Just as "Joanie Loves Chachi" and "Laverne & Shirley" spun off with a focus
on minor characters originally seen in the original television series "Happy
Days," so too are there literary spinoffs. A spinoff is different from a sequel in
that it does not continue the protagonist's story, instead it is drawn either
from the backstory or from the viewpoint of a secondary character who appears in
the original tale. In literature, as in life, every well-drawn individual can be
the star of their own show. In A Vengeful Longing Morris takes the
relatively minor-yet-key character of the police magistrate and makes him the
center of his own set of novels (consisting so far of
The Gentle Axe and A Vengeful Longing). It is, to my limited
knowledge, the first spinoff inspired by a Dostoevsky novel.
Although I know there must have been dozens if-not-hundreds before it, the first literary spinoff I recall reading was Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, ...