I love to read books with my favorite genre being sci-fi. I’d say my next runner-up is horror, but badly written horror can turn my stomach faster than two-month-old milk. Regardless, when I get my monthly Audible credits, I love browsing through all the various books, looking for a new read.
Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend for each book I’ve found and it’s a trend that irritates me a little. Actually, it irritates me a lot.
To me, there’s nothing worse than finding a book which reads “Part of the x Series”. It makes me rage inside to see such text so let me tell you why.
Let me preface this rant that I sincerely understand the desire to create epic stories. I grew up watching Star Wars and to me, it showed me the power of a tightly integrated narrative. Later, I read books like Dragon Lance and Lord of the Rings. I absolutely love them.
I loved that each book would not only advance the overall plot, but also changed my characters in ways I had never foreseen. Obviously, I wasn’t the only person to be taken under the trilogy spell.
These days, everything is a trilogy. Everything is a sequel. Every story is an epic one. Every world needs saving. Yet, this is exhausting. I kid you not, searching for new and interesting science fiction books on Audible, the trilogy or series is now the rule.
Here’s the thing – if I know nothing about you or your work, I don’t want to be invested in it. A book is a small commitment whereas a series may be a never-ending. Asking me to read a series of books is just no good.
It also means the present story is incomplete. Now some writers will be able to make a book appear episodic and unified at the same time, but that’s a rarity. And some writers, as my wife discovered may just abandon a project.
Worst of all, some writers will simply grow tired of it. A few years back, I got sucked into Revelation Space. It was a great read, followed up by even a better book, Chasm City. The third book, Redemption Ark was fantastic. I felt like the story was culminating to a final mind blowing ending.
Instead, we got Absolution Gap which should have been called Absolute Crap (har har). The book dropped the premise of the entire series for ninety percent of the book and when it concluded, it didn’t finish anything.
You had to read the epilogue. That’s right four pages of a book wrapped it the series. It was a terrible ending that made me feel like an idiot for the investing so much energy into a series I didn’t want to get hooked into.
In summation, I want a good story that doesn’t require regular installments. I can understand the business perspective, but as a reader, it frustrates me to know end.