Monday, May 20, 2013

All good things must come to an end

For lovers of series fiction there sometimes comes a point when you realize that the books have lost their allure.  If it's just one book that doesn't quite meet expectations, you wait for the next one and hope for the best.  But if it becomes a trend then what? Anyone who loves series fiction has probably come across a series that they slowly fall out of love with.  The stories may become flat or repetitive and even the main characters seem bored.  And the reader wonders if perhaps the author should have stopped one, two, or seven books ago.

Well, authors fall out of love with series, too or they have a particular story they want to tell and no intention of going on forever.  Sometimes an author can end their series beautifully, think Harry Potter.  In some cases they can't.  When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle decided to kill of Sherlock Holmes there was such an outcry that he brought his sleuth back from the dead to satisfy his outraged fans.  Sometimes it's the publisher that pressures an author to keep on writing.  Sometimes, it's plain old financial common sense.  If  "Rex of the Mounties" is how you make your living and pay your bills, you might have to keep on writing if you want to keep on eating.

In the case of the Sookie Stackhouse series, author Charlaine Harris has opted to quit while she's ahead.  She admits to having run out of fresh ideas.  The series doesn't excite her anymore.  She's ready to move on.  Book #13 will be the last.  Her fans, to say the least, are not happy.  In the recent Wall Street Journal article "How to Kill a Vampire" author Alexandra Alter  interviewed Harris, her fans, and her publisher to explore the problem from all sides.

Except for the die hards who want to move in to the series and live there, everyone will eventually recover and move on.  We all survived the end of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Hercule Poirot, and Sherlock Holmes, we'll survive this, too.  To soften the blow, it's up to librarians to offer up some great new titles to suffering fans.  

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