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Jones, Gwyneth A(nn) 1952-

JONES, Gwyneth A(nn) 1952-

(Ann Halam)


Born February 14, 1952, in Manchester, England; daughter of Desmond (a garment cutter) and Rita (a headmistress; maiden name, Dugdale) Jones; married Peter Wilson Gwilliam (a teacher), April 19, 1976; children: one son. Education: University of Sussex, B.A. (with honors), 1973. Politics: "Green." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Mountain climbing, gardening, Web site upkeep.


Home 30 Roundhill Crescent, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 3FR, England. OfficeAgent c/o Author Mail, Anthony Goff, David Higham Associates Ltd., 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1R 4HA, England. E-mail


Manpower Services Commission, Whitehall, England, executive officer in Hove, England, 1975-77; author of books for young people and adults, 1977.

Awards, Honors

First prize from Manchester Evening News children's story competition, 1967, for "The Christmas Church Mice"; runner up for Guardian Children's Fiction Award, 1981, for Dear Hill; James Tiptree, Jr. award, 1991, for White Queen; Dracula Society Children of the Night Award, 1996, for The Fear Man; World Fantasy Award, 1996, for Seven Tales and a Fable and The Grass Princess; British Science Fiction Association award, 1999, for La Cenerentola; Richard Evans Award, 2001; Arthur C. Clarke Award, 2002, for Bold as Love; Philip K. Dick Award, 2005, for Life.



Water in the Air, Macmillan (London, England), 1977.

The Influence of Ironwood, Macmillan (London, England), 1978.

The Exchange, Macmillan (London, England), 1979.

Dear Hill, Macmillan (London, England), 1980.


Ally, Ally Aster, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1981.

The Alder Tree, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1982.

King Death's Garden, Orchard (London, England), 1986.

The Hidden Ones, Press (London, England), 1988.

Dinosaur Junction, Orchard (London, England), 1992.

The Haunting of Jessica Raven, Orion (London, England), 1994.

The Fear Man, Orion (London, England), 1995.

The Powerhouse, Orion (London, England), 1997.

Crying in the Dark, Orion (London, England), 1998.

The N,I.M.R.O.D. Conspiracy, Orion (London, England), 1999.

The Shadow on the Stairs, illustrated by Edmund Bright, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2000.

Don't Open Your Eyes, Orion (London, England), 2000.

Dr. Franklin's Island, Orion (London, England), 2001, Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

Taylor Five, Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

Siberia, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.


The Daymaker, Orchard (London, England), 1987.

Transformations, Orchard (London, England), 1988.

The Skybreaker, Orchard (London, England), 1990.


Divine Endurance, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1984, Tor (New York, NY), 1989.

Escape Plans, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1986.

Kairos, Unwin Hyman (London, England), 1988, revised edition, Gollancz (London, England), 1995.

White Queen (first in a series), Gollancz (London, England), 1991, Tor (New York, NY), 1993.

Identifying the Object (short stories), Swan Press (Austin, TX), 1993.

Flowerdust, Hodder Headline (London, England), 1993, Tor (New York, NY), 1995.

Seven Tales and a Fable, Edgewood Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

North Wind, (second in a series), Gollancz (London, England), 1994, Tor (New York, NY), 1996.

Phoenix Café, (third in a series), Gollancz (London, England), 1997, Tor (New York, NY), 1998.

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction, and Reality (essays), Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 1999.


Bold as Love, Gollancz (London, England), 2001.

Castles Made of Sand, Orion/Gollancz (London, England), 2002.

Midnight Lamp, Gollancz (London, England), 2003.

Band of Gypsies, Gollancz (London, England), 2005.

Work in Progress

Rainbow Bridge, the fifth episode in the "Bold as Love" story; under pseudonym Ann Halam, the teen fantasy Snakehead.


British novelist Gwyneth A. Jones has published critically acclaimed fantasy fiction for adults as well as younger readers, and has published the bulk of her young adult novels under the pseudonym Ann Halam. With the exception of The Exchange, all of Jones' books have some element of fantasy: an imaginary world, a spirit being, or some form of magic. In Ally, Ally Aster, for example, a group of children struggle with an ancient family secret and an ice being, while in The Alder Tree, a young girl confronts a dragon that has taken on human form. Praised by Kliatt contributor Paula Rohrlick as an "imaginative and absorbing tale" that would appeal to horror fans as well as fantasy aficionados, and cited by Booklist reviewer Debbie Carton as a "fantastical tale of survival and genetic mutation," Dr. Franklin's Island finds three teens surviving a plane crash only to find themselves stranded on a remote South American island that they soon discover is not deserted. Also praised by reviewers for its mix of fantasy and science fiction, Taylor Five finds a fourteen year old girl learning that she was one of the first human clones. Before she can deal with her anger against her parents, rebel forces attack the Borneo nature reserve where Taylor and her family live, forcing her to flee, with her younger brother Donny and a half-tame orangutan named Uncle, into the jungle in the hope of surviving. The novel's "taut suspense and Taylor's gritty intensity will compel many YAs," noted Jennifer Mattson in Booklist, while in School Library Journal Ellen Fader dubbed Taylor Five an "action packed survival story."

