On May 6, 2011, at 7:05 AM, dale nelson wrote:
I haven't read any of these: but didn't Philip Jose Farmer and some other authors write a whole series of books -- without permission of authors' heirs/publishers -- featuring popular characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, James Bond (?), and others? I think in some cases the names were changed but who was meant was made clear to the reader by cover art and story details. The
idea of these "Wold Newton" books is that all of these characters were affected by rays emanating from a meteorite (or something like that), giving them their powers.
Actually, Farmer's aversion to using his own characters and insistence to tie every other character in English literature to Tarzan is one of the main reasons I've never taken him seriously as a writer. No doubt terribly unfair, but there it is.
The classic example of an author using other people's characters (all of them long out of copyright at the time) is John Myers Myers SILVERLOCK. Which is an acquired taste, I shd warn. Luckily, I read it just as I was taking my master's exams and had my head crammed full of such stuff.
A famous bad example of an unauthorized sequel I just read is Verne's sequel (THE SPHINX OF THE ICE-FIELD) to Poe's only novel (A. GORDON PYM). Of course this was back
in the days when copyright was far more casual, and Poe was long dead when Verne had at his defenseless novel.* Phillis Ann Karr's LADY SUSAN is even worse; she's certainly no Jane Austen.
I'm still grateful Christopher Tolkien hasn't allowed official sequels to LotR all these years. Thank God for copyright, at least for that.
*though I suppose Poe had his revenge in that people still read his book, while Verne's is obscure in the extreme.