There’s Nothing Imaginative About ‘Reimaginings’

Earlier this month, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Twilight by releasing a gender-swapped version of Bella and Edward’s story.

First question: How is this any different from Midnight Sun?

Second question: When did authors get so lazy?

If my count is correct, Meyer’s new book is the fourth book to be “reimagined” this year.

The one most similar to Meyer’s book was Grey. Released earlier this year by E.L. James, the book was a scene-by-scene retelling of 50 Shades of Grey by leading man Christian Grey. The reviews were scathing. But hilarious!

Still, the book sold more than a million copies in four days. It topped the New York Times Bestseller List for the entire month of July before getting knocked off by Go Set A Watchman (another book that had been marketed as a sequel, but was in reality just a rough draft of a novel released more than 60 years ago).

Rainbow Rowell released Carry On earlier this month. While not a direct retelling in the vein of Grey or Life and Death, the novel was inspired by Fangirl, a book she wrote and released in 2013. 

Granted, if I were into Harry Potter, I'd probably freaking LOVE Pottermore. -- Danielle
Granted, if I were into Harry Potter, I’d probably freaking LOVE Pottermore. — Danielle

And then there’s J.K. Rowling, whose post-Harry Potter career seems to be mostly retconning Harry Potter.

We have four successful authors who, for some reason or another, feel reluctant to explore worlds outside of the ones they’ve already created.

I’m not so blind as to not realize the role business is playing in all this. All of the stories these authors have written are proven money makers. Some of them are international franchises. I get it.

But every one of these authors is in the position to sell books by virtue of their name alone. They could (and should!) be introducing new voices, writing new characters and telling new stories.

Instead, they offer “reimaginings” featuring the same plots and characters. We can’t get more stories about black characters, Hispanic characters, disabled characters, LGBTQ characters or poor characters but apparently, we have room for more stories about dysfunctional relationships between humans and the most boring interpretation of vampires ever put to paper.

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m actually more annoyed by: that this trend promotes a continued lack of diversity in books or that it could spark a new lack of effort among writers.

Oh, hell. I’m surly enough to hate both.

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1 Comment

  1. First of all, I can’t be too mad at Pottermore because it sorted me into gryffindor but yeah, this just reeks of cash-grabbing.

    oh and you’re totally woman enough to hate both, I believe in you.

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