Sunday, 19 August 2012


Some sequels should not have been written. Others are clever continuations that enhance the original.

Larry Niven's Ringworld Engineers makes us realize that his Ringworld had told us almost nothing about the place. Each volume of the originally unplanned and unintended Ringworld Tetralogy is different and imparts considerably more information until a history of the construct emerges.

James Blish's "A Case Of Conscience," a work that had been complete although ending ambiguously became, in expanded form, Book One of the Hugo award-winning novel, A Case Of Conscience. His Black Easter ended with demonic victory at Armageddon but, incredibly, his originally unplanned The Day After Judgement continues the story from exactly where the first work had ended and spells out the implications that we had missed. ACOC, ...Easter and ...Judgement, the latter two retrospectively regarded as a single work, form an originally unplanned trilogy with a historical novel.

Poul Anderson's Harvest Of Stars ends with colonists at Alpha Centauri planning to spread life through the universe. We do not expect to see this happen but his The Fleet Of Stars opens in a later colony, one of three, at Beta Hydri. We should also mention prequels. Anderson's Flandry stories, originally appearing in sf magazines, came to be preceded by three "Young Flandry" novels and to be followed by three later novels that could be packaged as "Children Of Empire." However, instead of continuing that or any other series indefinitely, Anderson later wrote new works like Harvest Of Stars.

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