Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hitchin' a Ride


This is my 299th post. Been blogging since...uh...2006, I think. But since my NEXT post is number 300, I think I'll use THIS post to rant. Just a little bit.

I just read that Eoin Colfer is going to write a new sequel to Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY series.

Now, I really like Eoin's work. It took me about 5 or 6 chapters to initially warm to Artemis Fowl, but once I was in, I was hooked. The fairies and the puns and especially the dirt-eating dwarf with the trap-door in his pants. Great stories -- lots of fun. I'm just wondering how Eoin would feel if, after he was dead, someone picked up the Fowl ball and ran with it. *

* sorry.

But seriously. I don't care if Eoin Colfer is THE greatest writer on the face of the planet. Whatever book he writes will not be a sequel to Adams' work. It will be Colfer's work, or perhaps Colfer trying for the spirit of Adams. My rancour on this subject leaves me slightly breathless and definitely inarticulate. It just seriously bites me that someone, no matter how noble the intent, has the temerity to step into someone else's idea. It feels like theft to me.

But then...I don't get Elvis impersonators, either.

What do YOU think?



Trudy said...

*sigh* I totally agree with you. It does feel like theft, and also...a little pathetic, really.

James said...

I completely agree. I do think there's a difference between writers who create "series" intended for many authors to contribute to, such as George Lucas or Stan Lee. Those ideas are put out there to see what the community makes of them.

However, when you have authors such as Eoin, or Budge Wilson (who recently made a prequel to Anne of Green Gables), or Brian Herbert (continuing daddies work in Dune) or Christopher Tolkien ... I could go on but I won't ... wasting their fine writing by jumping on someone else's bandwagon, that really irks me.

I think the Elvis impersonator reference is appropriate here. Are we authors of our own ideas, or merely impersonators of greater people who came before us?

Dale said...

I'm with you.

Although I'm cool with an author writing in another author's world I'm not cool with the idea of reusing primary characters and making sequels to another's work (unless it's a deliberate exercise, like the River World series).

Kathy said...

I totally agree with you. I can't read "sequels" written by different people than the original author. They just seem speculative to me; the author of the sequel is not the author who really knows what happened next and has no right to assume s/he does. It feels like fan fiction to me.

kc dyer said...

Hi Trudy,

Yes...and why? Why?


kc dyer said...


Oh, don't get me started on the Anne of Green Gables prequel! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!

Let's just say we agree on this one.


kc dyer said...


I totally understand the exercises and the value of them for practice and even as a way to enter the world of writing. But this? It eludes me.


kc dyer said...

Kathy --

My thoughts exactly.

You know, I'd really like to hear an argument FOR this kind of thing. Because I can't think of a single redeeming element to it, myself.


Cate said...

All I can say is "ouch"!

I've been working on just such a novel for coming-up-on six years.

I'll also confess that I love books like this. Laurie R. King's Mary Russell novels inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle, Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea inspired by Bronte, Janet McNaughton's An Early Night inspired by the ballad "Tam Lin". And dozens of others.

I suppose it's at least partly because I'm a fan of adaptation and collaboration. I actually like when films don't match the book they're based on. A film is, after all, one group's interpretation of the novel and is not meant to replace the original, as some people seem to think.

Such novels are, in a weird sense, a collaboration of the first writer and the second (and the reader of course). The second writer is saying to the reader "what if", not in an attempt to usurp or replace that original, but to present them in a different light and/or bring them a new readership.

We all have influences and inspiration. Some are obvious to others, some only to ourselves. I know some think less of me because I write what some would call "fan fiction", but I prefer to call it "fiction with an obvious inspiration".

Trudy said...

Because it is like fan-fiction. Heck, how many of us would love to write our own sequal to Pride and Predjudice? And have, and learned from it. But shop it around...?

In fairness, I think this trend is publisher driven *ahem* I mean Publisher. Do they put the order out for a sure-fire thing, attached to a Big Cheque?

kc dyer said...

Hi Cate,

You see? I knew someone out there would come up with a cogent argument!

Now, I hesitate to argue with you about what you know best, (particularly when I haven't read your whole ms) but I have to say that I HAVE read a number of substantial excerpts of your work. And while you have characters that stem from another work of fiction, I would have to argue that in NO way is your work derivative. Your story may be a re-telling, or perhaps better stated as a re-imagining of one that came before, but you are not stepping in and presuming to take over the voices that the Baroness Orczy created. Your characters breathe their own air and inhabit their own spaces -- the spaces as you imagined them. Yes -- you have clear inspiration, but nowhere in your work do I see you trying to step in and tell us the 'next chapter' in the story. Your chapters and your story is unique into itself. I see that as completely different than what Colfer has signed on for.

And I agree with you on the movie thing, by the way. A movie can only take such a small part of the whole of a book, so to expect it to bring the same feelings or satisfaction to the story is downright silly.


kc dyer said...

Trudy, I think you've got it. It's just too bad...