The Many-Decade Spans of Some Sequels and Series

After reading last week that Margaret Atwood is writing a follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, I thought about which sequels — and series — spanned the most time.

Atwood’s famous, feminist, dystopian novel came out in 1985, and The Testaments will be published in 2019 — making for a gap of 34 years. Not quite the 36-year-period between Stephen King’s The Shining (1977) and its sequel Doctor Sleep (2013), but plenty long.

Why gaps like that? Authors such as King and Atwood (pictured above) are of course busy writing many other books, and may not want to revisit the same characters — at least until several decades go by. In Atwood’s case, one spur for the coming sequel is the high popularity of the current The Handmaid’s Tale television series. Also, the Republican Party’s current far-right/misogynist politics make her 1985 novel prescient and very relevant to today.

The Testaments will reportedly begin 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale ends. Other sequels can of course be set closer or farther away in time from the original novel.

Can many-years-later sequels be better? Sometimes. Heck, the authors have often become more mature writers. But they might also be past their prime, a bit tired, and not have as many new ideas. Still, numerous fans don’t mind if a sequel isn’t as good; they’re just happy it exists. Plus there’s money to be made for the authors — not that superstar writers like Atwood and King need it. 🙂

Other one-sequel, multiple-sequel, or series scenarios spanning many a decade?

P.G. Wodehouse wrote his Jeeves novels and stories over a stunning period of nearly 60 years — 1915 to 1974!

Agatha Christie featured Hercule Poirot in 40-plus novels and short-story collections for more than a half-century — from 1920’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles into the 1970s. And Christie’s Miss Marple character starred in more than 10 books from 1930 (The Murder at the Vicarage) into the ’70s.

John Updike’s four Rabbit novels were published over a period of 30 years (1960, 1971, 1981, 1990) — with a novella added to the mix in 2001. So, 41 years total.

Other large spans include 35 years between Sue Grafton’s first and 25th “alphabet mysteries” starring Kinsey Millhone (“A” Is for Alibi, 1982/“Y” Is for Yesterday, 2017); 32 years between Martin Cruz Smith’s first and eighth Arkady Renko novels (Gorky Park, 1981/Tatiana, 2013); 26 years between Walter Mosley’s first and 14th Easy Rawlins novels (Devil in a Blue Dress, 1990/Charcoal Joe, 2016); 25 years between Jack Finney’s Time and Again (1970) and From Time to Time (1995); 24 years between Janet Evanovich’s first and 25th Stephanie Plum novels (One for the Money, 1994/Look Alive Twenty-Five, 2018); and 23 years between Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool (1993) and Everybody’s Fool (2016).

Then there are Honore de Balzac’s and Emile Zola’s many-book sagas containing stand-alone but interlinked novels featuring characters who pop in and out, sometimes as lead protagonists and sometimes as supporting players. Balzac wrote his La Comedie Humaine works from 1830 to the late 1840s — not that long a period because of his relatively early death, but an extraordinarily prolific period that produced a whopping 90-plus novels (such as Old Goriot and Cousin Bette) and stories! Zola penned his 20 Rougon-Macquart novels (The Drinking Den, Germinal, etc.) from 1871 to 1893.

Other sequels and series you can name with many-year publishing spans? And/or any comments about the ones I mentioned?

I will not be posting columns on December 9 and 16 (because of another trip to Florida to deal with my late mother’s estate and some other reasons). Back on December 23! I’ll still reply to comments under already-published columns. 🙂

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for The latest weekly piece — written by my cat! — is here.

104 thoughts on “The Many-Decade Spans of Some Sequels and Series

  1. Hi Dave, now that I finally have a functioning laptop, I just wanted to see if you’ve ever had a column on Time as a subject. I spent most of the last days listening or watching musical CDs or DVDs (most likely the latter). There were a lot of songs that referenced Time, especially “Time” by David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper on “Time after Time,” and my favorite “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” written by Sandy Dennis, and covered by Judy Collins, Nanci Griffith, and others. Nanci Griffith also wrote and entitled the recording of one of her albums, “Clock Without Hands.” So now I’ve suggested this, I can’t come up with any novels with that theme, but surely there must be many? The only one that springs to mind is “The Age of Miracles,” in which the earth slows down one minute to minute — very interesting

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kat Lit! I did a post on time-travel literature specifically (back in The Huffington Post days), but I don’t think I’ve written one on time in general. Definitely plenty of songs with time in the title — you named some excellent ones. Also “Time Is On My Side” (Rolling Stones), “Time Has Come Today” (Chambers Brothers), “Time in a Bottle” (Jim Croce), “Time Is Tight” (Booker T and the MGs), etc. Like you, I love “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”; another great version is by 10,000 Maniacs.


  2. jhNY, and Dave I’ve not posted anything for the last several days because my laptop crashed and died. Are there funeral services or something for dead computers? I’ve been dealing with the Geek Squad, and Saturday I picked up a new computer. The set-up instructions were written in hieroglyphics or Ancient Greek — and I had taken a year of Ancient Greek in college, and that was so much simpler than these directions. I returned the laptop and asked for a refund and was going to upgrade it to an HP, which I’ve done, but of course more expensive. The Geek helping me out said that after looking what I was sold the day before, it was a very bad laptop, which was somewhat gratifying. So I now have a new laptop and has mostly been set up by me. I didn’t cancel the Geek Squad appt. I had already scheduled for this afternoon, especially because I’ve been having problems with my printer since I’ve moved up to the mountains.
    I hope you’ve completed, Dave, all of your mother’s estate work. I and a lot of others have missed you and your columns!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kat Lit, very sorry about your laptop dying. 😦 Kudos to you for finding some (very funny) humor in the situation — including your riff on incomprehensible set-up instructions — and I’m glad you now have a good new computer. Over the years, I’ve had trouble with PC laptops, and have turned to Apple (MacBook Pro) since 2012 with no problems.

        As I also mentioned to Sue below, my late mother’s condo is all cleaned out, and a realtor will be listing it starting tomorrow! So happy about that after five trips to Florida (April, May, June, September, and this one)! Flying back to New Jersey in a few hours…


        • Yes, I’ll of course agree with Sue with all of her comments about your blog. I look forward to reading your posts on Sunday evenings, though I often don’t wake up until sometimes on Monday mornings, which is OK. One of my good friends and one of her cousins were co-executors of their uncle’s estate were named in his will. It took them both over two years to get it settled, even though they all lived in NJ, and there were something like 16 heirs, and they also found out there was a property in the islands no one knew about. Yikes! Anyway, I hope your mother’s estate will be handled much more expeditiously!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Kat Lit!

            I have a new post ready to go for this Sunday, and I’m greatly looking forward to getting “bloggy” again. 🙂

            Yikes indeed — more than two years settling that estate? It does sound complicated. My mother’s estate is now largely settled after eight months, but the condo still has to sell and the modest trust fund I’m administering still needs to be split three ways after all the bills are paid. Most of the estate would have been settled sooner if it wasn’t for that July condo flood (major water heater leak) and my and my wife’s schedules not allowing me to go to Florida for long periods of time. Thus the five separate trips.


  3. Hi Dave,

    I hope you don’t mind me hi-jacking this post a tiny bit this week, however as I know you’re not posting anything new, I thought this might be a good time to again thank you for this wonderful blog.

    I’m not going to say anything that I haven’t said before, but I imagine that you won’t hate hearing it again, and I know I need to say it again. And again and again and again.

    I love that this blog is about so much more than literature. I feel that I’ve made actual friends while chatting to the people here. And of course, you’re the person responsible for the quality of that ‘chatting’. It absolutely astounds me that I’ve been following your blogs, and the subsequent comments for so many years, and have NEVER come across rudeness. Even on the old Huffy People site. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve seen a feel good post on the internet, only to have it spoiled by some miserable turd who has to find the dark side. Or share a completely unwanted, and uneducated opinion.

    I don’t comment here as much as I’d like to. Partly because of time restraints, but also because I feel a bit out of the ‘flow’ sometimes, being that I’m commenting when you’re sleeping, and vice versa. But I think about this blog a lot, as well as the regulars who hang around here. I love that there is so much variety in the people, and the comments, and while sometimes there isn’t 100% agreement, there is ALWAYS respect. There is always politeness. Always positivity. Well, maybe less positivity in the last two years, but I’d probably be a bit dragged down by The 45 too if I didn’t have the luxury of being able to put my head in the sand.

