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Old 02-11-2020, 04:04 PM   #31
JSWolf
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I prefer standalones and have real problems getting through series. Am I the only one?
To me it depends on the series.

Do you watch TV series? Isn't that similar?
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:06 PM   #32
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See, I have enjoyed Stephen King for decades. Was The Outsider as good as It or the Shining? No, but he's still a very good author. But I've only read the first three Dark tower books. After a while, I just want something else, you know?

I do enjoy something like Lovecraft's Cthulhu stories, where the stories are all standalone, though they make references to similar names and lore. King does that as well.
What I do sometimes is stop reading a series and eventually go back to it.
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Old 02-11-2020, 04:07 PM   #33
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My own take: sometimes the first in a series is best; the interest of the world-building is never matched. Sometimes it takes a book or two for an author to hit his stride. But all series run their course, if they go on long enough. I think that’s mostly why I stopped reading mysteries. I got tired of the series I knew, and since I was no longer going to the public library, I wasn’t finding new ones in the new book display. But I also think the nature of series writing has changed with the surge in ereading and self-publishing. There are way too many series out there with books coming out far too frequently and the overall quality has tanked mightily as a result.
What do you do with a series where the books come out roughly every 1 or 2 years?
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:20 PM   #34
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To me it depends on the series.

Do you watch TV series? Isn't that similar?
A TV series like M*A*S*H* or Frazier, I'll watch.

Newer series with their focus on continuing storylines that may or may not be resolved before cancellation? Those I watch far less (though I admit they may be better TV experiences).

I'm interested in The Man in the High Castle, Stranger Things, The Witcher, Hell on Wheels, Altered Carbon, Penny Dreadful and GLOW. All available on Amazon or Netflix, both of which I have access to. But I just haven't watched them.

For continuing TV, I far prefer the one season and done-type series like American Horror Story, Slasher, The Haunting of Hill House or True Detective. And to be honest, towards the end of both the first and second seasons of American Horror Story, I though the plot had outlasted my interest.

I prefer to watch a good movie.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:20 PM   #35
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IMO to many authors are doing series and author talent varies, so the series quality does too. Tolkien was very good and so the LOTR series is excellent. So is the Harry Potter series based on popularity. In SF the Foundation series by Asimov is a classic and IMO so is the Sten series by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch. In fact all these series are basically one novel split into multiple volumes due to story length. The Sten series original 8 books were 1 million words per the authors. When a series gets past 3 to 5 books it is getting too long IMO unless the books can stand alone as individual stories or there is one story in multiple volumes.
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:30 PM   #36
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...In SF the Foundation series by Asimov is a classic... In fact all these series are basically one novel split into multiple volumes due to story length.
I don't think that is so for Foundation.

Also, while the first three Foundation books are classics, would you argue Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation are equal?
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:37 PM   #37
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What do you do with a series where the books come out roughly every 1 or 2 years?
That seems a reasonable gap to me. Any faster and I think the quality can’t be there. Did I misunderstand you?
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:03 PM   #38
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IMO to many authors are doing series and author talent varies, so the series quality does too. Tolkien was very good and so the LOTR series is excellent. So is the Harry Potter series based on popularity. In SF the Foundation series by Asimov is a classic and IMO so is the Sten series by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch. In fact all these series are basically one novel split into multiple volumes due to story length. The Sten series original 8 books were 1 million words per the authors. When a series gets past 3 to 5 books it is getting too long IMO unless the books can stand alone as individual stories or there is one story in multiple volumes.
LOTR doesn't actually count. It's really one book. The publisher decided to split it into three.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:32 AM   #39
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My own take: sometimes the first in a series is best; the interest of the world-building is never matched. Sometimes it takes a book or two for an author to hit his stride. But all series run their course, if they go on long enough. I think that’s mostly why I stopped reading mysteries. I got tired of the series I knew, and since I was no longer going to the public library, I wasn’t finding new ones in the new book display. But I also think the nature of series writing has changed with the surge in ereading and self-publishing. There are way too many series out there with books coming out far too frequently and the overall quality has tanked mightily as a result.
Preach on, Sister, preach on!

