In honor of Fathers’ Day: like author, like son
You know that old thing about sons going into the family business? All those stores that are “So and so and son”? Um…like Sanford and Son?
Well, that’s happened several times with authors.
That seems like a real sign of respect to me…to want to do what your father did.
Of course, there is some financial incentive possible, too, but I really have a hard time with the idea that people become authors just to make money. Yes, a very few authors make a lot of money, but most of them make very little from their writing. It’s also one of those things that, well, I think people do because they like it. I’m specifically talking about writing novels, here. Some people do write mostly as a job, but novels? I think you have to like the process.
In honor of Fathers’ Day, I thought I’d mention some of the father/son writing pairs. Not teams, mind you…I’m not requiring that they wrote together, just that they both wrote.
Kingsley and Martin Amis
Kingsley, who was knighted, is considered one of the great British 20th Century novelists. His best known work is probably his first, Lucky Jim. However, he wrote in a number of genres, including fantasy. He won the Man Booker Prize (for The Old Devils), and was an expert on James Bond. His son, Martin, is a well-known writer as well. His novels include Money and London Fields, and he’s written short stories and non-fiction as well.
Stephen King and Joe Hill
Stephen King, of course, is one of the best-selling novelists of all time. When his son, Joe, became an author, he wanted to succeed without trading on his father’s name. Before his identity was publicly acknowledged he had already won the Bram Stoker Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.
Alexandre Dumas, père and fils
The senior Dumas (père) wrote some of the classic adventure novels: The Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo, and many more. He also wrote plays. His son had considerable success as a playwright, and wrote a couple of novels.
Frank and Brian Herbert
Frank Herbert wrote one of the great science fiction novels, Dune. He went on to write six Dune novels, and a number of other respected science fiction novels, including The Lazarus Effect and The Green Brain. Brian has added to the Dune universe (writing novels with Kevin J. Anderson), and has written the Timeweb series (among other works).
H.G. Wells and Anthony West
H.G. Wells wrote so many classic science fictions works, many of which have been adapted into movies and other productions many times (The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau). Anthony, who also wrote about his father and growing up in a divided family, wrote novels as well (The Vintage and Another Kind).
William F. and Christopher Buckley
While William F. Buckley, Jr. (who is the father in this pair) may have been best known as a conservative commentator and language maven, he was also a novelist. He wrote a dozen novels in the Blackford Oakes spy series. His son, Christopher, has written a number of satirical novels. Thank You for Smoking was made into a Golden Globe-nominated movie by Jason Reitman (screenplay and direction) and starring Aaron Eckhart. A movie based on Little Green Men, which focuses on the government response to UFOs, is in development now.
John and Robert Updike
John is the author of the famous “Rabbit” novels, for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes. He wrote quite a few famous novels, including The Witches of Eastwick (and its sequel, The Widows of Eastwick). He also wrote short stories, poetry and non-fiction. His son David has written a series of children’s novels featuring a character named Homer, and named for the different seasons (A Winter Journey, An Autumn Tale), ans well as other works.
Arthur and Evelyn Waugh
This is a case of the son (Evelyn) being better known today than the father. Arthur wrote a biography of Lord Tennyson, as well as other works including poetry. Evelyn, of course, wrote Brideshead Revisited, and more than ten other novels (including the Sword of Honour trilogy). Although not as well-known today, Evelyn’s brother (and yes, Arthur’s son) Alec had a huge success with The Loom of Youth, which in 1917 included LGBT elements. His novel Island in the Sun, was adapted into a movie that featured James Mason and Harry Belafonte, among others.
Erasmus and Charles Darwin
Okay, Erasmus is actually the grandfather…but Fathers’ Day is about grandfathers too, right? Erasmus was a poet who wrote poems on scientific matters…really. He’d also formed the Lichfield Botanical Society (to translate the works of Linnaeus). He was also a doctor and an inventor. It seems clear that he must have inspired and influenced his grandson, who is strongly associated with the theory of evolution. Charles wrote many works, the most famous of which is The Origin of Species.
There are a few examples. Of course, there are father and daughter author pairs as well.
My father is an incredible person. He is an educator (as I am, although we do very different things), he was a fighter pilot, had a big band (he played kit drums…I’ve played conga drum), and was a prize fighter. He worked with Martin Luther King and did research with behaviorist B.F. Skinner. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my father being who he is.
I salute fathers, grandfathers, sons, and daughters today. For the inspiration you give, take, or find, have a great day!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.