Discussing the origins of her written works, Jones once explained: "I was one of four children who lived a life of adventure and romance in between the streets and the houses of a rather grim urban environment. Under our beloved leader (my sister Rosamund), we fought, explored, and campaigned our fantasies. Our base material was C. S. Lewis's 'Narnia' and a television serial about William Tell, which appealed to us for some reason. In my writing, I am still living these dramas."

The novel King Death's Garden presents a sickly, unpleasant boy named Maurice and Maurice's friend Moth, who may be a real spirit or merely an imaginary friend. Maureen Speller commented in the St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers that "this ambiguity and uncertainty is what gives the novel much of its power, as we observe Maurice retreating increasingly into the world he has created for himself." The Haunting of Jessica Raven utilizes a similar theme, as a young girl with a seriously ill brother finds herself involved with a group of people who may or may not be ghosts. A Books for Keeps contributor remarked on Jones's fine, sensitive writing, calling the book "superb." A Junior Bookshelf reviewer was also impressed, declaring The Haunting of Jessica Raven "a moving story, told with a simplicity which in no way weakens its emotional appeal. Above all it is a story about people, vulnerable, sad, volatile, at the mercy of events but still capable of influencing them."

One of Jones's most ambitious projects was her "Inland" trilogy, which was described by Jessica Yates in Books for Keeps as "a feminist and environmentalist saga of science fantasy." The plot involves the collapse of civilization due to the depletion of known energy sources, and the renaissance of magic. The heroine, a girl named Zanne, is fascinated by the relics of ancient, obsolete technology. Although her affinity for machinery puts her at odds with her culture, it also shows her a way out when she disables a power station, discovers a mine filled with radioactive material, and travels to another land to see a rocket ship. Speller declared that Jones's "socialist vision of a magic which affects the balance of the world and which should be operated only by common consent is very much at odds with the more traditional view of magic as a power which resides in the few and is used at their discretion, without consultation. The series is all the more refreshing for that. She captures very well Zanne's dilemma in that she loves the bygone technology and recognizes how it might help her people but simultaneously understands that this moment is not right for its use, when the cost is too terrible."

Although she did not set out to create a novel trilogy, Jones refers to three of her novels as a series about an Aleutian invasion of earth. Her 1993 book White Queen winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Awardtells the story of the first contact the Aleutians make with Earth. In North Wind, published three years later, Jones explores the consequences of the Aleutian empire on Earth, and her 1998 work Phoenix Café relates the process of the Aleutians leaving Earth. Spike online interviewer Chris Mitchell quoted Jones as explaining that "These three books are a sort of parallel version of the European invasion of Africa in the last century. What happens when a people get invaded and dominated by a bigger culture and a snazzier technology." Character development, one of the strong points of Jones's writing, was praised by a Publishers Weekly reviewer who added that, throughout the series, Jones also displays an uniquely "sophisticated understanding of politics, both sexual and general." In Booklist a reviewer described the three Aleutian novels as "a dark blend of [noted science fiction writers] Aldous Huxley and Joanna Russ."

The title of Jones' 2001 adult novel, Bold as Love, is borrowed from one of famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix's recording albums, Axis: Bold as Love. Jones' choice of title reflects the nature of her protagonist, whom Jon Courtenay Grimwood, writing in the London Guardian, described as a "flamboyant guitar hero." Bold as Love, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, tells a futuristic story of a group of musicians who suddenly find themselves in a position of political power as Great Britain falls into extreme disarray due to the devastating effects of pollution, global warming, massive outbreaks of disease, and terrorism. "Since Jones is a good and subtle writer," Guardian reviewer Francis Spufford stated, "the texture of this unlikely story is wonderfully maintained." The heroine of Bold as Love, Fiorinda, also serves as the central character of the follow-up novel Castles Made of Sand, and the series continues with Midnight Lamp.

