Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trilogies - how do you like them?

When I was at Worldcon, on one of the panels, I asked two questions of the audience.

The first was this: do you like cliff hangers at the end of a book of a trilogy, enticing you to buy the next?

It was a fairly full lecture theatre, and the audience was split right down the middle - half of them loved them, half of them hated them.  (Since then I've seen one blogger write a whole blog post on how awful The Last Stormlord was because it didn't "finish" part of the story.)

And the second question: Do you like trilogies that come out one book every month? Would you happily buy them this way?

Most people said yes. (The problem is more that authors can't write a book a month...*grin*)

So what do you think?

And on quite another matter: I am now at the airport, waiting for a flight to Glasgow. Any bets on whether there will be too much snow for the plane to land?  The Noramlys are travelling! So far this year we've had two volcanoes... what will noramly us this time, I wonder?

13 comments:

Jo said...

Glenda, I am surprised you even went to the airport. From all the reports we get, the European airports are clogged with passengers who can't get flights, Toronto and other North American airports can't leave because they can't get into Europe. If I were you, I would go home and forget it. Normalying isn't in it, unless the whole air system is being affected by it.

I enjoy trilogies, don't like the longer books which go on for ever and ever. And yes, a cliff hanger helps one to remember what was happening when you get to the next book.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy a cliff hanger at the end of a multi book story, but not at the expense of some sense of completion. The characters have to overcome something / achieve something and the plot advance.

So, IMO, a teaser about the next book's plot / challenge is great, but deferring the current book's climax isn't.

Prk.

Peter said...

I do enjoy SFF trilogies/series for many reasons:

- Revisiting an established world of familiar geography and places you know.

- Gives the author time for realistic character development and sometimes redemption.

- Anticipation of the evil one's demise/redemption action.


What I don't like about book series is sometimes having to wait many years for the next book. In a current case 5yrs 2mths and still counting.

Jo said...

I'm curious Peter, which series is that?

Ted Mahsun said...

While I do love trilogies/series, I prefer a series of standalone books set in the same universe/world such as China Mieville's Bas Lag books or Iain M Banks' Culture books because I have a terrible memory.

Sometimes I just can't remember a reference to a certain character or a certain location in the first book while I am reading the third book. Just an example.

Peter said...

Hi Jo,

The series is "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin.
Last book came out in Oct-05 in Australia.

Jo said...

I am waiting for that book too. Same as the Clan of the Cave Bear series. You kind of forget who's what. Right now I am reading Towers of Midnight which is book 13in the Wheel of Time series. I am having trouble remember the lesser characters in that.

Glenda Larke said...

Fortunately, my daughter is in Glasgow, Jo - so we didn't book thru Heathrow!

Jo said...

Meaning you got through OK I hope. Merry Christmas.

Glenda Larke said...

I agree, it is nice to have some sort of closure of something at the end of each book. Trouble is, what the author thinks is is an ending of something, the reader might mot find satisfying. I actually thought that the ending of The Last Stormlord brought quite a few things to a conclusion:

Kaneth and Ryka reach a recognition of where their relationship is going, Terelle escapes, Jasper jumps out of the flying pan...

Trouble is the story isn't over. And one reviewer spent the whole review complaining that it wasn't fair to the reader because there wasn't a story arc. Well, I thought there was. He didn't. Sigh.

wielli said...

I know I come to this post rather late ;) but this is an interesting question.
I love multi-book series, the longer, the better (I'm thinking here of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars, etc.). However, I am very impatient, so I cannot stand the idea of picking up part 1 of a series until the whole series is finished. After I read your Mirage Makers series, for example, I was dying to read your Stormlord series, but I waited until book 3 was out until I bought them. The thought of having to wait months, in some cases years for the sequels would drive me nuts. As it does now with Martin's series; I LOVE SoIaF, but waiting for the next book is agony.
As for the cliffhanger question: Given my approach, it doesn't really matter as the next book is always right there, waiting to be read ;)
Can't wait to see what you come up with next! The Spices story sounds intriguing, but I guess it'll be a while until all 3 (or more?) are out, so I'll have to be patient...

Glenda Larke said...

Hi Wielli...yes, I think you will have to be patient for the Spice trilogy. I haven't even got a publication date for the first book yet!

I must admit that I am not buying GRRM's books as they are published, but I'm not reading them. I'll do that when the series is completed!

Jo said...

And I think that is pretty sensible Glenda except once you get pretty old, will you ever get to read the books at all?