• May 22, 2018, 02:59:56 PM

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Author Topic: s/o Running out of series! - series that have been a huge disappointment  (Read 23523 times)

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This was started by cabbagewevil's response to the other thread, but it got me thinking - how many series started out promising, and petered out to awful?

"I realise from your posts, that single novels are liable to keep you going only for very short spells; but I presume you know Stirling's stand-alone novels, "The Peshawar Lancers", and "Conquistador". I find both these, superb; and do wish that SMS would write more books set in the universes of those two, instead of the endless dratted Emberverse."

I felt the exact same way. It started out as a really interesting, survivalist/modern man in a primitive world/Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court sort of way. Then it went all sparkly aliens. Huh???

Some series can shift, successfully. The Harry Potter books did it (going from light and warm to pretty freaking dark by the end). Some of the sci-fi series do it well (the Darkover books go from technical to agrarian to technical without a hiccup). But so many do it SO BADLY.

Which series have you encountered that just needed to stop?


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Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule" was wonderful.  Truly an outstanding novel from an author I had never heard of or read before.  The second and third books were pretty good. After that he managed to completely lose my interest.  Too much preaching, too little storytelling.

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rose red

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Going back to the dark ages of my pre-teen/teen years, Sweet Valley High.  They were never good, but they were fun.  Until it wasn't.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 02:45:45 PM by rose red »


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Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.  I really enjoyed the first 2 or 3 books of this series, but as the series progressed, the scrabble scenes increased exponentially.   After awhile they were just scrabble, scrabble and some more scrabble without much plot.


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The Stephanie Plum series.  I enjoyed it for a good while, laughed my heinie off a lot but after a while the humor wasn't making up for the fact that it was just the same plot over and over, more or less.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Layla Miller

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Going back to the dark ages of my pre-teen/teen years, Sweet Valley High.  They were never good, but they were fun.  Until it wasn't.

Oh my goodness, yes!  They got just plain crazy in the end, didn't they?

Er.  Not that I continued to read them well into adulthood or anything.  (cough)

By the way, if you enjoy snark, you might like the 1bruce1 livejournal community.  I think every SVH book and most of the other SV series have been recapped in sarcastic, hilarious fashion.  :)
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Harriet Jones

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Any of James Patterson's series - not that they were great literature in the first place, but the quality's degraded, and now he's not even writing them himself.


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The Stephanie Plum series.  I enjoyed it for a good while, laughed my heinie off a lot but after a while the humor wasn't making up for the fact that it was just the same plot over and over, more or less.

Yup, I am in complete agreement.  Thought it was hilarious and interesting at first.  once they got into the upper teens, I was just reading to figure out how it would be resolved.  Now I'm not even doing that.

Garden Goblin

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Wheel of Time.

The last book made me want to take the entire series back for a refund.


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Not actually a series -- but, rather the same kind of situation. I received fervent recommendations of the "Hoka" short stories by Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson (wonder whether that last name is going to morph into something grotesque?) -- the recommenders found them side-splittingly funny.

The premise is that the Hoka are an alien race, teddy-bear-like in appearance, who live on a planet hugely far away. They are benign and lovable creatures; but their most prominent trait is that they are compulsive and brilliant mimickers, imitators and enactors. As soon as spacefaring humans arrive on their planet, the Hoka become fascinated by all aspects of human culture, and start imitating and re-enacting for all they're worth.

Would seem a promising idea; but I found that it wasn't really enough to support a whole string of stories -- for me, it rapidly came to seem a single, exhaustingly repetitive and monotonous joke: the Hoka kept homing in on something out of human art and culture, and very accurately imitating and re-living it -- grand opera, Tolkien, Kipling's ballads of Empire, etc. etc.  Otherwise, IMO not very much point to the stories.

The one Hoka story which I really did find funny, was the very first in the series: when human / Hoka contact was very new -- the first humans to meet the Hoka were big fans of Wild West films and novels, and the Hoka immediately went overboard for all the Western stuff; but because everything was so new to them, they got a lot of Wild West features, hilariously wrong.  But they were such clever imitators that very soon, they were getting everything dead right -- and for me, that seemed the sole-and-only source of humour in the situation, and I didn't find it very humorous. And the authors' one full-length Hoka novel, "Star Prince Charlie" -- that I found quite embarrassingly weak and lame, and I gather that a lot of otherwise Hoka fans would concur with that view.


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I know you all will see this one coming, but I hereby nominate... Clan Of The Cave Bear series. So much promise, and it just got so bad. So, so bad. I really think the author just quit caring and washed her hands of the whole thing halfway through Shelters Of Stone.
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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Black Delphinium

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David Eddings The Dreamers. I adore the Belgariad/Mallorean and Elenium Tamuli, but I couldn't even finish the first of these.
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas


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Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. She just drove that train right into the ground. Such a shame!


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I like the Hoka stories a lot, myself, but they're definitely not everyone's cuppa. My favorite was the one with the Interstellar World Series, which the Hokas were favored to win. After all, didn't they have Mighty Casey on their team? Except one of the dirty rotten snakes on the other team broadcast a recording of "Casey At The Bat" before the game, and poor Casey went catatonic. Until Our Hero the narrator managed to come up with a sequel to the poem off the top of his head, in which we learned that Casey was NOT struck out legitimately. They used the old hidden ball ploy! Needless to say, Hoka!Casey was fired up and there was plenty of joy in Mudville that day.

I'll nominate another Gordon R Dickson series for running out of gas - the Dragon Knight series. The first one, The Dragon and the George, was one of my favorites of all time. It took him at least twenty years to write sequels, but the first few were pretty good. Then they went downhill, but he kept writing them to the exclusion of almost all his other ongoing works. Turns out he was really sick and the Dragon books were both the easiest for him to write and the most profitable. So I don't begrudge him in any way, but it was still disappointing.

The old Gor books by John Normal would also qualify. The first few were pretty decent pulp adventure. Then he started in with his "women are naturally meant to be slaves to dominant men" philosophy. It was tame by today's standards but was pretty much the Anita Blake of its time. They were still pretty good for awhile, though. Especially back then I had no problem at all with pulp adventure spiced up with a bit of light porn. Occasionally the characters would veer off into idiotic philosophical discussions, but you could just skip over those parts. But then the pulp adventure got formulaic and the porn and philosophy took over, mostly the philosophy, so I stopped reading.


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Anne McCafferty's Dragonriders of Pern series - started off well, then veered off into formula and became boring.