#WDYTWed: post-mortem continuations

#WDYTWed: post mortem continuations

In the more than ten years that I’ve been writing this blog (the first post was August 28, 2009), one of my favorite things has been interacting with the readers.

That used to happen a lot more. When I started out, I averaged 1,000 new words a day, but in more recent times, I just haven’t been able to do that. I’ve been trying to write more narratives again, but without that, the blog doesn’t tend to provoke many comments…and I miss that. I think my long time readers do, too.

One of those long time readers and amongst my most frequent commenters is Lady Galaxy, who suggested that I write something once a week with the intent of increasing interaction.

It’s a good idea. 🙂

I think the best way to do that is to do one or more polls (which I’ve done throughout the past decade).

I’ve decided to name this series #WDYTWed. WDYT is an internet abbreviation for “What Do You Think?”, and I’m going to do them on Wednesdays. Hopefully, just about every Wednesday, although I missed a couple recently. Good reason, though: a happy family event…

I’m really curious about your reaction to today’s question!

It ties into a lot of things in society, and in the visual arts, as well as the literary ones.

When a creator (an author, for purposes of this poll) dies, what, if anything, should be done to continue the worlds they’ve created?

It’s pretty common in the literary world. Many more James Bond books have been published since Ian Fleming’s death than the original author wrote. Dune, MIddle-Earth, Sherlock Holmes…sequels to Gone with the Wind, War of the Worlds: while certainly, some readers don’t like the idea, they appear to be in the minority and the books can do very well financially and be popular.

The only series I regularly re-read is the Oz books. I read an e-book version before falling asleep in bed: a few “pages” a night. That’s only the “Famous 14” by the original author, L. Frank Baum. However, I have other books in the series by other authors.

I particularly enjoy the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson (at AmazonSmile*), the first author to wear the post-mortem mantle. Thompson’s Oz books shifted in a lighter direction, with more puns and less slavery and torture (both of which are prominent in Baum’s works).

I’ve also liked some of The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage (at AmazonSmile*). There is a significant difference to those, since they are being published under the “house name” of Kenneth Robeson, rather than the names of the new authors. That’s not hidden at all, and it’s the way the books by primary original author Lester Dent were also published.

Clearly, I’m comfortable with post-mortem continuations.


There is something on the horizon.

It’s starting to happen in movies and TV.

Continuation via AI…artificial intelligence.

“James Dean” will appear in a Vietnam War movie.

“Carrie Fisher” has appeared in movies after dying.

“Peter Cushing” was also in one of the recent Star Wars movies.

That’s not entirely AI, not out of whole cloth…er, bytes. Humans are involved in the creative aspects, and for Fisher and Cushing, actors will also involved.

There has been a lot of pushback online on the James Dean story (Dean would be computer generated).

My response to it is a bit different. The family reportedly approves of DigiDean.

If the family approves of it, why should fans have precedence? Oh, I think we should have a voice, certainly, and we will at the box office (or by whether or not we stream it), but my guess is that Dean would appreciate that the family is still being supported. Well, maybe not James Dean, necessarily, but there are a lot of other actors who would.

Digital author recreations are inevitable. After Stephen King is unable to write works, let’s say it’s at least ten years in the future, there will be software which will analyze all of King’s works and be able to produce something which, at least on the surface, reads like it was written by King. That can be done now, but it will get to be much better. More data helps in a situation like that, and that’s one reason I picked King (along with the popularity). It would be harder to credibly emulate someone who only wrote one short story.

I would think it will be very difficult (but not impossible) for AI to innovate as humans do. DigiKing won’t be likely to surprise with a complete left turn and, say, write a Stephen King regency romance. Writing new contemporary horror with convincing suburbanites encountering something outré? Yes, I think that will happen.

That’s the set up: let’s do the poll.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get.


Shop ’til you help!



This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

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