News is coming across the Twitter that writer Diana Wynne Jones passed away in the night; I imagine it will be confirmed by official sources soon enough. I have no connection to Jones other than as a reader, but I think that’s enough to celebrate her life and mourn her passing. My favorite book of hers was one called Dogsbody, in which the personage of the star Sirius, accused of murder, is sent to Earth, where he has to live in the body of a dog, and in that form discover the truth about his situation.
It’s a genuinely wonderful book, with strong characters, a good plot, and a fine melding of both science fictional and fantasy elements. It was one of the first science fiction books I read as a child, along with the Heinlein juveniles and L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series, and I have to say I am indebted to Jones (and to L’Engle) for being in the right place in the right time for me as a young science fiction reader, since the excellence of their books, and their importance to me in my understanding of science fiction, meant I was able to skirt around the chauvinistic shibboleth that science fiction was by and for boys only. It was nice to have been inoculated against that at an early, and influential, age. I still own the book; it’s in my daughter’s library now.
Others who knew her and her works better than I will have more and better things to say about her and her writing. What I can say is that from an early age I was grateful to have read her, for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was that she was a very good writer who gave me a work I treasure.
Thank you, Diana Wynne Jones, for your books. You are remembered, and fondly.