Cover Novels

I usually quite enjoy cover songs – I know that they might not contain quite the same level of originality as a completely new song, but I find it really interesting to hear things re-imagined from the perspective of a different artist. Often I’ll like a cover equally if not moreso, but in a different way.

Today I found myself thinking: why is this something which only happens within the musical medium? Why don’t we get “covers” in other forms of art? Why not, for example, cover novels?

I know this probably sounds like a strange idea, but a large part of any book’s appeal is the style in which it is written. Some authors have very, very distinctive voices which alone make for strong selling points – so imagine if authors reinvented each others work from time to time.

Interestingly, this is the kind of thing which would have happened all the time with storytellers in ancient history. One person hears a story, then passes it on to somebody else – along the way adding several of their own unique touches. Of course, modern copyright laws will essentially make this sort of thing impossible in today’s world, but then are these laws stifling creativity? Are we robbing artists of the ability to build on top of each others’ work, as is the natural way of this art form?

I wouldn’t like to say definitively, because artists do absolutely need for their work to be protected by law. On the other hand, legalities will stop authors from even considering certain projects – even though they could be absolute masterpieces. I still can’t really understand how and why we live in a world where cover songs are acceptable but not other things – but I suppose it all depends on the developmental origins of each art form. Really, it was just a passing muse for me and something which, on reflection, I am disappointed does not exist in our world.

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