Diane Duane 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. Here we go:
- The Young Wizards multiverse. This seems like it would fit in the "young adult" genre when you first pick it up; that facade is the book preparing to grab you by the heart and squeeze. 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. Toward that end, they begin to learn the Speech, which is essentially the language in which the multiverse is "programmed". The Speech is used, among other things, for the creation and execution of spells, but calling it "magic" isn't quite right--all spells 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.
- Feline Wizards: Same 'verse, different protagonists. Centers around a team of cats who maintain the worldgates (wizardly mass transit system).
- Stealing the Elf-King's Roses: Primarily set in two alternate universes which are part of the same "sheaf" of universes as ours. This sheaf of universes has developed worldgates which allow for routine interdimensional transportation and communications. Interuniversal relations are generally peaceful, but when a new one is discovered, things start to get messy. The book focuses on Lee Enfield, a detective who serves the deific manifestation of justice.
- Omnitopia Dawn: First in a projected series, this book describes a financial and electronic war against the perfect MMORPG.
- The Tale of 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. Also explores the true essence of the Enterprise crew.
- Spock's World, about the history of Vulcan and its possible secession from the Federation.
- 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.
- 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 is officially One of Us, as she has edited the original TV Tropes wiki several times, is very kind to fans (whom she will answer personally), and has been dubbed an Honorary Wanka by Fandom Wank. She's also a member of fandom herself, particularly Sherlock, for which she has written the occasional fanfic. She can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, and Google+ and on the Young Wizards forums [dead link], among other places.
- 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.
- Badass Boast:
- McCoy to the Klingon commander Kaiev in Doctor's Orders":
McCoy: If you use that tone with me again, my boy, I'll open your ship up like a sardine tin, and later on I'll fish your corpse out of space and thaw it out and stitch it back together the old-fashioned way, with a needle and thread, and then I'll use your guts for garters.
—And of course, he was bluffing. He'd never do anything like that!
- At another point in the same book:
Think again, Commander. This is Enterprise. She is more than one man, though that one man may have made her famous — or among you, infamous. She is four hundred thirty-eight people — to whom you're an interesting enough problem, but one that we're long used to solving.
- Bawdy Song:
Oh I was the strangest kiddie that you ever have seen
- In that same book, we learn that "the filthiest spacers' song" that Captain Kirk knows is called "The Weird-Looking Thing With All The Eyes And The Asteroid-Miner's Daughter".
- In Honor Blade a Rihannsu song called "The High Queen's Bastard Daughter" is mentioned twice, but no lyrics are given.
- Bridge Bunnies: Strongly subverted, especially with Uhura. One example in Spock's World is when Kirk casually asks her about how one of her dissertations is shaping up, and she launches into a head-spinningly complex discussion of alien syntaxes, translation algorithms, and xenolinguistics that leaves Kirk utterly in the dust, privately ashamed for ever thinking that Uhura's job was some kind of glorified switchboard operator.
- The Cameo: The Fifth Doctor.
- And the lovely Hamalki scientist K's't'lk, a main character in The Wounded Sky, pops back in to say hello several times, including Spock's World.
- Can Not Tell a Lie (explored for Vulcans in The Romulan Way)
- Cargo Ship (played with in-universe in The Wounded Sky)
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much (in My Enemy, My Ally)
- Con Lang: The Rihannsu language is this, both in reality and in-universe.
- Cool Starship: The USS Inaieu is a gigantic version of the Enterprise, with four warp engines.
- The Bloodwing in the Rihannsu series. How cool? Well, it regularly defeats ships that are bigger and more powerful, including the Enterprise (to be fair, the Enterprise was the one ship that had defeated Bloodwing, and they were about the same numbner of victories). Also, Romulan ships tend to have cool names or be named after cool people, things or legends, like the Rhea's Helm (see Jackass Genie entry for what it was named after).
- Did Not Do the Research: In a rare instance, she implies Basque to be a Romance language, when in fact it is a language isolate and has no known relatives, living or extinct.
- Exact Words: In My Enemy, My Ally, Kirk asks Ael for whom the Rihannsu ship Rea's Helm was named:
Ael: You would have liked him, Captain. He was a magician whose enemies captured him and forced him to use his arts for them. They told him they wanted him to make a helmet that would make the person who wore it proof against wounds. So he did - and when one of those who captured him tried it on, the demon Rea had bound inside the helmet bit the man's head off. A corpse will not care how you wound it...
- Eat Dirt Cheap: Narhat, the Horta.
