points us to a NY Times article that discusses some of the recent "controversies" over unauthorized sequels/prequels/re-imaginings of certain classic books
, including the ban
on an unauthorized "sequel" to Catcher in the Rye
-- as well as the awesome addition of zombies to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
, now known as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
. But the key point is made towards the end:
Yet the urge to write sequels and prequels is almost always an homage of sorts. We don't want more of books we hate. The books that get re-written and re-imagined are beloved. We don't want them ever to be over. We pay them the great compliment of imagining that they're almost real: that there must be more to the story, and that characters we know so well -- Elizabeth Bennet, for one, or Sherlock Holmes, who has probably inspired more sequels than any other fictional being -- must have more to their lives. In a couple of quite good sequels recently -- "A Slight Trick of the Mind," by Mitch Cullin, and "Final Solution: A Story of Detection," by Michael Chabon -- we even get to watch Holmes grow old and discover love of a sort.
Certain books are more than mere texts -- words on a page or, these days, an electronic reading device. They're part of our mental furniture. And yet it's their familiarity, their well-wornness, that makes them such tempting targets. If zombies were to turn up, for example, in Mrs. Gaskell's "Cranford," it wouldn't be nearly so funny.
And, then when you think about it, if copyright is designed to encourage more creativity, wouldn't these sorts of re-imaginings of already existing fictional worlds fit that criteria exactly?