    And of course, there’s the actual literature. My close friends might be able to converse in an equally respectful and considerate way, but few of them understand what I mean if I say I’m going to revisit Pemberley this Christmas.

    So, because I don’t want to ever take this blog for granted, I must thank you for being the person that you are, Dave, and for sharing that with all of us.

    Sue ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Sue! SO nice of you to write what you wrote. 🙂 It’s like a wonderful holiday gift. I deeply appreciate it, as I’m sure every other poster here will as well when they see your comment.

      It IS nice to have a civil place to discuss literature and much more, and I can only take partial credit for that. The people who comment — you and everyone else — make this blog what it is. Among many other things, I always love the humor amid the seriousness — a combination you’re very adept at.

      I’ll be flying back home later today. My late mother’s condo is finally cleared out, and a realtor will be putting it on the market tomorrow. Such a relief!

      Thank you again for the hi-jack! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good Evincing Dave, sounds like you will be busy with your late mother`s extate, but enjoy some warn weather.
    There is a job opening if you are interested, and i am sure you will put someone in place ;roll:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great many series or sequels began life as a one-off whose author had no idea his future would be taken up with either.

    It’s something the Lounge Lizards pointed out long ago in song:

    Money changes everything.

    I used to go so far, in thought at least, as to hope somebody might steal a song I wrote, so that I might know in which direction my musical fortune might lie. It turns out ,sadly, my hopes were dashed, and that mine is a cautionary tale of honesty in the music business.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A terrific observation, jhNY. Sequels or series can be planned or unplanned when writing a book. Of course, part of that depends on the sales level of the first book/sales potential of future books (as you allude to), but part of it could also be authors suddenly realizing they don’t want to say goodbye to certain characters.

      Sorry that things didn’t go better for you in the music business. But you gave it an immense try — something many people don’t even attempt.


  6. Dave I love to read Walter Mosley`s Easy Rawlins books, the author was born in 1950`s but Easy Rawlins was born in 1929`s. So the stories were set in times earlier and Mr. Mosley goes back and forth. The sceneries, houses the description was during early periods , when sex was too easy, no mention of the diseases from unprotected sex, the houses the the atmosphere always breathtaking.

    Now “To Kill A Mockingbird” 1960, “Go Set A Watchman” 2015. as I have read both by Ms. Harper Lee. ,
    GSAW as we hear was Harper Lee`s first book, but her publisher talked her into write another one and we read TKAM, always my favorite .
    Hard to separate Mr. Finch from Mr. Gregory Peck .

    As we know Ms. Lee`s attorney pushed her to sign for publishing GSAW, when she was not in a sound mental stage.

    BUT reading the book I am convinced Ms. LEE had gone through the book few times to edit .

    Not worth reading in the times of con don.

    Liked by 2 people

      • That’s a fantastic Tom Toles cartoon, bebe!

        I guess I’m worried that even when Robert Mueller charges the totally guilty Trump with various things (and I think he will), the Republican Senate and most of Trump’s fans will ignore it — claiming it’s “fake news” and all that. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh dear, Trump is on his way to Philly for the Army-Navy game. I just heard him saying to the press before he left that he’s completely sure all the Mueller filings yesterday totally exonerate him from whatever happened or didn’t happen with Russia. It’s unbelievable how he can take that from what’s been in the news lately. I don’t know if he’s lying as usual, or just totally delusional (as usual). He’s still saying today that Hillary paid for the dossier that’s caused many of his problems, which means he’s paranoid as well, such as his claim that Obama wiretapped him.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Funny thang: That Steele dossier, to date has proved more accurate than anything Trump has said to disparage its contents, author or clients. As far as I’m aware, not a line of it has been proved untrue. And yet…

            Liked by 2 people

          • Lying, delusional, and paranoid — you described Trump to a “T,” Kat Lit! Sorry he’s going to be in your state — I wonder why he didn’t get yet another military deferment to avoid the Army-Navy game? 🙂


            • Ha! I’m surprised he’s still attending these annual games, of which he’s not the main focus. So. I’ve been spending the last few hours playing the DVD I just received of Bowie’s “Glass Spider Tour,” which I saw in a huge Philly stadium, as well as one large indoor arena in Minneapolis from the early 80’s. I’m sure there are a lot of fans of just a plain rock concert that didn’t like it, but this one was quite theatrical and well-choreographed, with lighting and a huge spider set, dancers as well as a band (Peter Frampton actually played guitar for at least this one concert). Of course, I loved everything, because it was almost like watching a Broadway musical, but had many of my favorite Bowie songs, old and new. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

        • In a back room in DC, a deal may one day be proffered to 45 that exempts children from jail time at the cost of his own resignation– but beyond that unlikelihood, I agree– if all that comes out from Mueller is more or less known today.

