Guest Poster Floyd Hyatt on Seminal Series

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.

Light Fantasy

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?


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Guest Poster Floyd Hyatt on Seminal Series

  1. Jane

    February 6, 2012 at 9:50am

    Marian, I LOVED Freddy the Pig stories! My favorite character was Jinx the cat. (No surprise there, I guess.)

    Mr. Hyatt: I look forward to hearing more on this topic. Can’t wait to hear your views on the Amber Chronicles.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 6, 2012 at 9:53am

      Jinx was my favorite, too, although I naturally identified with Freddy the writer. 🙂 But the older I get, the more I want to grow up to be Mrs. Wiggins.

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  2. Lea Dee

    February 6, 2012 at 11:30am

    Freddy the Pig book was my favorite. I’m also guilty of patronizing the serial books. They seem pretty interesting but I also love a one-part novel. It puts an end to a story in short time.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Lea Dee
    Lea Dee recently posted..How To Get A Girl To Like You

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 6, 2012 at 4:17pm

      Lea, I’m so happy to meet another Freddy fan! 🙂 You’re right: a stand-alone book is satisfying, in its way.

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  3. Somalie P.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:25pm

    I really love series and my most favorite of all is the Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Have you heard of it? It’s a fantasy series.

    Thanks for the book reviews here. Really awesome!

    Somalie P. recently to pick up girls

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 6, 2012 at 4:12pm

      I don’t know about Mr. Hyatt, but I’ve read several of the Artemis Fowl books and loved them! Colfer is a good writer, IMO.

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      • Jane

        February 7, 2012 at 2:46pm

        Hi. Colfer Has also written the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide Trilogy. I’m told it hold true to the series.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          February 7, 2012 at 10:11pm

          The sixth, actually. Adams wrote Mostly Harmless, the fifth book, which was so sucky I wrapped it firmly in rubber bands so it could never be opened by mistake and vacuum all the joy out of the universe. An article in the Guardian says that Adams planned a more upbeat “sixth of three volumes”, but died before he could do it. Colfer taking on the task is very good news, indeed!

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  4. F.A.Hyatt

    February 6, 2012 at 3:11pm


    I once read through a first book of a series, liked it, so immediately ran out and bought three more. Long story short, I hated those next three. I like to review an individual book, on occasion, but maybe there is a point to reviewing a series as a whole. where that is possible.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 6, 2012 at 4:16pm

      @F.A.Hyatt – That was me with Farmer’s Riverworld series. Every book in the series, I liked less. Maybe I should give them another try. I sure loved that first book, TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO.

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      • Jane

        February 7, 2012 at 2:53pm

        DON’T re-read this series!!! It is SO awful! We read them at the Books for the Blind, and I am here to tell you that they go on and on forever. Wasn’t the first book a great idea, though? Such a perfect way to do stories about anyone from the past meeting anyone else. Reminds me of that old Walter Cronkite show where he interviews important people from the past.

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          February 7, 2012 at 10:14pm

          “YOU … were there.” And Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds, where various famous people from different times and places would gather around and converse. Great concept, gone so horribly, horribly wrong — but that’s Farmer, a high-concept, poor-execution guy if ever I read one.

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  5. F.A.Hyatt

    February 6, 2012 at 5:43pm

    @Marian Allen
    I have read, maybe still have the original hardbound for that Farmer series. I found the book rather scattered in terms of plot, rather a meandering read, if well writ on a technical level. I prefer books that have a beginning, middle and end, over ones that start nowhere, wander aimlessly, and to no definable conclusion, something I expect more from endless television dramas than novels. I term such as unspecified quests. Rather read like travelogues, to my mind, more than finished novels. Perhaps given the genre, Psudeo-travelogues would be a better description. There are lots of books that do not read to a conclusion, but novels, to my mind, sort of define the kind of written material that does. It kind of separates out the novel from the biograph, travelogue, history or case-study. Nothing wrong with reading any of the above, but I like to be clear about what kind of thing I am speaking about when I use the word novel.
    F. A. H.

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  6. F.A.Hyatt

    February 6, 2012 at 6:10pm

    @Somalie P.
    I am aware of the Colfer series, which is widely distributed YA reading, and have read a few reviews and synopsis on them, but they aren’t on my reading list. With few exceptions these days, I mostly go for genre writ for the adult aged market, though I understand that YA titles do attract an adult aged readership. In my own defense, I note that “Young Adult” and such earmarked age groups also read “full shelf” works as often as not. In my own callow childhood, I read Talbot Mundy’s Tros of Samothrace, right alongside Victor Appleton III’s (Psudonym*) The adventures of Tom Swift Jr. and such, but I admit I don’t specifically shop for Beatrice Potter books and the like anymore, save as for gifts. My loss, of course, but there you are.

    *(yes, I know these book-mill books were written by others under contract)

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  7. F.A.Hyatt

    February 6, 2012 at 6:45pm

    @Lea Dee
    To me, a series book ought to be a complete and satisfying story unto itself. If a book does not pose, then resolve…something, it’s a serial, not a novel. More “As The World Turns, ” than a work of a set. I like putting down a book with a satisfied sigh, instead of in anger over being cheated into purchasing half a story. That’s not to say a series can’t have an overall plot, or lead to an overall conclusion. Some do and some don’t. But, a novel is a novel, and while there’s nothing wrong with following an adventure series that reuses familiar characters and settings, If you can’t provide the reader with some closure along the way, you have work in progress, not stories. I read both stand alone stories and series novels too, without much preference , though I have my favorite authors.

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  8. Nicholle Olores

    February 12, 2012 at 11:00pm

    Hello Marian, I never knew about Floyd but it seems that he is done well in writing interesting stories. I don’t like to read a series books because I don’t like a thrill. By the way thanks for sharing!
    Nicholle Olores recently posted..Timber Doors

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 13, 2012 at 1:30pm

      Mr. Hyatt is a treasure! Be sure to read today’s (2/13/2012) post.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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