Long absence for me due to a long road trip, followed by a week rafting at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, followed by another long road trip — but this post isn’t just about how awesome the life of a freelance writer can be. It’s about something I listened to on the road.
I’m a big fan of audiobooks. I’m also a big fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. As some of you know, Mr. Parker passed away in January of 2010.
This year, a new Spenser novel came out, written by Ace Atkins. The brand was just too powerful (read: profitable) to let my favorite gumshoe die. I listened to Lullaby while on the road.
It’s a competent Spenser novel that to my ear catches Parker’s style and the characters very well. It hit all the right notes, and Atkins was careful to bring in all the elements of the series that make it such a hit. He even touched on a few pieces that we haven’t heard about since the earliest novels (wood carving and Brenda Loring, for example).
He did a good job, but what do you all think about this as a concept. It’s not the first time a deceased author’s story has been carried on by another. Parker himself wrote a sequel to The Big Sleep — so he has less complaint coming than many others.
What do you think about this idea? Good or bad? Pros and cons?
I’m all for it, provided that the author taking on the task actually has some kind of non-financial investment in the story…
A bad example: I love the original Dune series, Frank Herbert is one of my favorite sci-fi authors, period. Brian Herbert’s and Kevin J. Anderson’s continuation of that series? Meh… Some of it’s decent, but just the sheer prolific nature of all the prequels and sequels they wrote in that universe, combined with the less-than-stellar quality felt like they were just pillaging it. If they were on-par with the original, I wouldn’t mind.
On the other side of the coin, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series was decent, it was good enough that once I started reading it, I wanted to finish it… The middle books were in some sore need of editing though, it almost felt as if Mr. Jordan just couldn’t cut something. However, after reading the novels Brandon Sanderson has continued in that series so far, good things are happening, the pacing is better, the story is regaining the sense of urgency that drives a lot of “save the world” stories.
Short version: I think it sucks when the author carrying on the torch can’t carry it as well. If they can do it as good or better, I think it’s a wonderful thing for the fans!