From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Blog For A Beer: Should A Series Die When The Author Does?

Welcome to Fantasy Friday, everyone! It’s time, once again, to Blog For A Beer. (click here for the rules.)

A couple of days ago the Guardian reported that Eoin Colfer will write a sixth Hitchhiker’s Guide book (as most of you are well aware). I’m not a particular fan of that series, and I realize that Adams’ widow definitely wanted and sanctioned the project, so I have nothing against it. But hearing the news did get me thinking about other series that have continued after the original writer died. (Sometimes long after.) I’m not talking about Nancy Drew-type situations where a roster of authors filled in, but more along the lines of the Dune books, which Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson can’t seem to leave alone.

One of the most famous recent examples is Robert Jordon, who passed away last year without having finished the Wheel of Time series. It will be completed, though, by people both he and his family trust and based on his own notes and unpublished material.

Since his father’s death, Christopher Tolkien has published a lot of unfinished or unpublished material, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even the Unfinished Tales were crack for the avid LOTR fan.

It seemed like long after she died, Marion Zimmer Bradley was still “co-writing” Avalon books, though Diana Paxson had collaborated with her for a long time, so it is possible Bradley left a lot of material in her hands.

I also can’t help but think of all the TV shows by Gene Roddenberry that didn’t hit our screens until after he died.

Do you think it’s appropriate for book series to continue after an author has died? Under what circumstances does it seem more okay than others? Does your need to keep reading about those characters or that world transcend the actual author, or, in the end, is it just not the same without them?

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