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Ser Scot A Ellison

Does starting a series create an implied agreement that the series will be completed?

237 posts in this topic

'Frozen out' implies that there's a reasonable expectation that 'nice, respectful' fans are entitled to receive updates on a work in progress. I really can't see that at all. Fans getting any direct indication of what an author is doing, or not doing, is a very recent phenomenon. It pretty much didn't exist before the widespread adoption of blogging by authors as a way of interacting with their fan base. Before that, if you were lucky, you got an occasional interview where a very vague indication might be given that a book might be close to being finished, or not. Many authors still don't give, and have never given, any indication: not because they dislike the reactions, but because they prefer not to. That's their right. 

It also makes no sense to say that a lack of updates somehow results in trolls getting attention. The opposite is true. If a conversation isn't happening then there is no venue for trolls to get that attention. 

What is it that 'nice, respectful' fans are supposed to get out of updates anyway? Any benefit they're missing out on seems rather nebulous: a vague idea of when a book might, perhaps, be ready to be sent to the editors? The ability to speculate on publication dates? The illusion of insider knowledge? Are these actually benefits?

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It is basically stupidity if a reader buys a book that's part of an as of yet uncompleted series. One could argue that publishers shouldn't publish incomplete series, but nobody is going to do that.

That is the reason why I'm not going to read Patrick Rothfuss' stuff until it is clear that he is going to finish it. Why should I? I'd not even have read ASoIaF if it hadn't been effectively thrown at me by some friends, even giving me old copies as a gift.

And there is a difference there, too. Are we talking about a trilogy or series which is essentially one vast novel, or a series whose parts can be seen, in part, as standing in their own right? It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if there wouldn't have been any more Harry Potter books after the third one, no? But one definitely wants the cliffhanger after book 6 to be resolved.

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It's not stupidity, as if everyone did as you do, almost no series would ever be completed. That's part of the implied contract; readers buy early volumes to provide support to the author, allowing the later volumes to be completed. In return, the author should, publisher, health and acts of God allowing, try in all good faith to actually finish it.

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

And there is a difference there, too. Are we talking about a trilogy or series which is essentially one vast novel, or a series whose parts can be seen, in part, as standing in their own right? It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if there wouldn't have been any more Harry Potter books after the third one, no? But one definitely wants the cliffhanger after book 6 to be resolved.

That's my biggest problem with ADWD - all the cliffhangers. Jon being "killed", Dany's story stopping after riding a dragon and meeting Dothraki, Stannis being snowed in, Theon and "Arya" reaching Northmen, Bran reaching the Three Eyed Raven, the clusterfuck that the siege of Meereen became etc. All the balls are still in the air and there's not a single storyline that has been given a satisfactory completion. Of course, there are still two books to come out so there are bound to be some things left unresolved but still.

That should make for pretty spectacular first few hundred pages of TWOW, though. ;) 

@Scott:

I quite liked both AFFC and ADWD, but the later definitely has some shortcomings, even beyond being bloated. It may be because I'd read AFFC rather quickly after ASOS and had to wait a few years for ADWD or it may be because of something else, but it definitely didn't seem complete.

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3 hours ago, mormont said:

'Frozen out' implies that there's a reasonable expectation that 'nice, respectful' fans are entitled to receive updates on a work in progress. I really can't see that at all. Fans getting any direct indication of what an author is doing, or not doing, is a very recent phenomenon. It pretty much didn't exist before the widespread adoption of blogging by authors as a way of interacting with their fan base. Before that, if you were lucky, you got an occasional interview where a very vague indication might be given that a book might be close to being finished, or not. Many authors still don't give, and have never given, any indication: not because they dislike the reactions, but because they prefer not to. That's their right. 

It also makes no sense to say that a lack of updates somehow results in trolls getting attention. The opposite is true. If a conversation isn't happening then there is no venue for trolls to get that attention. 

