Tuesday, 27 October 2009

PS - more on sequels, and Fanfiction

It's not just And Another Thing.There is a positive slew of sequels around. In children's books we had last year Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet and now a "new" Winnie-the-Pooh book and indeed Hilary McKay's sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnet's A Little Princess. (That one's called Wishing for Tomorrow and I would have reviewed it here if Hodder had responded to my request for a copy).

In the world of adult books, sequels and prequels to the classics from Jane Austen to Daphne du Maurier have always been popular. (I blame Jean Rhys myself and the wildly overrated Wide Sargasso Sea, which opened the floodgates). Recently even Sebastian Faulks has produced a "James Bond."

But how different is this from fan fiction? It does the same thing, using characters and settings already provided by the first author and creating new plots. So it's only the quality of the pastiche that is an issue. Sometimes it's very successful:I'm a huge fan of Leon Garfield's completion of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which is almost a sequel, and Gilbert Adair's very stylish Alice Through the Needle's Eye. And I remember how much my daughter loved Silver's Revenge, Robert Leeson's sequel to Treasure Island.

I had to stop reading my own fan fiction on www.fanfiction.net because it was having a disastrous effect on my own writing! I was writing a pastiche of myself. So I drop in every now and again to see things like which characters from Stravaganza are attracting the most interest and so on. But I don't read it.

And I've never written a sequel to anyone else's fiction, though I had a very good idea for Five Grandchildren and It but was sort of beaten to it by Helen Cresswell. I imagine editors all over the UK are eyeing up children's classics and thinking what to plunder next.


Mary Hoffman said...

A comment over on Facebook reminds me that I didn't even start on the new Pride and Prejudice + Zombies genre!

You can't call them prequels or sequels. Since "prequel" is a horrid hybrid anyway, I suggest midquels!

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for the others you mentioned, but I thought Peter Pan in Scarlet missed the mark entirely. It has many mistakes in it as compared to J.M. Barrie's original stories. An "official" sequel shouldn't have contradictions!

Here's another to add to your list... it's a faithful sequel to "Peter Pan" and it's based on Barrie's own idea for more adventure!


Go away google said...

I've gone on about this at some length, from the perspective of one implicated: http://chocolatekeyboard.blogspot.com/2009/10/literary-sequels-fantasy-worlds-and.html

Debbie Reese said...

I'm stunned with the over-the-top racist stereotypes in the sequel to PAN...

Go over to my site, American Indians in Childrens Literature, and read the post on
November 3rd.

I'm tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo, former schoolteacher, now a professor in American Indian Studies.