Spufford has done a Narnia sequel

The award-winning writer Francis Spufford has spent three years on a new novel for the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series despite not having permission from the Lewis estate….

Spufford, who has printed 75 copies and distributed them free to friends and fellow writers, said it was “not intended to get out into the world unless, long shot, I come to terms with the estate”.

The Lewis estate has resisted all entreaties to continue the Narnia novels, the last of which was published in 1956 by Lewis, who died in 1963. His work remains in copyright until 2034.

In part he did the sequel for his daughter.  Here is the (London) Times link, gated.  This guy has tweeted some of the work.

Comments

Considering what happened to Dune, with the permission of the estate (helps to have a new author be the son of the original author), it is clear that Lewis's estate astutely judges the possibility of a good result on the level of enjoying magical Turkish Delight over the long term.

For that matter, for whatever reason, it was a godsend that Americans were basically unaware of The Magician's Nephew for decades, believing there were only 6 books in the Narnia series.

>For that matter, for whatever reason, it was a godsend that Americans were basically unaware of The Magician's Nephew for decades, believing there were only 6 books in the Narnia series.

?

I don't think that's true, clockwork. There were always seven.

They came in a box.

I guess I'm dating myself - in 1970 or so, there were only six in the U.S. I did spend some time trying to find a publication history on the Internet, but the trail always went cold around 1995, when the rights changed American publishers. Since my copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is in a box, it is not practical to see whether it lists six or seven books. The 7th book was always available in the UK apparently, so one has to wonder.

On the other hand, if that book had been available in the school library, I definitely would have checked it out, or I would have bought a copy through Scholastic/a book fair.

I was at the mercy of whatever was in the branch library. The Scholastic flyer was, sadly, limited to Scholastic books (I think?) and was enjoyed less for the book than for the feeling of being included when the teacher distributed the bounty during class after you'd forgotten all about the order. It is funny to think now that, though I will not pretend we couldn't afford have afforded them, in my family children's books were classed with toys, given only and sparingly, on birthday or Christmas. Better luck next time if Grandmother elected to give you "And Now, Miguel" that year.

Elementary school library in my case, which was quite large. And Scholastic was one thing, but there also book fairs. Later, there were also used book sales in intermediate school - books were quite a common thing in Fairfax County almost 5 decades ago. And yes, there was the county library system too, which was a fairly common destination - both the main branch and a more local one.

Someone upload it to library genesis already.

I don't quite get the point. A spin-off, okay. A Dark Side revision, maybe. Some Lost Tales, fine. A sequel? As in, the original Narnia magically saved from destruction in the Last Battle?
That can't be CSL's Narnia in any plausible sense. Just an entirely original work sharing some of the names.

"Narnia magically saved from destruction in the Last Battle"

This would be wrong, wrong, wrong.

Also, has the author read the discarded vision and understood the connection between Narnia and the medieval view of the cosmos?

Yes.

I agree with the C. S. Lewis estate. Please leave Narnia, and Lewis’s extraordinary work alone. The series is complete, the way Lewis wanted it. As someone who has dealt with the estate personally over a documentary sponsored by Oregon Public Broadcasting, you’re not going to get their permission to publish. As a gifted writer yourself, create your own imaginative world, much like Tolkien or Pullman.

A sequel to The Magician’s Nephew, fitting into the space in Narnian history between it and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and written so far as I could manage it in Lewis’s voice, and proceeding as if from Lewis’s mind and imagination.

Welcome to the club. Years ago, I wrote a Narnian Cookbook which several publishers, including Macmillan, tried to get accepted by the estate, but to no avail.

I always wondered where Tumnus's sardines came from.

And if they cried out when the net dragged towards the light.

Why not post a free copy on the internet? Would that be illegal, if you didn't make any money off the whole thing?

P.S. Can I just say I adored Golden Hill? My only complaint is that I was sad when it was finished, because I wanted more of the world you've imagined. Red Plenty was fantastic as well.

Oh. Hello. So, have you read the discarded image? And what do you think Lewis would say about your wife, the "priest"?

Assuming you are really the author of this. Then thank you for explaining -- this is exactly the period of "history" that I would have liked filled in.

My question: are you a Christian? I am not Christian, but I feel that a *Narnia* that is not Christian apologetics is not the real thing.

You didn’t reply directly to Spufford, so he may not see your question. He is a Christian and has written Christian fiction and nonfiction.

Such is life in King Tirian's Narmia.

Having read both Rowlings and Lewis, I prefer Rowlings by a long, long mile.

Yet The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is an exceptional book in a way that none of Rowling's individual books are. Her Potter series is far superior, of course.

