Two highly touted OFFICIAL SEQUELS
have made the news recently.Dracula: The Un-Dead
is due to be released next October. It was written by Dacre Stoker, a *gasp* genuine descendent
of Bram Stoker, and Ian Holt, a Dracula Historian. It largely appears to be Mr. Holt's idea, as the current Mr. Stoker was previously known for being an Olympic Pentathalon coach, and not a writer. But what really got to me was this quote from the article:"Dacre Stoker delved into his ancestor's handwritten notes on the original Dracula novel to pen his sequel, Dracula: The Un-Dead - the original name for Dracula before an editor changed the title. The novel, out next October, draws on excised characters, existing character back-stories and plot threads that were cut from Stoker's original novel, first published 111 years ago."
Original notes or not, if these threads were cut from the novel, doesn't that indicate that the author discarded them? I thought that was part of the writing process - coming up with a lot of ideas and then streamlining them to create your story. I would actually be far more interested in seeing the notes themselves published in as complete a form as possible. (Unless they have been before, and I've just missed it?) At any rate, I just can't accept that this particular version of a Dracula sequel has any more literary legitimacy than any of the dozens of others that have been penned over the years, even with the Stoker family stamp of approval.
And then, a sequel to "The House at Pooh Corner"
is due to be released later this year. An act which seems to be largely driven by money. The new author has plans to deal with an "older Christopher", as Milne "dropped hints in the 1928 book, which followed Winnie the Pooh (1924), that Christopher Robin was growing up."
Isn't part of the point of the books that each child reading them gets to decide for themselves what happens as Christopher Robin grows up?
In "The House at Pooh Corner", A.A. Milne wrote this: "Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
Those seem like pretty telling last words on the subject.
Among many other works, H. Beam Piper
wrote and published two novels in his "Little Fuzzy" series before committing suicide in 1964. Some years after his death, other authors (Fuzzy Bones (1981) by William Tuning and Golden Dream: A Fuzzy Odyssey (1982) by Ardath Mayhar) tried to fill in the gaps and "complete" the series, only to be totally contradicted by Piper's own third complete manuscript, which was discovered and published in 1984. In Tuning's case, I don't even think that he wrote a bad book - it's just that he was proven not to have written the book that Piper would have. Which is pretty much my entire point.
There are huge debates in the art world about whether or not paintings and other artworks can ever be "restored" to their original appearance as envisioned by the artist. But how many people have picked up da Vinci's notebooks, or Van Gogh's sketches, or Andy Warhol's scribbles, and claimed that they have now produced new works that should be regarded as the next in a series of paintings, just as the artist intended?
Seems a bit daft, really. Why should it be different for authors?