This was sent in today’s Publishers Lunch from Publishers Marketplace:
Harper Finds Another Crichton Novel
An assistant to the late Michael Crichton found a complete manuscript for PIRATE LATITUDES in his computer files, an adventure story set in 17th century Jamaica about a plan by the Jamaican governor and a pirate named Hunter to raid a Spanish galleon. HarperCollins will publish that book on November 24. But the status of the thriller that Crichton was working on when he died (originally due to have been published at the end of last year, but postponed) is less clear.
Neither his agent Lynn Nesbit nor editor Jonathan Burnham has seen that manuscript yet, but they are nonetheless working together to select an author to complete the work, in conjunction with the author’s widow Sherri Crichton. Here’s the NYT article on it.
As an unpublished writer, it’s probably silly for me to contemplate this at all. If I dropped dead tomorrow, I suspect that my various finished and unfinished projects would never see the light of day. Not that I would care, being dead and all, but …
… but I do find that my skin creeps a bit when I read about these posthumous novels. At least the pirate books appears to be finished, although Crichton obviously didn’t yet feel it was finished enough to send to his agent. The other book, however, is only a third written, with some additional notes that indicate Crichton’s intentions.
Of course, Mr. Crichton’s widow is involved, so from that one might infer that he himself would have approved plans to hire a co-writer to finish the book. One might also simply infer that once you’re dead, you lose your say in things like that.
All I know is that, for me, the thought of someone trolling through my electronic files, looking at half-finished projects with an eye to hiring someone to complete them … no thanks.
How about you? You’re probably not planning to die any time soon, but how do you feel about the idea of a “co-writer” finishing your work after you’re dead?