aka: Television Tie In Novels
The tie-in novel is literature involving the characters of a TV series, film or other work and usually written by some author you've never heard of. Pretty much anything can have a tie-in novel. They're often compared to authorized fanfic
, in that they're usually not part of the main continuity, do things that would never be considered in the original, and are widely variant in quality. If a series is exceptionally popular, the tie-novels may have their own micro-continuity. If it's mega-popular, expect them to occupy their own Expanded Universe
. Expect tie-in novels by the same author to refer to events in their other novels.
These novels are usually written in a very conservative style. You're unlikely to encounter one written in the style of Margaret Atwood or Marcel Proust.
These can be novelizations
of episodes or "untelevised adventures".
for a main continuity story retold in book form. For the reverse—going from a book to the big screen—see The Film of the Book
. For a similar concept but with videogames, see Licensed Game
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Anime and Manga
- Robotech: Jack Mckinney — a pseudonym for Science Fiction authors James Luceno and Brian Daley — wrote a series of novelizations of the composite adaptation, which continued into a version of the unproduced Sentinels sequel, and several original tie-ins. The novels are considered Fanon Discontinuity by many fans because of the additions made to the premise, such as inventing the "Thinking Cap" mental control system for the Humongous Mecha, as well as turning the Applied Phlebotinum, previously just a flower that somehow generates power, into a narcotic that somehow directs the destiny of the universe. (Though no one ever outright said "He who controls the Protoculture, controls the universe!")
- Many anime have "Animanga" which are pretty much screenshots from the Anime with word bubbles.
- The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has a tie-in novel set after a slightly altered ending of the first season where, instead of Nanoha's winning against Fate in their battle, the fight ends without a conclusion since Precia interfered early, and Nanoha goes after Fate after Precia is killed so they can have a proper end to their duel. The novel, however, is official, written by the very creator of Nanoha. The background information it contains, such as the nature of Magical Damage, are canon and often alluded to in later seasons.
- Death Note has a tie in novel in the form of Death Note:Another Note, which tells the story that was (very briefly) mentioned about L working with Naomi Misora.
- Batman — In addition to the novelizations of the movies, and even the comics (The Knightfall storyline was novelized), Batman has had several stand alone novels like The Ultimate Evil.
- Superman — Has had tie-in novels since the 40s.
- Spider-Man — Had a rash of novels in the 90s by Diane Duane. More recently, Jim Butcher has been writing them as well.
- The Sixth Sense had a novelization and a series of sequel books dealing with Cole's attempts to continue helping the living-impaired.
- Twelve tie-in novels based on Dirty Harry films were released in the early 80's.
- The 2001 Planet of the Apes film had a series of tie-ins that gave more backstory on the apes' rise to control the planet.
- Several James Bond films have been novelised. Most notably, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker were so far removed from Ian Fleming's original novels that the screenwriter of the films, Christopher Wood, was allowed to novelise his stories. Later, John Gardner adapted Licence to Kill (attempting to tie it in with Fleming's continuity even though the film included plot elements from several books), and the first two Pierce Brosnan Bonds. Raymond Benson adapted the other two Brosnans.
Live Action Television
- Doctor Who — At least two hundred original novels, filling the expanded branch of the Whoniverse during the 16-year hiatus in between the series' cancellation in 1989 and its dramatic uncancellation in 2005, and continuing after the series' return, first from Virgin Books (Doctor Who New Adventures) and later from BBC Books (Eighth Doctor Adventures). Both publishers produced ongoing adventures for the 'incumbent' Doctor of the time (the Seventh Doctor and onwards), as well as "Missing Adventures" (Doctor Who Missing Adventures for Virgin, Past Doctor Adventures for BBC Books) squeezed into gaps in the previous Doctors' timelines. Some of the writers ended up working on the 2005 revival television series.
- A long series of novelisations preceded the original novels, of almost all the stories broadcast in the show's 26-year first run. They ranged in size from about 120 pages (for a two-parter) to about 400 pages (for a six-parter), which meant that a lot either got cut out, or should have beennote .
- In many cases, the novels were, for many years, the only record of episodes that were erased. Many books also allowed the original writers to introduce concepts that there was simply no budget for back in the day.
