Hell was full. It had taken all the souls it could possibly take, filled every space. But every day, every hour, the souls kept on coming in.
“A place must be found for them,” said the Devil.
This is was partly inspired by the Matrix and every Matrix-like story, but mostly it was inspired by Steve Reich’s first experiment with phasing, It’s Gonna Rain. I actually like phasing as a technique and enjoy later works like Piano Phase and Violin Phase. On the other hand, the first part of It’s Gonna Rain (The phrase ‘It’s gonna rain’, on repeat, slightly out of sync, for about eight minutes) is akin to being punched in the head repeatedly for eight minutes. I started out trying to replicate this in prose form but fortunately, I don’t think I succeeded.
Note: this post contains spoilers for the novel Howl’s Moving Castle, which by the way is vastly different from the movie adaptation. If you’ve only seen the movie, reading this will probably confuse you.
Diana Wynne Jones was a genius.
If I were to explain all the ways her genius comes through her writing, I’d be here all day. But I’m going to focus on one thing — her use of the poem Song (by John Donne) in her novel Howl’s Moving Castle.