Enchanted Glass

“Enchanted Glass” by Diana Wynne Jones is top of my pre-order list, and only a month to go!

The worlds of Chrestomanci and Howl are fabulous, but I remember “Dogsbody” which I read about twenty years ago. I’m haunted by its ending, and I have my fingers crossed that “Enchanted Glass” will return to the “real” world as “Dogsbody” did and add fantasy.

In fact, “Dogsbody” and “Magicians of Caprona” are probably the two books that developed my taste for fantasy–if you ignore early exposure to Enid Blyton’s Folk of the Faraway Tree. Diana Wynne Jones showed that fantasy was more than escape, it was a shrewd take on reality. Much like “The Year of the Griffin” neatly captures the experience of entering university.

Table for One

He ate loneliness for Christmas,
supping with a long spoon.
Pride was cold, but anger hot.
He took an alkaseltzer.

I think it was Magdalen at AbsoluteWrite who found the perfect title for this festive 😉 poem.

The Walk Alones

The Walk Alones is my first, and so far, only, fantasy novel. It’s short, but I learned a lot writing it–have learned more since–and I still enjoy the characters. A sequel is lurking in my computer, but really requires a total rewrite and the chance to stand alone. I like that the villain in the sequel is a shapeshifter, not a werewolf or anything, but someone who can exactly resemble someone else. The question of identity is always interesting.

I couldn’t resist trying out the post of a book cover, and I love this one. Moreover, the question on Dear Author about backlists made me think of mine. For all that I haven’t hit the big time (or even the small time) four of my novels have been published electronically

The Affinity Bridge

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann is one of those books which by being brilliant in parts makes me pickier about its faults.

Its setting, an alternative Victorian universe and primarily London, is richly imagined and determinedly steampunk. Nor does Mann rely on one mystery to carry the book. He has subplots and hints at character revelations.

But that brings us to the characters, and my big disappointment. The protagonist, Sir Maurice, simply stayed flat (and therefore irritating) and his motivations unclear. He’s an agent for the Queen, but surely that’s not reason enough to run around London waving his papers and rightly being attacked for his trouble.

The thing is, characters are like real life people–there’s no accounting for taste. Some people undoubtedly found Sir Maurice a charming, intriguing hero. Me, I’d tip his opiate down the drain and warn his superiors that addiction makes for unreliability. Perhaps that’s the explanation for his scattergun, chatterfest approach to investigation?

And for all my complaints about poor Sir Maurice, I’d recommend “The Affinity Bridge” as a steampunk novel. His female partner, Veronica, shows Mann can develop a three dimensional character.

It’s No Picnic

Death has forgotten me,
gone out on a picnic
wearing Edwardian dress.
I hope her bustle pinches.

I have an antiseptic room,
food through a tube
and I can’t laugh.
Still, there’s no ants.

Ah, Death. About time.
What? No, wait. Hey!
Don’t walk past.
Food poisoning’s room 7.