(1954- ) UK writer who began publishing fantasy with the Flight Over Fire sequence – Fly by Night (1990), The Edge of Vengeance (1991) and Lies and Flame (1992) – which can be read as one sustained tale. The protagonist, a young woman, has been called in error to the Planetary-Romance venue of Chorolon, a world caught in sterile stasis through the actions of a Wizard who has trapped the "Bird of Time", thus making it impossible for natural processes to continue. Everything now works by Magic, which proves deadening, particularly for those literally out of the sun (which no longer shines on the "unjust"). The protagonist finds herself in the shadows, with acolytes of the Moon goddess (called Astarte), whose conflict with the male advocates of Sun worship has touches of the conflict between Goddess and priest-ridden patriarchy common to much late-20th-century fantasy. But the protagonist soon upsets the apple cart, and by the end of the tale – after much love and violence, and the intervention of several ruthless sorcerers – a dynamic Balance has finally been restored.
In The Blue Manor (1995), a singleton, a man comes to the eponymous Bad Place and finds that the novel he is writing begins to tell its Story and that of its generations of inhabitants; a Godgame atmosphere permeates the tale, but proves ultimately deceptive. The sophistication of this novel is considerably greater than that of JJ's trilogy, and may point to a considerable and growing talent. [JC]
other works: The Webbed Hand (1994) and Firefly Dreams (1995), both YA.
Jenny Huws Jones