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"Official" sequels - do they ever work?

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  • "Official" sequels - do they ever work?

    Prompted by news of the leaking of the plot of Peter Pan in Scarlet - the 'official' sequel to Barrie's Peter Pan, I wonder whether anyone thinks there's ever any point to these'sequels' - other than the desire by someone (normally the publisher, but in the PPiS case Gt. Ormand St. hospital as well) to make a great pot of money?

    I seem to recall that recent years have seen official sequels to Gone With the Wind and Rebecca that were intially published to great fanfare but which now seem to have completely evaporated from public consciousness. Essentially - since these novels are not the work of the original author - can't they be counted as little more than 'fan fiction', no better or worse than something anyone else might write? The actual authors always seem to be slightly obscure names anyway iirc.

    The comparison I'm struck by is with Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, which sort of prequel to Jane Eyre but was (afaik) in no way an 'official' spin-off. It seems that rather than being a 'written-to-measure' book like PPis (ie the idea for having a sequel comes first rather than the book itself) WSS is decidely a novel in its own right - similar in some regards to Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels (themselves iundebted to books like Philip Jose Farmer's Tarzan & Doc Savage novels) - which can (and is) be studied on its own merits.

    I also wonder who buys these sort of books? It almost certainly won't be Barrie's original readership, most of whom probably are no longer alive (he said with the audacity of youth) - but even if they were, would they really want to read a book written by someone else? How many of us (if we were alive in 2106) would rush off to read, let alone buy, a sequel to, say Mother London by someone who wasn't Michael Moorcock?
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

  • #2
    Hi DM f d99, I take your point, but in truth, Mike's maybe not the best example to use, let's say that M. John Harrison, or any of the NW group of writers wrote the 2nd in the "series" or possibly a prequel to Mother London, I'd probably give it a shot, AND, at one time at least, it wouldn't be out of the question that it could happen. Also, ask yourself WHO bought all those Kigore Trout - Venus on the Half-shell books back in the 70s, not me, but I think that most of my friends did.

    I guess that for any recognizable work, of any quality degree whatsoever, there will be always buyers, and maybe even a few readers.
    "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

    Comment


    • #3
      Official Sequels

      I have bought a couple of official sequels - one was The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter, which I enjoyed alot - it followed on fairly seamlessly from The Time Machine. The other was Beyond the Fall of Night by Gregory Benford which unfortunately changes the entire unverse that Against the Fall of Night is set in - the memory unforunately spoils on of my favorite ACC books The City and the Stars (itself a reworking of AtFoN).
      Statistically 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Talisant
        Hi DM f d99, I take your point, but in truth, Mike's maybe not the best example to use, let's say that M. John Harrison, or any of the NW group of writers wrote the 2nd in the "series" or possibly a prequel to Mother London, I'd probably give it a shot, AND, at one time at least, it wouldn't be out of the question that it could happen. Also, ask yourself WHO bought all those Kigore Trout - Venus on the Half-shell books back in the 70s, not me, but I think that most of my friends did.
        No, well I was only using Mike 'cos this is a Moorcock forum. Yuo make a fair point, but I think I'd be interested in reading a MJH sequel to ML because I'd be interested in reading something by MJH not because it was a sequel to a MM novel. Without doing any sort of fact-finding beforehand, it seems to me that the main requirement of these sequels that I'm talking about is getting an author who isn't more famous than the novel being sequel'ed. The authors are always trumpeted by the publisher as being a 'safe pair of hands' with some (obscure) awards to their name, but in no sense are they a 'household' name. (I know neither Mike nor MJH are probably that either these days, but you can't legislate for ignorance.)

        It's very important I think that the author in no way over shadows the book. GOS would never ask JK Rowling to pen a Peter Pan novel because the result would always be a 'JK Rowling' novel rather than a 'Peter Pan' book. Therefore these exercises always strike me as having a degree of cynicism behind them, though you could argue the very opposite - that by not using JKR you're attempting to honour the integrity of the original novelist.

        Originally posted by Talisant
        I guess that for any recognizable work, of any quality degree whatsoever, there will be always buyers, and maybe even a few readers.
        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

        Comment


        • #5
          That reminds me - another book that got 'sequelised' recently was Day of the Triffids - did anyone here read Night of the Triffids, I think it was? I enjoyed DofT when I read it as a teenager, but nothing could induce me to even look at NotT. This is the other thing that gets me about these books. Invariably the original novel doesn't require a sequel to be written. If they did one suspects the original author might have done it themselves.
          _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
          _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
          _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
          _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

          Comment


          • #6
            One sequel I am interested in reading, but have yet to get hold of is K.W. Jeter's Morlock Night:


            Mainly because I like some of Jeter's other work. Has anybody read it?

