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Spiritual Successor / Literature

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  • Dave Barry's two novels Big Trouble and Tricky Business.
  • John Christopher's The Tripods trilogy is, as the name suggests, a Spiritual Successor to H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds.
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files has generated a number of spiritual successors, following the formula of a reasonably powerful First-Person Smartass hero and Destructive Savior in a world of Black and Grey Morality who tends to cause as much trouble as he prevents, examples being: The Hellequin Chronicles and Iron Druid Chronicles.
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  • Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace is, as the name implies, a Spiritual Successor to The Forever War despite taking place in a very different setting and, indeed, having very different basic assumptions about the setting. It reads as a more "mature" attempt to understand war by probing questions about the inevitable results of technological advances in warfare in the future that The Forever War glossed over so that its sci-fi war could be a clearer parallel to Vietnam.
  • Lewis Carroll's epic nonsense poem "The Hunting of the Snark" is a Spiritual Successor to the Alice stories, and includes a number of references to "Jabberwocky."
  • Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis takes Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' series to create a plot where a character has Identity Amnesia. Aside from the term psychohistory, many indirect references are made to Foundation elements.
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  • Frank Herbert wrote four short stories, published later as "The Godmakers", they shared theme and concepts with his masterpiece Dune.
  • David Eddings' various works were made of this, being all High Fantasy epics told from a slightly different slant. The Belgariad was a basic coming-of-age story; The Elenium followed a loosely similar plot but was Darker and Edgier with a world-weary adult hero; The Redemption of Althalus was largely the story of that universe's Belgarath-equivalent; and The Dreamers was the most out-there, being told from the perspective of the gods.
  • The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick is a Spiritual Successor to his earlier novel VALIS: Valis appears in both books, the fictional film "Valis" exists in both, and they have similar Gnostic themes, but The Divine Invasion is not, strictly speaking, a sequel. A third novel The Owl in Daylight was going to be written by PKD as another Spiritual Successor to round out the "Valis trilogy", but he died before writing it.
    • The relationship between VALIS and its earlier version Radio Free Albemuth is actually a much more typical example of the trope, as they heavily overlap in themes but are emphatically not part of the same Verse. Or they would have been if PKD hadn't left Radio Free Albemuth unpublished during his lifetime, so that it came out about five years after VALIS.
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  • In the extras to the DVD of Dreamcatcher, Stephen King notes that the book (and subsequent film) can be seen as a Spiritual Successor to The Body/Stand By Me.
  • Mary Schmich's essay "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" (better known From Baz Lurhman's "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen") is considered by many to be a spiritual successor to Max Ehrmann's 1927 poem "Desiderata".
  • Lois Lowry's book Gathering Blue is a "companion novel" to The Giver; it's another postapocalyptic novel which may be in the same universe, but shows a society that has gone the opposite direction.
    • Messenger is similar. It has a number of the same characters (Mattie, Kira, Jonas, Kira's father, etc) and Jonas at one point alludes to his previous village and how the people there made peace with him after he left, but most of the plot focuses on the corruption of the new society that Jonas has built.
  • Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain is a... complicated example. The name indicates that it is an actual sequel (which would disqualify it), but as it turns out it is essentially a remake: taking the basic concept of Fantastic Voyage (miniaturization technology as a potentially crucial part in the Cold War and an attempt to use it to save the life or knowledge of someone who has made a critical breakthrough but failed to communicate it before falling into a coma), and then writing his own story around it, free of the constraints he was acting under when he wrote the novelization to the movie and able to update the science to 1980s standards.
  • Glamorama is a Spiritual Successor in many ways to American Psycho. While Bret Easton Ellis has been accused of writing about the same subjects(shallow, drug addled rich people) over and over again, and frequently using over the top violence to satirize mindless consumerism, Glamorama has a very similar surreal style comparable to American Psycho that his other books don't have since they're more grounded in reality.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The series has many similarities to The Book of the Named - so much that people were claiming that the Ratha series copied Warriors, until it was pointed out to them that Ratha's Creature was written in the 1980s and Into the Wild came out in 2003. They both start Partially Civilized Animal felines and have similar levels of Family-Unfriendly Violence.
    • People were also drawing similarities to Felidae. They're both violent series about cats, though Felidae is not aimed at children.
    • The first arc in Warriors is very similar to the 1980s novel Tailchaser's Song. Both are xenofiction works about feral cats in Britain (or, Warriors was at first) who live in colonies referred to as "clans". They both start off with an orange tabby tomcat kitten - Tailchaser and Rusty/Firepaw - who goes to become a legendary hero. Even the portmanteau Animal Naming Conventions of the series are similar to one another.
  • George Orwell intended Nineteen Eighty-Four to be this to We.
    • Nineteen Eighty-Four is arguably this to Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, published fifteen years earlier. Both novels depict a formerly democratic western nation that succumbed to totalitarianism. The protagonists of both novels chafe under totalitarian rule and rebel through the written word. Both men find solace in secret romantic relationships with women who are both their soulmates and co-conspirators; Winston falls in love with Julia while Doremus has a secret affair with Lorinda. Finally, both protagonists find themselves incarcerated and tortured for their rebellion against the state.
