I know, morbid title, but I have been thinking a lot lately about how authors that are dead continue to have books come out claiming that they wrote them. This arises from my excitement, and yet doubt, about Marion Zimmer Bradley. She is the author of one my favourite books, The Mists of Avalon.

A brief biography taken from Fantastic Fiction:

Marion Zimmer was born in Albany, NY, on June 3, 1930, and married Robert Alden Bradley in 1949. Mrs. Bradley received her B.A. in 1964 from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, then did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-67.

Writing for over 4 decades, she is best known for her Darkover science fantasy series and her Arthurian masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon. She also edited anthologies for 14 years and published Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine.
She died in Berkeley, California on September 25, 1999, four days after suffering a major heart attack.

As you can see from that brief biography, Bradley died 7 years ago , but yet, books continue to come out that state that they are by her, with help from another author. It makes you wonder, is it worth it to pay the money for these books? Is it holding on to your love of the old author, or is it finding love for a new one? And, did Bradley really intend for her series to continue and develop in such a way?

This is the question I asked myself when Ancestors of Avalon came out in 2004. All of the books that Bradley had wrote for this series after Mists of Avalon were written with the help of Diana L. Paxson. Priestess of Avalon came out in 2000, but it was still close enough to when Bradley was alive to be realistically connected to her. She has had several books come out after she died. This is all being written because she has the sixth book in the Avalon series coming out next year, Ravens of Avalon. I have yet to read Anecestors of Avalon, but I am planning to make it a near future read. I just think sometimes that Bradley's books should have stopped coming out when she died, but yet I at the same time love the Avalon books and would love to continue to see where the story takes us.

So, my question to other readers, do you think that books should cease with the death of the author, or do you think that people that are familiar with the series and the author should continue them? Or, even random people that just feel that the series should continue?


okay, I never read this author so I can't comment it; however, personally, I think that yes, a series should cease when the author dies. I mean, it's their work right? if you want to continue it, then have the guts to write under your own name instead of giving some false notion to the readers. Hey, I didn't even know that Marion Zimmer Bradley was dead! YOu know, it's not like these authors (the ones who are dead) didn't leave anything behind. they left books that were enjoyed by many and will be enjoyed by many more.

anyway, my two cents

I agree with Natty. No matter how familiar there is always the ideas that the author had that no one will know about. Perhaps they would change their minds later on or so.

Honestly I don't even like sequels and avoid them like the plague if it's not written by the author. It feels as if they are just trying to make money off of the popularity of the deceased author's work.

hey,kailana! I had the same problem with Ancestors.

Read Priestess when it came out, and found it still consistent with MZB's other books in the series, but somehow am reluctant about Ancestors. Something about posthumous writings and all.

Oh, Nath, thers'a a MZB works trust that looks after such posthumous publcations. There were a few proteges of MZB who eventually came out on their own -- Mercedes Lackey is one of them -- so yeah, I agree with you that Diana Paxson should write this book under her name. And if she wishes to, attribute the original story or dedicate the book to MZB's memory.

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.