CLOSE

9 Sequels Written Decades After the Original Book

Today marks the release of Doctor Sleep, a new Stephen King novel that checks in with The Shining’s Danny Torrance several decades after his stay at the Overlook Hotel. It’s been 36 years since the original book was released in 1977, but such a time lapse between sequels isn’t as unusual as you might think. Here are nine other books that made fans wait decades to find out what happened next.

1. Psycho and Psycho II

Time between books: 23 years.
Why so long? Presumably, Robert Bloch was just busy writing other things. Extremely prolific with a typewriter, Bloch wrote fiction, non-fiction, short stories, magazine articles, movies and TV shows, and edited anthologies. Psycho II certainly wasn’t a novel celebrated by Hollywood the way that the first Psycho was. The sequel mocked splatter films, and according to Bloch, “The mere idea of criticizing their bloodbath tactics was abhorrent to them, and I was told they had no intention of doing a sequel to Psycho, let alone my story. But when advance notices of my novel generated publicity here and abroad, some resident genius suddenly had a great idea. 'Let's make Psycho II!' he cried, thus demonstrating both his creativity and his ability to count. Needless to say, I wasn't part of the time—nor was I invited to a screening.”

2. Heidi and Heidi Grows Up

Time between books: 58 years.
Why so long? Well, for one, original author Johanna Spyri died in 1901, 37 years before the sequel was written by her translator, Charles Tritten. (Spyri was Swiss.) Tritten explained that so many Heidi fans around the world wrote with questions about the fates of Heidi, Peter, and Grandfather that he felt compelled to continue their adventures. He also wrote a third story, Heidi’s Children, in 1939.

3. Dracula and Dracula the Un-dead

Time between books: 112 years.
Why so long? Because Stoker knew to leave well enough alone. It wasn’t until long after Stoker’s death—nearly a century later, in fact - that his estate allowed great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker to partner with direct-to-TV horror writer Ian Holt to write Dracula the Un-dead. The reviews are mixed, but all of them agree that if you come in expecting Stoker’s track-and-field coach great-grandnephew to have the same talent that Bram did, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re just looking for a fun, spooky read, however, feel free to dig in.

4. Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Scarlet

Time between books: 95 years.
Why so long? Well, in 1929, J.M. Barrie famously left the rights to his Neverland empire to Great Ormand Street Hospital, a children’s hospital in London. To commemorate the original story’s centenary in 2004, the hospital held a contest inviting authors to send in sample chapters of a new Pan book. The winner would earn the right to write the official, estate-sanctioned sequel. The winner, of course, was Geraldine McCaughrean; her Peter Pan in Scarlet was released in 2006.

5. Rosemary’s Baby and Son of Rosemary

Time between books: 30 years.
Why so long? Ira Levin didn’t really say why it took so long to write a sequel, at least not in any interviews I can find. But like Robert Bloch, I suspect that Levin had plenty of other writing itches to scratch—from novels like The Stepford Wives to musicals and plays, his pen was never idle. I’m guessing he just didn’t feel the urge to return to those characters until later in his life. Fun fact: He dedicated Son of Rosemary to Mia Farrow.

6. The Witches of Eastwick and The Widows of Eastwick

Time between books: 24 years.
Why so long? Make no bones about it—John Updike knew exactly why he wrote the sequel: “Taking those women into old age would be a way of writing about old age, my old age,” he explained to New York Magazine in 2008. He gave the women “the physical oddities I notice in myself, the arthritic pains, the perennially imperfect teeth. I’ve been spared baldness, but in a strong hotel light, you suddenly see your awful head that you never had to look at before.”

7. Catch-22 and Closing Time

Time between books: 33 years.
Why so long? Heller thought of Closing Time as “summing up.” Though he specifically said the intent was to sum up, not sing a swan song, it did end up being his last novel.

8. Dandelion Wine and Farewell Summer

Time between books: 49 years.
Why so long? Farewell Summer was the last of Ray Bradbury’s novels released in his lifetime. Because this book and its predecessor were both based at least partially on Bradbury’s recollections of his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, it’s easy to imagine that he was doing a little “summing up” of his own.

9. King Coal and The Coal War

Time between books: 59 years.
Why so long? The almost six-decade time span between books wasn’t Upton Sinclair’s fault. He submitted the sequel for publication in 1917, just three years after the publication of King Coal. Publishers found the sequel “insufficiently interesting” and declined to purchase it, proving that even celebrated authors aren’t immune from the cruel rejection of publishing houses. In 1976, nearly 60 years after the release of King Coal, the Colorado Associated University Press finally printed a few copies of the sequel.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
George C. Beresford/Getty Images
arrow
literature
12 Facts About Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
George C. Beresford/Getty Images
George C. Beresford/Getty Images

Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella about venturing into the moral depths of colonial Africa is among the most frequently analyzed literary works in college curricula.

