Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And then he... TO BE CONTINUED

Okay, it’s time to rant. I originally started this page to showcase projects I am working on with the hopes of getting some feedback, but something has been on my mind the past week or so and I need to vent.


Those three little words drive me fucking crazy. I don’t care where it is. The end of a movie, the end of a television show, at the end of a book, especially at the end of a book. I’m one of those people who, if it’s a favorite author, will buy that book the moment it hits the shelves, and to see those words at the end is enough to make me scream. They mean a whole year–or longer–before I know how the story is resolved. It’s beyond aggravating.

I remember the first time I encountered those three little words. Stephen R. Donaldson, The Mirror of Her Dreams. I had read Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant  and loved them, so when the first of a new series was announced, I grabbed it and dropped everything to read it. I won’t bore you with the details; I’ll just jump to the end (no spoilers, so don’t worry).  The hero has escaped, but our heroine, for whatever reason, is left behind. The Big Bad breaks through the door, grabs our heroine, and says something along the lines of “Now you are mine.” TO BE CONTINUED What the hell? I mean, seriously, that’s where you’re leaving us? A whole year… a whole fucking year…before I was able to find out what happened. It was enough to make me swear off series books until I knew for a fact I had all the books in my possession, or if I knew ahead of time that each book is wrapped up at the end. I don’t care if there’s a larger story arch that encompasses the series, just so long as the story contained within that particular book is wrapped up by the time I read the last sentence.

So what, you might ask, prompted this little tirade if I have made it a general rule not to read series book unless those previously stated requirements have been met? Well, a couple of weeks ago I read David Bernstein’s Machines of the Dead, Book 1 of a series. If I knew it was part of a series, I can hear you asking, why did I break my own rules and read it without having the rest of the books readily at hand? Because I told the author I would. BUT had I known it was going to end in a cliffhanger, I would have told him, “I’ll pass. Let me know when the other two books are published.” What makes this particular instance even more aggravating is that Book 2 hasn’t even been written yet. I only pray this doesn’t turn into another Chris Snow situation, where Dean Koontz has delivered two books of a trilogy, and 13 years later we’re still waiting for the third and final installment. And just last night, as I was browsing through my Kindle looking for what to read next, I came across a title I couldn’t remember downloading. I looked it up on Amazon, saw it was a book dealing with lycanthropes (my favorite), and decided that would be next on my list. However, something told me to check out the reviews, something I rarely do, but I’m glad I did. Nowhere in the description or on the cover does it mention this book is part of a series, but every review indicated that the book ends with a cliffhanger. So off I go to see if the next book has been released. The author has published other books, but nothing indicating the next installment of the werewolf novel. Well, I created a new Collection on my Kindle for Books Awaiting Sequels, and in it went.

What possesses an author to leave the reader hanging like that? In this age when books are so easily accessible, literally with the click of a button, do you think someone is going to want to wait a year or more to find out what happens next? Hell, after all that time you’ll be lucky if they even remember the characters’ names, let alone care what happens to them. And you as an author? Leave me hanging like that once, you won’t ever get the chance to do it again. You are simply deleted off my radar. Just ask Mr. Koontz (like it matters to him). I haven’t read a Dean Koontz book since Seize the Night, and won’t read anything else of his until I get the third Chris Snow book.

And that book that sitting all by its lonesome in that Kindle folder? To tell the truth, it’s a book that will probably never be read–unless, of course, somebody reminds me sometime in the future that Part 2 of that werewolf novel is out. You remember? The one you put on your Kindle in that folder. By that time it’ll probably be gone, deleted to make room for other books by authors who know how to start a story on page one and finish that story on the last page.

What about you? Do cliffhangers grate on your every last nerve the way they do mine?