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Symbeline's avatar

What are your experiences with unofficial sequels to novels?

Asked by Symbeline (30528 points ) April 24th, 2014

By unofficial, I mean a sequel/continuation of a novel, but which was carried on by a different author.
(if there is a specific term for this, please inform me)
If it is not a direct sequel, then it is related to the original work, in some way or another.

Here is an example, the novel Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, which is a sequel to Gone with the Wind. I read the original book as a teen, and while I found it a bit hard to read, due to writing style and the culture included within, I still thought it was a fun book. I just started reading Scarlett, didn’t even know that existed until recently. Not very far into it at all, so there is not much I can say, plus I am reading a translated version so I should probably leave my opinion out of the style, and writing. I’m enjoying it so far though, but yeah, not even 100 pages in.

Another example is Mina The Dracula Story Continues by Elaine Bergstrom. Personally I did not enjoy this at all, because the author turned the protagonist, Mina, into a weakling. (and her husband, Harker as well) I loved her in the original Dracula novel because she was strong and smart, but in this sequel she does not do the character any justice. Just falling for another vampire again, eh. What a slut. What was interesting though, was a back story on one of the three succubi from the original book. That was cool.

So, just small examples from me. I am aware of the general response to these two books, but we have our opinions. And as I say, am barely anywhere in Scarlett yet.

But enough o’ me ramblin’, what are your experiences with unofficial sequels? What were they, what were they about, and did you like them? Hate them? Did they ruin the original story for you? Or improve it? Tell us how.

My only request is that your choices are books that are related to original works, but which were not written by the same author. Thanks.

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27 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

Horrible… I read the first 11 books of the Creators Shadow… the 12 was made by another author and I hated that the series was dragging on so I stopped reading. I tried the audiobook but I stopped listening after the first chapter.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There are only two that come to mind. One is Scarlett and the other is Wicked.

Like you, I read Gone with the Wind first. Scarlett was so bad that it was tossed in the bin versus giving it away. Pure rubbish reading IMO.

Wicked was really enjoyable. The whole Oz series was read as a teen. When this book came out, a friend recommended it. It’s not the best written book I’ve ever read, but the imagery of the psychological foundation to The Wicked Witch of the West was incredibly clever.

Symbeline's avatar

Really? Scarlett is no good? Well that sucks. :( I really want to enjoy this. :/ (I’m only at the part where Scarlett decides to get Ashley out of aunt Pitty’s place, and that lawyer dude won’t do dick, so far it’s hard forming any kind of opinion)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Symbeline Don’t take our word for it to be truth. Novels are a form of art: one person can love it while another loathes it. Please let us know what you think of if when it’s finished.

downtide's avatar

I can’t think of any offhand that I’ve read, but I have written one. Not exactly a sequel but a story happening in parallel, with different major characters. The characters in the original story appeared as minor characters in mine. The original was a science-fiction trilogy which itself was a spinoff from the games “Battletech” and “MechWarrior”. As for how to classify it, I would classify mine (and others like it) as fan-fiction.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I am like @downtide. The difference is that I have a plan not for an unofficial sequel, but an unofficial prequel. Basically the original story has three characters, and it is a long and dark and gritty one. But the prequel, still featuring these three characters, is all the way around. It is more like a set of many short comedy, and revolves around the life of the characters before the event of the original story, and how the event of the original happens, in a funny and even ridiculous way. It’s just a plan anyway and I don’t know if I should put it into use, though I have to admit the prequel is easier to write than the original.

I made a fan-fiction out of my own story :)

Stinley's avatar

I read Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James. She wrote it as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. It was dreadful. For such a well established author this was shocking to me. The plot was dire and the plotting even worse – whole chunks of plot were revealed in confessions or in conversation between two characters. I read an interview with her where she said it was ‘an indulgence’. Awful.

filmfann's avatar

I read “Day of the Triffids” by John Windham, and was blown away with how wonderful this novel was.
I then picked up “Night of the Triffids”, and found it tedious, repetitive, and poorly laid out. It began with a puzzle, and by the end of the book, the puzzle was still unsolved.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I don’t know about sequels, but I remember in the 70s if you bought a copy of The Hobbit {or maybe it was Lord of the Rings} there was a warning page from JRR Tolkien {or one of his heirs} which told us to make sure this was an official copy of JRR’s book as there were forgeries out there.

Scary stuff.

Juels's avatar

When I fall into a book, I don’t like when other authors continue the story. You usually end up with sloppy seconds. Kind of like comparing Disney’s Aladdin to The Return of Jafar. It didn’t seem like the same effort was put into the second movie.

Cruiser's avatar

I have never had that experience with novels as I don’t read many novels. But I have had that experience with movies and usually not a fan when another director takes over directing a successful movie series. The Batman movie series is a good example of this. Each one is like it’s own movie and distinct from the others preventing me from being attached to the series like a Starwars series.

zenvelo's avatar

Wicked bore so little relation to the Wizard of Oz it was like reading a story on an historical event. I wouldn’t call it a prequel or a sequel.