As Jones was quoted as writing in the St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, "Fiction without any non-real element seems to me tainted with a deeply buried absurdity. Fiction happens in the mind of the reader and the writer, not in the material worldand in the mind, as in fantastic fiction, the apparently immutable rules of the physical world are constantly broken."

Biographical and Critical Sources


St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.


Booklist, December 1, 1997, John Mort, review of Phoenix Café, p. 612; July, 2002, Debbie Carton, review of Dr. Franklin's Island, p. 1838; February 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Taylor Five, p. 1051.

Books for Keeps, November, 1993, p. 28; September, 1995, p. 12.

Guardian, (London, England), August 25, 2001, Francis Spufford, "Visions of Albion," p. 8; August 10, 2002, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, "The Crazy World of Gwyneth Jones," p. 21.

Junior Bookshelf, December, 1994, p. 237.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of Taylor Five, p. 83.

Kliatt, July, 2002, Paula Rohrlick, review of Dr. Franklin's Island, p. 10; January, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of Dr. Franklin's Island, p. 24.

New York Times Book Review, March 15, 1998, Gerald Jonas, review of Phoenix Café, p. 36.

Publishers Weekly, December 22, 1997, review of Phoenix Café, p. 43.

School Library Journal, May, 2002, Sharon Rawlins, review of Dr. Franklin's Island, p. 152; April, 2004, Ellen Fader, review of Taylor Five, p. 154.


Bold as Love Web site, (September 15, 2003).

Gwyneth Jones Web site, (April 2, 2005).

Spike Online, (August 22, 2002), Chris Mitchell, "Phoenix Rising."

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Jones, Gwyneth A(nn)

JONES, Gwyneth A(nn)

Also writes as Ann Halam. Nationality: English. Born: Manchester, England, 14 February 1952. Education: University of Sussex, B.A. 1973. Family: Married Peter Wilson Gwilliam in 1972; one son. Career: Executive officer, Manpower Services Commission, Hove, England, 1975-77; author of books for young people and adults, 1977. Awards: First prize, children's story competition (Manchester Evening News ), 1967; James Tiptree, Jr., award, 1991; Children of the Night Award (Dracula Society), 1996; World Fantasy Award, 1996. Agent: Anthony Goff, David Higham Associates, Ltd., 5-8 Lower John Street, Golden Square, London W1R 4HA, England. Address: 30 Roundhill Crescent, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 3FR, England.



Ally Ally Aster (as Ann Halam). London, Allen and Unwin, 1981.

The Alder Tree (as Ann Halam). London, Allen and Unwin, 1982.

Divine Endurance. Boston, Allen and Unwin, 1984.

Escape Plans. London, Allen and Unwin, 1986.

King Death's Garden (as Ann Halam). London, Orchard, 1986.

The Daymaker ("Inland" trilogy; as Ann Halam). London, Orchard, 1987.

Transformations ("Inland" trilogy; as Ann Halam). London, Orchard, 1988.

Kairos. London, Unwin Hyman, 1988.

The Hidden Ones. London, Women's Press, 1988.

The Skybreaker ("Inland" trilogy; as Ann Halam). London, Orchard, 1990.

White Queen. London, Gollancz, 1991; New York, Tor, 1993.

Dinosaur Junction (as Ann Halam). London, Orchard, 1992.

Flowerdust. London, Headline, 1993; New York, Tor, 1995.

North Wind. London, Gollancz, 1994; New York, Tor, 1996.

The Haunting of Jessica Raven (as Ann Halam). London, Orion, 1994.

The Fear Man (as Ann Halam). London, Orion, 1995.

Phoenix Café. London, Gollancz, 1996; New York, Tor, 1998.

The Powerhouse (as Ann Halam). London, Orion, 1997.

Crying in the Dark. (as Ann Halam). N.p., n.d.

The Shadow on the Stairs. (as Ann Halam). N.p., n.d.

The NIMROD Conspiracy. (as Ann Halam). N.p. 1999.

Fiction for Children

Water in the Air. New York, Macmillan, 1977.

The Influence of Ironwood. London, Macmillan, 1978.

The Exchange. London, Macmillan, 1979.

Dear Hill. London, Macmillan, 1980.

Short Stories

Identifying the Object. Austin, Texas, Swan Press, 1993.

Seven Tales and a Fable. Cambridge, Massachusetts, EdgewoodPress, 1995.


Editor, Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality. Liverpool, England, Liverpool University Press, 1998.