What is it that 'nice, respectful' fans are supposed to get out of updates anyway? Any benefit they're missing out on seems rather nebulous: a vague idea of when a book might, perhaps, be ready to be sent to the editors? The ability to speculate on publication dates? The illusion of insider knowledge? Are these actually benefits?

OK, in order:

1. "Frozen out" doesn't imply entitlement. I don't know where you're getting that.

2. I'm not sure fans getting direct information from authors is that recent at all. SciFi authors have been going to cons for decades and relaying exactly that sort of information. What's different now is social media, and the ability for more fans to get that information, albeit not face to face.

3. Of course it it the author's right not to give any updates. 

4. If there were zero communication from the author, what you say about the trolls not getting what they want would be true. But that's not the case. Authors like Martin and Rothfuss regularly comment about how people being mean impacts them and their actions. This is the response internet bullies are looking for.

5. As for what fans get out of updates, I think that's an individual question. But I think the fact that SO many people are asking and want them is prima facie evidence that they have value.

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9 minutes ago, Ninefingers said:

OK, in order:

1. "Frozen out" doesn't imply entitlement. I don't know where you're getting that.

Well, I can't see how else to interpret it. 'Frozen out' has the same sense as 'cold-shouldered', right? It implies an unfair exclusion from an interaction that someone ought to be able to participate in.

9 minutes ago, Ninefingers said:

2. I'm not sure fans getting direct information from authors is that recent at all. SciFi authors have been going to cons for decades and relaying exactly that sort of information. What's different now is social media, and the ability for more fans to get that information, albeit not face to face.

I didn't attend cons in those days but I sorely doubt that fans got detailed information on book progress from authors at them: certainly I have never seen anything of the type happen at any con I've attended. At most, you'd get a vague reply at a panel, saying 'it's finished' or 'I'm working on it'. 

9 minutes ago, Ninefingers said:

4. If there were zero communication from the author, what you say about the trolls not getting what they want would be true. But that's not the case. Authors like Martin and Rothfuss regularly comment about how people being mean impacts them and their actions. This is the response internet bullies are looking for.

'Regularly' is open to being defined: I would not say that either man comments 'regularly' on that subject. 

In any case, the trolls don't get individual attention from comments like that, which is what they're looking for. I guess they might get a little satisfaction from knowing the author refuses to engage with them. But they'd get much more from the alternative. 

9 minutes ago, Ninefingers said:

5. As for what fans get out of updates, I think that's an individual question. But I think the fact that SO many people are asking and want them is prima facie evidence that they have value.

I don't. I think it shows only that fans want them. We all want things that don't have value, sometimes.

At best, I think fans want updates because they want to be soothed. But such reassurances are not necessarily truly valuable, because they're not - and can't be - guarantees. 

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I'm too dumb to quote in multiple blocks like that.

As far as frozen out, they used to get the updates, now they don't. Through no fault of their own. Feels unfair to me. YMMV.

I think you're minimizing the amount authors discussed to make your point. In any case, it hardly matters because many authors do it now, and that's become the new standard that everyone is held to. 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about the satisfaction trolls get and the frequency at which they comment. Rothfuss complains about it on his twitch feed all the time. But, as you said, "regularly" is open to interpretation.

As for your last point, I think all you're really saying is that you don't value them. Which is fine! But other people clearly do.

 

Cheers

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32 minutes ago, mormont said:

Well, I can't see how else to interpret it. 'Frozen out' has the same sense as 'cold-shouldered', right? It implies an unfair exclusion from an interaction that someone ought to be able to participate in.

I saw it more as "radio silence" than "cold-shouldered". It would imply that authors cut a form of communication that was previously used.

My interpretation could be wrong, of course.

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2 minutes ago, baxus said:

I saw it more as "radio silence" than "cold-shouldered". It would imply that authors cut a form of communication that was previously used.

My interpretation could be wrong, of course.

'Radio silence' has a very different implication than 'frozen out', to me, but if the former is what was meant it's not inaccurate. 

