Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Diane Duane

Go To
"I write."
"There is a rule for fantasy writers: The more truth you mix in with a lie, the stronger it gets."

Diane Duane (born May 18, 1952) is an American fantasy and science-fiction author now living in Ireland. She was born in 1952, was first published in 1979, and has been writing sci-fi and speculative fiction almost continuously ever since. She has written in a lot of different universes.

  • The Young Wizards multiverse. Set in the modern-day, the series details the adventures of Nita Callahan and Kit Rodigruez, who are chosen by the Powers That Be to become wizards and to help fight the Lone Power, creator of entropy, death, and most of the evil in the multiverse. Spells are worked through the Speech, which is essentially the language in which the multiverse is "programmed". Heavily influenced by real world science and science fiction; spells, for example have to obey various scientific principles, most notably the laws of thermodynamics. Due to its multi-universal nature, the Young Wizards 'verse has connections to many of Duane's other works. Infamous in its fandom for a tendency to grab you by the heart and squeeze.
    • Feline Wizards trilogy (including The Book of Night With Moon, To Visit The Queen (A.K.A On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service in the U.K.) and The Big Meow (e-book only)). Same 'verse, different protagonists. Centers around a team of cats who maintain the worldgates (wizardly mass transit system).
  • Stealing the Elf-King's Roses: CSI meets Urban Fantasy. In an alternate-universe Los Angeles, psychic forensics expert Lee Enfield and her feyhound partner Gelert are called in to investigate the murder of an elf and find themselves pulled into a multi-national, multi-universe conspiracy involving the secrets of the Elven realm, Alfheim.
  • Omnitopia Dawn: First in a projected series, this book describes a financial and electronic war against the perfect MMORPG.
  • The Tale of the Five: Duane's first series, still unfinished. A fantasy series with unconventional ideas about human relationships and sexuality.
  • Star Trek: In addition to writing several comics and part of a TNG episode, Duane has written a number of Star Trek novels; these are generally regarded as among the best of the best by fans, although they occasionally contradict canon established in later books and films.
    • The Wounded Sky, an exploration of what happens when time no longer exists and a hole is ripped in the fabric of the universe. So, pretty much business as usual. What really put it on the map is that it also explores the true essence of the Enterprise crew.
    • Spock's World, about the history of Vulcan and its possible secession from the Federation. Also, McCoy giving the entire Vulcan race a verbal spanking.
    • Doctor's Orders: what happens when McCoy is left in command of the Enterprise. (Answer: hilarity. And a little bit of heartwarming.)
    • The Rihannsu series, which delves even more in-depth into Romulan and Vulcan culture, and is generally the foundation for fanon concerning said species.
    • Dark Mirror, in which the Enterprise-D is abducted by the Mirror Universe. Later contradicted by Deep Space Nine which established that the Terran Empire had fallen after Mirror-Spock tried to reform it.
    • Intellivore, regarding a mobile soul-eating planet which is even more terrifying than it sounds.
  • The Harbinger trilogy, for the Star*Drive RPG 'verse.
  • Spider-Man: The Venom Factor, a trilogy of Spider-Man books.
  • Three Space Cops books, written with her husband, Peter Morwood.
  • Seven Net Force books, co-authored with Tom Clancy.
  • And finally, a hefty pile of short stories, comic books, TV episodes, and one-off novels.

Diane Duane has edited this wiki several times and is very kind to fans (whom she will answer personally). She's also a member of fandom herself, particularly Sherlock, for which she has written the occasional fanfic. She has even written a series of fanfics of her Young Wizards series, wherein she appears as herself and converses about its canonicity with the characters. She can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Dreamwidth, and on the Young Wizards forums, among other places.

