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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works • View topic - Diane Duane
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Diane Duane

PostPosted: Sunday, 29 November 2009, 12:10 pm
by DavidTate
Anyone care to discuss Diane Duane? I found no mention of her, positive or negative, on the site.

Diane Duane is known for four sets of work:
  1. The "Young Wizards" series of YA fantasy. Eight books so far, with a ninth due next near after a short hiatus. The first book is So You Want to Be a Wizard. These are about as famous as YA fantasy can get, certainly better-known (and probably better-loved) than Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell books. I have read them all, and found several of them to be excellent, most of them to be good, and only one or two to be merely competent. They deal with serious themes seriously, and treat the consequences of decisions with the gravity they are due.
  2. The "Feline wizards" spinoffs from the above series. I'm allergic to cats-as-characters, so I have no interest in these and haven't read them. Perhaps others can comment.
  3. The Tale of the Five, an unfinished adult tetralogy that has seen books published in 1979, 1984, 1992, and "any year now". Frustrating for fans, but Ms. Duane is allegedly working on the final book, so we can hope it will someday escape the Invisible Library (where I suppose it is shelved near The Universal Pantograph) and reach our universe. The books in the series are The Door Into Fire, The Door Into Shadow, The Door Into Sunset, and (someday) The Door Into Starlight.
  4. Quite a few franchise novels -- Star Trek , Spiderman, X-Men, Tom Clancy's NetForce (!?), etc. -- of which I know nothing. Authors, too, must eat.
I found a copy of The Door Into Fire once upon a time, and thought it pretty good (though clearly part of an unfinished story). That was a long time ago, so I can't really comment in more detail, either factually or critically. I will say that I am looking forward to reading the new Young Wizards book next year, and hope that the hiatus does not imply a shift of tone, quality, or author's attitude toward the works.

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Tuesday, 01 December 2009, 8:02 am
by owlcroft
I have read The Door Into Fire, and possibly some or all of The Door Into Shadow. While it was all a very long time ago, I have the distinct impression that my attitude was what I would today call "zero-star" (recalling yet again, for those perhaps new here, that my personal scale runs -5 to +5, with +1 being the minimum for listing on this site).

I have never encountered any of the "Young Wizards" books, though I have seen them mentioned here and there. My chief problem with such as those is the monumental number of works that I have every reason to believe will be first-rank, yet which merely adorn my bookcase shelves, glaring stonily down at me in my dereliction of duty (which consists these days in re-reading old favorites or playing with baseball analysis).

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Tuesday, 01 December 2009, 1:13 pm
by DavidTate
owlcroft wrote:[...] my dereliction of duty (which consists these days in re-reading old favorites or playing with baseball analysis).

It's nice to know we share at least 2 derelictions. I find that in times of stress at my day job, I read almost exclusively non-fiction* or old favorite fiction. Or, sometimes, new fluff. Or play with baseball analysis. I can't quite bring myself to tackle something new and substantial... which is why the set of "Damiano" paperbacks that I finally found are sitting unread on my dresser.

*Best recent find: The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist , by Netz and Noel. Highly recommended.

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Tuesday, 01 December 2009, 10:48 pm
by owlcroft
If you have any interest in my current playing around, you can see the battle in progress. The original bone of contention is also available.

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Wednesday, 02 December 2009, 12:47 am
by DavidTate
owlcroft wrote:If you have any interest in my current playing around, you can see the battle in progress. The original bone of contention is also available.

Interesting. Perhaps if we wish to discuss this we should move it to the "Everything Else" forum.

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Wednesday, 02 December 2009, 11:40 pm
by owlcroft
I will start a new thread on the matter over there.

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Sunday, 30 January 2011, 12:10 pm
by kreigfoster
That of course always causes me to wonder what happened in most of her other works. I suppose it could simply be that they are aimed at a younger audience and therefore far simpler. A lot of authors write what I used to call “rent books”. It seemed maybe the rent was due and they needed some income. A rather pompous thing for me to say if you think about it as I haven’t been published (yet I hope).

Re: Diane Duane

PostPosted: Sunday, 22 July 2012, 9:40 pm
by DavidTate
It (very) belatedly occurs to me that I forgot to mention one notable novel by Diane Duane that doesn't fall into any of the bins mentioned above. That would be Stealing the Elf King's Roses, a 2002 parallel-worlds/fantasy novel set in the near future but featuring real elves. Our Heroine finds herself on an ambassadorial/espionage mission to elfland. It has both fantasy and SF flavors, and I thought it was quite well-done when I read it 5 or 6 years ago. Real elves in modern settings seem somewhat cliché these days, what with the Dresden Files and Charlaine Harris and any number of TV/film bandwagon efforts. When StEKR was written, that wasn't the case.