As for cons, I've attended... I think, nine in the last twelve years? I've attended numerous panels at each and chatted with many authors informally. And I've never seen any author offer any specific information about their progress on a project beyond 'I'm working on it'. Not unless they already had a firm release date, anyway. I suppose it's true that many authors offer more specific info on their blogs, but equally as many don't, in my experience. 

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12 hours ago, baxus said:

That's my biggest problem with ADWD - all the cliffhangers. Jon being "killed", Dany's story stopping after riding a dragon and meeting Dothraki, Stannis being snowed in, Theon and "Arya" reaching Northmen, Bran reaching the Three Eyed Raven, the clusterfuck that the siege of Meereen became etc. All the balls are still in the air and there's not a single storyline that has been given a satisfactory completion. Of course, there are still two books to come out so there are bound to be some things left unresolved but still.

Well, George is one of the guys who write one vast novel. Or rather, he writes a long string of chapters that are mostly written in a way that allows many of them to stand almost of short stories, with all or most of them having a small cliffhanger of their own.

The cliffhanger in the last chapter of a POV tends to be one of the better, but when you think about Arya's head meeting Sandor's axe or Tyrion's Moore cliffhanger in ACoK (which is resolved in the book) then some of the cliffhangers at the end of books are less intense than those that are resolved in the books.

If the series had ended after ASoS I think I could make my peace with that. There are many cliffhangers there, too, and you want the story to continue, but it is pretty clear that new stories are going to begin for most of the characters, and if that had never happened one would have an interesting uncompleted series with some rather gritting scenes in the last book.

But with AFfC/ADwD we are pretty much in AGoT territory again. That book alone would be a horrible work. Two-thirds of boring buildup followed by some deaths and a slowly escalating war. 

I guess if we were at the point Daenerys has come full circle, controlling the Dothraki, while Aegon has finally taken the Iron Throne and Euron also done something of substance one could make one's peace with an ending. But at the point the story is right now that would be a disappointment.

12 hours ago, baxus said:

I quite liked both AFFC and ADWD, but the later definitely has some shortcomings, even beyond being bloated. It may be because I'd read AFFC rather quickly after ASOS and had to wait a few years for ADWD or it may be because of something else, but it definitely didn't seem complete.

I never reread them with the chapters in chronological order, but I guess that way things could work much better. A story only carried by Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys - with the occasional Theon insert - for the first half isn't all that compelling, just as the overdose of Cersei and Brienne in AFfC may have been too much, too.

But in combination the whole thing should actually work pretty fine.

The lack of a proper climax in the end (for most characters - Jon and Dany get their climaxes) in the wake of the postponement of both battles may not exactly have helped the book. Including the Arianne and Aeron chapters could have helped, too.

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LV,

I really enjoyed the Brienne chapters in AFFC.

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

LV,

I really enjoyed the Brienne chapters in AFFC.

I enjoyed them, too. Especially during rereads. The point I was making there is that the AFfC and ADwD (especially the former) are sort of unbalanced due to the nature of entire split. They are essentially only half a novel in a weird way, and the focus and importance certain characters get due to the way the story was told is misleading in context of the entire book.

Not to mention that the entire KL plot of AFfC is a complete mystery without the Aegon plot to complement it. Back after ASoS we thought Dany would have to fight against the Lannisters/Tyrells when she finally comes to Westeros, so one expected a plot of consolidation and recovery for Cersei and Jaime, not a plot in which they fuck everything up. What would the point be if Cersei and the Tyrells and the Faith turned against each other? That would drastically reduce the scope of the overall plot. Are we now going to pass the time with some filler during which people we don't really care all that much about fight each other in their stupidity? But if the plan is to set Aegon up as Dany's great rival then the Lannister-Tyrell plot in AFfC makes perfect sense. Unfortunately we only realized that this might be the case after ADwD came out.

While we all expected Aegon to come in ADwD, I don't remember anyone expecting Aegon to beat Daenerys and go to Westeros first.