Works by Diane Duane with their own trope pages include:

Tropes included in her Star Trek novels:

  • Abstract Eater: The antagonists in Intellivore, the Iruhe, eat the minds of sentient beings, leaving only breathing but mindless bodies. The Iruhe also ate the crews of several of the Romulan ships that left Vulcan in Rihannsu.
  • Agony Beam: Dark Mirror has the TNG crew encounter the Mirror Universe from the Original Series episode "Mirror, Mirror", along with the agony booth and agonizers the mirror-Federation used to keep people in line. In the mirror universe, Troi's role as "ship's counselor" involves her using the agony booth a lot and the crew's agonizers take the place of combadges. It's even pointed out how the "old" agonizers were inefficient, brute instruments while the modern version is specifically designed to attack the wearer's most sensitive nerves.
  • The Alleged Starship: Klingons build good guns, but their main interest in starships is in blowing them up...
  • Author Appeal: She seems to have something of a soft spot for McCoy.
  • The Cameo: The Fifth Doctor.
  • Cool Starship: The Mirror Enterprise-D may be an overweaponed galactic atrocity machine, but you have to admit it's seriously badass. Even prime-Geordi has a small Nerdgasm when he checks out their gigantic Main Engineering.
  • Deadly Doctor: Mirror-Crusher's specialty is Cruel and Unusual Death by time-released viruses.
  • The Dreaded: Bad enough that Mirror-Troi is The Political Officer of the Terran Empire, but then there's the Mind Rape...
  • Ear Worm: Exploited example in Dark Mirror. Songs that stick in your head are the perfect Psychic Static defense against evil nosy Betazoids...
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: Naraht, the Horta.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A major factor in the foiling of the Imperials' plans in Dark Mirror. Lampshaded in their final exchange with each other:
    The other Picard did not rage or fume or anything else: he sat coolly and looked at his counterpart. "I don't understand you, Captain. I am offering you a chance to survive."
    "There are more important things than survival," Picard said very softly. "And no, you do not understand us.
    "May we never so change that you do."
  • Genius Loci: The planet in Intellivore.
  • Jossed: As published novels, Duane's books are considered "soft canon", but elements of them have been discredited by later onscreen revelations. Notably, her deep and nuanced portrayal of the Romulans was very popular among readers, but was disliked by Gene Roddenberry, who felt she had strayed too far from his original vision. Dark Mirror was completely jossed from the foundational level as soon as the Mirror Universe was brought back in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.note 
  • Heavy Worlder: The various Denebian species are all built short and so massive that Starfleet builds special supersized ships for them - notably, the USS Inaieu.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Spock boosted the Enterprise Rec Room computer with a few too many upgrades, and now she's fully sentient. Thank God she's lovely.
  • Never Was This Universe: In Dark Mirror, Captain Picard studies his counterpart's library in an attempt to find a divergence point between their universes. After finding some truly horrifying variations on Shakespearenote  and Homer, he considers taking a look at the Bible... and decides it's better left alone. Turns out the universe has been dark from the beginning.
  • Overly Long Name: Commander Hwiii ih'iie-uUlak!ha'. Mercifully, he shortens it to "Hwiii".
  • Planet Killer: What Geordi whipped up in Intellivore to kill the mind-eating planet (natch)
  • Psychic Static:
    • Used by Picard to hide things from Mirror Troi in Dark Mirror
    • Also used twice over in Intellivore, by Picard and another captain on their quest to destroy the Intellivore. One involves the conventional kind of static, while the other involves hooking Data up to the Enterprise computer and putting everyone else on the ship to sleep.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Dark Mirror involves an alien race that's essentially dolphins IN SPACE! (They're not related to the whales IN SPACE from Star Trek IV.) Young Wizards also features Cetacean wizards (the Trek novel contains a Shout-Out to them). Of course, pretty much everyone and everything with more brains than a sponge has Wizarding potential in this setting.
  • Shown Their Work: It's truly surprising how much a reader can learn about astronomy from her books, not to mention various fictional treatises on the histories of Vulcan, the Romulan Star Empire, and the Alpha Quadrant, just to name a few.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: In Intellivore, the titular being eats the minds of everyone on the starship Oraidhe... except for one guy who was in a coma, and thus couldn't be eaten. This is key to the Enterprise's plan to destroy it.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Generally far into Idealism territory, but she justifies it with unflinching exploration of death, redemption, and the cost of doing good.
  • Signature Style: Aliens with unpronounceable names, Planet of Hats being subverted with cheerful abandon, and McCoy being awesome.
  • Some Call Me "Tim": In Dark Mirror, the Delphine scientist Hwiii ie'ee u-Ulak! ha'. It's pronounced "Wheee!"
  • Starfish Aliens: A number of examples, most of whom are in the Enterprise crew. And the Denebian starship Inaeiu, which is a supersized Constitution-class ship with four warp engines crewed entirely by Starfish Aliens.
  • Stripperiffic: Mirror Universe officer uniforms. Geordi and Deanna are less than impressed (although O'Brien, who doesn't have to wear one, is amused).

