Thursday, 10 January 2013

Why are we waiting? - Karen Bush

One of many
          I’m currently re-reading Julian May’s Galactic Milieu and Pliocene trilogies: as I finished one and scanned the shelves searching for the next volume, I noticed that a lot of my books are serials or series.
          My serial addiction probably started with Winnie the Pooh, before moving on to The Dark is Rising sequence and the Earthsea books via the Narnia chronicles, Swallows and Amazons, The Minnipins, Paddington Bear and Mrs Pepperpot ...
          As I got older I moved onto Asimov’s Foundation, Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion in his many guises, Don Camillo, the world of Vanyel Askevron, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, Robin Hobb’s trilogy of trilogies featuring Fitz and Liveships (and she’s now three books into a quadrilogy set in the Rain Wilds), Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum,  and I’m heavily addicted to Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Scotland Street books.

          And that’s just a very few of them.
          But discovering a series of books by an author that you love can be a bittersweet experience.  A couple of years ago I stumbled across Lindsey Davis’ Falco books. I spent a blissful summer gorging on them, and only had to wait a couple of months for the twentieth and, I suspect final volume, to be published. (Although I see that one of the other characters is appearing in a book of her own in the Spring).
          It’s brilliant to be able to move straight onto the next book in a series and e-book readers make it possible for you to have it in your hands immediately, without having to wait till the local bookshop is open or Amazon gets it off in the post. Although there is also the period of cold-turkey that follows the gorgeous satiation ...

          But it’s frustrating in the extreme when you have to wait: not so much with self-contained serials such as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, but excruciating when you are left with a cliff hanger ending. Some authors work diligently and have their path fairly well plotted out, so are able to stick more or less to the planned schedule: each of our own AE founder Katherine Roberts’ wonderful Pendragon Legacy books are due to appear at six monthly intervals, which suits me fine. Although I’d rather read the next one right now, the time span is not so great that you can’t remember what happened in the previous volume, and your appetite is still keen for the next. But when it drags on for years it can stretch reader loyalty and patience.
          Sometimes it’s not the author’s fault: for example, our other illustrious AE founder, Sue Price’s brilliant Sterkarm series got stymied by the publisher (morons!) but thanks to Kindle, the eagerly awaited third book will now at least get to see the light of day if it isn’t picked up by another publisher.
Hopefully soon to be joined by a third ...

          Obviously an author wants to take enough time to get things right and make their books as good as they can be: sometimes the polishing and honing creates a book which is an absolute joy - but a long delay doesn’t always necessarily equal a better end product. And remember – Robertson Davies died before he was able to complete his Toronto Trilogy, so now we’ll never be able to read it.

          Now, having – gently - cracked the whip at any of you who are writing a series and maybe dragging your heels a little, here’s something, courtesy of Paul and Storm (www.paulandstorm.com) to entertain and amuse those readers who are waiting for the next instalment of their favourite series to materialise. It’s very funny, very clever and says all the things I am far too polite to say myself ... 




Out as promised, on the strike of midnight at Halloween! Still available on Kindle HERE for under a quid!

And a short story which demanded a sequel.  Read the story while I'm working on the novel at IT ONLY HAPPENS IN STORIES 
















6 comments:

Susan Price said...

Thanks Karen - or should I say, Madwippet? I enjoyed this post a lot - share your Pratchett enthusiasm. Commander Vimes - Angua - Granny Weatherwax - so hard to hoose a favourite.
Thanks for the plug! - But the song at the end! Very funny - but just a bit wounding to us nerds, I thought. I shall take my bruised feelings away and try to rewrite Sterkarm 3...(for probably the fifth time.)

Letitia Coyne said...

I was scanning through fb feed and caught a glimpse of 'The Many Coloured Land' and zoomed straight in on you! I loved the series [plural] and had that long wait through the Galactic Millieu series as she wrote each book.

Cheers on a great post.
Lxx

Chris Longmuir said...

Great post, Karen, and I loved the video.

madwippitt said...

Yes, I love that video - and a terrifically catchy tune as well as funny.
Letitia - Welcome to Authors Electric, and glad to find a fellow Many Coloured Land fan! It drew my partner back into reading fantasy again too ...
Sue - heaven forbid that an anorak like me should call you a nerd ... :-)

Lydia Bennet said...

excellent post Karen, I too have gone nuts on various series and like Alexander blubbing in his tent when he thought he'd run out of world to conquer, I know the feeling when you or the author gets to the end! My addiction to Patrick O'Brian was particularly insane... but it's a great feeling when you discover a book and love it, and then find out there are lots more of them to go! KIndle and ebooks are especially useful for backlists.

madwippitt said...

Nothing quite like a book binge, Lydia!