For the next thirty days I’m going to attempt the Thirty Days Of Books meme. Just to stop this becoming an entirely book centric blog I’m also going to do the Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge from Facebook.
Day 01 – A Book Series You Wished Would Just End Already
I’m not going to say Twilight. It’s ooooh so tempting to choose that one, but I’m going to have some integrity and not talk about anything I haven’t read. I’ve seen New Moon and that has guaranteed I won’t ever read the Twilight series :p
I nominate A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin. My partner got into these books whilst we were at university (2001-2004) and really enjoyed them. They were originally planned as a trilogy. But after reading the first three he found that the series had been expanded beyond the original limit AND the fourth book hadn’t come out yet. Whilst we only waited a year for it to be released, there had actually been a 5 year gap between the release of book 3 “A Storm Of Swords” in 2000 and book 4 “A Feast of Crows” in 2005. Book 5 still hasn’t been released, and I won’t believe the July 2011 release date until I see the book on the shelves. There are apparently 2 more books due before the series is finished.
This is the book series that cemented my decision never to start a pre-planned book series until all the volumes have been released. Part of my medical condition is that I have poor memory and I really don’t have the brain capacity spare to hold knowledge of a few thousand characters for 6 years whilst the author attempts to get himself out of the corner he wrote himself into in book 4. Whilst I find sword and sorcery entertaining I didn’t enjoy the books enough to want to reread all 4 volumes just so I can read book 5. I also have a touch of OCD that likes to have all the covers if a given series to match, to the point that I have given away the first few books in a series and replaced them or hunted down matching copies online because the book stores didn’t have the right covers. In the case of A Song Of Ice And Fire, it’s not possible to get a copy of book 4 that matches our first edition copies of the original three books and that’s like fingernails on the blackboard of my soul.
I love series like Discworld where each individual novel serves as its own story without cliffhangers or any frustrating wait for the next edition. But I just can’t bring myself to lay out money with no guarantee of actually getting an ending to a story. I bought Tad Williams Shadowmarch without reading the online reviews and nearly screamed when I got to the end only to realise it was a trilogy (another one that has exceeded it boundaries and spread into four volumes) a fact that was never mentioned anywhere on the cover. I haven’t bothered with that series beyond the second book anyway, but I wouldn’t have started it at all if I’d had advanced warning. The only time I’ll accept an unfinished book series now is when the author has passed away, like Douglas Adams, Issac Asimov or Frank Herbert, and I always try to research it as much as possible before I start to avoid characters I might love too much, or stumbling into a series ruined by subsequent authors.
I recently saw the HBO mini-series adaptation advertised on Sky Atlantic, which just begs the question, if they intend to complete the whole series are they going to cryogenically freeze the actors the ensure continuity whilst they wait another decade for the author to finish the last two books?