          But this thang is a centipede, to reference something the late Sen. McCain said. Many, many more shoes are likely to drop, and some may have stuff so awful on their soles as to mightily sea-change public opinion. And impeachment being at root a political, not a legal process, requires such sea-change to become feasible.

          As it is, Trump stands a very good chance, if somehow he had no other worries, of being the first president to run for re-election during a recession since Jimmy Carter…which worked out swell for Ronaldus Maximus. Cold comfort, since till then his tiny hands are in range of the nuclear football every micro-second.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jhNY, I hope something comes out that scrubs away some of Trump’s Teflon, but that thing (or things) would have to be beyond stunning given the way Trump has so far maintained the support of his “base” and the Republican Congress despite his countless horrible words and actions.


    • Thank you, bebe! I’ve greatly enjoyed the two Easy Rawlins novels I’ve read, and, like you, I love the way they’re set in the past. Definitely adds another dimension to that mystery/detective/crime series.

      I appreciate your interesting thoughts about “Go Set a Watchman.” And I totally agree it’s hard to separate Atticus Finch and Gregory Peck — so perfect for that role.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. There are various schools of thought re: book sequels esp. if the original was a real cash cow. In that scenario, it might prove a real struggle to stay away from the dairy, ha, and not pen a part deux. Although I hate to think money would be the author’s first consideration in doing so, business is business even in the arts. Truth is I’d rather believe the author wanted to include much more in the original from the outset, but held back. Fact is it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if their publishers gummed up the works in that dynamic. For instance: It costs a great deal less to print a nice slim volume than a great door stopper of a novel. Would readers be willing to absorb that cost and/or even be interested in reading a book that size, and just how much of a following does this author have that would make it a sound investment vs a risky one? Yes, you’re absolutely right concerning the authors. After spending years honing their craft they may indeed feel a second novel based on the first would have to be great s because they’re so much better writers and/or idea-wise totally burnt out . No specific author comes to mind re: this post, but it’s a great one Dave. I guess you could say I am currently reading a sequel of sorts, i.e. “See What I Have Done” although it isn’t by any means the author’s (Sarah Schmidt) second book, rather it is a sequel based on subject matter and topic alone since it is one of a plethora of books concerning the Lizzie Borden murders. Guess a sequel can also be defined as a long march and/or many marches toward a truth that will never be revealed. “Second verse same as the first” Hermann and the Hermits 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, SW! Thought-provoking comment with many great points!

      Yes, money considerations are part of virtually everything, even in the arts. And, as you say, publishing executives are often very focused on that — as are many writers, perhaps more reluctantly.

      I definitely like the idea of sequels and series for authors who can’t or don’t want to say everything about certain characters in one novel. Even if they initially felt they did say everything in that one novel, they certainly have every right to change their mind and develop those characters (and story lines) even more.


  8. Then there’s AC Doyle, whose most enduring literary creation was returned to the living by popular demand, not authorial desire, necessitating a miraculous escape from certain death by waterfall 8 years after, referred to by fans as The Great Hiatus.

    Will miss your column, hope you are able to complete your tasks in FL…

    Liked by 1 person

    • New Sherlock Holmes novels and stories were indeed around for a long time, from 1887 well into the first part of the 20th century. And, as you said, it was fans more than Arthur Conan Doyle who wanted to bring it back.

      Thank you, jhNY, for your kind comment about my Florida trip. I also hope things get finished, or almost finished!