There weer some “new” Sherlock Holmes stories written in the ‘70s, and I found them abysmal. What fails to carryover is the original author’s style; any attempt to replicate that style is inauthentic, and so it almost always fails.

dappled_leaves's avatar

My experience is… No.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’ve never really had that experience as I tend to not read such novels. One notable exception, however, being the Diaries of the Family Dracul series (starting with the novel Covenant With the Vampire) by Jeanne Kalogridis. The series is intended to be a prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and honestly I found them much more enjoyable that Stoker’s original.

@Cruiser “The Batman movie series is a good example of this. Each one is like it’s own movie and distinct from the others”

That’s kinda by intent actually. Particularly with the Christopher Nolan ones. Nolan’s Batman films are suppose to be a different continuity, completely unrelated, to previous Batman films.

dappled_leaves's avatar

^ And this, in turn, comes from a long history of graphic novelists reinterpreting comics series in their own style. It didn’t originate with the films.

Symbeline's avatar

@Darth_Algar Prequel to Dracula huh? I’d be interested to read that. Not everyone likes the original novel, and I can see why. But I loved it, so anything pertaining to before, or after, I’m always curious.
Random but, Dracula’s Guest is a short story by Bram which is actually the first chapter of Dracula, but he took it out. Was later released as its own short story.

Blondesjon's avatar

I was not happy with how Robert Jordan’s son comtinued with The Wheel Of Time.

AshLeigh's avatar

This qualifies as Fanfiction, right? I’ve got not problem with it. It can’t be fun, if they stay true to the character.

AshLeigh's avatar

No problem* can be fun*
Jeez. What’s up with me today?

Symbeline's avatar

I didn’t even notice lol. damn brain

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar The only intent behind the change in writers and directors was because of box office receipts.

“Although Batman Returns was a financial success, Warner Bros. felt the film should have made more money. The studio decided to change the direction of the Batman film series to be more mainstream. Joel Schumacher replaced Tim Burton as director, while Burton decided to stay on as producer.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

And? Is wanting to make more money necessarily a bad thing?

Seek's avatar

I didn’t terribly enjoy ”...And Another Thing”, which was supposed to be the seventh book in the Hitchhiker Trilogy. Eoin Colfer is not Douglas Adams, no matter how much he’d like to be.

Symbeline's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Well I’m done the book.

So I’m not really sure what to say about this…usually I don’t like comparing sequels/continuities to their originals, but in this case, you pretty much have to. I’ll try not to though.

I did enjoy reading the book, and had fun meeting all the characters again, but something was way off. Somehow the spirit of Scarlett was not really matching with what I remember, and besides Luke Fenton and Cat, most characters seemed really badly filled in. It’s like, they were just there…Rhett worked out, but only because he was barely ever present, which fits with his character, and the impression I got of him when I read the original book. (although I did like that part where he takes that punk to the whorehouse, that was fucking epic)
What I got is a bunch of little stories that really didn’t build or progress up to anything besides saying, hey look, this is a book. It’s like, I never knew what this was trying to be, or what it was trying to tell me. I’m just glad I didn’t take much interest in any of the characters much, so I wouldn’t be put off when you never hear of them again.
Scarlett seemed so immature and childish…eventually she smartens up, but this is something she did in the original book already. So this was like…what?

WITHOUT trying to compare it to the original work, I was always left on a dead end, constantly. Things happened, but then, they just didn’t. (which is something the original book got RIGHT, although a big ass war does help to achieve that type of thing…) I respect and admire the author’s image of everything, but be I bold, I say, it doesn’t do the original any honor. Or not much.

I liked the narrative, even if it was sparse in making me feel at home besides some utterly corny description of things that Stephen King does better without even writing anything, and Ireland was awesome…at first. And what the fuck, witches, fairies and some dude obsessed with horses? Whaaat? This follows nothing and builds no story!! :(

(I love Irish mythology and I know what the book was talking about…but why include all this stuff if it amounts to nothing at all? Could have been real, or not…but say something! Don’t leave me hanging!) Did I miss something?? :(

TLDR…an 850 page book where Scarlett and Rhett are cockblocking each other, only to become lovers in the last two paragraphs? Everything else is just Scarlett going to parties and dancing around, not giving a fuck.

Well, all right, I guess. But it doesn’t really follow the relationship from the first book, besides bare bones basics. ...does it?

I’m not disappointed. I had fun reading it, for what it was. But gone with the wind…yeah, tell me about it. Basically just makes me want to read the original work again haha.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Symbeline Thank you for the review(s) on Scarlet. While there is little recollection of the emotions invoked by reading it, I suspect that they were very similar to yours. All that can be said is that it held enough interest to finish it.

Symbeline's avatar

Oh yes, the interest was there; as I say I enjoyed it, despite it being pretty bad. Why I speak of no emotions that came from reading it is because there was very little for me to speak of. lol

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