* * *

Gwyneth Jones is a British author of science fiction and fantasy and a feminist critic who has earned many literary awards and nominations. Her fiction is famous for its feminist approach and its recurring themes of the importance of community and of respect for the Earth. Her fantasy novels are unconventional, primarily for showing that happy endings are difficult to achieve.

Jones began with juvenile fiction. Her first novels were Water in the Air, The Influence of Ironwood, The Exchange, and Dear Hill. These follow the not unusual pattern of an adolescent girl who must come to grips with her changing attitudes and world.

To escape this formula, Jones began writing as Ann Halam with the Nordic myth-based Ally Ally Aster, which tells of an ice spirit who conjures up a terrible winter. The Alder Tree is a Gothic fantasy featuring a dragon. King Death's Garden and The Haunting of Jessica Raven are ghost stories. The Hidden Ones, published as Gwyneth Jones, concerns a rebellious teenager struggling against a Sussex farmer who plans to industrialize a magic piece of wilderness. The Fear Man earned the Children of the Night Award given by The Dracula Society. Further Halam thrillers include Dinosaur Junction, The Powerhouse, Crying in the Dark, The Shadow on the Stairs, and The NIMROD Conspiracy.

Jones's "Inland" series, composed of The Daymaker, Transformations, and The Skybreaker, are her best juvenile novels. Jones designed this far-future England ("Inland") as a humorous take on the quantum mechanics hypothesis that reality holds together simply because people observe it. In Inland, magic has replaced technology, and observable reality is held together by people's consensus. If the characters disagree, their world literally begins falling apart. Zanne's community, a matriarchal utopia, has renounced technology for the "Covenant," which lets people use the magic of nature to build and heal. However, Zanne is attracted to the "Daymakers," ancient power plants. She wishes to restore the wonders of the machine era, but learns that the powers of technology and magic cannot be balanced.

If sorrow for lost things weaves a thread of tragedy through Daymaker, the tone of Transformations is much darker. Zanne finds a Daymaker in a remote region whose inhabitants lead harsh, puritanical lives. Zanne tries to restore happiness to these mining folk, but gradually realizes something is very wrong in the community. Here and in Skybreaker, she discovers that her healing powers are suited to shutting down the evil machines, dramatizing a philosophy of balance between people and their land and between people's desires and fears.

Jones gained attention in the United States with the publication of Divine Endurance. This remarkable novel is flavored by the years she lived in Singapore and Southeast Asia (1977-80). In the far future, an undescribed apocalypse has wasted the Earth and destroyed the wisdom of past civilizations. Her richly imagined Malay Peninsula, though, is a matriarchal society, bound by traditions of "hearth magic" and strict gender roles. The Peninsulans are governed by the mysterious Rulers, who reserve what little technology remains to themselves and rule by martial law. The arrival of Choan innocent girl who is not what she seems and who can grant the heart's desireand a cat called Divine Endurance catalyzes a civil war between rebels and matriarchs. Jones paints a melancholy landscape of a dying Earth in this meditation on utopia and the results of getting what you wish for.

Escape Plans uses a dystopian setting and the computer jargon typical of cyberpunk, a fast-paced computer-savvy subgenre of science fiction. A spacewoman from an orbital station is unaware of the dismal lives of a dehumanized worker class until she journeys through their underground world and uncovers a secret history. The novel was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, given annually to the best science fiction novel published in the British Commonwealth.

With Kairos, Jones began dealing seriously with gender issues. In post-apocalyptic London, two pairs of homosexual lovers endure a repressive government, brutal poverty, social anarchy, and the experiments of BREAKTHRU Ltd., which intends to end the world for its own gain. This company has developed a drug, "kairos," so powerful it can change the nature of physical reality. Jane, called "Otto," a political and sexual radical, sets up shop with Sandy, the first victim of kairos. Their friends James and Gordon ("Luci") discover the evil of the BREAKTHRU representatives called "angels," and when the surviving protagonists flee London, they find different worlds outside. A lesbian druidic cult challenges BREAKTHRU, but reality metamorphoses so drastically that time and causality unravel. Apocalypse is eventually prevented, but the "happy" ending cannot overcome the mood of futility and despair.