  9. Off-topic as usual, but perhaps as a sequel somewhat in watching the funeral of George H.W Bush with his son George W. in prominence as first son and principle mourner. I’ve learned a lot about H.W. in the past few days, and I must admit I’m rather impressed with him, not as a part of the first family, but a very good, kind and gentle man, who wrote so many letters and notes to people (handwritten by him). Even after he was older, he’d write notes to people by typewriter, but would also note at the bottom “typed by George H.W. Bush.” I was astonished to read not long ago, George W. and Michelle Obama had become quite friendly because they were seated next to one another at various political/formal functions and he gave her a cough drop or something at one of them. I thought it so sweet when W. came in and went to shake hands with the Presidents Club & wives at the formal funeral ceremony in Washington, and handed Michelle a couple of mints. Of course all the Club were chatting happily together, when in came Trump & Melania, and the mood changed right away. There are a lot of things not to be happy about with the entire Bush family, especially W., but there aren’t any good things to say about Trump that I can think of!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lit! There certainly were a number of positive things about George H.W. Bush, and you expressed examples of that very well! Polite, a family man, a WWII hero, and much more. And of course he was so much more decent than Trump there isn’t even a contest!

      But I still have very mixed feelings about Bush. That 1988 Willie Horton ad was toxic, and helped set a trend for vicious/racist Republican ads while also sort of forcing some Democrats (such as Bill Clinton) to move to the right and become harsher on crime (but not white-collar crime). Also, Bush appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court — an appointment which has now culminated in a situation where that Court will be reactionary for decades. Bush was very slow to react to the AIDS crisis; if had been better about that, more lives could have been saved. And he helped raise perhaps the second worst president next to Trump — George W.

      Yes, mixed feelings. 🙂 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do agree with what you say about H.W., but I also appreciate the good things he did, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and a Clean Air Act, as well as having the guts to raise taxes when necessary, even after having made a campaign promise not to do so. This probably cost him a second term.

        Liked by 1 person

        • VERY good points, Kat Lit. One of the last Republicans to do decent/sensible/compassionate things like that — and it did cost him among not-decent, not-sensible, not-compassionate GOP voters. (Also, as you know, Ross Perot siphoned off more votes from H.W. than from Clinton in ’92.)


      • Also: murky doings for Nixon, Iran-Contra coverup, the beginning of our Iraq debacle (ongoing). A son of privilege, who took it as his duty to vouchsafe the privileged, and did too little, as compared other sons of his class, such as FDR, to advance the rights or opportunities of the less-advantaged. Impeccable manners, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes indeed Dave.
        But as we just had the funeral of George h. W. Bush our 41st President. The last President, a War Hero, a deeply flawed man during his time but also a kind heart-ed gentleman.

        Now we understand from ex Canadian Prime Minister a friend of him, that it was his request trump was invited.

        Wise decision, because it was a pleasure to see Donald J trump suffer the whole time sitting next to President Obama and Michelle and Hillary Clinton whom he wanted to lock up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ~ ” Mr. Trump has been snappish with aides most of the week, according to administration officials, miffed in part by so many ceremonial events not related to him. He was impatient for the memorials to end but expressed pride in himself for remaining publicly civil. People close to the president called it a course correction after his peevish reaction to Mr. McCain’s death.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I somehow passed by your mention of the AIDS crisis, even while knowing that the disease claimed the lives of many back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I’m specifically thinking about Freddie Mercury who died of complications of AIDS in 1991, because I’ve been watching his Live Aid performance in 1985 (which I’ve watched many times over and over. He was gone much too early in his life, considering all of his many talents. Many people consider him the best pop/rock singer ever, especially because of his amazing vocal range (from baritone to soprano and vibrato). He also composed many great songs and was quite the entertainer. Of course, I also loved the movie “Philadelphia” w/Tom Hanks, and the song recorded by Bruce Springsteen “Streets of Philadelphia” that won the Oscar for best song that year. On a personal note, when I was hospitalized in 1988 for multiple problems, some hot-shot resident or physician from Philly diagnosed me with having AIDS. This was so laughable that I learned not to take anything seriously until all testing has been completed. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kat Lit, that WAS an amazing performance by the great Freddie Mercury and Queen at 1985’s Live Aid concert. I watched the whole 20-minutes-or-so set for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Such a shame Mercury died young in ’91. And I agree that “Philadelphia” was an excellent movie, and I feel the theme song was one of the best tunes Springsteen ever wrote.

