There's a lively debate going on about John Banville's contract to write a new Philip Marlowe novel. It follows the debate about Ace Atkins continuing Robert B. Parker's Spenser series.
Ace has recently been sticking up for John about it. Personally I've given it a lot of thought.
At first, I wasn't against it really, but didn't see why it should be written. I could see why Spenser should continue, after all Spenser had characters like Hawk, Belson, Susan, Vinnie, Chollo, etc. Marlowe was just Marlowe, not an entire world of recurring characters. There have been so many PI's inspired by Marlowe a new Marlowe would probably seem like an unoriginal, pastiche-like character to new readers. I figured Holmes and Bond were original enough to warrant new books by other writers than Fleming. I wasn't sure about Marlowe. Wasn't Chandler's voice what made him unique, not the character?
Then I read Ace's article and I kind of changed my mind...
I started to think about Superman. He was the first superhero. A lot of imitations followed. Still, he kept returning, having become the property of the people as much as the writer who created him. Isn't that the case with Marlowe as well? Isn't he so legendary, so important a character in the world of fiction he SHOULD be alive for decades to come. Without him there would be no Noah Milano, because there wouldn't be a Spenser, or an Elvis Cole.
Philip Marlowe deserves to live on. I wish John the best of luck.
What do all of you think?