, though, so I think it should definitely be
in.  Heinlein's best multiverse, IMHO, is the one in "Glory Road" - whether or
not you like the book I think it's a good multiverse!  I don't think much of the
"Number of the Beast" multiverse, though, so I'll stick to Job (multiverse that
didn't work) and Glory Road (one that did) for the Heinlein recommendation.

> My own book "Wolfmaster" because I managed to work in the Cryptic Name ... I
> have characters called Richard WYNNE, his sister DIANA and a closet magician
> called Ms JONES.

Dell wone!

> Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence, (because of the Welsh background.)

It's a long, long time since I tried and failed to read these.  So long that I
can remember nothing about them.  But I don't think a Welsh background is
sufficient to put them on the list.


> I'd recommend the inclusion of Alan Garner's "The Owl Service".  It's a book
> that transfers an ancient legend into a modern setting, and it describes how
> that legend possesses three children and forces them to re-enact it.  It has
> some fairly surreal moments, some poetic phrasing, and it's described by the
> author as a ghost story.  I see parallels with "Fire & Hemlock" (and perhaps
> similar DWJ work that I haven't read???).

The one Garner that I'd recommend is Elidor.  Not that others are bad, just that
Elidor is the one I really liked.  It introduced me to the idea of "no such
thing as _mere_ coincidence" that is so prominent in Sudden Wild Magic and Deep


> All of the books Tom gives Polly need to be put in the library....

I'd go further than that.  All the books Polly even tries to read in F&H should
go on the recommended reading list.  I'd probably add all the books from which
DWJ uses extracts in her "Fantasy Stories" anthology.  How about some of the
books that Christopher takes to Millie?  Not all of them exist in our world, but
I'm sure I've seen Angela Brazil on the shelves from time to time...

It seems to me this list will grow and grow.  I cannot find it in me to delete
any, partly because I'm not looking at the list as "essential", and therefore
there is a place for anyone's recommendations, not just for consensus.


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