Friday, December 02, 2005

Sequel to A.E. Van Vogt's Null-A books announced

The Slush God led me to his article on a sequel being written to A.E. Van Vogt's Null-A series. I can't understand this interest in writing sequels to books by dead authors. John Gregory Betancourt did it with the Amber books and a sequel to Blade Runner (more of a sequel to the movie though) was written. (Sorry, no link, I can't remember its title or who wrote it.) There was also those prequels to Dune.
I can't understand why any writer would want to do this. For a check, I suppose. Does the writer, John C. Wright, know anything about General Semantics, the inspiration and guiding order behind the Null-A books? The books are a lot of fun whether you buy GS or not. Still, with the inspiration left behind, could the books go on. And really, should they go on without Van Vogt?
I'm a huge fan of Van Vogt. His writing is so weird and original (while certainly being very pulpy). I can't imagine anyone pulling off his kind of writing.
Looking on the bright side of things, maybe this will mean more of Van Vogt's books will be reprinted. You can already pick up the World of Null-A. You can read the first chapter of that book here.


John C. Wright said...

"I can't understand why any writer would want to do this. For a check, I suppose."

Since the Van Vogt estate will take half the advance, the paycheck will be considerably smaller than usual.

Elsewhere on your blog, you speak of your love of books. Now imagine someone allowed you to write scenes in the best beloved masterworks you admired in your youth.

Imagine you get to describe the scenes where Gilbert Gosseyn stumbles across what may be his own corpse, or meets the Ultimate Gosseyn from AD 3000000, or finds out his false memories of being a farmer from Cress Village may be true, or that his double-brain has gone insane, or discovers the Milky Way is about to be eaten by the same shadow-effect that annihilated the original galaxy of man two hundred million years ago. Imagine being allowed to decide Lavoisseur's true identity, or Patricia Hardie’s, or to decide what became of The Follower after his total amnesia struck, or what the outcome will be of Gosseyn's renewed struggle with Enro the Red, ruthless dictator of the Greatest Empire.

Do you think a person would do this for a check from the publisher? Are you kidding me? I would have paid THEM. Being allowed to write this book is one of the best thing that ever happened to me.

"Does the writer, John C. Wright, know anything about General Semantics?"

That depends on what we mean by the abstraction, "to know". The map is not the territory, after all, and the word is not the thing it represents.

Brian said...

OOooh, you do know GS, excellent. I still think you're crazy to write a sequel to the Null-A books, but I get what you're saying. Good luck with them, and I hope they bring more attention to the originals.

John C. Wright said...

"I hope they bring more attention to the originals."

This is my hope as well. In all frankness, I think it more likely that A.E. van Vogt's fame will lend luster to mine, rather than mine lend luster to his. But stranger things have happened: at least one reader picked up a copy of THE NIGHT LAND by William Hope Hodgson merely because yours truly set a short story in that background.

I have spoken with van Vogt's widow on the phone, and a kinder voice I have not heard. I certainly don't mind, now that her husband has passed away, if I can help his fame generate a few more royalties for her. She was delighted that both my book and SLAN II would be coming out soon, after so many years when she had nothing on the market, not even reprints, with van Vogt's name on it.

Man, I love those books.