Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Dean, Pamela

(1953-    ) Working name of US writer Pamela Dyer-Bennet, a founding member of the Scribblies. Her Children's-Fantasy Hidden Land trilogy – The Secret Country (1985), The Hidden Land (1986) and The Whim of the Dragon (1989) – is a Dynastic Fantasy that takes the Landscape of Fantasyland and uses it subversively. A group of young Companions find the roleplaying Game they have played for many years becoming real. Tam Lin (1991) is a nearly quintessential college novel, treating the college experience as a kind of transcendent Otherworld, realizing the lonely intellectual's fantasy of finding companions exactly like oneself and upping the ante by gradually introducing the supernatural element of the Elvish court drawn from the ballad Tam Lin.

Despite its more modest compass, The Dubious Hills (1994) is more ambitious. It takes place in a Polder in the same landscape as the Hidden Land trilogy, and describes a peculiar experiment in Perception: a group of Wizards, intending to eliminate war, cast a Spell over the inhabitants of the polder so that they are innocent of much human knowledge; for example, Arry, the protagonist, is the only one who can feel pain (and she feels everybody's). It is a difficult concept to convey, particularly within the villagers' context, but PD manages with subtlety and clarity. When Shapeshifters invade and try to wake the villagers from their Spell there is a philosophical dilemma: are the inhabitants better off with the spell or without it? [DK]

Pamela Dyer-Bennet


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.