© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 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.