            Comment


            • #7
              Jeter also wrote a couple of sequels to Blade Runner (the movie rather than PKD's source novel iirc). I heard mixed reviews of those, but Morlock Nights was supposed to be better iirc (not that I've read it either).
              _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
              _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
              _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
              _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by David Mosley
                Jeter also wrote a couple of sequels to Blade Runner (the movie rather than PKD's source novel iirc).
                IIRC the Jeter Blade Runner books were intended as a continuation of both the film and the book, and attempted to resolve the differences between them.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Isn't there a whole slew of new Dune novels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

                  Never really saw the point of "more of the same". If anything the new writer should bring something new to the table that makes the sequel different enough from the individual to be able to stand in its own right.

                  Gregory Maguire's "Wicked", for instance - a prequel of sorts to the Wizard of Oz, but certainly not for children.
                  Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                  Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by David Mosley
                    Jeter also wrote a couple of sequels to Blade Runner (the movie rather than PKD's source novel iirc).
                    He writes Star Wars books as well, but Morlock Night is supposedly more of a serious effort than pulping for money.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by devilchicken
                      Gregory Maguire's "Wicked", for instance - a prequel of sorts to the Wizard of Oz, but certainly not for children.
                      Geoff Ryman wrote a 'similar' sequel to Oz called Was (1992) which was reprinted in the 'Fantasy Masterworks' series.

                      WAS is the story of Dorothy. Orphaned as a child in the 1870s, she goes to live in Kansas with her Aunty Em and Uncle Henry. They face drought and poverty. They face each other. Alone, abused, Dorothy meets an itinerant actor called Frank and inspires a masterpiece. From the settling of the West and the heyday of the Hollwywood studios to the glittering megalopolis of modern Los Angeles, WAS is the story of all our childhoods.
                      Like Rhys' Wide Sargaso Sea these sort of books seem less 'corporate' to me.
                      Last edited by David Mosley; 08-30-2006, 06:41 AM.
                      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think we should separate genuine attempts at sequels that stand on their own and offer a new spin on the original idea - as opposed to the commissioned corporate franchise stuff (like the numerous d&d, star wars and star trek novelisations).
                        Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                        Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DC, there are about five of those sequels that you mention.

                          With respect to this topic in general, many of the attempts at "official" sequels seem to be cynical money-grabs. The sequels to Gone with the Wind and The Godfather series come immediately to mind.

                          A sequel to Mother London by M. John Harrison would be different. First, Mike M is alive, so he could be part of the process, and second, Harrison is a New Worlds contemporary of Mike M.'s, as well as his friend. It would seem a little more organic than calculated to have him write one.

                          As a bit of an aside, I think novels like Gloriana, which celebrate other novels, are far more interesting than sequels.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by David Mosley
                            Geoff Ryman wrote a 'similar' sequel to Oz called Was (1992) which was reprinted in the 'Fantasy Masterworks' series.

                            Like Rhys' Wide Sargaso Sea these sort of books seem less 'corporate' to me.
                            Originally posted by David Mosley
                            Geoff Ryman wrote a 'similar' sequel to Oz called Was (1992) which was reprinted in the 'Fantasy Masterworks' series.

                            Like Rhys' Wide Sargaso Sea these sort of books seem less 'corporate' to me.
                            This reminds me, along with the "Kilgore Trout" offering, among others, didn't P.J. Farmer also write A Barnstormer in Oz? He seems to be a different case altogether, I do enjoy alot of his work and he's come up with his conceptual esthetic of the Wold Newton continuum that gives him (in his mind at least) carte blanche in the shopping mall of literature.

                            Never read Wide Sargasso Sea, sounds interesting.
                            "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My feelings are mutual to sequals by those who were not the author. The recent Dune "sequals"/ "prequals" are a waste of time. While providing answers, it only adds more clunky anachronisms and confusion. However, the last story Frank Herbert wrote as the grand finale after Chapterhouse: Dune has finally been published. I have my doubts since the series has been under par, like most sequals, but it's the grand finale...

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