Back in my season of IF interviews, a few months ago, I was asked about my influences from outside the game-design world. I said:
...Diana Wynne Jones describes the fantastical by grounding it in the reader’s unconscious knowledge of the real world. I try to do all these things. (-- interview in Black Clock, Jan 13, 2011)
I learned on Saturday that Diana Wynne Jones has died. She has been ill for a couple of years now, a fact that I kept remembering and then thrusting from my consciousness. Such things make no sense. She has been in my library and in my head for three-quarters of my life; I might have been ten when I stumbled into Dogsbody. I might have been younger.
More and better writers than I are writing remembrances this week. I can only say that on my shelf of most-important books, The Homeward Bounders and Fire and Hemlock and Archer's Goon are untidily lined up.
Diana Wynne Jones insisted on the rough, solid, believable, ordinariness of life -- and that includes life lived in Elfland, life in a walking castle, life at a science fiction convention, life in the future or past or outside of time. All of these are as solid as the house you grew up in, or the time your brother pushed you into the snow, or the butter pies you dreamed of eating. Fantasy has moved on to boy wizards at school (really?) and heroes who turn into wolves (really?), but Diana Wynne Jones just kept telling us how to do it, over and over.
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