I’ve read this week about two lawsuits currently pending. They both concern the work of authors who have died. And in both cases it’s one part of the family suing another part.
One of the lawsuits concerns the work of John Steinbeck. The other is about Tom Clancy.
What happened to preserving the legacy of authors once they die? So many times lawsuits are filed almost immediately upon the death of an author. I guess this is no different from other types of celebrities who leave their families to fight over large estates. But it’s still a bit disappointing.
I think Robert B. Parker did it best. He left his series in the hands of other authors he knew. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read a Spenser or Jesse Stone novel written by another author, at least there was no fight when Parker died unexpectedly.
Do you think it immediately becomes all about the money involved once an author dies?
I read a post this weekend that got thinking about this very thing.
Have you ever been reading a series and then the author suddenly dies before finishing it? And another author is tasked with continuing the series. I have, though I’m not near the end of the series just yet. In 2010 Robert B. Parker died suddenly before he could finish either of his most popular series (Spenser and Jesse Stone). In the years since his death there have been 11 books written in three of his series by various authors. And I think all have been New York Times bestsellers.
I don’t know how I feel about this. Wait, actually I know exactly how I feel. These characters will not go on forever. Eventually there will be an end to their respective series, and I don’t like knowing that Parker will not be able to be the one to finish them. I think the first two or three books published after his death were unfinished manuscripts he’d had when he died. But I think it’s safe to say that the new books being released at this point are hardly the creation of Parker.
I understand that it sucks that he happened to die before he could finish his series. But if given the choice of continuing the series written by other authors or finishing where he left off, I’m not sure what my pick will be. I have plenty of books left before I reach that point, but this hopefully doesn’t become a trend.
What do you think? Want your favorite series to be continued after the author dies or not?
I actually just read a blog post about this topic yesterday that gave me the idea to write this. I’d link to the post if I remembered the name. Oh well.
Let me just tell you what this other blogger said. She categorized a “long” series as more than five books. And basically said that anything more than that is just too long and fails to keep her attention. I disagree. Let’s not forget Harry Potter was seven. Just saying.
I mean, five books being categorized as a “long” series is a joke. That is a short series. A very short one. I mean, five books is probably only long to YA readers who read trilogy after trilogy. Followed by Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not trying to generalize here, but really who thinks five books is a long series? Who? Another question. How many books are in your favorite series? Mine happens to have three, but when I start looking at more of the series I read I see a whole lot more books than that. Let me see. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series is into the 40s. And oh by the way, this is only considered one of the great detective series of the past half century. Jack Reacher is about to reach 20. Alex Cross is into the 20s. Harry Bosch is nearing 20 books. Alex McKnight is in the double digits. Jesse Stone is at 14. Elvis Cole is at 16.
See what I’m saying? These are not just random series I found on the internet. I read all of them and there are several more that I could name. But I think I’ve made my point. I know I don’t speak for every reader out there, but it does beg the question that if readers were turned off by long series, then why are so many authors writing them? Michael Connelly just released a new Bosch novel this week and I’m near certain that it’ll be a #1 NYT bestseller whenever the list updates. As is also the case with most of James Patterson’s books. And Lee Child’s. And Sue Grafton’s. And I know there are YA series that go on and on, as well.
The moral of this post is that I don’t buy into the notion that readers are turned off by long series. Not at all. There are way too many that sell quite well for that to be the case. But I’ll ask anyway, do you shy away from reading lengthy series?