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Sequels by Other Hands

Entry updated 10 April 2020. Tagged: Theme.

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We use this Term for written, professionally published follow-ups to existing sf/fantasy novels, more often than not produced spontaneously and with considerable freedom of development rather than under the commercial constraints of Ties to owned franchises – although there is some inevitable overlap.

Major and minor classics often attract such sequels, both in and out of the genre. An early example is Francis Bacon's New Atlantis: A Work Unfinished (bound in with Sylva Sylvarum 1626; 1627 chap), sequelled in 1660 by the anonymous R H Esquire (whom see). Perhaps owing to its episodic and potentially open-ended structure, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels – that is, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships (1726; rev 1735) – has spawned a plethora of sequels discussed under Gulliver. Likewise Edwin A Abbott's creation of Flatland (which see) tempted several other authors to develop its geometrical simplicity into a vehicle for more sophisticated notions of Mathematics and Dimensions. Very many authors have written new adventures for Sherlock Holmes or incorporated him into period sf/fantasy novels.

H G Wells has inspired several sequels: The Time Machine (1895) is variously sequeled by K W Jeter's Morlock Night (1979), David J Lake's The Man Who Loved Morlocks (1981), and Stephen Baxter's ambitious The Time Ships (1995). The last was conceived as a sequel to an out-of-copyright book which would require no authorization; in 1995, though, the term of European copyright was extended from 50 to 70 years after an author's death and the permission of Wells's estate became necessary. Garrett P Serviss's Edison's Conquest of Mars (January 1898 The New York Journal; 1947; cut vt Forrest J. Ackerman Presents Invasion of Mars 1969) sequels The War of the Worlds (April-December 1897 Pearson's; 1898) – or rather, an unofficial US newspaper reworking of Wells's story; as does Stephen Baxter again with his erudite The Massacre of Mankind: A Sequel to the War of the Worlds (2017), set twenty years after the original tale, in an Alternate World where World War One never happened. The Madman's Daughter (2013) by Megan Shepherd is a sequel to The Island of Dr Moreau (1896), with his titular daughter as protagonist.

Herewith some genre examples in chronological order of their originals. Honoré de Balzac's Melmoth Reconcilé (1835; trans in coll The Unknown Masterpiece 1896) is such a sequel to Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) by Charles Maturin. Ludwig A Geissler's Looking Beyond: A Sequel to "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy, and an Answer to "Looking Forward" by Richard Michaelis (1891) is both a sequel to Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888) and a response to its critic Richard Michaelis. Roger Zelazny's fantasy The Changing Land (1981) is, semi-covertly, a prequel to William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland (1908). Greg Bear's Dinosaur Summer (1998) is a rather remote Young Adult sequel to Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1912). Philip José Farmer's A Barnstormer in Oz (1982) and Martin Gardner's, Visitors from Oz (1999) both revisit the land of Oz created by L Frank Baum in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900; vt The New Wizard of Oz 1903); see Baum's entry for a longer list of Oz continuations. Hilary Bailey's Miles and Flora (1997) is a sequel to The Turn of the Screw (27 January-16 April 1898 Collier's Weekly; 1898) by Henry James (1843-1916). Richard N Farmer Islandia Revisited (1983) is a sequel to Austin Tappan Wright's Islandia (1942).

Less classically, John S Glasby's Seetee Sun (2007) and The Crimson Peril (2007) are late additions to John Russell Fearn's Golden Amazon saga. David A Drake's The Jungle (1991) builds on, and incorporates, Henry Kuttner's and C L Moore's "Clash by Night" (March 1943 Astounding) as by Lewis Padgett. The 1990 reissue of Moore's Vintage Season (September 1946 Astounding; 1990 chap dos) is bound with a sequel, In Another Country (1990 chap dos) by Robert Silverberg. Similarly packaged are Walter Jon Williams's Elegy for Angels and Dogs (1990 dos) and its forerunner Roger Zelazny's The Graveyard Heart (March 1964 Fantastic; 1990 chap dos). Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy was followed in the 1990s by a sequel trilogy comprising Foundation's Fear: The Second Foundation Trilogy (1997) by Gregory Benford, Foundation and Chaos (1998) by Greg Bear and Foundation's Triumph (1999) by David Brin. Eric Flint's The Wizard of Karres (2004) with Dave Freer and Mercedes Lackey is a sequel to James M Schmitz's sf romp The Witches of Karres (December 1949 Astounding; exp 1966). Robert C O'Brien's Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971; vt The Secret of NIMH 1982) has two sequels written after his death by his daughter Jane Leslie Conly.

Living authors may authorize sequels to their own work. Jack Vance allowed Michael Shea to continue the exploits of Cugel from his Dying Earth book The Eyes of the Overworld (fixup 1966), the result being A Quest for Simbilis (1974); Vance later published his own very different sequel, Cugel's Saga (coll of linked stories 1983), and still later approved the homage volume Songs of the Dying Earth (anth 2009) edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois. With similar permission, Charles Platt undertook to write Piers Anthony's Worlds of Chthon: Plasm (1987) without initially realizing that Piers Anthony had already written a Chthon (1967) sequel titled Phthor (1975), climaxing with a Disaster that wipes out both setting and characters: Platt found it necessary to invoke Parallel Worlds. Gregory Benford's title story in Beyond the Fall of Night (anth/omni 1990) drastically updates the setting of Arthur C Clarke's original Against the Fall of Night (November 1948 Startling; 1953), included unchanged in the same volume. Roger MacBride Allen's Isaac Asimov's Caliban (1993), and its continuations Isaac Asimov's Inferno (1994) and Isaac Asimov's Utopia (1996), are thematic rather than direct sequels to the Robot stories by Isaac Asimov: they utilize Asimov's own gambit of modifying the Laws of Robotics and exploring consequences.

A interesting twenty-first-century case is Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis (2001), which effectively sequels Isaac Asimov's original Foundation trilogy in order to engage argumentatively with the portrayed workings of Psychohistory: the novel is distanced from Asimov's universe by more or less transparent name changes, such as the remote world Terminus – home of the Foundation – becoming Faraway. Simon Clark's Night of the Triffids (2001) was authorized by the estate of John Wyndham to mark the fiftieth anniversary of The Day of the Triffids (6 January-3 February 1951 Collier's Weekly; as "Revolt of the Triffids"; 1951; rev 1951; orig version vt Revolt of the Triffids 1952). The most commercially successful sequels by other hands to be published in the present century would seem to be Brian Herbert's and Kevin J Anderson's two-parter Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007), extending Frank Herbert's unfinished Dune saga from Chapter House Dune (1985; vt Chapterhouse: Dune 1985). John C Wright's Null-A Continuum (2008) continues the story of A E van Vogt's Null-A books, with considerable fidelity to the original style and period.

Collaborative sequels may sometimes verge on being sequels by other hands. For example, the Rama collaborations by Arthur C Clarke and Gentry Lee – continuing Clarke's original Rendezvous with Rama (1973) – show little or no stylistic evidence of input from Clarke. A E van Vogt's and Kevin J Anderson's late sequel to Slan (September-December 1940 Astounding; 1946; rev 1951) – Slan Hunter (December 2006-April 2007 Jim Baen's Universe; 2007) – is lacking in van-Vogtian flavour despite incorporating an unknown amount of his draft material. [DRL]

see also: Parody; Sharecrop.


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