Stories halted due to death

I was talking on another board about Louis L’Amour’s The Walking Drum, which was a book that cried out for a sequel. L’Amour died before he could write it.

This is one of the reasons I’m always wary about picking up a new author if his or her series hasn’t gotten some closure. Yes, I’m looking at you, Robert Jordan!

What series, movies, TV, books, comics, left you hanging due to the death of their creator? What’s your nightmare scenario concerning current series?

For me, if JK Rowling died, I’d have to hire a necromancer. And if Greg Keyes (The Briar King) kicked the bucket, well, you just wouldn’t want to see the fallout. Trust me.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which Charles Dickens left unfinished when he died in 1870.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians by Mark Twain

(though both have been completed by others)

William Miller died before completing the sequel to A Canticle for Leibowitz, but the book (Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman was completed by Terry Bisson.

Which is the general answer to your question of what happens if an author dies before completing a series: his estate hires someone to complete it. Look at V.C. Andrews – death hasn’t slowed her down much at all.

C.S. Forester died in the middle of a Horatio Hornblower novel.

The Dune Series looked like it could have had at least one more sequel…and then Herbert Died.

I’ve heard horrible rumors that his nitwit son and buddy are going to write the sequel he didn’t. If they turn out to be true, they’ll wake up with a burning bag of something on their doorsteps the next day.

I’m willing to bet that Asimov was in the middle of three books when he passed. It’s just playing the odds. :smiley:

I’ve heard the same rumors ever since Uncle Herbie died. Since it’s been 20 years, I don’t worry too much about it.

Tolkien was still working on The Silmarillon when he died; of course, he’d been working on it all his freakin’ life, so who knows if he ever would have finished it. :smiley:

Not a writer, but…how about Stanley Kubrick? I’d love to have seen a non-Spielbergified version of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

Well, Stephen King has said that among the reasons he finished the Dark Tower series as quickly as he did (well, the last 3-4 books, anyway) was his near-death when he was hit by the van.

That accident found its way into the series, as well.

Well… Douglas Adams and Salmon of Doubt comes to mind. From what I hear, he wasn’t moving overly fast on it, though.

On the opposite note, Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) reportedly has written an 87th Precinct novel that he isn’t going to have published until after he dies.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. She passed away before she could finish the last couple of chapters, although by then you pretty much know how everyone’s going to end up.

John D McDonald reportedly had ‘A Black Shroud for McGee’ in the ‘thinking’ phase before his death. It would have wrapped up Travis McGee and brought him to his end.

I’d have liked to read that.

Zelazny had a couple irons in the fire when he died. Jane Linskold finished a couple of them.

My favorite is Psychoshop–a doubly posthumous novel by Alfred Bester (who died while writing it) and Zelazny (who picked it up from Bester’s ms and notes and died while completing it).

Since the Flashman series has a long way to go, it’ll be a sad day when Fraser passes on. I can’t imagine another writer successfully taking it over.

At least we got the story of the Penge Bungalow Murder from John Mortimer.

Can’t imagine forgetting Patrick O’Brian, who was beginning “21” when he died. Norton published the manuscript anyway, as a last gift to his fans.

Does anyone recall the Infocom game “Planetfall”? For those that don’t, this game is a text-adventure “go north, open door” type game I played on my trusty Commodore 64.

Early in the adventure you discover a disabled robot, which you repair through solving some puzzles. The robot’s name is Floyd and once repaird accompanies you for most of the game, issuing idiosyncratic (read idiotic) commentary to your actions.

This running commentary became unwittingly endearing. I mention this because one of the puzzles later in the game requires Floyd to sacrifice himself to win the game. When Floyd died, I was shocked - I actually was in mouring for a day.

What am I trying to say? It was a game I greatly enjoyed.

Years later, a novel was written that picked up where the game left off. The novel was called “Planetfall” Good name, eh?

When I saw this novel on the shelf, I snapped it up and began reading. I was immediately disappointed - what drivel, but I slogged through anyways. About 3/4 way through, though, I began to be sucked into this novel. Just when it was reaching a satisfying climax, I turn the page and it said, “To be continued in ‘Stationfall’” arrgghh!

I checked frequently at the bookstore for the arrival of “Stationfall” and oh joy, one year later it arrives.

I snapped this up and was even more disappointed. But again, the same thing happened 3/4 of the way through, and again I turn the page at a critical moment to read, “to be continued in Futurefall”

This was 1989.

I’m still waiting.

The author is Arthur Byron Cover. I have no idea if he’s dead or alive. A quick scan on the internet before posting revealed that “Futurefall” is “yet to be published.” As far as the end result is concerned, Mr. Cover is as good as dead.

For some strange reason, I read those books. And yes, they sucked. And I suspect that Arthur Bryan Cover is a pseudonym (come, on… initials ABC?) for somebody who didn’t want to waste his time (or wasn’t being paid enough money) for continuing the suckitude. :wink:

Wing Commander: False Colors by Andrew Keith. First book in a trilogy that would have basically explained the events occuring between the third and fourth Wing Commander games.

Dude it’s time to let go.

Naval fiction writers must be an endangered species. To add to Forester and O’Brian, Dudley Pope, author of the Ramage series, died shortly after giving his captain a new ship and ending a story with the hint that Ramage’s admiral had a special job for him.