a novel constructed from shorter material written separately
My next work was a fix-up novel, The War Against the Rull.
Fix-up novel consisting of Film Library, The Search, Far Centaurus, and 50% new material.
In his autobiographical Reflections of A.E. van Vogt (1975 ), AEVV uses the term ‘fix-up’ in the same sense in which it has been taken over for use in this Encyclopedia—to define a book made up of stories previously published, but altered to fit together, usually with the addition of new cementing material; the end product is generally marketed as a novel, though it tends to read more episodically than most novels. It is possible that AEVV invented the term, for although fix-ups are not unknown outside sf, the peculiar marketing circumstances of the genre in America encouraged their creation, and it is certainly the case that AEVV has written (or compiled) more fix-ups than any other sf writer of stature.
I retain this awkward formulation as a minor historical note. In 1976 when, with Peter Nicholls as General Editor, I began to think about how to organize information for The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1979), I came across A E van Vogt’s term for assembled books of the sort described; and in the Encyclopedia, and in any other piece I wrote after 1976, the term fixup is always used 1986.
That this indeed was the point implicit for van Vogt in ‘Black Destroyer’ and ‘Discord in Scarlet’ would be confirmed in 1950 when he put these stories together with two others and added new material to make what he would call a ‘‘fix-up’ novel’—The Voyage of the Space Beagle.
First, it became a ‘novel’ by a route often pursued by genre science fiction writers in those days, namely, the route of the ‘fix-up.’
Just after that, I learned to write short stories proper, but those first four or so eventually became parts of Amnesia Moon, which is a book that is a fix-up, though no one knows it. It’s a fix-up of unpublished short stories.
Ray Bradbury’s From The Dust Returned is billed as a new novel from the grand master. In reality it’s a fix-up of several stories featuring Ray Bradbury’s 'Addams Family'—the Elliotts, assorted children of the night; and the spooky great house they inhabit in up state Illinois (a Gormenghast of the prairies).
There’s a sneering British term ‘fix-up’ for books by authors who, told that collections ‘don’t sell’, patch unconnected stories together with verbal duct tape.
A.E. van Vogt, 'Reflections of A.E. van Vogt'
Last modified 2021-01-05 18:24:45
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.