          Sorry about your ridiculous misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, that kind of medical mistake happens more often than anyone would like.


          • There are some intersections amongst all of those I mentioned above. Bowie and Queen wrote and performed the song “Under Pressure,” and Bowie performed this with the remaining Queen in a memorial service for Mercury. The first few bars of that song are now my ringtone. When Bowie put together his album “Young Americans” in Philadelphia, he recorded a few Springsteen songs that were only captured on one of his “Sound and Vision” discs. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are great friends with Bruce and his wife Patti Scalfia. My best girlfriend is a HUGE Springsteen fan, while I still adore Bowie and now Queen, as well as Bruce — I’m especially fond of Patti as a solo artist and a member of the E Street Band. Can you tell that I’m focusing on music rather than the goings-on with Trump and the WH? 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Wow, Kat Lit — LOTS of connections, some of which I didn’t know.

              Yes, focusing on music is a nice break from all things depressingly Trump, whose only song faves might be those with the word “Money” in their titles.


  10. Hi Dave,

    Harper Lee seems to be the obvious example of this. But of course, it’s not clear whether “Go Set a Watchman” was a prequel, sequel, draft, or a bit of all of the above. And it’s already been mentioned by a few other people, so I won’t go on.

    The opening lines of Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger” are some of the first words he ever wrote. He finished the final volume in “The Dark Tower” series more than thirty years later. In my opinion, the last words were even better than the first.

    I’m not sure if I’m excited about a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale”. I only recently read the novel, and enjoyed it so much that I really wanted to avoid the TV adaptation, until I accidentally watched a few minutes of it, and was blown away by how good it was. I got sucked into the second season, so was watching storylines that didn’t exist in the novel. I wonder whether Margaret Atwood will adapt that story into a novel, or whether she’s coming up with new things?

    I think the gap that I’m most dreading is the two weeks without a new DAOL blog! I hope your time in Florida isn’t too taxing for you and your family.

    Kat Lit – if you see this comment, I’d love to know what you thought of “Death Comes to Pemberley”? “Pride and Prejudice” is my favourite of the four Austen novels that I’ve read. Without giving too much away, do I want to put the PD James sequel on my ever growing TBR?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, I’ve been pondering your question about “Death Comes to Pemberley,” and I think I’ll have to say it was quite good, but not great. It’s been a few years since I read it, but I haven’t felt the need to reread it, though I may someday. However, I’d rather reread an Austen novel, or a P.D. James book featuring her detective Adam Dalgleish. I agree with Dave that writers should write novels that feature their own creations rather than use characters another author has done before them.

      I also agree with you about missing Dave’s blog for two whole weeks, but I know there are some things that take precedence over anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Sue and Kat Lit! I’ll miss writing the blog, too — and seeing everyone’s comments under new posts. 😦 I think I already know what I’ll be writing for December 23. 🙂

        Sue, you summed up the “uncategorizable-ness” of “Go Set a Watchman” VERY well.

        Wow — didn’t know about that long “Gunslinger” gap!

        I read that Margaret Atwood’s continuation of “The Handmaid’s Tale” will have a different story than the TV version. Alternate timelines. 🙂

        Re “Death Comes to Pemberley,” Kat Lit and Sue, it’s hard to imagine a sequel by another author being as good as the original. Plus P.D. James was very late in her career when writing it and perhaps not at the height of her considerable literary powers!


        • Hi Dave,

          Glad to know that you’re so far ahead with your blog topics! I know I’ve said it before, but I honestly don’t know how you come up with them.

          The King gap that I wrote about included another 5 books in between, so it wasn’t just the one gap. But he did kind of fluff around with it for a bit, and didn’t bring out a new “Dark Tower” novel for some time. As GP Cox said, the accident that King suffered definitely put the pressure on a bit. Maybe that means that he rushed through the last 3 books, and they weren’t as good as they could have been, but in this particular instance, I personally would prefer a just ok ending, to having no ending at all.

          Unlike “A Song of Ice and Fire” which I forgot to mention in my original comment. Martin has become so slow at working on these novels that it’s almost laughable, and I’ve pretty much lost interest in them and don’t really care if he ever finishes it. As long as I get an ending to the TV adaptation, I’ll be happy!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Sue! Well, I try to be one blog post ahead — rarely more than that. 🙂 As for coming up with blog posts, it’s getting harder after having done the more obvious ideas over the years. It helps that almost every time I read another novel, a new column topic occurs to me — fortunately. 🙂

            Oops, I should have used the word “span” rather than “gap” for the King series!

