Last week, I blogged about books that I wish just hadn’t made it to the shelves.
But that got me thinking also about books that don’t exist but that would exist in a perfect world, unwritten stories by writers who either moved onto other projects or left us too soon.
I limited the list to story lines that I’ve personally read, so obvious choices like the end of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series or Charles Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood have been left off.
As I compiled the list, it struck me how many of these writers I first discovered as a teenager or even younger, driving home the importance of reading as a child.
I wonder what my kid’s lists will look like in twenty years.
1. A new Lord Darcy novel by the late Randall Garrett
This series had me at “forensic sorcerer.”
Years ago, I found the Lord Darcy novel, Too Many Magicians, in a used bookstore. It was one of the very first multi-genre books I read. It combined mystery, alternate history, and a Sherlock Holmes analogue, not to mention a dash of James Bond.
Lord Darcy lives in an alternate history where the now-obscure Prince Arthur eventually became King of England, succeeding Richard the Lionheart, who did not die young. Not satisfied with that twist to history, Garrett added a supernatural one, the discovery of magic.
Darcy is the chief investigator for the Duke of Normandy, ably assisted by Master Forensic Sorcerer, Sean O Lochlainn. The practical use of magic, especially for reconstructing crime scenes is something that I’ve not seen done as well in any other books that blend magic and mystery. And the mysteries themselves are worthy of Doyle.
Sadly, Garrett passed away in 1987, and we will have no more.
2. Harry Potter’s adventures as an Auror
No, I am not pressuring J.K. Rowling. Her achievement with the Harry Potter books staggers me, especially given how she was able to pull yet another surprise out of her hat with the final book. The ending seem inevitable and predictable, with Harry confronting Lord Voldemort in a final duel to the death. But the plot twist that led to the confrontation was wonderfully done.
But I want more.
I especially I want to see Harry all grown up, as an Auror, and how he and Ron and Hermione function as adults, fully in control of their abilities. I suspect, however, that Rowling will move forward, not backward, to a new series.
3. A sequel to John M. Ford’s Dragon Waiting
My love of English history comes into play again. This is a dark, twisty novel about an alternate history where Richard III has been forced to take control of England because his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, have become vampires.
Medieval politics, mixed with supernatural happenings, and an eerie, morally gray ending, resulted in a book that haunted me for a long time. I kept hoping for a sequel, as things seemed quite unsettled at the end. But Ford passed away in 2006 after a distinguished writing career.
4. A novel by J.R.R. Tolkien
While Tolkien’s estate has been busy releasing all of his notes and the back story to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for last decade or so, I really crave a fully realized story instead of bits and pieces. My first choice would be to see the initial war against Sauron, and the last alliance of Elves and Man, led by Gil-galad and Elendil.
But a tale of Tuor and Idril would also be wonderful, especially given they had the happy ending that Beren and Luthien lacked.
5. “The Great Hiatus” from Arthur Conan Doyle
The missing years of Sherlock Holmes’ life have been fodder for pastiche and fan fiction for a century now. Conan Doyle never filled in the years between “The Final Problem,” and “The Adventure of the Empty House.”
Given that Doyle intended for Holmes to stay dead after “The Final Problem,” I doubt he had more than a vague idea of what happened to his most-well-known creation. Instead, readers were left only cryptic references to the adventures of a man named Sigurson and time spent in Tibet.
I’ve read most of the attempts to fill in the missing years by other authors, but I still can’t help craving Doyle’s own words.
What’s on your list?
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