General · reading

S is for Series

Series abound in fantasy and science fiction. There are so many that finding stand alone books can be something of a challenge.

I guess two or three types of series.

  1. episodic series, where each book is an episode and can be read on its own without needing to read anything that came before. I am not sure there are too many pure examples of this type of series. You know, like the James Bond movies.
  2. a long long story broken up into several novels. (Because you can’t publish 50 million words worth of one story all at once!) Like Tolkien or Wheel of Time or Way of Kings. 
  3. I am not sure this counts as a separate type of series, but maybe? Anyway, the kind where the book has a stand alone-ish type plot of its own, so you have a conclusion at the end. But there is also a longer series plot and the episode plot sort of falls neatly into it. Harry Potter is like this. And so are a lot of TV shows. Maybe this is really just a subtype of 1 or 2. I don’t know.

There are also series that start out as episodic and turn into the series-as-a-long-novel. Actually, I think that’s when I fall behind on my reading.

That’s what happened with the Dresden files. That’s why I am so behind in this series, because I feel like, I didn’t get to read the previous book and now I can’t read this new book that just came out because I won’t know what’s going on.

The shift is really quite annoying.

What do you think?


15 thoughts on “S is for Series

  1. I’m writing a series now and it is tough. First of all, you have to remember facts from one book to the next. Then you have both the story arc and the series arc, which are tough to reconcile at times. And now I’m making suggested revisions to book one after book two has been turned in, knowing these changes are going to affect the later books!


  2. good when the book is on its own… I’ve come across really good series like that 🙂 plus, sometimes it is not possible read a series in order…

  3. I used to loathe series. I felt like the author was just being lazy. 🙂 But I’ve warmed to them over time – I enjoyed the Girl in the Dragon Tattoo series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent Series. (I had always made exception for the Narnia series.) If done correctly it lets the reader spend more time with the characters or – in the case of fantasy – the world that the author has created. Even in a series, though, I want each book to have it’s own story arc and conclusion – not just be a setup for the next book.

  4. Thank you for visiting my blog! This is what I really love about the A2Z challenge. I normally read blogs on cats, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have stumbled upon yours. (Well, ok, it depends if you had been visiting my blog. I’m always curious about my readers’ blogs)

    I understand you; I also tend to fall behind when series are becoming a long novel. I don’t read so many books (need to start doing this again!), but I’m feeling the same about TV series. There’s another problem as well: I can’t wait for new episodes if the former had a cliffhanger. So my strategy is waiting. I really liked e.g. Grey’s Anatomy, but I stopped watching it some years ago. Now I can watch all the episodes at once!

    A2Z challenge. Participant number 1248

  5. I don’t like it when a book doesn’t have a beginning, middle and end. Especially end. An arc over a series is fine, but each book ideally has its own standalone type thing going on. The other kind tend to lose me.

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