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Old 10-12-2009, 06:56 PM   #1
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Let dead authors rest in peace - please.

Last week, I was distraught to learn that A A Milne's trustees had allowed David Benedictus to wirte a sequel to Winnie the Pooh.

Now, Douglas Adams' estate has Eoen Colfer writing a sequel to "The Hitchhiker's Guide..."

(And there's other authors who have been treated similarly - Ian Fleming comes to mind).

As far as I can see, it is just a sordid money grabbing exercise - "Dig up the dead and get them to dance for a few more pennies."

I know that David Benedictus and Eoen Colfer are already established authors, but don't they have a conscience? How do they justify it to themselves?

Am I the only one who feels strongly about this?
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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It doesn't evoke a visceral response from me. I would probably never read such a thing, but I see it more in line with tribute albums where different bands cover the songs of an artist they admire. I don't want to listen to twelve crappy bands rape Beatles classics, but it doesn't piss me off when they do it.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:32 PM   #3
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You might think of it this way: They are not trying to disrespect the author; they are trying to continue a popular series with many fans behind it, and despite the original author not being able to continue it. If the author did not forbid it in their will, I would not assume they would be against the idea of another author continuing their work. And I think it can be done in the spirit of the content, and without disrespect to the author.

There are many series that have been written by multiple authors over the years, not to mention conversion of those works to other media (such as movies). I do not consider all of those works that came after the initial author's demise to be disrespectful or inappropriate, and I think we'd be worse as a society to have lost many of them.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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I don't really agree with Steve Jordan's comments. I am a fine-art photographer, it is necessary to know the artists who came before you and learn from them, but I should never stand upon there shoulders when making my own images. When I began photography gallery owners would say "your work looks like Edward Weston". That was not a compliment, today they say my work looks like mine and mine only.

When an artist (writer, painter, photographer, musician) dies let there work stand on a pedestal on its own for us all to appreciate. No other artist can do justice to their books, art or music.

That's my opinion for what it's worth.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I am a fine-art photographer, it is necessary to know the artists who came before you and learn from them, but I should never stand upon there shoulders when making my own images.
Would that mean that, if another photographer took pictures in Death Valley, you could not go there afterward and take your own pictures? Of course not. The key is to approach the subject in your own way, and not to ape your predecessors. Your pictures can still be yours, regardless of whether the subject has been explored before.

And so it is with authors' creations. They can be done, and given justice, by other than their creators. Many subjects, creations and characters have been re-explored by later creators, and they have not all suffered from the experience, especially in the theatre, motion picture and television arenas, but in literature as well.

In that light, I'd simply suggest you refrain from comment until after you've seen Benedictus' Winnie the Pooh or Colfer's "Hitchhiker's Guide," and not make a knee-jerk decision against it before it is done.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Would that mean that, if another photographer took pictures in Death Valley, you could not go there afterward and take your own pictures? Of course not. The key is to approach the subject in your own way, and not to ape your predecessors. Your pictures can still be yours, regardless of whether the subject has been explored before.

And so it is with authors' creations. They can be done, and given justice, by other than their creators. Many subjects, creations and characters have been re-explored by later creators, and they have not all suffered from the experience, especially in the theatre, motion picture and television arenas, but in literature as well.

In that light, I'd simply suggest you refrain from comment until after you've seen Benedictus' Winnie the Pooh or Colfer's "Hitchhiker's Guide," and not make a knee-jerk decision against it before it is done.
Except that to continue a series started by a now deceased author is aping that author's work. A better parallel for what you are suggesting would be writing a loosely related book set in the same universe.

Personally, I view it as little better than plagiarism.
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:10 AM   #7
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There is a long precedent to writing in the world of another author - it's been happening for thousands of years Although - serial to Hitchhikers? Wasn't poor Adams trying to KILL off the mere IDEA of a sequel by destroying earth, all alternate earths, and all alternate versions of the main characters?

HOWEVER - something I find very irritating is misleading author information, like JAMES PATTERSON'S <whatever> written by a team of unknowns or ruddy Victoria Andrew's books, written from beyond the grave (and some might argue, beyond the pale). This goes beyond mimicry (acceptable, imo) to an outright intent to deceive.

While I wouldn't tend to write in other authors' worlds - too many ideas of my own - I know I'd be flattered to the point of having to try it if, say, Piers Anthony asked me to write a Xanth book...
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:07 AM   #8
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I'm all for fanfiction, but let's face it: sequels are often a bit under top class fanfiction.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:01 AM   #9
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Jean Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea' is regarded as a modern classic (it's a 'prequel' to 'Jane Eyre').
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:06 AM   #10
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Jean Rhys' 'Wide Sargasso Sea' is regarded as a modern classic (it's a 'prequel' to 'Jane Eyre').
And it's one of the few that are really beautiful books. Sigh!
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:26 AM   #11
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It's not spirit of the content, nor about fans or (dis)respect for the author - it's all about the money. If the original idea was popular enough someone will want to make a buck. That's motivation number one for sequels.

The author himself/herself usually doesn't have a vote in this, so there's just guessing. If an author allowed sequels during his/her lifetime, there's no reason not to continue them after his/her death. Otherwise let the stories and the ideas rest in peace.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomesque View Post
HOWEVER - something I find very irritating is misleading author information, like JAMES PATTERSON'S <whatever> written by a team of unknowns or ruddy Victoria Andrew's books, written from beyond the grave (and some might argue, beyond the pale). This goes beyond mimicry (acceptable, imo) to an outright intent to deceive.
I tend to agree, my 8 year old god daughter, was excited to find that Enid Blyton had written 3 more books in the Mallory Towers series in addition the the 6 actual Mallory Towers Enid Blytons she owned, no where on the cover of the books did it say that they had been written by someone else, and it was only on the copyright page that it mentioned a different author.

Maybe this Author is just as good at writing as Enid Blyton, if so why not get her own career instead tricking people into buying her books.

If the publishers feel a need to continue with a particular story once the Author is dead they should be at least up front about it, and have both Authors name on the cover in large letters.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:31 AM   #13
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It's not spirit of the content, nor about fans or (dis)respect for the author - it's all about the money. If the original idea was popular enough someone will want to make a buck. That's motivation number one for sequels.
Good point, and that's the difference with fanfic.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:44 AM   #14
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Hmm...I'm not sure why anyone should get upset at "passing the torch" of an established franchise to someone else after the founder dies. It's an odd idea to reject it based on the name of the author...like trying to decide what parts of a franchise are "canon" and which are not to be taken seriously. Perhaps I simply fail to appreciate literature on such an arbitrary level.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:10 AM   #15
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What I enjoy about my favorite series isn't just the setting and characters - it's the plotting, pacing, and general authorial voice. Those, especially the last, are things that are really impossible to imitate in a work of any length. I'm not sure whether it's worse when they try to imitate style (badly) or when they don't - either way, it's like being set for ice cream and finding out you just got a mouthful of asparagus.
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