In a book which includes all the POVs the reader might be vexed by the story of 1-2 POVs (I never liked Bran or Arya all that much in ACoK or ASoS, considering that their story was small and insignificant compared to what happened to the characters who directly involved with the greater plot) but they would read them in the context of the entire story.

But AFfC is dominated by Brienne/Cersei/Jaime and the first half of ADwD by Tyrion/Dany/Jon. If you don't care much for the Meereen plot, Tyrion's journey or Jon hanging out at the Wall, doing very little of substance, the first half of the book might not be all that fun to you.

However, it is really interesting how new readers see AFfC and ADwD now that they can essentially read it back to back - or even with the chapters arrayed in chronological order.

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44 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I enjoyed them, too. Especially during rereads. The point I was making there is that the AFfC and ADwD (especially the former) are sort of unbalanced due to the nature of entire split. They are essentially only half a novel in a weird way, and the focus and importance certain characters get due to the way the story was told is misleading in context of the entire book.

Not to mention that the entire KL plot of AFfC is a complete mystery without the Aegon plot to complement it. Back after ASoS we thought Dany would have to fight against the Lannisters/Tyrells when she finally comes to Westeros, so one expected a plot of consolidation and recovery for Cersei and Jaime, not a plot in which they fuck everything up. What would the point be if Cersei and the Tyrells and the Faith turned against each other? That would drastically reduce the scope of the overall plot. Are we now going to pass the time with some filler during which people we don't really care all that much about fight each other in their stupidity? But if the plan is to set Aegon up as Dany's great rival then the Lannister-Tyrell plot in AFfC makes perfect sense. Unfortunately we only realized that this might be the case after ADwD came out.

While we all expected Aegon to come in ADwD, I don't remember anyone expecting Aegon to beat Daenerys and go to Westeros first.

In a book which includes all the POVs the reader might be vexed by the story of 1-2 POVs (I never liked Bran or Arya all that much in ACoK or ASoS, considering that their story was small and insignificant compared to what happened to the characters who directly involved with the greater plot) but they would read them in the context of the entire story.

But AFfC is dominated by Brienne/Cersei/Jaime and the first half of ADwD by Tyrion/Dany/Jon. If you don't care much for the Meereen plot, Tyrion's journey or Jon hanging out at the Wall, doing very little of substance, the first half of the book might not be all that fun to you.

However, it is really interesting how new readers see AFfC and ADwD now that they can essentially read it back to back - or even with the chapters arrayed in chronological order.

I do see your point.  One of these days I need to attempt a re-read of AFFC/ADWD at the same time.  

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I like to reread favorite books and series from time to time. While I don't think an author is under any obligation to me to finish a series, I do think that in say 10 years time, I'd be way more likely to reread any of these unfinished series (GoT, Lynch, Rothfuss) if they are, you know, complete stories. Something which has additional books in the same universe like 'Dune' is different because complete stories are being told in each book.

 

As they stand now, the Lynch books are the most complete for me as the general swash-buckling adventure aspect of his series lends itself more to the 'Buckaroo Banzai' type 'stay tuned for more adventures' ending than the other two.

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On 27.11.2017 at 6:48 AM, Iskaral Pust said:

Asterix and Obelix are puns too.  Asterix is the star and Obelix makes menhirs (Gaulish obelisks), not to mention being built like a menhir too.  And Idefix -- Dogmatix in the English version -- is an obvious pun/wordplay too, although not linked to his character. 

I should have been more precise: In German these names are retained but don't work so well as puns because the words or expressions (idée fixe) are so technical and rare that schoolchildren (or most other people) would not even be aware of them. In fact I had not realized Obelisk/x until now because this is never used in German for a menhir, only for a Egyptian style "straight" obelisk.

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On 12/6/2017 at 5:48 AM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

LV,

I really enjoyed the Brienne chapters in AFFC.

Dammit, those are MY initials.  So confused.

Carry on.

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