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4 More Better-Late-Than-Never Literary Sequels

February 4, 2015

It was recently announced that author Harper Lee would release a follow-up for To Kill a Mockingbird…55 years after the book’s release. Here are a few more long-delayed sequels.

To Kill a MockingbirdJo’s Boys

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is considered one of the most beloved books for girls of all time. After first being published in 1868, the book was successful enough to warrant a sequel titled Little Men. It landed on bookshelves in 1871 but a second follow-up, Jo’s Boys, didn’t arrive until 1886. The belated third book, which has been largely forgotten, covers the lives of Jo’s sons as they enroll in college and deal with the pitfalls of love and university life.

The Starlight Barking

Lots of people love The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Dodie Smith’s classic children’s book that was later turned into a blockbuster Disney animated film. Its tardy sequel? Uh, not so much. It rolled into bookstores in 1967, eleven years after the original and the plot is truly bizarre. After all of the world’s humans fall into a mysterious deep sleep, the Dalmatians set off to sniff out the reason why. At first, they suspect that Cruella de Vil must be responsible, but she’s also comatose. Then an alien dog arrives from outer space in the middle of London’s Trafalgar Square and things really start getting weird.

Closing Time

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 was released in 1961 and many critics argue that it’s still one of the best (and funniest) American novels. Heller didn’t get around to writing a sequel until 1994. Closing Time catches up with many of the characters from Catch-22 and, well, it’s quite a bit different than its predecessor. Instead of making wisecracks about their superiors and military bureaucracy, Captain John Yossarian and the gang are all confronted with age-related illnesses. Closing Time was a commercial flop.

Buttercup’s Baby

The Princess Bride and its 1987 movie adaptation are beloved by fans all over the world. Author William Goldman published the fantasy novel in 1973 and has been slooooowly working on a follow-up titled Buttercup’s Baby for at least the past two decades. In 1998, a 25th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride included the sequel’s first chapter, which involves Wesley and his friends shipwrecked on the shores of a mysterious island. Goldman has told interviewers that he’s been having a hard time coming up with ideas and hopes to have it finished in time for the original’s 50th anniversary. He’ll be turning 84 this year and hasn’t published a novel since 1986, so keep your fingers crossed.

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