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Book Two in a Trilogy: There. Was that so hard to write? [Mar. 6th, 2012|08:29 am]
When I'm Empress of the Free World, any book that is part of a series will have to clearly state ON THE COVER, that this is #2 (or whatever) and then on the inside, they'll need to clearly demarcate, where they list the other books the author has written, WHICH ones belong to the series, of which I'm holding the second one in my hand.

I mean, when I read the dust jacket and get pretty interested in a book and think "ooh, this'll be a good ride" and then a page or two in, it's pretty clear that the story has already BEGUN and I'm coming in for Act II. If I had KNOWN, I would have gotten the first one right then and there. Put in a library request, gotten the first one and then read them in order. Damn it. Now I have to move onto the NEXT book in the queue and I wasn't in the MOOD for Space Opera, yet.

And then I thought, wait: I've stumbled, slightly disoriented, vision blurred, with a distinct limp, into current technology. I have a Kindle. I can just download the first one, without having to go back to the library, find out the first book in the series is already out on loan to someone who took it out YESTERDAY and we all know they're going to renew it twice and I'll probably have Alzheimers by the time they bring it back, and then, even if I have enough moments of lucidity to get through the first one in the series, I'll have to repeat the whole rigamorole for the seond one and by then I'll be a disembodied head in a box and will I really CARE? (So, I cling to some antiquated notions of the future, so what?)

Except of course, in this case, the author's got all sorts of books listed and...it's not clear which one precedes this one. So, now do I have to hit Amazon and page through, looking for which one sounds as if it involves the same characters, might possibly be the first in the series...and then get annoyed, as I do every time I consider "buying" a Kindle download, that it's damn near as expensive as the hard copy book.

I HATE series. Even when I read them in order, I have to wait until they're all published, otherwise I read the first one and by the time the second one comes out, I've forgotten half of the first one, maybe even three quarters, and I'm not even sure if I remember if I LIKED it. And I'm sure as hell not going to go back and read the first one just so that I can get through the second one...which will inevitably piss me off because when I get to the end, it will be clear that I have to read the third, NOT YET PUBLISHED one in order to get any kind of closure. It's a commitment I just can't handle, a timespan I can't manage, and inevitably I get really bored with the characters by the second or third book anyway.

But I'm a benevolent dictator and I understand that not all of my people feel the same way. And admittedly, IF I can stumble upon a GOOD series, that's already been mostly published, or at least has some closure at the end of each book, I do sometimes enjoy them. So, I would still allow series to be published -- but they would have to follow the protocol of being up front right on the cover whether this is a stand alone or the middle of a series. And on the inside you'd have to be clear which ones were the books in the series and where did this one fall. In the back, you'd have to have a brief synopsis of each book that's preceded it -- a Cliff's Notes if you will -- so that if you wanted to refresh yourself on what's happened so far, since you've read possibly dozens and dozens of books and drunk cases and cases of cider since you read the preceding chapter.

[User Picture]From: kiltboy
2012-03-06 02:44 pm (UTC)
Of the (many) series I'm in the middle of, the Wheel Of Time has it's very own Special Place in Hell. I've got too much invested to just not read Book 14 (hopefully, the last book) when it comes out sometime in the nebulous future. And it's not even written by the same guy anymore: the series ran so long the original author died, which I knew he would as soon as I started liking these books. 200 plus characters, 75 plus plot lines spread across half the globe... It's impossible to Cliff note or ever diagram WTF is happening from one book to the next. I'll just be glad when it's done, so I can reallocate those brain cells currently allocated for keeping salient plot points accessible until the next (last) book.
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[User Picture]From: dreamtigress
2012-03-06 03:41 pm (UTC)
I love your idea of having books in a series have warnings and diagrams and full lists. However, until such time as that becomes fact, this is an excellent resource for figuring out which books are in a series, and what order they go in. http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/

Also, there is one danger to reading series on the Kindle... One can read until 2 am quite by accident when you can start the very next book in the series with a click or two. I may or may not be rather guilty of this.
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