Over at Strange Horizons, James Schellenberg ponders the question, "If there are too many books, then why is it so hard to find a worthwhile one to read?" Considering the various strategies we employ in winnowing out, from the vast array of options available, the next book to read or the next movie to see, Schellenberg suggests that a sequel to a known work can offer a shortcut for the chooser. But of course even the realm of sequels is loaded with too many options and variations ... so Schellenberg proposes a taxonomy of sequels, remakes, and adaptations.
From Schellenberg's article:
I'm a librarian by training, and I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, so my obsessive side (less politely: my nerdy side) often gets a workout. I was contemplating the proliferation of sequels and their ilk -- mostly when people argue about this stuff, it's to judge between the items. For example, are sequels written by other people inherently worse than sequels written by the original creator? But any argument needs to have its terms defined.
So here is a taxonomy.
Read the article and the taxonomy: "Sequels, Remakes, Adaptations," by James Schellenberg.
(Note that Schellenberg solicits comment and plans to maintain an updated copy of the taxonomy at his website.)