- Way back in the 1960's, original creator Terry Nation wrote the first series of "factual" tie-in books, that explained things like the eating arrangements on board the Tardis, the continuity of the Who universe as it was then understood, the relationship between the Daleks and the Cybermen, and lots of other then-current trivia and expanded information. these are apparently quite rare and sought-after now.
- Torchwood has a number of them. The stories range from the reasonably logical to the ridiculous, and deal with every trope you can possibly thing of from zombies, to the Invisible Man routine, to card games being serious business, to Gender Bending.
- Babylon 5 — notable for having the tie-ins be canon, with series creator J. Michael Straczynski reviewing them and/or providing outlines. Events described in the novels were more than once later referenced in the series.
- Star Trek — A huge range of novels based on all eras of the franchise (and the spaces in between) exists, including novelizations of all Original Series and Animated Series episodes and Star Trek: New Frontier. Other than the novelizations, these are all officially declared non-canon by Paramount and Gene Roddenberry. When Jeri Taylor was the Word of God on Star Trek: Voyager, her original novels about the crew's history were considered canon. They aren't any more.
- Blake's 7 — Produced a novel, "Redemption", by the series' star Paul Darrow, as well as one by Tony Attwood. There was also at least one set of episodes novelized.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel — both original novels and novelizations. Novelizations typically span several episodes (the entire seventh season was novelized into a single 500-page novel).
- Bones — As of this writing only one exists, but it's notable because the show itself is (very loosely) based on a book series, but this new book is based entirely on the television continuity.
- Quantum Leap has a small body of novels, including both novelizations of episodes and original novels; among the latter are a "prelude" to the series and at least one explicit follow-up to a broadcast episode (Angels Unaware by L. Elizabeth Storm, which revisits characters from the episode "Another Mother").
- Smallville: Copious numbers of books have been released, which tend to be Mary Sue Fan Fic level quality (meteor freaks more powerful than Clark, a new perfect love interest who seduces Clark and dies tragically, and so on). This is not always the author's fault — as the Television Without Pity crew will tell you, the actual series is just as poorly written.
- Sliders: The Novel, by Brad Linaweaver adapts the pilot episode into printed form.
- Red Dwarf: Two novels by "Grant Naylor" — a pseudonym for series creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor — as well as novels written by Rob Grant and by Doug Naylor as solo efforts. The novels parallel some key events in the series, but stand alone from the TV show, as they have their own continuity.
- SeaQuest DSV had a series of three novels, one of which was a novelization of the pilot. The other novels are mediocre at best.
- LOST had a few books featuring new castaways and their lives on and off the island, as well as the book Bad Twin which was written by a character, mentioned in the show, and played a small role in the Alternate Reality Game "The Lost Experience".
- Murder, She Wrote has many tie-in novels that are credited to the main character, Jessica Fletcher.
- 24 has the 24: Declassified series, whose entries seem to take place at unspecified points before the beginning of the first season of the show and occasionally "introduce" established characters from the show (such as the third, Trojan Horse, which was, chronologically speaking, the first appearance of Edgar Stiles, who had first been introduced in the fourth season and later killed off in the fifth). Some of the series' authors tend toward giving such established character introductions, while others tend toward introducing completely original characters (who then often die before the end of the book because hey, why not? It's not like they have any reason to survive the book).
- Psych now has a burgeoning series of tie-in novels.
- Monk has a series of tie-in novels written by Lee Goldberg since 2006. Two of the early novels, Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse and Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, were later turned into episodes (season 5's "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" and season 8's "Mr. Monk and the Badge").
- The adaptation of Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse in "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing" is a Crowning Moment of Awesomeness for the writer as he notes it is the first time any television / movie tie-in novel has been transformed into a series episode.
- The X-Files has a few very short books, some of which are actually based on episodes from the show (this may also be the reason for their length). The prose is nice but very simple; you may even be forgiven for thinking that they were meant for younger readers, but the subject matter isn't any less child-unfriendly than it normally is on the show. It'd be really cool if someone wrote full-length novels based on Mulder and Scully's adventures, though.
