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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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mark211Disappointing sequels?2017-11-19 11:45:01
mark211'Dark Eden', published in Azimov's Science Fiction in 2006, is a short story by SF writer Chris Beckett which six years later became the same title of an award-winning novel. The original short story was a somewhat frivolous tale whose main attraction was the titular planet on which diverse lifeforms evolved as a result of hot magma bursting up through the surface, melting ice and creating conditions for a range of nocturnal species. The novel progressed the plot of the short story showing what happened to the descendants of two human survivors who wound up on that planet.2017-11-19 11:54:56
mark211The novel was intelligent, well-thought out and told a believable SF version of the Lord of the Flies. I enjoyed it thoroughly and recommended it widely to friends and acquaintances. 2017-11-19 11:57:53
mark211So imagine my disappointment in the novel's sequel, 'Mother of Eden' - the characters are flat, the plot predictable, the ideas pedestrian and the moralising about capitalism and patriarchal societies as crude and unimaginative as they are irksome. It's quite one thing to write a bad novel, it's quite another to take an award-winning first novel and then fowl it up by a weak, insipid and ill-conceived follow-up. If that sounds ungenerous, I claim the right of all fans of the first novel to justify my annoyance at the second.2017-11-19 12:00:35
mark211Soooo ... how about you? Have you ever come across a follow-on novel (or movie) that you felt was a real let-down in comparison to the original which you loved? What went wrong do you think? Let us know below ... 2017-11-19 12:01:41
Modelling_MushiLet me start the brickbats flying here. In print I'd have to nominate 2010 as the let-down follow on to 2001. And in the arena of celluloid allow me the indulgence of two : (1) Everything after the first Star Wars movie in its original cut version, and (2) Everything after the first Matrix movie. 2017-11-19 18:10:30
RT@ MM, I agree2017-11-20 07:41:05
IronspiderActually, I'd go a tad further - I really like the original, unchanged version of Star Wars (back when Jabba was human) and I can't stand the Matrix. The whole concept is nonsense - who needs a realistic, simulated world, when the human batteries could have been reduced to non-intelligent 'batteries' at birth? If the machines were smart enough to build the Matrix, I'm sure they could've figured that one out! Anyway, as to sequels, with a lot of modern writing (and film) it seems to be a search for more cash rather than any real desire to continue a story. Some, such as the Death's Head series by David Gunn, just amble away into repetitive combat and lose any semblance of an overarching plot. Others, such as the Weird Space series begun by Eric Brown, hand-off the reins to another writer and the quality suffers. In all, I'd say leave off on sequels unless there's definitely something more to say in the story.2017-11-21 06:35:40
mark211@Ironspider: "Anyway, as to sequels, with a lot of modern writing (and film) it seems to be a search for more cash rather than any real desire to continue a story" while I obviously know what you mean when you say this, what fascinates me is how rarely this seems to have caused a problem for writers in and of itself - in terms of literature, men such as contemporaries the Russian Dostoevsky and the Englishman Dickens wrote some of the best works of modern literature under pressure of cash incentives rather than exclusively creative ones. Nearer to our own time and favourite genres, Phillip K. Dick, Poul Anderson, and Jack Vance to name but three were also men who made a living by the word (sometimes quite literally!) - and yet this fact does not seem to have had any adverse effect on the quality of their writing at all. I want to stress that I'm not actually disagreeing with you here - I think you have a good point. It's just curious that the same conditions - worse conditions even - seem not to have obstructed the writers I have just mentioned.2017-11-21 13:46:18
r.tornello@IRONSPIDER, I get the feeling that The Matrix was more of an exercise in BRAIN IN A VAT.2017-11-21 13:52:04
Ironspider@Mark211 - no, I fully agree with your comments. I think Mickey Spillane said that everything he wrote was for the money and I guess I'm not seeing this from the perspective of a professional writer; if you don't write, you don't get paid. I was trying to tease-out those situations when a writer hits on a successful formulae, then proceeds to drain said cash-cow of every penny it'll provide, regardless of how low quality the output might be. Even some of the writers I admire put out stinkers once in a while, but that's different from sucking all the joy and vigour from a series, especially when the fans have taken the characters to heart (as in Star Wars). 2017-11-22 00:07:30
dandrew72For my $0.02, I much prefer a prequel to a sequel. Provided it is done well. 2017-11-22 15:54:33
mark211@Ironspider - "those situations when a writer hits on a successful formulae, then proceeds to drain said cash-cow of every penny it'll provide" Regarding that point, something that just occurred to me is I wonder if I've been laying blame at the wrong door - in the case of professionals, especially those in their early career, that the reason why some pot points seem unnatural, forced, and either schmaltzy or didactic is that they've been getting a mixture of bad advice and pressure from agents, publishers, backers etc.? Taking Star Wars as a good example, imagine sitting down to write a gripping tale and then having to take into account the following: you must please long-term fans of the original; you must also include a 'cutesy' character that will become that year's must-have stocking filler at Christmas; you must also write scenes that will flatter the egos of the real-life leads; you must also ... etc. etc. etc. .... By the time all that's been taken care of, it's no wonder the end result is often an incoherent pastiche.2017-11-23 12:44:52
Modelling_Mushi@Mark211 - Maybe so, but the blame would cover most. You've got two (at least two) imperatives pulling on any film if you take the simplest situation; a film company that has to show a return somewhere and a writer or director who has a vision of what they want to show the world. So if I could bash Star Wars a little more (only because I'm more scared of death threats from Trekkies) the first film in the series had constraints in the budget, not enough money for Lucas to go totally where he wanted to so he had to make compromises and, as I read it, there were artistic ones too BUT (and here's the but) the film company didn't expect it to make megabucks so within reason he got what he wanted. It hits the streets, sells like the proverbial so two things happen - Lucas has enough $$$ and kudos to do-what-he-damn-well-pleases-thank-you-very-much and the visions of money for old rope start up. So sequel after sequel get more 'mainstream'; the bright boys and girls from marketing, media relations and merchandising climb on board; and the natural and useful critique that keeps most of us from making total asses of ourselves falls off. Hence the divergence away from what got us hooked in the first place (and the continual revisiting and redoing what was cinematic gold into, well, a polished you know what). Disney buying the franchise is only a natural extension of this, its a matter of scale not substance. 2017-11-23 19:22:42
Modelling_Mushi... so just one more point too, Ive been reading Springsteen's biography and he makes the point (also made a by a few locals on Oz here too) that he would have and damned near did do anything to get his first album up and out as long as the music was the way he wanted it to be. The upshot was that, like so many, he made the music but the recording studio kept the bucks. So later on when he was looking down the wall of financial ruin all be could trade on was his music and yes, it was aimed at the commercial market not at the artistic bent he wanted it to be. One he had the bucks and the control then he could go back to it. So yes, keeping bread on the table does it ....2017-11-23 19:26:09
Modelling_Mushi.. and that's why even though 'Game of Thrones' literally makes me dry retch I can't feel bad and deny George R.R. Martin a decent pay day - its worth the projectile vomiting to give the author of 'Tuf Voyaging' a few shekels.2017-11-23 19:29:04
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