Old Friends and New

Andre Norton was mentioned in a comment somewhere . . . and in trying to trace down which book that was in . . . I wound up binge reading the Time Traders series, remembered that someone had written an extension and checking . . . whoa! Lots of more adventures with old friends.

Some authors make arrangements for their worlds and ideas to out live them, some don’t, leaving to their heirs whether or not to write themselves or let other people write in their parent’s world.

Reading the extensions of Andre Norton’s worlds was interesting. Some good, some meh, all with new takes on characters, all respectful of the original fictional tech and nomenclature, while easing in modern understanding. The Solar Queen has added alien species and women to the crew, all, I am glad to say, without getting preachy. The Time Traders have added a hint of complexity to the hitherto opaque menace of the Alien “Baldies” and “Furfaces.”

All things considered, the new authors are not as good at plotting as Andre Norton, but they all brought in some refreshing new ideas and angles of looking at issues. I am pleased.  

So, what are your feelings about new writers taking over old series?

I’m off to FenCon and given my luck with hotel internet connections, may not reply until Monday. So have fun, don’t wreck the place, and don’t tell me that Steven King should write in my worlds!

11 comments

  1. Rereading Andre Norton found her works more uneven than I remembered. *Ice Crown* was particularly good.

  2. If it’s to finish Wheel of Time*, Sanditon, The Watsons, Mystery of Edwin Drood, etc. I’m grudgingly okay with it. Gotta see how it ends somehow. I’m also relatively tolerant of unfaithful adaptations as long as I like their take on the characters. (Like, I get an enormous chuckle out of the scene in Italian Pride and Prejudice where Darcy slams Wickham against a piece of furniture and starts scolding him in numbered bullet points, culminating with “and thirdly you’re going to marry Lydia whether you want to or not!”)

    Additional books by another author in “the adventure continues” mode, usually a nope, won’t even try.

    1. I honestly don’t think there was ANY good way to end the Wheel of Time, even before Jordan’s death. I stopped reading the books around 8 or 9 but read the summaries and sometimes took them out of the library to skim or dip into just to see if the criticism was justified. It usually was. I remember Book 10, where literally nothing happened.

      As for Sanderson, I suppose he did the best he could, but he ended up resolving most of the plot messes by just chopping the Gordian Knot.

      SPOILER
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      On two separate occasions he has to have a villain literally sit a main character down and explain the whole evil plan and how to stop them, because there’s no way the good guys could untangle the mess. I have to call that bad storytelling.

  3. Unless the author has granted specific permission (such as H. Beam Piper with Jerry Pournelle, Pournelle with various of his series, and Eric Flint with the Assarti Shards series) I am against it. Doubly if the author didn’t want it so, as with Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone series ending in “Y”.

    All you have to do is look at the botched Fuzzy sequels to see why. Various authors turned Piper’s fuzzies into cute, harmless animals, while Piper envisioned them as a form of apex predator. Others turned the libertarian, free-market Piper’s Terran Federation into a socialist utopia. It can be done right (as Pournelle demonstrated) but only when the original author is confident of the author continuing the series.

  4. The holder of the estate’s rights (not sure if I phrased that correctly) determines a lot of this. If the family wants to continue the money machine, you’ll see authorized sequels. If they don’t know or care, you won’t, outside of fanfiction.

    Sophie Hannah is — authorized by Agatha Christie Ltd — writing Poirot novels. They’re … interesting, but they’re not Poirot.

    Track down a YouTube copy of ‘Murder By The Book’ (1987) and listen to Agatha tell Poirot (he’s visiting her in a dream):

    “I wouldn’t want you stranded in limbo, or worse still, a prey to writers who would exploit you — not look after you properly — like they did to poor James Bond. That would be so humiliating to you.”

    The author should have the choice but how can the author’s choice be enforced from the grave?

  5. Depends on the author and the story.

    Ironically, I’m reading the Witch World books for the first time. I’m on the second one. Pretty good so far.

    What’s those Kolders’ problem anyway? They’re all such jerks.

  6. Having learned to read on / grew up reading comic books I have dealt with different takes on the same characters for decades. Some are better than others, but good is good. I will judge each one on it’s own merits.

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