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New Narnia books

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  • Staci Dumoski
    I wonder if anyone has heard anything regarding this item mentioned in this week s Inscriptions newsletter? The estate of author C.S. Lewis has decided to
    Message 1 of 4 , May 9, 2001
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      I wonder if anyone has heard anything regarding this item mentioned in this
      week's Inscriptions newsletter?

      "The estate of author C.S. Lewis has decided to commission new books based
      on the author's Narnia characters. HarperCollins and the CS Lewis Company
      are looking for established children's writers who'd like to create new
      story lines within the world that began with "The Lion, The Witch and the
      Wardrobe."

      Staci
    • Diane Joy Baker
      ... From: Staci Dumoski To: Mythopoeic Society Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 12:39 AM Subject: [mythsoc] New
      Message 2 of 4 , May 11, 2001
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Staci Dumoski <icats@...>
        To: Mythopoeic Society <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 12:39 AM
        Subject: [mythsoc] New Narnia books


        > I wonder if anyone has heard anything regarding this item mentioned in
        this
        > week's Inscriptions newsletter?
        >
        > "The estate of author C.S. Lewis has decided to commission new books based
        > on the author's Narnia characters. HarperCollins and the CS Lewis Company
        > are looking for established children's writers who'd like to create new
        > story lines within the world that began with "The Lion, The Witch and the
        > Wardrobe."
        >
        > Staci
        >
        This has been listed in LOCUS, and I tend to trust their information. We've
        been discussing this on MereLewis. Most of us don't like the idea, but hope
        that the new things might be of good quality (and not antithetical to CSL's
        worldview). I suspect that it's all a ploy for Narnia dolls, plates,
        etc. ---all the other paraphenalia that goes with a fantasy world these
        days. Brrr! ---djb.

        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • WendellWag@aol.com
        In a message dated 5/10/01 9:27:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... What worries me most is not that these new Narnian books will be inferior as fiction (which
        Message 3 of 4 , May 12, 2001
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          In a message dated 5/10/01 9:27:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
          icats@... writes (quoting from a press release):


          > The estate of author C. S. Lewis has decided to commission new books based
          > on the author's Narnia characters. HarperCollins and the CS Lewis Company
          > are looking for established children's writers who'd like to create new
          > story lines within the world that began with "The Lion, The Witch and the
          > Wardrobe.
          >
          >

          What worries me most is not that these new Narnian books will be inferior as
          fiction (which seems pretty likely), nor that they will try to make Narnia PC
          (possible, I suppose), nor that they will try to apply some right-wing agenda
          to the books (also possible, I suppose), but that this whole decision seems
          so blatantly mercenary. I recall reading back in the early '70's that
          someone had at some point written a sequel to the Narnia series. (Given that
          this book must have been written sometime after Lewis's death in 1963 and
          before the early '70's, this would have been in the late '60's.) This person
          submitted the book to Lewis's publishers, who checked with Lewis's estate
          (still owned by the Gresham brothers and Warren Lewis at that point, although
          actually controlled by the trustees Owen Barfield and A. C. Harwood). The
          estate simply said that they wouldn't allow it. They made it clear that even
          though they may have liked the book that had been submitted, they thought
          that the best policy was to reject any attempt to continue the series, no
          matter how good.

          This policy actually makes a lot of sense to me. Although there have been
          some cases where a series was continued after an author's death and the new
          books were quite good, there's lots of other cases where the new books were
          distinctly mediocre and not in the tradition of the original author at all.
          (Can anyone think of any cases where the new books written by another author
          after the death of the first author were actually better than the original
          series?) Perhaps it makes better sense to simply decline to continue a
          series after an author's death, even though there's a chance the new books
          might be good.

          The reason that this new decision by the estate to now continue the Narnia
          series sounds mercenary to me is that it sounds like the estate has simply
          calculated the number of years left until the books go out of copyright and
          said, "O.K., we've only got X years left to milk these books for everything
          we can get. Let's merchandise the heck out of them for these next few years.
          Let's sell every tacky Narnia tie-in piece of merchandise we can think of.
          Let's create a series of sequels to make more money out of the books." (Can
          anyone tell me what year the Narnia books go out of copyright?)

          Remember, the C. S. Lewis estate isn't owned by anyone related to Lewis
          anymore. In the mid-'70's, Douglas and David Gresham sold the estate to a
          company called the C. S. Lewis Company, Ltd. This company is owned by a
          holding company with a Dutch name that has an address in Singapore. No one
          knows who owns that company. The directors of it are clearly just lawyers
          who are figureheads for the real owners. It makes me very edgy anymore to
          buy a Lewis book knowing that the royalties will go to some corporation
          that's hiding its ownership.

          Wendell Wagner


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David S. Bratman
          ... Some people consider Ruth Plumly Thompson a better author than L. Frank Baum. I don t, but the existence of her Oz books doesn t seem to me to harm my
          Message 4 of 4 , May 12, 2001
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            >At 12:45 PM 5/12/2001 -0400, Wendell Wagner wrote:

            >This policy actually makes a lot of sense to me. Although there have been
            >some cases where a series was continued after an author's death and the new
            >books were quite good, there's lots of other cases where the new books were
            >distinctly mediocre and not in the tradition of the original author at all.
            >(Can anyone think of any cases where the new books written by another author
            >after the death of the first author were actually better than the original
            >series?) Perhaps it makes better sense to simply decline to continue a
            >series after an author's death, even though there's a chance the new books
            >might be good.

            Some people consider Ruth Plumly Thompson a better author than L. Frank
            Baum. I don't, but the existence of her Oz books doesn't seem to me to
            harm my appreciation of the originals. On the other hand, that could also
            be because 1) the Thompson books were already around when I arrived, so I
            never had to get used to the idea; 2) Oz is such a genial slapdash
            imaginary world, you can't really ruin it. Narnia is considerably more
            finely-wrought and hence delicate and susceptible to harm. (And if Oz is 1
            on a scale of 10 and Narnia is a 7, Middle-earth is about a 50.)

            Is everyone aware there are already "new" Narnia books of a sort
            around? I've seen really pointless-looking versions of some of the
            original books, stripped-down for beginning readers.

            >Remember, the C. S. Lewis estate isn't owned by anyone related to Lewis
            >anymore. In the mid-'70's, Douglas and David Gresham sold the estate to a
            >company called the C. S. Lewis Company, Ltd. This company is owned by a
            >holding company with a Dutch name that has an address in Singapore. No one
            >knows who owns that company. The directors of it are clearly just lawyers
            >who are figureheads for the real owners. It makes me very edgy anymore to
            >buy a Lewis book knowing that the royalties will go to some corporation
            >that's hiding its ownership.

            I can think of lots of better reasons to be worried about where my money goes.

            David Bratman
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