Kindle sales seem particularly driven by series sales, with many readers reluctant to buy an author who doesn’t have a list of titles for follow-up reading. Many authors are marketing with this in mind, giving away the first of a series in hopes that readers will like it and pay for subsequent titles in the series.
But we’ve all been series fans. I always looked forward to finding another Freddy the Pig book, then another Nero Wolfe book, then another Lynn S. Hightower Alien Blues book and now another Marjorie Liu and another Jim Butcher.
So I’m very happy to present a series of posts from F. A. Hyatt on:
General Reviews: Seminal Series Works
It seems as though the trend for the last couple of decades has shifted to serial novels in Fantasy and S/F, although maybe that’s just me talking. The time was, when more authors wrote stand alone (or at least not true serial) novels, unless publishing for pulp era magazines.
We stood cash in hand , awaiting the next jaunt of imagination from our favorite Author. Although the serial, the trilogy, the continuing epic, have always been with us, It seems to have taken on a heightened presence in modern publications. It’s therefore only proper, that some description of these on-going multi-volume offerings be attempted.
I am going to take a historical approach, and start by looking at a handful of them, mostly familiar to all, that I feel have been seminal in laying the foundations of this trend. When I mention serial, I am talking about books that span more than a trilogy, not cliff hanging parted out stories. This because, donno, what do you call a sixteen book epic? A sesidecimology?
The attempt will be descriptive, and opinion driven, but hopefully of some use to those yet unexposed, who hesitate to begin reading what could be considered a commitment to a long chain of classic purchases. We will be looking at the Genre, Point of view, general topic, and the ability of the writer to sustain a constant sense of development across the span of each series. Can the included works be read stand alone? Is the reading experience consistent across the series? Do the characters change or stay the same through-out? Inquiring minds want to know. This will of necessity be a series of articles: I will start off with light fantasy, so consider this part one of, however many get formatted for blog presentation per time.
I have a particularly warm spot in my heart for these efforts. Beyond Robert Howard lies a great body of work that have the power to immerse the reader in the life, environment, or trials of an individual or set of characters. Precursors of Harry Potter and such, they are not juvenile fiction, and the best can take on either aspects of a good involved mystery, follow the growth of a character, or attempt to resolve involving philosophic, or dogmatic struggles.
Next week: The Amber Chronicles
WRITING PROMPT: What was your favorite series when you were growing up? Do you have a favorite series now? Does either series have any influence on what you write?