Friday, February 13, 2015

Why it is ok to give up on a book series

For the last few months I’ve been working my way through Phillip José Farmer’s The Dungeon, a shared-world fantasy series that was published from 1988 to 1990.

Let me go back a quick step here:

1) A shared world fantasy series is one where different authors continue the story forward from novel to novel, think of it like an elaborate, and book series length, game of telephone.

2) I started reading this particular series because one of my favourite Canadian authors, Charles de Lint, wrote two instalments (Volumes 3 and 5)

3) I tend to be a sucker for series, whether the 50+ books in the Dragonlance series, the expanded Universe Star Wars Novels, or the increasingly depressing, but always engaging Wild Cards series (edited by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin)

So a series really has to let me down for me to decide to jump off during the last book...

Strongly influenced by pulp magazine stories of the 1920s and 30s and involving everything from dimension hopping to dinosaurs and spaceships, The Dungeon, at first glance seemed pretty tailor-made for me. I've read a number of series with different contributing authors and when done correctly,, shared world series can be fascinating and exciting for a reader who wants to get different perspectives on the same world.

The Dungeon series starts out all right, and then with each new author just seemed to get better and better, yes de Lint was a high point for me, as he found ways to make the stories move faster and also came up with some very interesting plot twists and great character moments.

The problem actually came when I hit about page fifty in the final volume. Author Richard Lupoff (who wrote the first book in the series) seems to have either not read the rest of the series or simply decided to ignore it - he comments about the adventures of the protagonist, Clive Folliot by going into in-depth description of his adventures in book one, and then simply mentioning there were other adventures as well.

The book seemed incredibly dismissive of the rest of the series and as each book ended on a cliffhanger, also managed the ruin the one presented at the end of book five by IGNORING THE ENTIRE THING! Seriously, I could have finished the book and had worse things to say, but after being figuratively slapped in the face by the first few chapters, I decided it would make more sense to state the following.

It is ok to put down a book you don't like - even if you've read everything else in the series and this book promises to give you all the answers you've been craving since you began. The best part about any entertainment medium is that as the consumer (reader, player, audience, etc.) you have the right and the ability to simply say

"No Thanks".

Sorry for my rough words (as a Canadian they may be less rough than yours, but trust me, they're pretty bad here).

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