So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane
So You Want to be a Wizardcame along well before the current trend of young fantasy so one shouldn't dismiss it as "yet another Harry Potter follower." Wizard centers on 13-yr-old Nita, a picked-upon young teen, and 12-yr-old Kit, another lonely young teen. Nita, taking refuge from bullies in the local library, stumbles across the reference book providing the title of the novel and into the world of wizardry. Shortly afterward, she meets up with Kit, who himself has just become a wizard.
While the two of them have their share of whimsical uses for their magic (revenge on the bullies, tracking down a stolen pen), wizardry is not play. To become wizards each has taken a life-long oath that boiled down means they're responsible at all times for pretty much everything — life (and "life" doesn't simply mean human life) and the universe — and may be aske... Read More
Diane Duane(1952- )
Diane Duane’s first novel, The Door into Fire, was published in 1979 and earned a Campbell Award nomination. Since then, Ms Duane has published forty novels, numerous short stories, and various comics and computer games. She lives in Ireland and is married to author Peter Morwood. Read excerpts of Diane Duane‘s novels at her website.
Young Wizards — (1983-2010) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Something stopped Nita’s hand as it ran along the bookshelf. She looked and found that one of the books had a loose thread at the top of its spine. It was one of those So You Want to Be a… books, a series on careers. So You Want to Be a Pilot, and a Scientist… a Writer. But his one said, So You Want to Be a Wizard. I don’t belive this, Nina thought. She shut the book and stood there holding it in her hand, confused, amazed, suspicious — and delighted. If it was a joke, it was a great one. If it wasn’t… ?
So You Want to be a Wizard by Diane Duane
The Wizard's Dilemma by Diane Duane
The Wizard's Dilemma continues the story of Nita and Kit, young wizards at work. If you haven't read the others, you should. Though one could get through this and the others without prior knowledge, lack of background knowledge robs the reader of the full impact of the story.
The Wizard's Dilemma is a darker, more personal book than the previous ones, which is made quickly clear when Nita's mother is diagnosed with cancer. As one might expect, Nita turns to wizardry for a solution (as does Dairine). And as one might expect from Duane's nuanced and depth-ridden series, the solution is nowhere so easy.
While Nita learns more about the necessary skills and knowledge via test runs in various "practice universes", Kit is off in his own universe, literally. Or, to be more precise at the start, his dog's universe (filled wit... Read More
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane
A Wizard Alone is yet another Young Wizards book that maintains the high level set by the first few in the series. While not quite as dark as the previous one, where (and if you haven't read Wizard's Dilemma then quit reading this review if you don't want the end spoiled) Nita' s mother dies, A Wizard Alone maintains a level of solemnity appropriate to what has come just before.
The title could refer to any of the three major characters. Nita, who is combating depression and lethargy after her mother's death, all while trying to understand the strange images and attempts at communication coming to her via dreams. Kit, who given the mission of finding out what happened to a young autistic wizard seemingly stuck in his "Ordeal", enters the strange landsc... Read More
A Wizard of Mars
A Wizard of Mars is the ninth book in Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series and continues in the same strong vein as the others. At this point, there isn’t much to review in that if you’ve read the eighth book in a series, it’s pretty safe to assume you’re going to be picking up the ninth. But in a nutshell, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with the same quality you’ve become accustomed to and many of the same strengths. And if you haven’t read the previous eight and are checking out this review simply because it’s one of the most recent ones up, then stop reading (possible spoilers) and go pick up book one; it’s well worth the time you’ll invest as its one of the best fantasy wizard-based series going (and yes, that includes that other young wizard one). You should also know that the series only improves as it goes on. Those nutshel... Read More
Omnitopia — (2010-2011) Publisher: A near-future techno-thriller from New York Times bestselling author Diane Duane. It’s the first quarter of the twenty-first century, and “massively multiplayer” on-line games have been around for a couple of decades. In an increasingly wired and computer-friendly world they’ve become a form of entertainment so popular they’re giving television and films a run for the money. And the most popular gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan. For millions of people around the world, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life. Omnitopia is a virtual place where dreams come true-players can create their own universes within the game’s structure, and participate in the profits if their piece of the universe is a hit. Ten million players routinely play in Omnitopia, and at any given time, nearly a million of them are on-line, living in a world more real to them then their own. Worldwide, Omnitopia is now as much a culture as a game. Participants can become involved in it in a hundred different ways. Some game as if their lives depended on it, spending thousands of hours, or thousands of dollars, or both, on quests in search of “game glory” among their fellow players. Some game only to acquire sufficient in-game “value” to become entitled to become subcreators themselves, able to build new levels and start raking in the so-called “one percent of infinity” which is the leveler’s share of the profits. But there are also people who don’t game at all, preferring to use the massive platform simply to explore its worlds, or to interact with other participants. Some people do nothing but design on-line weapons and other items for Omnitopia gamers, and sell them-or act as brokers, buying and selling game artifacts to order. Some subcreators do the same kind of design and creation, but for tailored Microcosms or slices of them: these are the “unreal estate” dealers. Some players speculate in game “gold” on the success or popularity of Microcosms, rather than actually playing in them. And of course there are thieves and swindlers, cheaters who live to find the loophole in the game that will outside it in the real world. Now Dev and his people are preparing to rollout a major new expansion to the Omnitopia system. And even as players, staff, the media, and the heavy hitters on the world financial scene wait eagerly for this fast-approaching and momentous event, there are others preparing to play a very different game-one that is meant to strike at the heart of Omnitopia and bring the entire system crashing down….
Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane
Omnitopia Dawn is the start of a new series by Diane Duane, who is probably best known for her excellent Young Wizards fantasy series. Young Wizards has always been a fantasy with some science-fiction underpinnings, but in Omnitopia Dawn Duane reverses that balance, giving us a near-future science fiction tale with some fantasy possibilities. It’s mostly a fun read, though I don’t think it so far matches the quality and depth of Young Wizards.
“Omnitopia Dawn” is a massive multi-player game created and run by billionaire wunderkind Dev Logan, his Magnificent Seven executives, and thousands of happy employees. Everyone works together contentedly in Castle Dev. It's already the world’s most popular virtual reality... Read More
The Tale of the Five — (1979-2001) Publisher: Herewiss, Prince of the Brightwood, is the only man in centuries to possess the Power of the Flame, but he cannot use or control it—not even to help his dearest friend, Freelorn, the exiled Prince of Arlen. Herewiss faces a devastating choice. Shall he join Freelorn in his fight to regain his kingdom? Or shall he abandon his friend to seek out the ancient castle where doors are said to lead to other worlds, worlds where, perhaps, he can learn to control the Power that burns within him.
Space Cops — (1991-1992) With Peter Morwood. Publisher: Solar Patrol — Elite champions of justice in a lawless galactic frontier.
The Feline Wizardry Sequence — (1997-1998) Young adult. Diane Duane says these novels “are offshoots of the Young Wizards series, taking place in the same universe, and with the occasional crossover of characters from the older, larger series. In the YW universe, it’s understood that wizardry is sometimes offered to Earth-based species besides humanity if they are either intelligent enough, or just high enough up their local food chain. Cats qualify on both counts: any animal smart enough to routinely get humans to give it food for nothing will plainly have no problem mastering wizardry.” The second novel was published as On Her Majesty’s Wizardly Service in the UK. The third novel, The Big Meow, is available to read here. Publisher: Rhiow appears to be a pampered New York pet cat, but in reality she is a wizard, working alongside human beings and other animals to protect the world from the forces of darkness, which are attacking the city via the underground tunnels.
The third novel, The Big Meow is available to read online here.
Raetian Tales — (2011) Publisher: A goddess in the making… or a demon reborn? In the remote mountain village where she was born, Mariarta dil Alicg lives the untroubled life of a peasant girl… until, soon after a mysterious stranger’s arrival, she starts to hear voices in the wind. The voices whisper strange secrets in Mariarta’s ears — promising her the power to command the stormwind, hinting at an unknown, magical heritage, and prophesying a fate marvelous past all Mariarta’s imaginings. Then a curse falls on Mariarta’s village, shattering the lives of her family and friends. Mariarta must set out across the mountain realm of Raetia in search of a way to break the curse — while also hunting for the truth about the beautiful and terrible being who Mariarta discovers is trying to possess her soul. Mariarta’s search will lead her into hidden domains of sorcery both dreadful and wondrous, and will finally embroil the young woman in the growing rebellion against her land’s cruel Austriac oppressors — but not before Mariarta comes face to face at last with the immortal Lady of the Storms, and challenges her to one final battle for control of her life, her soul, and her destiny…
Stand-alones and collections:
X-Com: UFO Defense — (1995) Publisher: Commander Jonelle Barrett is determined to win. Having moved from Morocco to a new base in Switzerland, she is well-placed to build a fortified base and defend Europe from the marauding aliens who harvest humans as lab animals for breeding stock… and for their dinner tables! Barrett soon finds that her new territory is already riddled with alien invaders. Her handpicked garrison is all she has—until she learns that one of her most trusted people may be a traitor. Her task is twofold: keep the aliens at bay and keep her own sanity in the face of despair. She doesn’t know which will prove more difficult.
Stealing the Elf-King’s Roses — (2002) Publisher: In an alternate-world Los Angeles, prosecutor/psychic Lee Enfield and her partner, Gelert, investigate the murder of an elf. They soon reveal a deadly network of ties among organized crime, multinational corporations, and planetary governments of the Seven Worlds — all working together on the “ethnic cleansing” of elves from the alternate world of Alfheim.
Uptown Local: And Other Interventions — (2011) Publisher: This new anthology collects for the first time some of Diane Duane’s most popular short work — stories that range across time and space, with a visit to Duane’s best-known creation, the seminal “Young Wizards” young adult / urban fantasy series. The anthology contains:
* In The Company of Heroes — A billionaire “living the dream” goes on a desperate quest for the one thing he needs to make his life perfect: a very special comic book…
* The Rizzoli Bag — A sad young man in a Roman cafe is offered a once-in-a-lifetime bargain…
* Out of the Frying Pan — The life of a part-time witch working in a shopping mall is turned upside down in a day…
* The Queen and the Thief and the Dragon – A (fairy) tale of the True West, and a young monarch’s solution to a thorny diplomatic problem…
* Bears — An ancient sorrow (with a modern twist) wanders through the tumult of a pre-Lenten street carnival…
* The Fix — In the dark guts of Rome’s Colosseum, a slave boy with an impossible dream becomes entangled in the machinations of immortals…
* Herself — In the heart of Dublin, something is killing the People of the Hills — and it’s going to take Ireland’s only superhero to stop it…
* Hopper Painting — Desolation and redemption in a midnight diner, as trapped and desperate characters struggle with the tormented soul of the artist who created them…
* The Back Door — Two terrorists meet in Zurich to carry out a very unusual heist with a confederate who’s more dangerous than they imagine…
…And of course, the title story, beloved and sought after for a quarter-century by Young Wizards fans, in print again for the first time since being featured in the “So You Want to Be a Wizard” 20th anniversary hardcover: and along with it, the only other Young Wizards short story, “Theobroma.”