- They did. Kevin J. Anderson wrote three of them. That should tell you enough.
- A series of Columbo books featured the title detective investigating murders somehow connected to famous crimes of the past (though not always directly; in one, a man murders his wife and her lover and attempts to confuse the investigation by writing "Helter Skelter" and other phrases from the Manson murders on the walls in their blood).
- Supernatural has a small series of tie-in novels, with six books already published or soon to be released. Their connectivity with each other and the series depends on the author, but most will at least mention events in the series that happened recently in relation to the novel.
- Highlander: The Series has some novels and an anthology that are considered canon. The concept behind the show of immortals Walking the Earth lends itself well to these tie-ins. One novel died pre-release,though, despite being advertised in the last published one.
- Alien Nation is an unusual case of tie-in novels continuing the series after its cancellation. In particular, the tie-in novel series included two novelizations of scripts that were meant to be future episodes of the series (Dark Horizon and Body and Soul), which were later made into Made-for-TV Movies.
- Ditto Roswell, whose last four tie-ins form a sort of print season 4,though it's not official canon.
- Stargate SG-1 had a novelization of the pilot episode and four original tie-in novels by Ashley McConnell early on. They're mostly known for their poor editing and continuity errors, such as referring to characters by their actors' names. The current series of tie-in novels is published by Fandemonium, who originally sought out Stargate fanfic writers. The company went on to publish Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe novelizations and tie-ins as well.
- There was also a series of five novels by Bill McCay based on the original Stargate movie, which take place in an entirely different continuity than the series.
- Forever Knight had three official tie-in novels written by fanfic writers. A fourth was axed before release, but can be read online or rarely found on eBay,where it can sell for hundreds of dollars.
- Clueless had several YA tie-ins, based on both the movie and the TV series.
- The Castle tie-ins, rather than being books about the series, are the books that Castle is ostensibly writing in the series.
- All three CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series have a number of tie-in novels.
- Merlin has a number of episode novelizations.
- H2O: Just Add Water has a whole series of 12 tie-in novels released by Nickelodeon. They appear to be original stories.
- Dance Academy has episode novelisations of its first season.
- Leverage got several tie-in novels after it was canceled. Each story is set at a specific point in the series' timeline, and all contain multiple Continuity Nods to the original series.
- Many Planet of the Apes series episodes were novelized.
- Heroes had a tie-in novel titled Saving Charlie about Ensemble Darkhorse Hiro traveling back in time in order to save his girlfriend Charlie.
- The Prisoner had a trio of novels published around the time of its run. The first book was written by SF icon Thomas M. Disch, and decades later there are online sources that erroneously credit Disch with creating the series. The second book is notable for going against Word of God and directly identifying No. 6 as John Drake, the character from Danger Man that some fans speculate became No. 6. In the 2000s several additional novels based on the series were published.
- Would you believe, Professional Wrestling, specifically WWE, has had a couple of these? One, Journey into Darkness, details the Start of Darkness of everybody's favorite giant, psychotic pyromaniac, Kane, while another, Big Apple Takedown, has the government forming a covert-ops team of WWE wrestlers.
- Dozens of novels have been published based upon the original RPG Dungeons & Dragons and its spin-off games such as Dragonlance. In the early 2000s a revision of D&D's rules included the creation of a series of characters that appeared in print and video promotions for the game. A series of novels focusing on each character, or featuring the characters teaming up in various combinations, was published as well, though fans of the more complex D&D, Dragonlance, etc. book series tended to ignore these near-novella-length releases.
- Transformers: Obviously a massive amount of children's books, but recently, a number of novels for older readers have been produced as well. The Official Transformers Fanclub also semi-regularly releases official short prose stories to its members which take place in its own continuities. The answer to "What's canon with regards to Transformers?" is "Yes". Let's not get into it.
- BIONICLE had multiple series of junior novels, some of which told new stories not based on the comics or Direct-to-Video movies. However, these were not treated as tie-ins but as full canon, dealing with the main story arcs and doing it more in-depth than the other mediums usually could. Interestingly enough, the movie novelizations tended to be folded into the tie-in series rather then set apart (as in, the Legends of Metru Nui novelization was published as Bionicle Adventures #4). Additionally, all but the first few were written by one of the franchise's main story editors, who also wrote the comics and web serials.