- Fictionary (Rihannsu)
- Note that Rihannsu is a Retcon name for Romulans (here said to be just a human code name for them, explaining its source in Earth mythology), later adopted by other Star Trek authors - for example in Diane Carey's Final Frontier, a Rihannsu first hears the word 'Romulan' and considers it to be rather vulgar-sounding.
- Genius Loci: The planet in Intellivore.
- Going Native: The deep cover mole in The Romulan Way
- Good Old Ways: The noble, old-school Romulans such as Ael and Senator tr'Khellian versus the younger cutthroat schemers like Subcommander tr'Annwhi
- Half-Human Hybrid: Spock's conception is discussed in Spock's World.
- Heavyworlder: The various Denebian species are all built short and so massive that Starfleet builds special supersized ships for them - notably, the USS Inaieu.
- Holding the Floor: McCoy's epic filibuster in the Romulan Senate, to delay his execution until rescue can arrive.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes
- In My Language, That Sounds Like...: In My Enemy, My Ally, "Jim" means something hilarious in Romulan, but we never find out what
- 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.
- Language Equals Thought: It's mentioned that the Orion Pirates' word for "stealing" translates into English as "getting paid".
- Little Green Men: Parodied in Spock's World when Amanda's response to a reporter's question is "There's nothing little about my husband."
- The Master: Inverted with the Master of the ;At (not a typo), who is Lawful Good and downright charming.
- Microts: A lot of Rihannsu units of measurement.
- Name's (Almost) The Same: The singular for "Rihannsu" is "Rihanha". No relation. We think.
- Overly Long Name: A number of Rihannsu, as well as 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.
- Residual Self Image: In The Wounded Sky every time the Enterprise uses the experimental drive, the crew members experience a reality based on how they perceive themselves. While Kirk's self-perception is never actually described, McCoy provides a solid clue when he asks "Is that armor getting heavy, Jim?"
- 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.
- Possibly a homage to one of Gene Roddenberry's discarded concepts for The Next Generation. As in this book, a dolphin would have been used for navigation because they're used to navigating in three dimensions. Mysteriously, the reference is to one of the early Trek: TNG guides (semi-canon? demi-canon? — "a demi-cannon. / What, up and down, carv'd like an appletart?"... well, never mind.) in which Rick Sternbach, an old friend, suggested that Starfleet was using dolphins for deepspace navigation research and analysis, including subspace navigational research. I thought the idea was too good to lose, and expanded on it a little. Some of Rick's artwork of dolphins in space suits can still be found on the Net: I had Rick's art in mind for that character. Is the dolphin of a very similar name in Deep Wizardry a relative? ... :) --DD
- 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.
- 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.
- Slap Slap Kiss: A young (pre-Surak) Vulcan couple in Spock's World
- As well as young Sarek and Amanda. The trope is usually phrased something like: "They then realized that they would have to get married in order to have the time to argue properly."
- 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.
- True Companions: If the entire crew of the Enterprise could adopt each other, they would. Put to work in The Wounded Sky where they save two freaking universes with The Power of Love and Friendship.
- Two of Your Earth Minutes: Metric-Rihannsu conversions become relevant in My Enemy, My Ally.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension:
- Scotty and K't'lk in The Wounded Sky. They quite literally can't, what with her being a giant spider, but they really, really want to. To the point where she adds an 's' to her name after her death in honor of him.
- Kirk and Ael to some extent, too.
- Vulcan Has No Moon: Discussed in Spock's World.
- Writer Revolt: Writers doing Star Trek tie-in novels have numerous rules they must follow, laid down by CBS Studios and the publisher. One of these is that regardless of how many books they write, they may not have their own continuing characters. Diane Duane, among other authors, carefully ignored this rule when writing her series of Trek novels and created her own supporting cast among the crew of the Enterprise, including Ensign Naraht (the first Horta in Star Fleet) and K’t’lk/K’s’t’lk, an alien physicist resembling a glass spider.
- You Are in Command Now: McCoy in Doctor's Orders. He's not happy. Hilarity and awesome ensue.
- Crapsack Only by Comparison: "Stealing the Elf-King's Roses" has a significant — but incredibly spoilerish — example.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: Dev Logan (from Omnitopia Dawn). "Dev" in an MMO context usually stands for "Developer".
- 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.
- It simply sounds really, really like a very rude word in Rihannsu: hence Ael's reaction on hearing it first. (Cf. the reaction of some immigrants from Germany whose names produce problems on being translated into English: "Oh good, my name has only one obscenity in it.") --DD