Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sequels, love 'em, hate 'em. Where would we be without 'em?


I saw the other day that James Cameron has signed to do two more Avatar movies. I guess it was inevitable. Although I'm glad I'm not the person writing the story.

I can understand why writers want to do sequels.

As a writer, I invest a lot of time in world building. The world grows richer with each book I write. I have maps (waving to Chris), lineage trees so I can remember who is related to who and how old they were when things happened. I create different societies, with different customs and festivals. I end up with notes on time lines, lists of sayings and distances travelled by different means. All so that I won't slip up when my characters ride off on another adventure.

A writer friend once told me that she had a green room where her characters waited before they took part in another adventure. Unfortunately one of her minor character's arms grew back while he was in the green room. She'd forgotten he'd lost it in the previous book.

As a reader, I like going back to a world I know. It is feels as if I'm taking a holiday in a familiar place. Some of the features might have changed, new buildings, people may have moved on or gotten married, but enough is familiar for it feel right.

I loved going back to Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar books about Miles Vorksigan. Here you can see a list of events in Mile's life, which Lois has compiled.

Are you keen on sequels? Bearing in mind that fantasy books are published in trilogies, these sequels will often be another trilogy. Can you think of one stand alone book that you'd like the author to write a sequel to? (Don't worry if they author is dead, for the purpose of this exercise, we can reanimate writers LOL).

26 comments:

Jim McCoy said...

I love a WELL DONE sequel. I'm an SF fan.I have bookcases full of sequels. The problem with a lot of Hollywood sequels is that they usually suck. I've actually heard that Avatar wasn't very good in the first place.

I love Harry Turtledove for a good sequel. His Great War trilogy was followed by his American Empire Trilogy which led into his Settling Accounts err..Quadrogy(?). He did the same thing with his World War books which were followed by his Colonization series which led to the "solo" novel Homeward Bound. Good stuff.

As far as a one off in need of a sequel, I'm going with Dark Ship Thieves by MGB's own Sarah Hoyt. I intend to pester her until I get it too.

David Barron said...

I'm not in favor of sequels that aren't better than the original. Unless they're funnier.

Since I assume that in the Avatar sequel the Na'vi invade Earth and are defeated by an unholy alliance between Captain Planet and Cobra Commander, that'd would be funnier.

I don't know what the third movie would be about, but I'm shooting for Niven's Puppeteers to make an appearance. That'd be better.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Wow, Sarah, you have a vote of confidence from Jim, here!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

David Barron said:

'Since I assume that in the Avatar sequel the Na'vi invade Earth and are defeated by an unholy alliance between Captain Planet and Cobra Commander, that'd would be funnier. '

David, you are a very wicked man.

Personally, the only sequel I can see is the earth empire turning up in orbit around the Na'vi planet and nuking them for their presumption.

Chris L said...

Oh, oh yes! I really want a sequal to The Religion by Tim Willocks. More Sandman from Neil Gaiman. Another 'Dragonbone Chair' story from Tad Williams.

If we're talking movies, I'd like to see a Grease sequal (I'm ignoring Grease 2 for the moment) with Oliva and John - present day. Also Ghostbusters, oh and another Riddock, he was getting better.

My daughter wants more Keys to the Kingdom from Garth Nix and (Argh) more Twilight.

I agree with Jim about most Hollywod sequels though, just look at the Matrix sequals. And Star Wars - What was George thinking?

Anonymous said...

I mentioned this one on Baen's Bar right after Robert Asprin died, I want a sequel to Asprin and Evans _For King and Country_. I always felt that there was room for one sequel without bringing down the quality- what changes in Arthurian legend now that Trevor and Brenna are around in the 30 years between the battle at the end of For King and Country and the volcano that's predicted to go off about 30 years later.
Dawn

C Kelsey said...

I want a sequel to Path of the Fury (yes, yes In Fury Born was a rewrite of it but I want a true sequel!). I'm also impatiently stamping my foot while waiting for Sarah's next Shifters book.

Mike said...

Hellspark by Janet Kagan?

MataPam said...

I don't want sequels so much as books set in the same universe, showing other parts of the universe. Lois Bujold's Nexus and the Lakewalker world are just fascinating to me, so much potential even when the Usual Characters need a rest.

I'd love to see Dave's Forlorn world, fifty or a hundred years down the road. His Ring World has tons of potential, can't wait to see what he does with it.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris, I almost brought up the Matrix sequels as an example of what can go wrong.

With books the story and world grow. With movies they seem to lose their focus.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Dawn, I haven't read 'For King and country'. Sounds like I should.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Sarah, you have another vote of support from C Kelsey!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mike, Oh man of few words, why Jane Kagan's Hellspark?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Matapam, I like the idea of books set in the same world.

I see the potential for doing this -- You show the world from one set of character's view point, reveal how they see events, then you switch characters give the reader an insight into how other characters see the same events and even the people.

Chris McMahon said...

I wish David Gemmell had written the War of the Twins.

BTW: I think Unobtanium was the Avatar writer's subconscious telling him he needed to 'obtain' a better story:)

Brendan said...

I can't think of books I want sequels to off the top of my head(although I am sure there are more than a few) but I would like to raise my voice for unfinished series.

While I don't really like the idea of people picking over the notes of deceased authors to mine some extra cash, one author I loved died with a basically complete manuscript that has never been published. Unfortunately, working through a small press to get her books out, I gather that the legalities were just too steep to get it out(author Anne Spencer Parry).

Then there is the incomplete series that the publisher lost faith in half way through as with The Firstworld Chronicles by Philip G Williamson. He did find a gig with another publisher but we aren't ever going to see the end of that series.

Kate said...

Avatar sequels, well... This is Hollywood. They'll re-use the same plot with a script that's had the serial numbers scraped back a bit, and spend even more on special effects.

Book sequels... More in the DarkShip Thieves universe, please Sarah. I'd love more of the Pyramid Scheme and Rats Bats universes, too.

Stuffed if I know how it would work, but I'd definitely like to see a sequel to Slow Train. You hear that Dave? You've got a lot of writing to do!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Chris Mc,

Unobtainium - Let's write it in and see if anyone notices.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan, I feel for writers whose series are cancelled halfway through.

On the special features of Firefly Joss Whedon says he thinks about the characters from Firefly every day and feels the loss of not finishing the series.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Sarah and Dave, we have another vote for more sequels from you!

Thanks, Kate.

Brendan said...

Oh, thought of two!

Michael Scott Williams and Allan Scott book called Spell of Empire. I wrote to Mr Williams and he said due to circumstances it wasn't going to happen.

I would also love another book by Barry Hughart and his characters Master Li and Number Ten Ox.

Brendan said...

Chris L: I am quite happy Tad Williams moved onto other stories. I thought the Othrerworld series was great and am enjoying Shadow... books.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Rowena. Unobtanium was the mineral they mined on Pandora. It's actually the name they use in the Avatar movie.

My joke is they used it because they could not 'obtain' a better name.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Brendan, you must have made his day, when you wrote to him.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Sorry, Chris, that was me being obscure.

I was imagining the writers of Avatar sitting around at a script meeting and saying:

'I know, let's call the metal Unobtainium and see if anyone notices.'

Mike said...

Sorry, Rowena. Busy week. Why do I want a sequel to Janet Kagan's Hellspark? Mostly because it's all set for one! Great world-building, characters, all that -- the main character has just taken on a new line of work, along with agreeing to parent the ship AI, and there are hints of stuff to come. It's a slamdunk, except for the minor problem that the author is no longer with us. And the fans would probably kill for it (or kill if it doesn't measure up).