- A video game example: the Backyard Books, based on the Backyard Sports series. They are more this than novelizations because the games have no plot (except for Skateboarding, but there is no book based on that game).
- The Elder Scrolls novels are, at the moment, a two-part novel series between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim. No word on whether or not there will eventually be more.
- Hitman has a tie-in novel named Hitman: Enemy Within. The novel's plot is set between Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Hitman: Blood Money and revolves around a rival murder-for-hire organization, known as Puissance Treize (French for "Power Thirteen"), attempting to destroy Agent 47's employer, the International Contract Agency (ICA).
- King's Quest has not just The Kings Quest Companion, which serves as novelizations of the games themselves with extra information in addition to walkthroughs, but also three little-known original-story novels.
- Pokémon — Had a couple of picture books based on various episodes: "Bye-Bye Butterfree" and "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon". It also had numerous tie-in manga.
- A number of Star Wars video games have had either tie-in novels or novelizations.
- Skylanders got a couple tie-ins.
- Myst has a trilogy of novels with involvement by the brothers who made the original game.
- Mass Effect has a number of them, ranging from the prequel Revelations to several books that fill in the gaps between games (or in the second game's case, the two years between the intro and the game proper). There are also several graphic novels... including one featuring Blasto.
- Borderlands has so far spawned three tie in novels (The Fallen, Unconquered, and Gunsight) that involve the adventures of the original four vault hunters on Pandora. All three take place before the events of the second game.
- Sword of the Stars: The Deacon's Tale by Arinn Dembo, was initially released as a novella with the Collector's Edition that included the initial release and Born of Blood. Set 33 years after the start of the first game, it tells the tale of the first four races' formal introduction to the Zuul and set up certain subsequent events all the way up to the sequel. It provides a wealth of backstory for the Sword of the Stars universe, which is understandable as Dembo is the lead writer of the game series.
- Tomb Raider, specifically Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, spawned a trilogy of original novels. The books were criticized by fans for depicting Lara Croft as a cold blooded killer more interested in increasing her body count than actually engaging in archeology.
- Doom: the original 1990s game spawned several tie-in novels, with the first actually attempting to build a storyline around the levels of the first game.
- ResidentEvil spawned a long-running series of tie-in novels, some adapting games, others telling original stories, and some being based upon the movies.
- SpongeBob SquarePants had novelizations of its first few episodes. Very awkward novelizations, created from translating the script into prose.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series.
- Alan Dean Foster's Star Trek: Log books were novelizations of the episodes (much as James Blish did for the original show) expanding on the bare bones thirty minute plots. Starting with three episodes per book, he managed to create whole books out of one episode as time went on.
- Many Trek novels referenced it even when official Trek canon did not.
- When Doug went to Disney, a few episodes of the show were part of the Disney Chapters collection of books. About a year later, Doug got not one, but two spin-off titles: Doug Chronicles, which were original stories about the title character, and Doug Mysteries, which was the same thing but as mysteries.
- A number of Recess episodes were also part of the Disney Chapters series in the 1990s, most notably, "The Experiment".
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series got a tie-in novel released shortly before the show premiered, "Cruella Returns". It tied four episodes together ("You Slipped a Disc", "Leisure Lawsuit", "Cone Head", and "Snow Bounders"), with many differences from what actually happend in the episodes (such as Mooch's gang being made up of a bunch of random stray dogs instead of Dipstick and Whizzer, etc.).
- Many animated Disney and Pixar films will inevitably have thousands of tie-in novels and storybooks. Some of them are straight-up retellings of those movies' plots, while others are sequels to said movies. For example, The Lion King was actually accompanied by several tie-in books that not only recounted that movie's events, but also covered more information about the film's main characters, such as how Scar got his um, scar in the first place and what was his name before he even got that scar. However, some of the events that happened in those books are actually not considered canon with the movies (for example, another Lion King-based book claimed that Simba had a son, but the Direct-to-Video sequel had Simba bear a daughter).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a set of these, each one based on a member of the Mane cast.