This term is borrowed from the science fiction community. It describes a book that resembles a novel that was assembled from previously published short material. Often there are editorial changes made to suit the publication length and change characters or themes to be suitable for the book form.
Edward Stratemeyer wrote many serials and short stories for newspapers and story papers. Â Some of these were reused in fixup volumes. As he was preparing several books for the Bound to Win library published by W.L. Allison in 1897, some were long serial stories and others were fixups from short stories or serials that were not quite long enough for a book-length publication.
These volumes were published under Stratemeyer’s own name and his two principal personal pseudonyms, “Capt. Ralph Bonehill” and “Arthur M. Winfield.” While the latter was made famous for its use on the Rover Boys series, the “Bonehill” name volumes in the Bound to Win series were frequently assembled as fixups.
After the initial Bound to Win publication which included the 12 Stratemeyer stories and one Horatio Alger, Jr. story, Slow and Sure, the books were broken up into smaller publisher libraries according to the pseudonym and the general themes.
When the source periodicals are available, it can be possible to trace the selections made. A good example of this is the book Leo the Circus Boy. Portions of “Leo the Circus Boy,” “Carl the Juggler,” and “The Balloon Boys” were selected, adapted, and interwoven to meet the needs of the new narrative. Not all of the issues of Bright Days are at hand so it is not completely certain the issues and chapter names in all cases. Some new material was added to frame or connect the stories.
Stratemeyer used his experience with this to help Street & Smith take their story paper serials, dime novel and nickel library stories and produce book-length stories for the Boys’ Own Library, Frank Merriwell series and other series which were initially issued by them in 1902. In some examples a given Frank Merriwell book volume can contain story elements written by two or perhaps even three contributing writers.
|Ch.||Book Chapter||Serial||Serial Chapter||Source|
|1||A Row and Its Result||Leo||A Row and Its Result||BD3|
|2Â||Capturing a Runaway Lion||Leo||Capturing a Runaway Lion||BD3Â|
|3||Leo Leaves the Farm||Leo||Leo Leaves the Farm||BD 3|
|4||Leo Joins the Greatest Show on Earth||Leo||Leo Joins the Greatest Show on Earth||BD3|
|5||A Leap of Great Peril||Leo||A Leap for Life||BD3|
|6||Leo Asserts His Rights||Leo||Leo Asserts His Rights||BD4|
|7||Leo Gains His Liberty||Leo||Leo Gains a Release||BD4|
|8||Among the Clouds in a Thunderstorm||Balloon||Among the Clouds in a Thunderstorm||BD12|
|9||The Mad Elephant||Leo||The Mad Elephant||BD4|
|10||Capturing the Elephant||Leo||Capturing the Elephant||BD4|
|11||A Criminal Compact||Leo||A Criminal Compact||BD5|
|12||The Stolen Circus Tickets||Leo||The Stolen Circus Tickets||BD5|
|13||Leo Makes a Change||Leo||Limber Leo Clears Himself *||BD5|
|14||Leo Makes a New Friend||Carl|
|15||An Act Not on the Bills||Carl|
|16||An Unpleasant Position||Carl|
|17||Carl Shows His Bravery||Carl|
|18||A Wonderful Trick Explained||Carl|
|19||Wampole’s New Scheme||Carl||BD10|
|20||Another Stop on the Road||Carl||More Tricks Exposed||BD10|
|21||An Unexpected Bath||Carl||Carl Leaps to the Rescue||BD10|
|22||Wampole Shows His Hand||Carl||BD11|
|23||The Greatest Show on Earth Once More||Leo||Limber Leo Clears Himself *||BD5|
|24||In the Circus Ring Again||Leo||BD5|
|25||Another Balloon Trip||Balloon||Adventures Amid the Flames||BD13|
|26||Adventures Amid the Flames||Balloon||Adventures Amid the Flames||BD13|
|27||Escape from the Burning Forest||Balloon||Escape from the Burning Forest||BD13|
|28||The Rival Balloonists||Balloon||The Rival Balloonist||BD13|
|30||Mart Keene’s Story||Balloon|
|31||A Fall From the Clouds||Balloon|
|32||Mart a Prisoner||Balloon|
|33||Leo to the Rescue||Balloon|
|34||The End of Porler||Balloon|
|35||A Cowardly Attack||Leo||Leo Hears a Confession||BD6|
|36||On the Elevated Tracks||Carl||The Peril of a Moment Another Mystery||BD12, BD 13|
|37||The Capture of Griswold||Carl||Carl’s Escape–The Fortune–Conclusion||BD14|
|38||Good-bye to the Circus Boy||Leo||Good-bye to the Circus Boy||BD6|
Of course, the result of this kind of copy-paste editing can lead to episodic stories and occasionally a confused character name or plot hole. Sports, outdoors, and hunting stories can use this technique with minimal damage since the books are often a series of contests or scenes.
An example that is not from the Stratemeyer Syndicate is in the Boy Scout Life series that was produced by and approved by the Boy Scouts of America. One of the volumes, Boy Scouts on the Trail (Barse & Hopkins, 1920) by “John Garth” contains parts of at least seven stories by Joseph Bushnell Ames under his own name and two personal pseudonyms, “John Garth” and “Lynn Gunnison.” One of the stories, “The Shark,” was used in an earlier volume in the series which was a short story collection.
|1-3||Ames||The Shark||May 1917|
|5-7||Garth||Who Goes There?||May 1918-June 1918|
|8-10||Ames||That Tallerico Kid||Feb. 1918|
|13-14||Gunnison||Red Garrityâ€”Roughneck||Feb. 1920|
|16-19||Garth||Good Turns Like Chickens||Nov. 1918|
|21-27||Garth||Black Walnuts and Wireless||Feb. 1919-Mar. 1919|
|28-31||Garth||Left Behind||Dec. 1918|
A more modern non-Syndicate example of a fixup is Mutiny in the Time Machine (Random House, 1963) by “Donald Keith” (a joint pseudonym for a father and son). The story contains episodes that were first published as short stories and short serials in Boys’ Life magazine.
|Ch.||Boys’ Life Story Title||Date|
|1-3||The Time Machine Flies Backwards||Feb. 1960|
|3-4||Marco and Our Time Machine||Oct. 1961|
|5||Our Time Machine at the Jamboree||July 1960|
|6-8||The Time Machine Slips a Cog||Feb. 1962|
|8-10||How We Got the Mind-Reading Pills||June 1960|
|11-13||The Time Machine Cracks a Safe||June 1964|
|13-14||Call to Courage||Feb. 1957|
|15-16||Time Machine to the Rescue||Oct. 1964|