Lee Child letting go of his creation is a tale told by other bestsellers – The Guardian

“Not much surprises me these days but this news did,” said Ian Rankin of Lee Child’s revelation this weekend that his brother, Andrew Grant, would be continuing the Jack Reacher series. Child said: “For years I thought about different ways of killing Reacher off. First of all, I thought he would go out in a blaze of bullets, something like the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It would take an army to bring him down [but] Reacher had to have an afterlife after I was done.”

I find this really annoying. When I read a series – particularly a crime or mystery series – it’s not just about the character, but also about the author. Continuing a series with a different author is just wrong. When Robert B. Parker died, I was sad, but his characters have been continued by others, and there is even a movie coming out soon with Mark Wahlberg based on his Spenser character.

But there are others. Dick Francis’ son continues his series; there have been Ian Fleming follow-ups; series by Robert Ludlum and Thomas Clancy have been strung along; and the best-selling fantasy series The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan, was continued by Brandon Sanderson.

I’ve actually been binging the Jack Reacher novels since early December. I had read a dozen of them many years ago, then lost interest, but I wanted a series I could read over a few months. I’ve read 19 of them so far, which leaves five more to go. I won’t read any written by anyone else.

Wilbur Smith has also gladly collaborated with co-authors in recent years, saying that “my fans have made it very clear that they would like to read my novels and revisit my family of characters faster than I can write them. For them, I am willing to make a change to my working methods so the stories in my head can reach the page more frequently”.

This is a related issue. Publishers are pushing authors of popular series to write more, and, if they could get two books a year instead of one from best-selling authors, they’d be very happy.

Source: Lee Child letting go of his creation is a tale told by other bestsellers | Books | The Guardian

3 thoughts on “Lee Child letting go of his creation is a tale told by other bestsellers – The Guardian

  1. I’m not a believer in the ‘just wrong’ concept. Who are we to tell an author what is right and wrong in their work? The critical question, in my opinion, is the quality of the work. It’s rare that a second author can (re)create all the essentials that made a beloved series popular. In fact, it’s often hard for the original author to maintain the quality in a long series of novels. But on rare occasions, the new author comes up with something as good or better than the original author. Why not try? As readers, we always have the option to read or ignore any new work, by any author.

  2. Some authors have a team of ‘researchers’ — a de facto writing factory — and have done so for many years. Ken Follett being one famous example. Just like Rennaisance artists had their studios and assistants.
    Strikes me that the break point comes when the original creator no longer has any influence, at all, on the created product. That has to be misleading advertising if their name is still used.

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