It’s always hard to believe the words “The End”, isn’t it? Seems like there should always be room for another sentence after that. A paragraph. A chapter. And then sometimes… there’s another book. A whole story you weren’t anticipating. Here are a few of those surprises…
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
J.K. Rowling insisted that while there was more of the wizarding world to explore, the story of Harry Potter was complete at the end of The Deathly Hallows. There was an encyclopedia that she intended to write for Harry’s world, which eventually became Pottermore, and it seemed that was that for several years. But by 2013, Rowling was said to be working on a Potter play, and 2015 came with more information and a title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The show premiered in London’s West End in 2016, detailing what happened in the years directly following the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows.
The published version of The Cursed Child had a number of hurdles to overcome—it isn’t presented as an adaptation, but rather as a straight script, which doesn’t read quite right. But the show has no signs of losing steam; it’s still running in London, with productions now on Broadway in New York and in Melbourne’s East End, with many other cities to come. This is meant to be the true end of Harry Potter’s journey, years later, tackling parenthood and breaking down the abuse he suffered as a child. The two part behemoth of a tale certainly gives fans more to chew in regard to the next generation following Harry’s, with Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy’s unlikely friendship leading the way to a new era.
Peter Pan in Scarlet (Peter Pan #2) by Geraldine McCaughrean
In 1929 J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, granted the rights to story and characters to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, a copyright that the hospital held for decades through many copyright reevaluations and changes. Though there is still question as to whether the hospital’s rights over the character should extend from the original 1911 novel or the 1928 play, they were still in firm possession of all the rights (due to the EU’s directive in 1996) until 2007. So in 2004, the hospital held a competition asking authors to send in a book outline along with a sample chapter for a Peter Pan sequel. They chose popular children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean to pen the book, titled Peter Pan in Scarlet.
Peter Pan in Scarlet sees a lot of changes in the Neverland we know and love; Peter has taken up residence of Captain Hook’s old ship and begins taking on Hook-like qualities whenever he slips on the old pirate’s coat. Wendy and a few of the Lost Boys the Darlings adopted (now known as the Old Boys) have to put on their children’s clothing in order to revert to childhood, or they’re unable to find Neverland. Michael Darling is sadly dead, having fought in the Great War. The effect WWI had on the world is part of the reason why the Darlings end up back in Neverland; there are rips in reality from all the fighting, letting bits of Neverland leak into the real world. There were talks of other adaptations for a time (there was even a radio play!), but not much has been seen of this sequel since its release.
The Redemption of Time (The Three-Body Problem #4) by Baoshu, translated by Ken Liu
Cixin Liu’s Three-Body trilogy has many fans around the globe, but author Baoshu may have hit upon the perfect cascade of right-place-right-time that any fan has ever seen. After hungrily devouring each book, Baoshu’s desire to spend more time with the characters and world that the Three-Body trilogy provided prompted him to start writing fanfiction. He grew the story over time, and it became a widely discussed tale, even as much as the trilogy’s finale novel Death’s End. Eventually, Mr. Yao Haijun (a friend of Cixin Liu and an editor) asked for permission to publish it as a standalone novel. With a go-ahead from the author himself, The Redemption of Time became an officially endorsed paraquel.
Following the story of Yun Tianming, The Redemption of Time finds Yun near the end of his life, but given a reprieve by an consciousness called The Spirit. They want Yun to help them fight a battle against a universe-threatening entity—but Yun knows what it’s like to be used by powers bigger than yourself toward a greater purpose, and has no intention of putting himself in the same position again…
And Another Thing… (Hitchhiker’s Guide Series #6) by Eoin Colfer
It was already pretty hilarious that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series contained five books, despite being a trilogy, but with author Douglas Adams’ (untimely, unfair, deeply not-OK) demise, it seemed the series was definitely at an end. But! Leave it to this series to defy even Death’s bony hand. Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer was given the green light to continue the story by Douglas Adams’ widow, Jane Belson. Adams had talked about writing a sixth Hitchhiker’s book to counteract the bleakness of the Mostly Harmless, saying “I would love to finish Hitchhiker on a slightly more upbeat note” and Colfer delivered a book that was appropriately committed to silliness. Colfer struck the perfect Adamsian note with the title, using a quote from So Long… And Thanks For All the Fish:
“The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying ‘And another thing…’ twenty minutes after admitting he’s lost the argument.”
AAT picks up moments after the end of Mostly Harmless, and follows Arthur, Trillian, and Zaphod as they attempt to recruit a new god to watch over the Earthling colony of Nano, all the while battling the Vogons who are once again intent on destroying humanity. The book was published in time to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the first HHGTTG, with the radio adaptation, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Hexagonal Phase, broadcasting on the BBC on the fortieth anniversary of the first HHGTTG series, the Primary Phase, with most of the original radio cast.
Untitled Panem Novel (The Hunger Games)
Upon hearing that Suzanne Collins was expanding the world of The Hunger Games after concluding the original trilogy in 2010, one might assume that the story would continue after the epilogue of Mockingjay, in full Cursed Child fashion. That is, following Katniss and Peeta’s children (who, let’s be honest, are probably named for some combination of Prim, Rue, and Finnick) a generation after the final Hunger Games and the overthrowing of the Capitol.
Instead, Collins is writing a prequel exploring the first decade of the Games. “With this book,” she said in the official announcement, “I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival.” That means delving into the districts’ first rebellion against the Capitol, District 13’s retreat, the ensuing Dark Days, and the establishment of the Hunger Games to de-incentivize future unrest. And, what do you know, both future Games victor Mag and future President Coriolanus Snow were children during this time…