Following on from P G Bell’s Next Big Thing feature, site editor Caleb Woodbridge takes his turn in the hotseat to say what he’s got in the writing pipeline!
What’s the working title of your book?
“This Darkened World”
Where did the idea for the book come from?
When I was in school, I was that awkward kid in the corner always with my nose in a book. If a magic portal had opened up to some other world, I’d have been through it like a flash, even if I had no idea what would happen to me or whether I’d ever come back. Continue reading
Join us for a spirited discussion of one of our favourite fantasy authors – the late, great Diana Wynne Jones!
Author of Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon and the Chrestomanci series, among many others, Diana was described by Neil Gaiman as “…the best writer of magic there is, for readers of any age.” But, after so much success, why isn’t she a household name? What is her place in today’s crowded YA fiction market? And just how much of her difficult childhood is evident in her stories? Our panel of intrepid fantasy fans set out to answer these and other questions on their whistle-stop tour of her life and works.
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Is Peter seeing things, or are there bits of the Welsh dragon in there?
Caleb Woodbridge reviews China Miéville‘s novel ‘Un Lun Dun’, winner of the 2008 Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book:
The idea that the magical or fantastic may be lurking just around the corner is very appealing, and one that science fiction and fantasy uses frequently. A 1960s police telephone box is revealed as a time machine; the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 of King’s Cross Station turns out to be a gateway to a world of wizardry. The fantastic is all around us. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, there are two Londons: London Above, which we are familiar with, and the magical London Below. Un Lun Dun revisits the concept for a younger audience, with Zanna and Deeba finding their way into the abcity of UnLondon.
The story gets off to quite a slow start, and seems to follow some fairly well-worn fantasy tropes. As Zanna and Deeba enter UnLondon, they discover that Zanna is the “Shwazzy” (from the French “choisi”, chosen). She is the Chosen One prophesied to save London from the Smog. However, all does not go to plan, and the reliability of the prophecies quickly goes out the window. This leaves the characters free to go trampling over the clichés and conventions of the fantasy genre. Deeba refuses to stick to her role of “comedy sidekick” to Zanna, and determinedly breaks the rules of the quest in a desperate attempt to save London and UnLondon alike.
The podcast takes a literary turn as we discuss the latest in young adult literature, in particular Patrick Ness‘s award winning Chaos Walking trilogy, and A Web of Air, Philip Reeve‘s second prequel to Mortal Engines. For the first time, we’re joined by our friend Claire Fayers, writer and children’s literature aficionado extraordinaire!
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Apologies for the sound quality – we recorded this podcast over lunch in a café, and there was a fair bit of background noise, which we’ve done our best to remove in editing!