Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Jones, Gwyneth

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(1952-    ) UK writer whose intense and challengingly complex adult works are chiefly sf (see SFE). Her first book, Water in the Air (1977), is Children's Fantasy, as is her fourth, Dear Hill (1980).

Most subsequent juveniles have appeared under the pseudonym Ann Halam. These begin with Ally, Ally, Aster (1981), featuring elements of Nordic Fantasy and an ice or winter Elemental, and The Alder Tree (1982), a modern Gothic Fantasy laden with Worm imagery, whose villain is a Dragon in human form. The fine Ghost Story King Death's Garden (1986) develops a subtle, haunting chill as its unwary young protagonist – fascinated by a Brighton cemetery's Ghost-girl inhabitant – himself strays close to the Bondage of ghosthood; there are echoes of Walter de La Mare, who provides the epigraph. The Haunting of Jessica Raven (1994) is another ghost story. The Fear Man (1995) is Horror.

As Halam, GJ created her best juvenile fantasy sequence in the Inland trilogy: The Daymaker (1987), Transformations (1988) and The Skybreaker (1990). The prickly, nonconformist heroine Zanne lives in post-Holocaust Inland, where her deep empathy for machines (see Technofantasy) seems misplaced since this magical, matriarchal Utopia depends on a covenant with the Land which prohibits technology. Any active machine exudes poisonous Wrongness. Technophile Zanne Learns Better and finds that her Healing vocation is to locate and shut down such beloved engines as the Daymaker, seemingly a nuclear power plant, and the polluting device which engenders the second book's mutations and Werewolf-like Transformations. Another tough, rebellious girl with psychic Talents stars in the Contemporary Fantasy The Hidden Ones (1988), as by GJ.

Two of GJ's adult sf novels come particularly close to fantasy. Divine Endurance (1984) is set in the Southeast Asia of a far-future Dying Earth, disrupted by two artificial beings who with dreadful innocence can grant humanity's deepest and most ill-advised Wishes. The metaphysical complications of Kairos (1988) stem from a drug whose use transforms objective Reality. Seven Tales and a Fable (coll 1995 US) won a World Fantasy Award for best collection. [DRL]

other works: see SFE. The Influence of Ironwood (1978) and The Exchange (1979) are associational juveniles.

see also: Gender.

Gwyneth Ann Jones


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.