In what sometimes feels like a lifetime ago, back when I was still in grad school (you know, last year), back when I was still working on actual class-work instead of my long, drawn out thesis, I wrote a paper on a brilliant fantasy novel by Diana Wynne Jones called Howl's Moving Castle. A fun, exciting book that turns fairy tale conventions on their heads, I loved both this book and its companion, Castle in the Air for years. So, you can imagine how excited I was when a third book, House of Many Ways, came out two years ago. Ever since, I've been eagerly awaiting Jones next book.
Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wait a very, very long time.
You see, last week, Diana Wynne Jones passed away at the age of 76. Although a collection of her articles will be released in 2011, it is not the same. We will no longer see great Jones works like her masterpiece of form, Archer's Goon, or her greatest work of style and thematic subjects, Fire and Hemlock.
Personally though, I will miss her more light-hearted fare like her parody of sword and sorcery fantasies, Dark Lord of Derkholm, and the darker Chrestomanci books.
If you have never read one of Jones's works, I suggest you take the opportunity now. Her books, besides being highly enjoyable, have also been a source of inspiration to children's fantasy authors for some time. Her imagination and witty writing will be sorely missed.