White Queen was another Clarke Award nominee and a co-winner of the James Tiptree, Jr., Memorial Award, given to science fiction that explores sex and gender roles. It is the first of the "Aleutian" series, the others being North Wind and The Phoenix Café. Mysterious humanoids arrive on Earth in 2038; apparently telepathic hermaphrodites, they are called Aleutians, a name suggesting "aliens." The relationship between aliens and humans becomes a metaphor for the relationship between men and women. Johnny Guglioli, exiled as a "petrovirus" victim from the United States, befriends journalist Braemar Wilson and the "woman" Clavel. From Clavel's behaviors, they deduce the insidious invasion, but cannot unriddle what the aliens want. Are they superbeings, candidly offering assistance to a world shaken up by geological and political catastrophes? Similar to humans, they differ in important detailssuch as their attitudes towards sex, death, and personal identity.

White Queen, a "preemptive resistance movement" that works to undermine trust in the aliens's promises, sees the Aleutians as technologically superior conquerors. Played out among conflicts arising from miscommunication, gender, and identity, the plot accelerates when a White Queen agent attempts to take an alien tissue sample. The Aleutians kill her and disrupt technologies across the world, nearly causing global war. Braemar and Johnny attempt to infiltrate the aliens' starship, precipitating a showdown. The novel has been praised for its well-rounded characterization, exotic settings, convincing technology, and eroticism.

In Flowerdust, Jones returned to the Southeast Asia of Divine Endurance. The first book had introduced Derveet Garuda, a rebel against the matriarchal government, who now prepares to undertake a full-scale revolution. Derveet journeys to the refugee camps on the island of Ranganar to learn the source of their unrest, which might explode prematurely into an easily suppressed rebellion. Uncovering a Ruler conspiracy to distribute flowerdust, a bliss-generating drug, Derveet must stop its spread and venture into enemy territory. The book is a satisfying adventure novel, full of political intrigue and intercultural conflict in a colorful setting.

North Wind, the Clarke Award-nominated sequel to White Queen, takes place a century later. Bella, a crippled Aleutian, and "her" human caretaker, Sydney Carton, share an unusual relationship in a world riven by gender war. Men want to violently eradicate the Aleutians and human collaborators, while the women desire a return to power through a more nurturing society. "Halfcastes," such as Carton, admire the Aleutians. The Aleutians' proposal to level the Himalayas generates violent anti-alien sentiment. While sheltering Bella, Sydney seeks an instantaneous travel device that the legendary Johnny Guglioli used to reach the Aleutians' starship. Unknown to him, Bella's importance to the Aleutians signals her critical role in finding the device. Evoking the courage of Charles Dickens's Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, Carton helps Bella on a journey across the war-ravaged remains of Europe, gradually falling in love with her.

Where White Queen presented first contact, and North Wind showed the conquerors at the height of their empire, Phoenix Café is about their disengagement from Earth. Jones considers the trilogy a version of the European invasion of Africa and India in the nineteenth century, dramatizing different aspects of a dominating culture with attractively powerful technology. Jones blames the Europeans for having looted those continents, establishing "democracies," and finally leaving town because everything was still a mess. What do natives do when the invaders depart? How can they discard the practices that have been imposed and assimilated?

After 300 years, the Aleutians have decided to go home. The problem is getting there; they must perfect their instantaneous-transfer drive. At this point, bodily transformation is so evolved that humans have dropped the old distinctions and now come in all varieties. Catherine, the protagonist, is an experiment, an Aleutian in human form. Engaging in increasingly deeper involvement with humans, Catherine enters a sexually perverse relationship that brings him/her among the planet's elite, who plot a conspiracy that might mean the end of the Aleutian Expedition or all life on Earth.

Jones pushes ever harder against our notions of identity, sex, and gender assumptions. Not only are the Aleutians impossible to classify in male/female terms, but almost no one's appearance in Phoenix Café can be trusted because of virtual reality and designer sex drugs. Jones upsets reader expectations in depicting alien/human sex, same-gender sex, clone sex, and even computer sex. The reader is left to ponder the possibility of lasting peace between humans and aliens, men and women, Self and Other.

Deconstructing the Starships: Science, Fiction and Reality gathers critical essays and reviews on various subjects, from genre limitations to creating aliens, from the need for more incisive feminist commentary to a biology textbook on sexual differentiation. The collection earned applause from science fiction scholars and belongs in major academic libraries.

Jones is one of the most important feminist science fiction authors, a growing group that includes award winners Joanna Russ, Suzy Charnas, and Sheri Tepper. From her young adult novels that emphasized the importance of moderation and balance, Jones has developed into a writer of disturbing, destabilizing novels concerned with the human preoccupation with arbitrary divisions by gender, race, politics, and other discriminations that lead to conflict.

Fiona Kelleghan

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