Fantasy Stories normally convey a sense that surface tales are retellings of archetypal material. This sense of the Twice-Told is, of course, much intensified whenever an easily identifiable nexus of story is being drawn upon; the network of interlocked Myths and Legends and tales which come together in, for instance, the Matter of Britain (see also Arthur) is intricately interwoven, and many late versions of central material resemble SBOHs. However, the term is more sensibly used in a more restricted sense, one that also excludes, for example, Shared-World enterprises, stories "set in the universe of" some prior text, Parodies, Recursive Fantasies and Revisionist Fantasies. The SBOH proper continues a previous story, one almost certainly written by a named author. Some SBOHs are written after copyright has lapsed on the original work, but a sizeable proportion are written by agreement with the owner(s) of the original work.
Prequels by other hands – i.e., stories set before the beginnings of previously written tales – are less often found, but the same principles apply.
Parodies have been common since long before fantasy became an identifiable genre, and usually – like He (1887) by Andrew Lang and Walter Herries Pollock (1850-1926), which parodies H Rider Haggard's She (1887) – repeat in transmogrified form the action of the original. The first SBOH of fantasy interest may be a continuation of Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) by Honoré de Balzac, "Melmoth Reconciled" (1835). Further examples (out of many): include Angelo Patri's Pinocchio in America * (1928), a sequel to Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio (1883); T H White's Mistress Masham's Repose * (1946 US), adding to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), as does the Antelope Company sequence by Willis Hall (1929-2005), which novelizes his tv series, itself a sequel; Eric Brighteyes 2: A Witch's Welcome * (1979) by Mildred Downey Broxon (as Sigfridur Skaldaspillir), a sequel to Haggard's Eric Brighteyes (1891); Ten Years Beyond Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Matches his Wits with the Diabolical Dr Fu Manchu * (1984) and The Fires of Fu Manchu * (1987) by Cay Van Ash (1918-1994), sequels to Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu sequence (see also Sherlock Holmes); Gilbert Adair's Alice Through the Needle's Eye: A Third Adventure for Lewis Carroll's "Alice" * (1984) and Peter Pan and the Only Children * (1987), respectively sequelling Lewis Carroll's Alice books and J M Barrie's Peter Pan; Neverland (1989) by Toby Forward, another Peter Pan sequel, done for the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, London, the beneficiary of Barrie's own royalties and of part of the income from a further Peter Pan SBOH, Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991); Return to Shangri-La * (1987) by Leslie Halliwell (1929-1989), a sequel to James Hilton's Lost Horizon (1933); Helen Cresswell's The Return of the Psammead * (1992), sequelling E Nesbit's Five Children and It (1902); William Horwood's The Willows in Winter * (1993) and Toad Triumphant * (1995), sequels to Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows (1908); and Susan Hill's Mrs De Winter * (1993), a sequel to Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca (1938).
Tales which present the continuing adventures of a series character in further adventures, none necessarily connected to any previous plot, include additions to: Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series; L Frank Baum's Oz books; the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs; and the Conan series by Robert E Howard.
For many years, Philip José Farmer, in his Wold Newton Family sequence, has been evolving an over-narrative through which many of the most familiar Underlier figures of fantasy and sf are presented as members of the same family. Figures from Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851) are linked to Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage and others; and some of Farmer's texts may read as SBOHs. This seems, however, a special case, as is the family tree of movie figures constructed by David Thomson (1941- ) in Suspects (1985). [JC]