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aka Robin McK..'s husband has one spectacularly well done set of variations on the Arthurian mythos, Merlin Dreams. King Arthur's court has passed; Merlin sleeps under the hill and his potent dreaming still wreaks changes in/on post Arthurian Britain. Just for the writing alone, i think it's the best of Dickinson's books and is well accompanied by Alan Lee's illustrations.
Merlin Dreams is good, but I really do not like his joint collaborations with his wife.
lapsed academic? Thems collaberations - not joint collaberations - but I think you are right
>3 bookstopshere: I really meant to say they were collaborating on a joint, the smoke of which spoiled the other collaboration ;-)
I haven't yet acquired Merlin Dreams but I have The Changes Trilogy which is based round the idea that Merlin has awoken in the 20th century and is so confused by the mechanisation which he senses that his magic causes all industry in Britain to literally grind to a halt. Dickinson's imagining of Merlin's disturbed slumber is potentially no less dystopian than C S Lewis' That Hideous Strength but his resolutions are different.
The Changes are defn a very good older kids/younger YA SF/F set - we've had the trilogy in our house since...~ 1991. Merlin Dreams is ...odd; i think it really is intended for adults. It's NOT a book that would work on a Kindle..not that it's OUT on Kindle. PD's joint books are pretty poor, but I DO like several of his own YA books...Eva is defn. SF, The Gift - Fantasy and Tulku is just weird and interesting - set in late 19thC China a missionary and a botanist join together to make travel to Tibet slightly safer. And as one of my great aunts was a Congregationalist missionary/teacher, who was with the first group back in after the Boxer rebellion, and we both have some of her memorabilia (from living in a cave during her first stay) to some lovely calligraphy from her students. When we were visiting the schools were our son had been accepted, the most interesting part of the visit to Oberlin was for my wife, who does a lot of genealogy, and my great aunt's papers are kept in their archives - lovely archivist/librarians @ the school. So while adam sat in on a couple of classes, we were reading my great aunt's papers..
As it happens Amitav Ghosh has a new book (for adults!) River of Smoke in which botanizing europeans and missionaries (amongst many other characters) feature prominently set in China circa 1830.
I recently read Dickinson's The Gift which does have a fairytale feel to it, albeit that it was set in the 1980s when it was written and features a lot of gritty realism aimed at a YA readership. The story's 'gift' is the ability to read (or rather sense) the thoughts of someone else's mind, though like many such 'gifts' its benefits are doubtful and frequently a double-edged sword. There is a back story (going back to Owain Glyndwr around 1400, and involving male descendants in a specific family), all very reminiscent of the chief protagonists of traditional fairytales, though the final resolution in the mountains of Wales is much more 20th-century than traditional. I admired it, though like The Changes Trilogy it's unremittingly grim and rather humourless (the only humour is of the cheerless sort).
Has anyone read anything by his son John Dickinson? His Ambrose stories (such as The Cup of the World and its sequels) are equally dark and, yes, unremittingly grim (but not necessarily in a Grimm-like way). I only read the first two in the series but needed to have a break from all the bleakness. http://www.john-dickinson.net/ambrose.html
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