            “A Song of Ice and Fire” has now been going on for 22 years! The series seems so complex in its way, and each book is so long, that I can understand George R.R. Martin going slowly. But, yes, frustrating for readers.


      • Thanks, Kat Lit. I’m not expecting “Death comes to Pemberley” to be great, but ‘quite good’ is enough for me to look into it. Being that I’m not a crime reader, this could be really good exposure to PD James. And even a quite good visit to Pemberley sounds like fun.

        I don’t mind if authors borrow other authors characters or stories, as long as the reader knows that they’ll be getting something different. I don’t expect “Death comes to Pemberley” to read as a “P&P” sequel. I’m not sure that even Austen could have written that. I love Lizzy and Darcy falling in love with each other. For me, once they got married, the story had to end. So any ‘sequel’ written by somebody else will just be their take on a book that I loved, and it will be interesting to see how close they get the flavour of Austen. Being that James is a crime writer, I’m expecting something very different. But different doesn’t have to mean bad.

        And yes, I understand that sometimes we have to do things we’d rather not, and that may take time away from the things that we like to do. If only we didn’t have to work, or sleep, or clean, or all of those other boring things…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmmmmm…. I might be out for this one as I can’t think of many examples off the top of my head, but there are some books I would have loved to see a sequel to! I would really love to see one to the book “How to Stop Time” that I read recently. There’s also some books I loved as a child that I always thought would be fun to see the characters faring as adults – like the Ramona Quimby books, for example. And as we see from this post, you never have to give up hope, because they could come eventually even if it’s a long wait! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, M.B.!

      Like you, I sometimes think about sequels I’d like to read (but that don’t exist). I even did a column about that back in 2015: 🙂

      And it would definitely be interesting to see how kid characters fare as adults. I guess J.K. Rowling did a bit of that with the epilogue in the final “Harry Potter” book — and then there’s the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” play.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I agree, M.B. — there could be all kinds of very welcome “Harry Potter” sequels!

          I read “Cursed Child” a few months ago and found it so-so. (As you know, J.K. Rowling was part of a team; she didn’t write it herself.) The play is probably better on stage than on the page, as plays usually are, but I wouldn’t be affording the current New York City production any time soon. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I think there are times that the author becomes ‘attached’ to their characters and to not write another story for them is akin to killing them. In S. King’s case, he wrote 2 books about the Gunslinger in the Black Tower series. He always thought about those characters but didn’t finish the series until the accident that almost killed him. He had to finish the story before anything else happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, GP! That’s a great way of putting it. Characters do indeed die in a way if they never appear in another book. Especially tough on authors (and their readers) if the characters are very memorable, well-drawn, etc.

      And, yes, a brush with mortality — as Stephen King had — can be quite a spur.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There have been so many sequels to Jane Austen novels, I’ve lost count, as well as at least one completed novel of a work Austen had begun before she died, “Sanditon.” I did read this and I must say it was difficult to discern where Austen left off after 11 chapters and the author picked up. For some reason I think there was another one, but I’m blanking on it. The only sequel I’ve read was “Death Comes to Pemberley,” by the great writer P.D. James, not long before she died.

    Moving back to mystery fiction, Jill Paton Walsh completed “Thrones, Dominations,” by one of the best mystery writers, Dorothy L. Sayers, that continued the Lord Peter/Harriet Vane series. Walsh has written I think at least 3 other Wimsey novels in the series. Then there is Sophie Hannah, who had the honor of writing new Hercule Poirot mysteries, none of which I’ve read, because I’ve finally found sequels or prequels to be ultimately unsatisfying, even though I love Hannah’s other detective series. To complete the trifecta of my favorite women mystery writers (Sayers, Christie and Tey), Nicola Upson chose to use Josephine Tey as the detective in her novels; again I only read one.

    I’ve not added dates or much else to my comment, because quite frankly. I was getting tired of going back and forth from here to there, and I’ve lost entire replies that way. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lib! Very interesting comment!