Tropes in her other novels include:

  • Admiring the Abomination: In Diane Duane's X-COM: UFO Defense novel, one of the base scientists talks admiringly about the biology of the Ethereal aliens, to the point of suggesting that humans could modify their own genetics in similar ways.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: Lampshaded in one of Diane Duane's Spider-Man novels; Spidey comments that real gunfire sounds nothing like it does in the movies, and fills in his own descriptions of the actual sounds, such as "rulers being smacked on a desk."
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison: "Stealing the Elf-King's Roses" has a significant — but incredibly spoilerish — example.
  • Dartboard of Hate: In Diane Duane's X-COM: UFO Defense novelization, base commander Jonelle Barrett relieves stress with one of these, featuring her thoroughly incompetent predecessor.
  • Fantastic Drug: The first book of the Space Cops series, "Mindblast", is centered around the spread of Hyper 2, an intelligence enhancing (and lethal) drug, complete with full chemical name and a lengthy description of how the drug worked. Cue heartbreak when the heroes discover that the man who created the drug wasn't some sleazy dealer, he had been trying to research a cure for his mentally retarded daughter.
  • Fisher King: In Stealing The Elf-King's Roses, the position of the Laurin, the King of All Elves, turns out to be something like this. The world of Alfheim has a will of its own, and the title of the Laurin must be held by an Alfen who possesses a strong enough command of "worldmastery" to understand that they are a servant to that will rather than the master of it. A good bit of the plot is set into motion by the current Laurin's fear of what would happen if the people of other worlds succeeded in invading Alfheim and wiping out the Alfen without any understanding of worldmastery, and the resolution of the storyline hings on the fact that, as the Laurin himself states, "As I go, so go my people."
  • Genius Serum: Mindblast is centered around a Fantastic Drug which increases one's intelligence... until it kills you, that is.
  • Kick the Dog: Near the beginning of Omnitopia Dawn, we are introduced to Delia Harrington, an investigative reporter. She's just been assigned to do a story on Dev Logan, another of the book's main characters, and she's certain that the incredibly positive reputation he and his company have acquired must be a sham. Okay, we think, she's a reporter: ferreting out the darker parts of human nature and bringing them to light is part of her job. It's not until she rolls down her window and yells "Idiot!" at someone in traffic that we realize that this is not intended to be a sympathetic character.
  • Land of Faerie: In Stealing the Elf-King's Roses, it is called Alfheim and an Alternate Universe version of Earth, but not medieval at all. Actually, of all the seven known parallel universe earths, Alfheim is one of the two most technologically advanced ones next to Xaihon.
  • Meaningful Name: Dev Logan (from Omnitopia Dawn). "Dev" in an MMO context usually stands for "Developer".
  • Mugging the Monster: In Spider-Man: The Octopus Agenda, three punks try to assault Venom with switchblades. It doesn't go so well for them.
  • Never My Fault: Zigzagged with Phil Sorensen, the antagonist of Omnitopia: Dawn. He fully acknowledges that the huge, friendship-ending fight between him and Dev was entirely the result of his financial screw-up, and that said financial screw-up was also entirely his own fault. But he's convinced that he was right in general, and that they haven't made up because Dev refuses to see reason and acknowledge that.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In the Space Cops novel High Moon, the bad guys fake a message from the protagonists' superior officer to get them out of the way. They're briefly deceived, but then notice that it's signed in a nonstandard way, the routing makes no sense, and most importantly that this message from their cost-focused boss doesn't say a thing about the expensive reward they just authorized.
  • Powered Armor (in the Space Cops series)
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Invoked in Stealing the Elf-King's Roses, which was written right after 9/11. A major plot point is that a group of parallel universes discovers our universe, and we're much further down the scale than they are. This is incredibly disturbing from their point of view.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Jacob Ricel in the Harbinger Trilogy. Just to make things more fun, he's actually one of several clone siblings raised together by the evil corporate star nation.