Dead Authors

"Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Eoin Colfer" makes about as much sense as "James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake by Dr. Suess"

"Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Eoin Colfer" makes about as much sense as "James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake by Dr. Suess"

I was in Target the other day (yes, on purpose.  Here’s a little tip for you guys who’ve been dating the same girl for a while: take her wherever she wants to go for a date – movies, dinner, shopping, whatever – and then say, “We should stop by Target for a minute.”  It’d be like her saying, “We should swing by Auto Zone on the way home”; suddenly she thinks you’re “coming around;” suddenly she thinks she’s “fixed” you) and I saw a new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Douglas Adams is dead.  For a while now.  And he hated writing, so I doubt they found this hidden in a drawer somewhere (as so many publishers claim).

Seriously, who cares if the actual VC Andrews writes another novel, as long as those kids keep getting shoved into that attic.

Seriously, who cares if the actual VC Andrews writes another novel, as long as those kids keep getting shoved into that attic.

Now some of this “posthumously published” stuff I understand.  If you have a pen-name and then you get published under your real name, you kill off your pen-name and publish crap you wouldn’t put your real name on as a posthumously published pen-name book.  Or maybe if the original writer of a book series wasn’t all that original (and the fans aren’t all that intuitive or interested in the prose itself), then it wouldn’t be hard to find another unoriginal author to take that author’s place.  However…

When you have an author with such original prose – as is Douglas Adams – and you have a book that is 100% original and widely celebrated – as is Hitchhiker’s Guide – then I think it’s a slap in the face to fans.  A bigger slap in the face is that the new author is an author of children’s books.

No one aspires to be a children’s author.  You fall into that line of work, generally because you can’t hack it being an adult author.

Why do I bring this up?

The men in my family don’t generally live very long.  I would hate to see Tiny Life get published all the way through book 9 – where Jed really finds out what the whole mess has been about (why he’s a stick figure, why the color, why the situation with his dad, how all the characters fit into his life, etc.) – and then have some children’s author, let’s say Paolini, volunteer with, “Oh yeah.  I read it.  Big fan. I can finish it, that is, if his widow decides that she would like $100,000 for doing no work.  I know exactly where he was going.”

No you don’t.  No one does.  That’s the point of making it a point to be original.  No one knows where this is going to end up.

You like how I slyly compared myself to Douglas Adams?

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2 Responses

  1. Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, A. A. Milne, Maurice Sendak–

    Or did you mean children’s novels? In which case, you’re probably correct, at least in the by and large.

    But you actually referenced Dr. Seuss in the caption…was Seuss a failed author of adult books?

  2. No, Suess wasn’t a failed adult author (oooh. that sounds dirty). But he did kind of fall into that line of work. He mainly did ads and political cartoons (and a few movies with Chuck Jones) until he sort of fell into the “right place / right time” of “early learners” books.

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