Monday, 27 June 2005

Hexwood

Listening to:

Bach, French suite no. 5 in G, BWV 816. Played by Gustav Leonhardt.

Just read:

Diana Wynne Jones, Hexwood.

Another kids’ book this one, but with quite a different setting and feel. This story has just a single character as its focus, and is definitely in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. And I use the slash advisedly. Jones’s book is quite a successful meld of science-fiction elements and fantasy. Even at the end of the story, when much of the “magic” is revealed to have science-y explanations (Arthur C. Clarke’s law and all that), there are still elements that are decidedly magical in character.

The young protagonist opens the book as an ordinary human kid, one who gets caught up in events of interstellar significance that are playing out next door in a bit of abandoned land, in the wood of the title. Even as she slowly investigates the weird goings on, we are shown another narrative thread in which some (but not all) of them are explained. This thread is resolutely sci-fi, and actually feels very Iain M. Banks-ian, with its intrigue and dark politics.

There are all sorts of twists and turns, and it’s all very entertaining. I think I even forgive the author for the relatively late appearance of the Arthurian mythos. A good read.

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