Speaking of narrative density, maybe.
I must have been reading books for a different purpose.
There is nothing Rowling for me to seek in real life. Politics, sports, coming of age - I can't say I am short on any of that.
Compare that to the Dawn Treader that opens up an entirely new dimension of things to imagine.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is truly not bad (a sadly low bar in terms of the Chronicles of Narnia), however it is by no means exceptional the way The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is.

For me, this discussion is about reading these books when you are 8, for example - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe creates a sense of wonder that The Philosopher's Stone does not even approach.

However, if we are talking about reading these books when you are 18 or 28 or 38, etc - well, the Potter series is basically for children, though enjoyable enough books to read to children not yet able to read on their own. Of course, the Potter series stretched on for years, and is still recent enough that many people who were ten in 1998 read the last book after they were no longer children. Though the series definitely suffered from bloat, the quality remained fairly even, in part because the books were always considered part of a series.

I really am, and yes, I am a Christian — a churchgoing British Anglican with a wife who’s a cathedral canon. And also in fact the author of a book of straight-out apologetics, too. I agree with you that Christianity is integral to Narnia. The books don’t require religious assent from the reader, and they’re rightly full of pleasures that work completely independently of faith, but the kind of imagining they do is deep-down Christian.

Well, then I have a really good excuse to stay alive for fifteen more years.

If you really are Francis Spufford, then you're one of the finest writers writing right now. In which case, stop wasting time on the net and get writing.

This reminds me, I’ve been meaning to get Red Plenty for awhile now.

You haven't read Red Plenty????? You lucky so-and-so, what treat you have in store - enjoy!

The most recent, abortive films were not Christian, and it sucked the life out of the works. Like Homer without the paganism.

Tolkein's Middle-Earth was a fantastical pre-Christian history. Lewis inserted paganism into his "Silent Planet" series, an astounding work of speculative Christian theology. "The Stone Table" sounds intriguing for these reasons.

Mel Gibson managed to work this in to Apocalypto as well.

I have been road-testing it in the traditional way; reading it to my children. It is excellent. The voice is a near-perfect match to the original, but it isn't a pastiche - as well as the Lewis, there is quite a lot of very interesting Francis in there too.

Actually, the Canadian copyright term is much shorter.
That's e.g. why the Wikisource archive of Joseph Mandelstam is hosted under the *.ca TLD.

Indeed, in Canada, Lewis's works have already expired. Note however that the USMCA agreement would extend Canada's copyright term to the "international standard" of 70 years from 50.

Interesting! I did not know that. What is copyright term in Mexico?

But can USMCA impose copyright on material already in the public domain?

I am not a lawyer, but the idea of privatization from the public domain sounds against everything I know about (c).

Might be problematic to smuggle the book into the US, tho. (Time to get Canadian friends, JIC.)

Or have it on your Kindle - as happened with 1984k, in the first example of a company being able to wipe something you had bought. Almost a decade ago - 'In an irony-filled moment that underlines the flaws of our increasingly digital society, Amazon has removed George Orwell's 1984 from America's Kindle ebook readers.

As noticed by one loyal Reg reader - and by the ebullient David Pogue of The New York Times - Amazon vanished the Kindle incarnations of both 1984 and Animal Farm after their copyright holder notified the company that the books were being been sold without its permission.

"These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books," an Amazon spokesman tells us. "When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers."

But according to some buyers, Amazon stopped short of explicitly telling them the books had been rescinded. It merely sent refund notices via email. Some who had paid for and downloaded electronic Orwell editions were left to wonder why the titles had suddenly disappeared.' https://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/18/amazon_removes_1984_from_kindle/

The way that I've been thinking of it is as a journey deeper into the infundibular garden at the heart of the end of the series, but it is too long since I read the originals for me to say much that is useful. I am hoping that someone really deep in the reading, like Laura Miller, got a copy too and will be able to write about it now that the cat is out of the bag ...

The OTHER Laura Miller.

1 so, single?
2 we think spufford might be that panshotsonnafabitch

Meh, never liked them, never got through the first book, found the writing style cloying and the characters uninteresting.

Lord of the Rings didn't have a great writing style either but the set-up and plot and characters and the whole envisioned universe and mythology were captivating.

Same, more or less. Maybe I was way too young when my Dad started reading the first Narnia book to me but I found it plodding and kind of dull. It didn't get better in the sequels. I can't even remember the last one I read it just fades to nothing.

LoTR has a BAD first 100 pages and then gets pretty good.

Uggh. As a lifelong Narnia and C.S. Lewis fan, I couldn't read more than 2 pages of the tweeted excerpts. The prose falls so far short of Lewis. If you want more Narnia, read Ward's "Planet Narnia" (non-fiction lit crit that connects the images & ideas in the Narniad to Lewis' broader corpus and inspirations).

Comments for this post are closed