1. ENGLISH WAS THE AUTHOR’S THIRD LANGUAGE.

It’s impressive enough that Conrad wrote a book that has stayed relevant for more than a century. This achievement seems all the more impressive when considering that he wrote it in English, his third language. Born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, Conrad was a native Polish speaker. French was his second language. He didn’t even know any English—the language of his literary composition—until age 21.

2. HEART OF DARKNESS BEGINS AND ENDS IN THE UK.

Though it recounts Marlow's voyage through Belgian Congo in search of Kurtz and is forever linked to the African continent, Conrad’s novella begins and ends in England. At the story’s conclusion, the “tranquil waterway” that “seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness” is none other than the River Thames.

3. THE PROTAGONIST MARLOW IS CONRAD.

The well-traveled Marlow—who appears in other Conrad works, such as Lord Jim—is based on his equally well-traveled creator. In 1890, 32-year-old Conrad sailed the Congo River while serving as second-in-command on a Belgian trading company steamboat. As a career seaman, Conrad explored not only the African continent but also ventured to places ranging from Australia to India to South America.

4. LIKE KURTZ AND MARLOW, CONRAD GOT SICK ON HIS VOYAGE.

Illness claimed Kurtz, an ivory trader who has gone mysteriously insane. It nearly claimed Marlow. And these two characters almost never existed, owing to their creator’s health troubles. Conrad came down with dysentery and malaria in Belgian Congo, and afterwards had to recuperate in the German Hospital, London, before heading to Geneva, Switzerland, to undergo hydrotherapy. Though he survived, Conrad suffered from poor health for many years afterward.

5. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY ALLEGED KURTZES IN REAL LIFE.

The identity of the person on whom Conrad based the story’s antagonist has aroused many a conjecture. Among those suggested as the real Kurtz include a French agent who died on board Conrad’s steamship, a Belgian colonial officer, and Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley.

6. COLONIZING WAS ALL THE RAGE WHEN HEART OF DARKNESS APPEARED.

Imperialism—now viewed as misguided, oppressive, and ruthless—was much in vogue when Conrad’s novella hit shelves. The "Scramble for Africa" had seen European powers stake their claims on the majority of the continent. Britain’s Queen Victoria was even portrayed as the colonies' "great white mother." And writing in The New Review in 1897, adventurer Charles de Thierry (who tried and failed to establish his own colony in New Zealand) echoed the imperialistic exuberance of many with his declaration: “Since the wise men saw the star in the East, Christianity has found no nobler expression.”

7. CHINUA ACHEBE WAS NOT A FAN OF THE BOOK.

Even though Conrad was no champion of colonialism, Chinua Achebe—the Nigerian author of Things Fall Apart and other novels—delivered a 1975 lecture called “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” that described Conrad as a “thoroughgoing racist” and his ubiquitous short classic as “an offensive and deplorable book.” However, even Achebe credited Conrad for having “condemned the evil of imperial exploitation.” And others have recognized Heart of Darkness as an indictment of the unfairness and barbarity of the colonial system.

8. THE BOOK WASN’T SUCH A BIG DEAL—AT FIRST.

In 1902, three years after its initial serialization in a magazine, Heart of Darkness appeared in a volume with two other Conrad stories. It received the least notice of the three. In fact, not even Conrad himself considered it a major work. And during his lifetime, the story “received no special attention either from readers or from Conrad himself,” writes Gene M. Moore in the introduction to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: A Casebook. But Heart of Darkness managed to ascend to immense prominence in the 1950s, after the planet had witnessed “the horror”—Kurtz's last words in the book—of WWII and the ramifications of influential men who so thoroughly indulged their basest instincts.

9. T.S. ELIOT BORROWED AN IMPORTANT LINE.

Though Heart of Darkness wasn’t an immediate sensation, it evidently was on the radar of some in the literary community. The famous line announcing the antagonist’s demise, “Mistah Kurtz—he dead,” serves as the epigraph to the 1925 T.S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men.”

10. THE STORY INSPIRED APOCALYPSE NOW.

Eighty years after Conrad’s novella debuted, the Francis Ford Coppola film Apocalypse Now hit the big screen. Though heavily influenced by Heart of Darkness, the movie’s setting is not Belgian Congo, but the Vietnam War. And though the antagonist (played by Marlon Brando) is named Kurtz, this particular Kurtz is no ivory trader, but a U.S. military officer who has become mentally unhinged.

11. HEART OF DARKNESS HAS BEEN MADE INTO AN OPERA.

Tarik O'Regan’s Heart of Darkness, an opera in one act, opened in 2011. Premiering at London’s Royal Opera House, it was reportedly the first operatic adaptation of Conrad’s story and heavily inspired by Apocalypse Now.

12. THE BOOK ALSO SPARKED A VIDEO GAME.

In a development not even Conrad’s imagination could have produced, his classic inspired a video game, Spec Ops: The Line, which was released in 2012.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dan Bell
arrow
Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios