On the docket for today: the Stephen King storytelling universe expands by way of a Castle Rock book written not by King himself, but by a duly-licensed compatriot.
Way back in 2012, I fretted about the possibility of something like this. Thus spake 2012 Bryant:
Once -- and let me be clear: I hope this doesn't happen for another thirty years, but it WILL happen eventually -- Stephen King reaches the clearing at the end of the path, there is almost certainly going to be interest in continuing his legacy in some way. Some smart-aleck is going to want to write more Dark Tower novels, or a sequel to The Stand, or another Jack Sawyer adventure. Under certain circumstances, I'd be okay with that: if it was Joe Hill or Owen King, for example, or Peter Straub, or even Scott Snyder. Someone who had an actual connection to King. I'd still be dubious, but I'd at least be interested to see what they did with the material. And even if the writer is unconnected to King, but still a genuine talent, I'd try my best to give it a fair shot.
But what if it's just some Joe Blow type, some mook with good intentions but an insufficient talent level? Would I be okay with it then? Probably not.
The thing is, I don't know exactly why any of this should bother me. If the worst-case scenario happens, and Stephen King were to die five years from now and somehow Stephenie Meyer were to get ahold of the rights to The Dark Tower and then rewrite the whole series, it would undoubtedly suck ... but so what? It would infuriate me, but should it? After all, nobody would be forcing me to read it, and it's not like my copies of the real books would disappear.
I had to think about all of this for a while before I finally figured it out: it makes me mad because I know that WHATEVER it ended up being, I'd still read it! It's not that I wouldn't want to: I would want to not want to, but I'd still, despite my own potential distaste for it, read it. I've got DVD copies of Creepshow III and The Mangler Reborn to prove it, sadly.
It seemed like a thing that was bound to happen, and while Gwendy's Magic Feather isn't fully that, it's close enough that I kind of feel the winds beginning already to blow in the direction about which I was pre-grousing in 2012. Hulu's Castle Rock series is a major step in that direction already (and not one which pleases me), but at least that's film. Prose is something else entirely.