Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Book I Won't Be Reading

So, they've just announced that the first Stieg Larsson book not by Stieg Larsson is due out in August.  I won't be buying, or reading it.

I enjoyed the three-book series by Larsson himself (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST),* scarifying as it was in places, but there's no need to read faux-Larsson books.  Not only did Larsson (inadvertently) down pen at a good stopping place, but the whole 'V. C. Andrews (TM)' trends needs to be discouraged whenever possible.

For those who feel otherwise, here's the link:

--John R.

*as well as the movies based on them -- the original Swedish ones starring Noomi Rapace, that is, not the Hollywoodized Daniel Craig remake.


David Bratman said...

Were you aware that there are people who are under the impression that this is what Christopher Tolkien has been doing?

I try to correct that error when I find it. In science fiction circles, I merely say, "He's not Brian Herbert," who has been writing original novels based on outlines and sketches of his father's.

I don't think these folks are claiming that CT is lying about the provenance of the mss. I think they just have no idea how JRRT wrote or what's in the posthumous books.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi David
If people think that's what CT has been doing all these years, they're not paying attention. There's a world of difference between editing existing authorial Mss (as CT has done), passing off your own work as the original author's (cf. Derleth's 'collaborations' with Lovecraft , or de Camp and Carter's additions to the Conan cycle), finishing an uncompleted work (cf. SANDITON, by Jane Austen 'and another lady'), writing new works using existing characters (like that recent P. D. James horror, a faux-sequel to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), et al. So long as the reader knows what he or she is getting, there's not much harm done, but even so it's better to leave series where the author left them. Just ask Bill Watterson!
--John R.

Magister said...

There are plenty of SF stories by Larsson languishing in old Swedish fanzines (he used to be quite active in SF fandom waaay back), but they aren't anything to write home about, according to a friend of Larsson's that I spoke to.

Magister said...

I can add that Larsson's publisher, Norstedts [sic], also publishes Tolkien in Swedish.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Magister

Just to clarify, I think publishing an author's early work or long-out-of-print material is a good thing: you can learn a lot about Jane Austen from reading her juvenilia, and nobody has to read it who's not deeply into that author.

And I shd confess that I've sometimes enjoyed authorized continuances, such as Brad Strickland's stories using the late great John Bellairs' characters. But for every Strickland there are a dozen such attempts that fail --e.g. Robin Bailey's attempt to write like Fritz Leiber, Kurkand's two Lord Darcy novels, the Jill Paton Walsh 'Lord Peter' books, et al. Some fail miserably and some simply fail to recapture the spark. The extremely low success rate is why on the whole I don't encourage such stuff.

What I do think is fair game are the occasional deconstructions, when these are (a) short and (b) insightful, like Gaiman's "The Problem of Susan", or Peter Cannon's "Cats, Rats, and Bertie Wooster", not when they're egregious and go on and on and on, like the WICKED books.

--John R.