Sunday, August 02, 2015

Series Continuation Titles

© by Gerald So | | 7:00 A.M.

As I wrote last week, I'm open-minded about series continued after their original authors die. One thing about continuation novels that did bug me, though, was how some were titled. The examples that hit closest to home were the continuations of Robert B. Parker's series, such as Robert B. Parker's Lullaby: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins.

This bugged me because, while the major characters are Parker's, the plots of the continuation novels come entirely from their authors, not Parker. The one unfinished novel Parker left was the Spenser holiday novel, Silent Night, finished by his agent and literary executor Helen Brann, and credited as Silent Night: A Spenser Novel by Robert B. Parker with Helen Brann.

Then, yesterday, I was cataloging the latest continuation titles for my Parker discussion group, Spenser's Sneakers, and ironically found the "Robert B. Parker's" in the continuation titles a quick way to distinguish them from those Parker himself wrote. No other parse of the title information is as simply cataloged as the original author's name being in the main title (not the subtitle): Kickback: A Spenser Novel by Ace Atkins, Kickback: A Novel of Robert B. Parker's Spenser by Ace Atkins...The most acceptable runner-up, still a mouthful, is Robert B. Parker's Spenser in Kickback by Ace Atkins.

Another interesting case are the Tom Clancy continuation novels. Some years before his death, he was already employing co-writers or ghostwriters, but the titles released since his death in 2013 are listed on his website as "Tom Clancy [Title]: A [Character] Novel by [Continuation Author]. Unlike the Parker spinoffs, the Clancy continuation novels don't use the phrase "Tom Clancy's" so as not to be confused with series he co-created and the fact he sold his name to Ubisoft for video game marketing purposes.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

"Shambleau" by C.L. Moore

© by Gerald So | | 3:00 A.M.

I've become interested in C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories recently, learning Smith was an inspiration for Star Wars' Han Solo. Yesterday at Nasty. Brutish. Short., I reviewed the first Smith story, "Shambleau".

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beginners and Continuing

© by Gerald So | | 12:00 P.M.

Yesterday, SleuthSayers blogger Rob Lopresti brought up characters continued after their creators die. Citing Lawrence Block's remarks about Nero Wolfe continuation author Robert Goldsborough, Lopresti made a case against beginning writers copying their idols. Instead, Lopresti wrote, they should find their own voices.

Several of Rob's (and my) fellow Short Mystery Fiction Society members commented, echoing Rob's stance against continuation. In my comment, I agreed beginning writers shouldn't spend too long copying, but put in a good word for series continuation in general.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Of Color

© by Gerald So | | 2:00 P.M.

To call someone a "person of color" is currently a socially acceptable way to say "non-white". I bristle too much to use it because, like cruder terms, it's a superficial classification by color. I don't use the term "white", either. Instead, I get to know people on deeper levels such as personality and life experience. It has made all the difference.

At The Five-Two: "Predator and Prey" by Joseph D'Agnese

© by Gerald So | | 5:30 A.M.

This week, a petty thief has a change of heart after a trip to the zoo:

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cracking Wise

© by Gerald So | | 5:15 A.M.

This morning, I commented on Detectives Beyond Borders about wisecracking in hardboiled fiction, mentioning Robert B. Parker and Gregory Mcdonald.

Are Your Characters You?

© by Gerald So | | 5:00 A.M.

This week's question at 7 Criminal Minds delved into the relationship between writer and character. If writers write what they know, for example, do they have a lot in common with their characters? I commented on Meredith Cole's Monday post.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Specter of Ian Fleming

© by Gerald So | | 11:00 A.M.

The first full trailer for Eon's twenty-fourth James Bond movie, Spectre, was released yesterday:

I don't put much stock in trailers, especially for movies I already know I'm going to see. That said, I'm less enthused about Spectre than most Bond fans, mainly because it continues an arc that has run through all of Daniel Craig's Bond movies.

At first, I was intrigued that Quantum of Solace would pick up right where Casino Royale left off, but that continuity didn't drive Quantum very far. I found Craig's second movie oddly artsy, I daresay dull.

Skyfall didn't pick up directly from Quantum. Its plot was exciting, but as Bond came back from a very close brush with death, he seemed older, as if he'd lost a step. I forgot Skyfall was only Craig's third Bond film, and he was signed for two more.

I thought Casino Royale would start a string of younger, grittier adventures the franchise needed to refresh itself. Craig's movies haven't turned out that way, and with Spectre closely linked to Skyfall, Bond will be toting that baggage.

A big draw of Spectre is the return of archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld to the franchise. I, too, was excited to hear the trailer's musical nod to On Her Majesty's Secret Service. With a few hours to think about it, though, I don't want new movies to nod too plainly to old movies. I want the writers to come up with new plots for Bond. To me, that's only real way to keep Bond relevant to 2015.

I hear you saying, "Bond was created by Fleming. Part of his charm is his 1950s attitude." Yes, but Fleming's books don't have to be relevant to today. Movies made and set today do.

Monday, July 20, 2015

At The Five-Two: Peter M. Gordon

© by Gerald So | | 12:15 A.M.

This week, Peter Gordon takes us "Off the Grid":

Twitter followers and I have picked six Five-Two poems of Sundress Publications' 2015 Best of the Net consideration.