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Is there such a thing as a book remake?

Like movie remakes… but in books? From my understanding, in a way, there is–Stephen King’s publisher has issued long-form versions of books originally released with substantial edits. I was still reading King when some of these came out, and the two unedited versions I read, both of books I knew well in their original published form, were badly bloated, having benefited greatly from the edits which shortened length and deleted scenes and subplots which did not contribute to the whole.

It’s unlikely to happen often, though. Most authors’ edited work is pretty close to the original they turned in. The author (or his/her heirs) own the rights to their books for 70 years after death, so it’s not like another author can write a brilliant update without violating copyright.

  • I know of one instance that may be worth researching. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. While the series was not remade per say, Brandon Sanderson was (possibly still is in a way) responsible for completing the series. The series is large, spanning fourteen books, but Sanderson comes into the writing scene about halfway through book twelve, and the different writing style shows, which may be something to look into when considering a piece like this. Again, the Wheel of Time series was not necessarily remade, though in my opinion, the difference in writing style could make a book or a book series remade in some way. – BethanyS 7 years ago
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  • Does Shakespeare fall under this category? Before Shakespeare's version, Hamlet had been retold by several people. Along with Hamlet, his plays Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and The Winter's Tale (to name a few) were borrowed from several sources. One could compare the earliest version of Romeo and Juliet with the one Shakespeare wrote and comment of the changes made and how that affects the story as whole. – Amanda Dominguez-Chio 7 years ago
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  • I think examining Shakespeare would be a good place to start. Many people might think he came up with completely original content, but many elements of the plays, if not most of the plots, were taken from other stories. Also, Tolkien's Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion might be worth thinking about. It contains idea and content that gives alternate details about Middle Earth and its major figures. Tolkien never finished The Silmarillion, and both books were published by his son Christopher Tolkien after his passing. While these books might not be considered remakes, readers can speculate what Middle Earth would have looked like if Tolkien had reconciled the materials found in these books. – S.A. Takacs 7 years ago
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  • There are cases where something like a "directors-cut" version, or other versions of a book is released, would those count? – DancingHelix 7 years ago
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  • Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" has only recently received an unabridged English translation, and Sylvia Plath's journals have recently been published, unabridged, for the first time. – Kristian Wilson 7 years ago
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  • Book adaptation has been going on since the Medieval period. Any author who writes a book about King Arthur participates in such an act. Anyone who adapts literature from the Ancient and Medieval period does this, whether it be book, film, or any other media. The question really is can one write a book adaptation of a book written in the last century? Most books based on older classic books usually go unheard of from what I see. – Travis Kane 7 years ago
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