[DWJ] Impress of first book? (was Homeward Bounders)

Kyla Mackay-Smith kyla at keyfitz.org
Thu Apr 14 08:46:04 EDT 2011

On Thu, 14 Apr 2011, Jameela Lares wrote:

> Thanks to everyone who has written in so far on this question.  It would 
> seem that whether the first DWJ makes a lifelong impression depends on 
> which one it is.

You know, the interesting thing here is that I absolutely cannot remember 
which DWJ I read first. I clearly remember the first DWJ I (my whole 
family, really) was waiting for--Lives of Christopher Chant, in 1988 when 
I was 9, which we then promptly bought in hardcover. Although now that I 
check publication dates, it seems that Tale of Time City came out the year 
before, and I do remember my unfavorable impression of that cover. Hm.

So for me, the "always in existence" DWJ books are Charmed Life, The Ogre 
Downstairs (these first two are almost certainly what I read first), 
Witch's Business/Wilkin's Tooth, Dogsbody, Witch Week, Magicians of 
Caprona, Howl's Moving Castle, and the first three Dalemark books, and I 
suppose Tale of Time City. And then Fire and Hemlock, although I didn't 
read that one until I was a bit older. And Homeward Bounders, as I said 
before, I didn't read until later, and so it always feels a bit new to me. 
Time of the Ghost we had to hunt down, so even though that's an older book 
it still feels like a discovery.

Everything else still seems like a "new" book to me, so even though, say, 
Dark Lord of Derkholm came out in 1998 and I've read it multiple times, I 
still have that feeling of "but it existed after I did! It's new!"

> There ought to be a service for readers like me, somewhere you could 
> write in to say, "I don't want to read past page 106. Are the 
> protagonists going to be all right?"  On the other hand, I've begun 
> talking myself through the text, saying things like, "These are the main 
> characters. They are probably going to be okay in three pages."  And 
> they usually are.

What's wrong with doing that on this list, with ample spoiler space, of 
course? You'd have to specify the edition, naturally, if you were saying 
page numbers, because there are so many, but I'm sure people would answer 
the question. Although--it's DWJ. The protagonists don't get killed, 
because it's not a horror book. But sometimes "being okay" is not quite 
how you would have thought it.

One measure of friendship consists not in the number of
things friends can discuss, but in the number of things
they need no longer mention.
        --Clifton Fadiman

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