Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Cambria Hebert, in which I sporadically take part. Cambria describes it thus:
Welcome to my weekly meme Tell Me Something Tuesday where I ask you something and you tell me the answer!! It’s as simple as that and I thought it would be a great way for all of us bloggers to get to know one another! So this is how it works: I post a question here on my blog and then i give my answer. I invite all the bloggers to take the question and post it on their blog with their answer and we can hop around and see what everyone says! If you are a blogger don’t forget to leave your link at the bottom of this post! If you aren’t a blogger – that’s okay too!! Leave your answer in the comments section!

If you're a blogger and want to take part, be sure to post your link on Cambria's page for this week, by clicking right here!

On to this week's question!
Tell Me Something:
At what point do you think a series has gone on too long? How long should a series be?

My Answer:
I'm really sort of in the minority on this issue. I absolutely love long series, as long as they keep putting out good stories. A good example of a terrific, and long-running, series is the Saga of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
These are some amazing fantasy stories, and I've loved every book in the series (and I've read all but one). Modesitt has several other series, as well, but none are as long-running. Another great example are David Weber's Honor Harrington books and the other books set in the Honorverse; this long-running space-opera/sci-fi series has 26 books (a few aren't yet available), but I've read almost all of those as well! Again, Weber keeps the storylines strong, fresh, interesting and he keeps pulling me in.

A suspense/police procedural series of which I'm very fond is the Lucas Davenport series by John Sandford - there are 22 books available and I've read 20 or 21 of them, and loved every one. These are amazing because they're realistic - the detective ages, gains a family and some aches and grey hairs, slows down a little ... It's not like Robert B. Parker's Spenser series where the guy never seems to age even though decades have gone by!

On the other hand, sometimes you get series that just need to stop.

Maybe the first book, or even two or three, are okay, but then the series becomes strained, repetitive, maybe even silly. One such series is the Spenser series of books I just mentioned - yeah, I enjoyed the first few, but after that ... oh, it got horrible. Same with the Stone Barrington stories by Stuart Woods - I enjoyed quite a few of them, but by the time we were past a dozen, they were starting to get repetitive. Piers Anthony writes fabulous stand-alone books, but once he gets started in a series - Xanth, The Apprentice Adept, etc. - and once he gets past the first two or three books, the series' descend into such silliness and contain such recycled scripts that it's groan-inducing!

But the fact is, there is just no way to tell! Recently I was adding series information for an author with whom I have recently become acquainted (Matt Shaw, if you must know), and contacted him to ask about his Happy Ever After trilogy, which consists of five books. He told me that, after he finished that third book (A Fresh Start), his readers wanted more, so he wrote the two additional books in the series, and wrote All Good Things so as to provide a definite ending to the series. Also, sometimes, an author will plan out a long series, but for one reason or another, it doesn't work out. For instance, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison (the widow of Jim Morrison!) wrote a fabulous series of books that took the stories of Arthur and the myths of the British and Irish Celts and transplanted the stories to another world. The Keltiad, The Aeron, and the Tales of Arthur comprise a total of 9 books, and I know she planned more, but for some reason, she quit writing them. By the way, these books are a bit hard to find - or they were for me when I was accumulating them - but if you like Arthurian Legend or Celtic Myths and legends, you will love these books!

So, for me, as long as I love the books, and as long as the author keeps writing the stories, I'll keep coming back for more! Keep 'em coming my friends!


  1. The Patricia Kennealy-Morrison books are ones I will have to find. I absolutely love Arthurian legend/Celtic myth books!

    As for the actual question, I agree that as long as the story stays fresh, a series should continue. it's when it gets repetitive and tedious and is no longer enjoyable that the series should really end. (unfortunately, everyone has a different opinion on when that should happen)

    1. It's awesome to run into someone who has not only heard of her books, but has read them! I spent months trolling used books stores, Amazon.com, Half.com and eBay to find them all!

  2. I think the definite key is that as long as the author keeps putting out fresh stories then the series could go on and on. :) Love the books you referenced, I haven't read any of them but I will file the titled away for a rainy day!

    I like your point as well that when a book series is very long and has the same main character then its important to show the character age in some ways (unless of course they are vampires, LOL) because it makes the story more credible.

    Thanks for joining in TMST this week!

    1. Yeah, I was rolling my eyes with the later Spenser books I read, because he started the series in the 60s and I think the character was in his 30s by then, and by the year 2000, when he would be in his 70s, he's still running, fighting, and behaving exactly like a 20-year-old. I mean, obviously men can stay in good shape - my dad has - but he's grown creaky as he's become older, and definitely does NOT have 20-year-old thangs hitting on him ... *rolls eyes* The Barrington Stone books ... oh, the earlier ones were great, but the later ones I read, he was also acting like a playboy when he was supposed to be a somewhat introspective guy. I just got disgusted with the whole thing!

  3. I have a rule, which included the Recluse books (angels and spaceships... really) and I'm a hardcore Modesitt fan. If it goes past 10 books, don't read it more than the first 3. The only exception I made was the Sue Grafton Alphabet series. Those aren't really about Kinsey anymore.

    1. But they aren't REALLY angels, remember! That's just what they *call* themselves. I thought it made an interesting backdrop to the stories, gave us the answers to how magic came into being in the world (although I found those stories so sad in many ways - even Dmitry said they were sad). I stand by my assertion - I have loved EVERY SINGLE BOOK in that series and the only one I haven't read is the most recent, because all these books to review keep getting in the way :-) Heh.

      Now, if you're talking about Piers Anthony, I'd totally agree - I've loved his stand-alone stuff, and I enjoyed the first three books in the Apprentice Adept series (and the first two books in the Xanth series), but after that he started recycling plots (like the Belgariad and the Mallorean) and they just got silly.

  4. Hi Katy,
    I really enjoyed your answer to this weeks Q.
    I find it very interesting how an author can set out to write three books, but then listens to their readers and produces more. I think that's awesome. Who knows how a series will do when it gets out there?!

    P.S. additional notes; I loved reading your profile, it made me smile. I used to have pet rats and guinea pigs... but now I have two children lol. I am now a newbie follower. :-)

    1. Ah, glad you got what I was doing with my profile there :-) Welcome - I hope you enjoy my reviews and occasional other ramblings!


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