|The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When I moved back to the Cotswolds with my baby daughter, my thoughts often returned to Aiken's work, even if my eyes didn't. I found myself thinking on the worlds she created as I pushed a pram up a steep hill as winter drew near. That tinge of Gothic that touched upon most of Aiken's work put her years ahead of the trend that has shaped a lot of children's fiction, in film and literature, over the last two decades. Ahead of Phillip Pullman's steam punk and other children's alternative history authors, Aiken presented futures that touched strongly on reality. She held her hand with discipline when it came to applying fantasy elements and wove them believeable into the text. This is what makes the Wolves Chronicles so appealing.
Sadly very little of Aiken's prolific body of work has been adapted to the big screen or television. Despite her winning several prestigious awards a fair evaluation of her work's impact on literature is long overdue. The entire Wolves Chronicles need reviewing for adaptation. In a time when High Fantasy might have peaked Aiken offers us something decidedly different and yet, I feel, many will find surprisingly familiar.
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