Just Stop, When the Author Dies Just Stop

For those of you coming here for gun news this post isn’t gun news. In fact it’s more of a rant and a post dealing with a comedy/science fiction series. OK disclaimer done, onto the rant.

Those of you who partook in any form of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series most likely came across the books at some point. Douglas Adam’s, who sadly died passed away (you can’t say somebody died anymore, it’s too harsh apparently) in 2001, was a comic genius. He had a very eloquent way with words that could make almost anybody laugh. Because of this his series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy became quite a hit.

Sadly after his passing his widow authorized some chump to continue the trilogy of five. And not surprisingly it’s not up to snuff with the late Adam’s works. Of course this doesn’t surprise me since nobody to my knowledge has successfully picked up a late author’s series and did it any form of justice. This makes sense considering nobody is going to be able to fully get into the mind of another person and hence can’t hope to replicate what was once done.

Just look at the examples. After Frank Herbert died his son has picked up the Dune series and ran with it. The problem is his son isn’t nearly as good at writing. What Herbert could fit into a 300 to 400ish page novel his son needs far more pages. That’s not to knock his son in any way but he’s just not doing Dune justice. He would do far better to establish himself with a unique series and let his late father’s work stand on the pedestal of greatness it deserves. Likewise countless people have tried to continue the Sherlock Holmes series. But nobody has the required skill set of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (before he started injecting his newfound religion into his later works) to do the characters of the series justice.

It’s not to say another author can’t make a good series based on another author’s previous series. They just can’t make it in the same way and hence it doesn’t feel as good. When you read an author’s books you get a feel for their writing style and method of story telling. If you like the series you often don’t realize that how the author does things makes up as much of your opinion as the story itself. So when the author dies and somebody else continues you end up finding the continuation to be lacking and not as good. It’s not always because the new writer isn’t good, instead it’s often because the new author’s style isn’t the same and hence things don’t flow like they originally did.

This is why I wish people would let the works of dead authors be left alone. Face it you don’t have the same world experience and outlook on life to form your opinion as any other person. You can’t match that person’s ability exactly. Hence if you try to continue their work the fans are going to feel it’s lacking.

2 thoughts on “Just Stop, When the Author Dies Just Stop”

  1. Hear, hear!

    (Some of us suspect that the most writing Brian Herbert does in connection with these new “Dune” books is his name on the checks, and that best-selling hack Kevin Anderson is the one doing most of the “work”.)

  2. The only exception I can think of would be “Variable Star,” which is a fleshing out of a Heinlein work by Spider Robinson. It’s good, shows both of their styles, and is a very good read.

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