      As I mentioned to lulabelleharris below, I’m not a fan of sequels written by other writers to novels penned by the deceased original authors. I’m also not fond of someone else finishing an unfinished novel. In both cases, it seems more about cashing in than offering the world any great new insights. In the realm of Austen sequels, perhaps “Death Comes to Pemberley” is among the exceptions given how excellent a writer P.D. James was. But I haven’t read it. I also don’t plan to read any of David Lagercrantz’s sequels to the fantastic Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. Writers like Lagercrantz should concentrate on characters they create themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave, I agree with you completely, which is why I never go further than reading at most one sequel or completing an unfinished work by another author and am left feeling somewhat let down whenever I do so. So that’s why I too have never wanted to read the author of new books in the Millennium series, and have passed by the Sophie Hannah new Hercule Poirot novels. As I told Sue above, “Death Comes to Pemberley” is quite good, but not great. I suppose so many of us feel comforted by reading about characters we already know and love. I used to haunt bookstores long ago after I read all of Austen’s novels, hoping that somehow a new novel had been found, but alas, it was not to be; these were of course before the days of the internet. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Love all the detective fiction mentioned! To add to the list: Dick Francis started publishing thrillers in the early 60s and kept putting them out for the better part of 50 years, before the franchise was taken over by his son Felix. His first Sid Halley book came out around 1964/5, if I remember correctly. The next one came out in the 1970s (1973), the third one came out in the mid 90s, and the fourth in the early 2000s, so a span of around 40 years. Felix apparently brought out another one a few years later.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. My MOST favorite book/sequel are “Cannery Row” (1945) and “Sweet Thursday” (1954), just a span of 9 years. My least favorite book/sequel are “Gone With The Wind” (1936), and “Scarlett” (1991). Obviously, “Gone With The Wind” is an absolute classic that I adored, but “Scarlett” is simply a potboiler created (by another author) for the sole purpose of making money!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Revised!

        Thank you, lulabelle! Interesting subcategory — sequels written by another author long after the original author’s death. I’m also not fond of that idea in most cases. (One of the few exceptions for me was “Wide Sargasso Sea” — Jean Rhys’ prequel to “Jane Eyre” that told a fascinating backstory of “the wife in the attic” in Charlotte Bronte’s novel.) Yes, it’s almost always about making money.

        I thought “Sweet Thursday” was a terrific Steinbeck sequel to “Cannery Row”!


  16. “To Kill A Mockingbird” 1960, “Go Set A Watchman” 2015. Just re-read profound,brilliant “Mockingbird.” Will not read follow up. Should not have an addendum to a classic,not necessary in my opinion.

    What do you think of Atwood’s sequel to ‘Handmaids Tale”? Would she have written if Rumpy was not President?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Michele! Quite a gap — 55 years!

      Of course, as you know, “Go Set A Watchman” might have been an early draft of “To Kill A Mockingbird” rather than a truly separate prequel, sequel, or whatever. I haven’t read it, either. I agree that “TKAM” is brilliant — an absolute classic that deserves its iconic/ultra-bestselling status.

      Interesting question about whether Atwood would have written a “Handmaid’s Tale” sequel if it weren’t for Trump and other repugnant far-rightists making America reactionary again. My guess would be no. What do you think?


    • I think the precarious times we are in lead by a crude, vile President leading the charge of the light brigade to silence women in all areas: right to choose, access to contraception, Metoo movement, etc.. is fueling the fires of outrage from Atwood and countless others of all persuasions…..

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is an interesting topic and really made me think (always a good thing:) We have several different categories, here, it seems. For example, although the time span in reader years is long for the Grafton books, from A to Y, there was a new installment every few years (and time for the main character barely passes at all). That seems very different from just two books where the sequel came out many years after the first book. I really enjoyed the sequel to “The Graduate,” by Charles Webb, called “Home School.” I had always wondered what would happen to that young couple, and in that book the reader finds out! It was written over 40 years later, but only about a decade had passed for the main characters, I believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Becky! Very true about there being different categories — such as series novels that come out often during a long span of years, as you noted. And some series indeed don’t age the characters much or at all, while some do.

      Wow — I didn’t know there was a sequel to “The Graduate”! And so much later. I appreciate that interesting piece of information!

      Liked by 1 person

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