Order in which the Books were Written, Spoilers for Archer's Goon

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 23 20:27:42 EDT 2003

I am finally reading Dwj an Exciting and Exacting
Wisdom, courtesy of The British Library Document
Supply centre (coo). Lots to think about!

Marilynn S. Olsen writes entertainingly of Cats
and Aliens in the Unreal City: TS Eliot, Diana
Wynne Jones, and the Urban Experience.

This essay mentions the concrete* link between
Dwj and Eliot, her use of his Four Quartets in
Fire and Hemlock, which MSO tells us was written
at the same time as AG. In many ways I can't
think of two more different books, in style,
protagonist and tone, but of course that would be
the way to do it. I was wondering if anyone knows
if any other books were being written in
parallel, as it were, and, indeed whether a list
of books in writng order has ever been made. At
the Bristol meet I told Dwj that Eight Days of
Luke was the first of her books that I read and
she said I had stared in the right place as it
was the first one she wrote, though it was not
published til later due to somebody's absurd
scruples about showing children "playing" with
matches (no problem with supernatural arson
though!) Knowing this about EDOL is shifting my
ideas on Dwj's development as a writer.

*I decided concrete was most definitely the right
word here because it reminds me of the pool at
the end of F and H.

Spoiler space for Archer's Goon


The aliens in the title are the farming family in
Archer's Goon. I have never thought of them as
aliens but as some kind of superhuman, native to
this planet. I think this is supported by their
ability to freely reproduce with ordinary humans
and by their very human behaviour (the kind of
human behaviour the greek gods were prone to).
Moreover Venturus' starship is in the future, not
the past as  something his family would have
already needed to come to Earth. Any thoughts?
Despite this quibble I thoroughly enjoyed MSO's
invocation of the urban cacophony of AG. She
loses me a bit whenever she mentions the
postmoderns but then I generally have this
problem! I was howver intrigued by her premise
that Howard's city was the way many places felt
in the eighties as "interference in municipal
governments (that) made them, temporarily at
least, as at much of a loss as the government in
Howard's city.................... More cities
than Howard's, in other words, were being farmed
by aliens. The epitome of this is the continual
roadworks in front of Howard's house, carried out
by workmen at least as bewidered as the
persecuted family.  


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