Some of those series are like the old time Saturday matinee serial movies that end in a cliff hanger and were churned out in less than a week per picture.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:53 AM   #40
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Even though there can be a drop off in delight from the first book, I love series. The question for me isn’t “will the second book be as good...” but “since I enjoyed the first book, am I more likely to enjoy the second than some unknown to me completely new book”?
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:05 AM   #41
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Even though there can be a drop off in delight from the first book, I love series. The question for me isn’t “will the second book be as good...” but “since I enjoyed the first book, am I more likely to enjoy the second than some unknown to me completely new book”?
And then you get to #8, or #10, or whatever and think, “Wow, this isn’t as good as it used to be and I’ve really got tired of it. Wonder when that happened?”

There are basically two kinds of series. There are the ones with an over-arcing story and I think those are best wrapped up in three books. Otherwise there’s too much wheel-spinning going on in the middle books. (And that’s ignoring the increasingly likely possibility that it never will be concluded.)

Then there are the stand-alones which have a somewhat longer shelf-life. Some series do better than others. When did Kinsey tail off? H or I? Well before Y. With those, I usually found, as above, that I read a book or two past my lingering interest, out of habit. But done was done.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:27 AM   #42
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but “since I enjoyed the first book, am I more likely to enjoy the second than some unknown to me completely new book”?
That's why I like having the option of, "am I more likely to enjoy the second better than some completely new-and-unrelated book by the same author?” The answer to that question for me is ever-increasingly a "no." I like being able to choose something completely unknown--by the same author. But most series-type authors don't give me that option. They ride that gravy-train for all it's worth. I don't necessarily fault them for that. I think it takes a certain kind of bravery for an author to switch gears regularly. But it's that kind of bravery that I like to reward these days (where I can).

I tend to favor authors who may do a short series every now and then, but primarily focus on true stand-alone works ("true" meaning no shared universe stuff that will obligate me to appease my inner OCD demon by reading everything in that shared universe--even long after I'm bored--to make sure I'm not missing out on any subtle nuances whatsoever).

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Old 02-12-2020, 12:01 PM   #43
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When did Kinsey tail off? H or I? Well before Y. With those, I usually found, as above, that I read a book or two past my lingering interest, out of habit. But done was done.
I read mysteries and cozies and have stuck with some long-running series because of the familiarity factor even if the quality was uneven/so-so (example: M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series).

I assume Issy is referring to the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton. I didn't make it through book A. I didn't care for the heroine, guessed the bad guy early on, flipped to the end to confirm and didn't bother trying any more books in the series so I don't know if they got better or worse!

In general, I tend not to like when the author writes a plot that is out of line with the rest of the series.

I haven't read the last few books in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series (I need to catch up on those) but I read pretty much all of the ones up through about 2016 and didn't think the quality declined overall, but there was one specific book that had a storyline out of the ordinary that I didn't like.

Walt Johnson's Longmire series has had ups and downs for me. I prefer the ones that are set in his home area. There was one recent book that I quit after the first chapter when I realized the plot was too much of a departure for my taste.

The Jonathan Kellerman Alex Delaware series also had a book with a plot that was out of line with the rest of the series that I didn't like. Though I did like the one book that was more about Milo's point of view instead of Alex's.

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Old 02-12-2020, 02:55 PM   #44
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I read mysteries and cozies and have stuck with some long-running series because of the familiarity factor even if the quality was uneven/so-so (example: M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series).
I liked the early ones as well. If you haven't yet, try some of her stuff written under the name Marion Chesney.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:25 PM   #45
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My own take: sometimes the first in a series is best; the interest of the world-building is never matched. Sometimes it takes a book or two for an author to hit his stride. But all series run their course, if they go on long enough. I think that’s mostly why I stopped reading mysteries. I got tired of the series I knew, and since I was no longer going to the public library, I wasn’t finding new ones in the new book display. But I also think the nature of series writing has changed with the surge in ereading and self-publishing. There are way too many series out there with books coming out far too frequently and the overall quality has tanked mightily as a result.
I got tired of reading the common whodunnit series, but I don't think it was because they were series so much as I just had enough of that genre. I tried reading mysteries (usually series) translated from other cultures, and that revived my interest fully. Japanese, Scandinavian, French, Italian, Polish, Finnish,... It was refreshing reading mystery stories that didn't have to conform to North American expectations. As a bonus, generally only very good books go through the effort and expense of translation, so that filters out most of the dreck.
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