Recently, the Washington Post published and article about new authors producing sequels to books of a few well known dead authors. These books include the Douglas Adams series “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh.” You can read the original article here.
When I first read the article I thought it was insanity. A continuation of “Winnie the Pooh?” Seriously? Are we just all out of good ideas? Plus, these are classic stories. It’d be like doing a continuation of “Casablanca.” These stories have been told, they’re over. Leave them alone.
But then I reminded myself that I’m currently reading Dean Koontz’s “City of Night,” the second book in his Frankenstein trilogy, and admittedly, I’m enjoying it. So what’s the difference? Really, there is none. Mary Shelley told Frankenstein’s story, so what made Dean Koontz think he could continue it? Never mind the fact Shelley herself intended “Frankenstein” as a modern retelling of the Prometheus myth.
I think the secret is in how it’s done. Koontz has been loyal to the Frankenstein legacy…except for bringing Frankenstein and his monster back from the dead. Minor detail. But suspension of disbelief is what it’s all about, right?
I haven’t read the retold “Winnie the Pooh” or “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but I’m not saying I won’t. Sometimes continuations can be extremely well done. Another example is Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. This is one of the many series of “Star Wars” novels. This particular trilogy picks up where “Return of the Jedi” left off. Again, I think what made it work was the loyalty to the original story.
So…what do you think? Are you immeditely turned off by the prospect of continuations? Are they just glorified fan-fic or in some instances, can they be something better? As a writer, how would you feel about a new author continuing your story after your part of it is done?