Tag Archives: Diane Duane

“Let me know what you think” – @DianeDuane

So these last few months haven’t exactly been the best of my life, and basically to cheer myself up a bit, I’ve bought the Millennium Edition Young Wizards Funpack from Diane Duane at http://dianeduane.com. Which means that I am now fully up to date with the life and times of the young wizards Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez. To summarise the books in one word: books, whales, computers, Irish, death, autism, destiny, sacrifice, and redemption.

Diane Duane offers these books on her own website, and they are DRM-free. Which means, not copy-protected. This is very good for us, because when our Kindle gets dropped for the last time, we can simply tell Calibre to feed it to us in the format that our next shiny e-reader likes. Also, if you keep your books on your own computer, Amazon can’t come in and remove it from your bookshelf like they did to (of all books possible) George Orwell’s nineteen eighty four. It’s also good for Diane, because if Amazon keeps acting up, she can tell them to put it where the sun don’t shine. I won’t buy any books from Amazon, and I won’t buy books that are fettered with copy protection. Yes, I know I can remove it easily, but I am not going to encourage anyone to put that stuff on in the first place.

But on to the books. I’m not going to do a blow by blow. I’m simply going to assume that the things I remember most about them are the most important.

So you’ve got these wizards. A wizard (which is a gender-neutral term here – Nita is a wizard, not a witch), is born. Wizardry is a kind of switch in the Self, and if you have it turns on, at some point in your life, you find a Wizard’s Manual. In Nita’s case, this is a career advice book called “So You Want To Be A Wizard”. She starts reading the book, and then all the trouble starts. So parents, be warned. Reading can sometimes lead to wizardry. Get your kids on healthy activities such as Internet and television instead. Upon finding her calling, the wizard is then given the Oath, and then the fun starts. The first thing that happens after the first few spells you cast, is your Ordeal. Big trouble happens to you, and you are supposed to put your wizardry to goo use and overcome the trouble. It’s easy to tell whether you passed or not – if you are still breathing at the end and the world hasn’t ended, you probably passed.

Once your Ordeal is over, you get to gain more and more information on how the universe works. In the Young Wizards universe, there is one Supreme Being, known only as “The One”. The One is responsible for all of creation, though It has delegated most of the actual work to the Powers That Be. Throughout the series you get to meet several of these, but I don’t know exactly how many there are. And of course, there’s always a troublemaker. When everybody is busily creating trees and hugging them, putting the pretty craggy lines into the fjords, and colouring in the pretty flowers, One delights in tearing down what the others have made. There’s always one. Lucifer, Morgoth, and here, the Lone Power. Its main weapon is entropy. The thing that wears down everything, causes the springs of the Universe to wind down and causes death and destruction. I particularly like it that Diane Duane leaves open the question of whether this is evil in itself or not. The knowledge that everything, even the Universe, will have an end, is frightening on one end, but perhaps a comfort on the other.

Be that as it may, the Lone Power is a right bastard. My favourite bits in any book are Nita’s and Kit’s discussions with the Lone Power. We know that the Lone Power is evil incarnate, but Nita is often forced to think really hard on what exactly it is that makes It evil.

Add to that a rich cast of pleasantly mad characters. Nita’s little sister Dairine, who uses a computer for a manual and is annoyingly powerful. Kit’s older sister Carmela, who is not a wizard, but has gained a working knowledge of the Wizardly Speech and with it a more than casual interest in vegetable life forms. Kit’s dog Ponch. A star. Literally a star named Fred.

All in all, I warmly recommend this series of books, and am looking forward to number ten in the series. In fact, I may have to nick a few of Diane’s characters for a Worldgate-fail type crossover.