  • Heartlight by T.A. Barron is so similar in both style and themes to A Wrinkle in Time that Madeleine L'Engle herself has given the novel praise.
  • Jane Gaskell's Atlan series simultaneously marks the last incarnation of "elder Earth" fantasies of the Clark Ashton Smith / H. P. Lovecraft variety and looks back to the fantasy genre's roots in Theosophy and the jungle adventure fiction of H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
  • Infinity Ring is a Spiritual Successor to The 39 Clues as both are historical fiction books and web games for kids.
  • Jack London's White Fang is the spiritual successor to his The Call of the Wild. Both are xenofictional stories about dogs on the edge of civilization, one about a wild dog being tamed and the other about a domestic dog going feral. They're generally even published together in a single volume, as if the former were an actual sequel.
  • The urban fantasy novel The Vu is a Spin-Off and a Spiritual Successor to Trinton Chronicles having some influence over it's creation and sharing three characters and some cross over in-jokes with the story.
  • Harry Potter is this to The Worst Witch of two decades earlier. A bumbling protagonist as a student in a school for magic, with two best friends, a well-connected goody-goody enemy, a nasty potions teacher and a kindly head of the school.
  • The Power of Five is this to Anthony Horowitz's unfinished Pentagram series from the 1980s.
  • Killing Pablo is a rare nonfiction example. Written by Mark Bowden and featuring the exploits of General Bill Garrison, it reads much as a sequel to Black Hawk Down.
  • John Varley's The Golden Globe is a combination homage and spiritual successor to Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star. The protagonist in both is a highly skilled and intelligent but down on his luck actor who used to be famous, and now lives partly on the wrong side of the law while still being obsessed with his craft (something drilled into him by his father). The characterizations and habits are essentially the same, and they also deliberately share a similar first person narrative style, from the perspective of the character writing out his experiences after the fact.
  • The Rainbow Magic series is receiving one in the Magical Animal Friends series, written by the same author. This series revolves around Jess and Lily, who enter the mysterious Friendship Forest and rescue animals from the wicked witch Grizelda and her Boggit servants.
  • A case can be made that Lew Wallace's popular and acclaimed novel Ben-Hur serves as this to Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Wallace had cited it as one of his favorite stories and as an influence on his own work. It is visible in the parallels between the stories of Edmond Dantes and Judah Ben-Hur. Both are good well to do men who are eventually betrayed and wrongfully have their lives stripped away from them and are imprisoned in one way or another. Both however manage to eventually "rise from the ashes" so to speak an attain their freedom and go on a mission for justice/revenge.
  • The Hunger Games to Jack London's The Iron Heel. Ernest Everhard in the latter speculates that the Oligarchy will eventually generate so much wealth from the exploitation of the labour classes that they will have nothing to do with it but engage in vast feats of engineering such as building enormous, spectacular cities. In the former the Capitol has, every year for the past seventy-five, built a forcefield enclosed arena packed with so much technology that everything is on camera, the weather can be changed, rivers can be turned off, huge parts of the arena can be made to spin, or earthquakes and avalanches can be triggered.
  • In many ways, "Sixth of the Dusk" is Brandon Sanderson's version of After Earth (a film which his friend Howard Taylor notably disliked for plotholes). The idea of an environment completely dedicated to killing everything is the same, though the predators are telepathic rather than having the ability to smell fear (which was one of Taylor's suggestions for improving the movie).
  • A Japanese publisher licensed the basic premise of a Cut Short shoujo mystery Light Novel called KZ Shonen Shoujo Seminar for a series of Middle Grade Literature. The result, Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, is far more commercially successful, to the point that Seminar author penned one of the latter work's spinoffs.
  • Angel in the Whirlwind by Christopher G Nuttall draws obvious influence from David Weber's Honor Harrington series. The first book is essentially a What Could Have Been of On Basilisk Station where Manticore loses, and one character even refers to a missile salvo as "a decent Weber of missiles" in the second book.
  • Similarly to the Whirlwind series above, David Drake's RCN series is essentially a Serial Numbers Filed Off version of the Honorverse in origin, with With the Lightnings (the first book) having grown out of an Honorverse short story Drake wrote for an anthology.
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline could be considered one to Conor Kostick's 2004 novel Epic, as both follow a very similar plot and themes: in a post-apocalyptic Crapsack World where the entire world plays a virtual reality MMO and your station in life is most likely dependent upon your in-game prowess, a poor boy and his friends pursue the game's ultimate quest, become rich and famous along the way by noticing things others don't, and end up as enemies of a powerful Corrupt Corporate Executive who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
  • Morgan Ray Hess's epic Science Fantasy novel Rainbow is this to A Wrinkle in Time.
  • The Cold Moons is the badger equivalent of Watership Down. Both novels involve British wildlife attempting to flee a genocide brought on by humans. The difference is that The Cold Moons is about badgers while Watership Down is about rabbits.


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