Monday, December 5, 2016


     I’ve been suckered again.

     Some time ago, I swore – to myself only; no oaths were involved – that I’d refrain from reading any more novels that are the introduction to a series. I even made mention of it here. It’s been a millstone around this voracious reader’s neck for some weeks, as it appears that everyone is writing series these days. When I surf to Amazon and peruse their recommendations for me, I can pass the entries for as many as a hundred books before happening upon one that doesn’t purport to be an element in a series.

     However, as I’ve learned to my sorrow, just because the detail page doesn’t say “this is the first book in a series” doesn’t mean that the book isn’t the first book in a series.

     I had that experience a couple of weeks ago. I barely restrained myself from writing to the author to castigate him for leading me on. And now it’s happened a second time.

     Does anyone write stand-alone novels any more? Is there something antisocial about wanting that sort of reading experience? Am I a benighted atavism who just can’t “get with the trends?”

     If I can’t find fresh reading that’s guaranteed to be stand-alone – perhaps like this:

The Author Personally Guarantees That This Novel Is Not An Element In A Series

     ...blazoned on the front cover in a font at least as large and striking as that of his name, I might just retreat to the classics for a decade or two.


Bill St. Clair said...

Said the author of two long series of novels...

Francis W. Porretto said...

(chuckle) Well, yes, Bill, but I was bludgeoned into that by my readership. I'm not sure all these new series writers can claim that as an excuse. Anyway, am I not allowed to enjoy something other than what I personally write? That better be allowed, because I've never encountered another writer who turns out the sort of crap I write!

Linda Fox said...

I feel the same way about 2-part episodes on TV, and mini-series.

Just post the facts up-front. I can decide whether to buy it/watch it, or not.

Anonymous said...

IMHO I think the 'series' business is a way for some writers to make a buck without working too hard. It is also a way for readers to 'read' without too much effort. No need to learn new characters/meme's/etc. Joe Goodguy is the star, we will find out in the first chapter how Mr. Goodguy has been since the last novel, and who the new bad guy is in chapter two. All that remains is for dear ol' Joe to pull another McGyver and be back for the next in the series.

Drivel.. all of it. Hard to find a good read. However, I must admit I have yet to read any of your fiction at length. I have plans on 'going to' Amazon tonight. Perhaps my brain will not be too tired to remember to try and FWP novel.

Francis W. Porretto said...

ANON: Before plunking down your cash for one of my novels, please do the following:

1. Go to
2. Search the NOOK books for my name.
3. Download and read a few of the free short stories.

That might save you a fit of irritation...because I too have written series, and I’d rather you didn’t stumble into one of he unknowingly after having read my tirade.

wheels said...

My problem, due to my currently strained finances, is going to the library or a used book store or thrift store and finding several books in a series, but not the first. It makes the decision not to purchase simple, but doesn't do a lot for the frustration, if the blurbs are appealing.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I sympathize, Wheels. I've been there. But if you find a series enticing but can't locate one or more volumes, both Amazon and could be of help to you. I've managed to "fill in" at least two series that way -- and a good thing, too, as the last volume was the one I was missing in each case!

wheels said...

I've done that. It doesn't help, though, when the series you want to complete was abandoned part-way through by the author. :-)

The two that come to mind immediately for me are Ron Goulart's 'Quest of the Gypsy' stories, only two of which were ever written, and Roland Green's 'Wandor' series, which made it through four books. Unfortunately, it was obvious that the fifth was the climax and finale to the series.

I'm thinking of cutting down on my library, anyway. I have more books stored in boxes in the garage than on the bookshelves that are in every room of my house, and I'm starting to feel the need for more room in which to work. I used to swap books between shelves and boxes about twice a year, but I haven't even done that for a couple of years - I'm doing most of my reading in ebook format and online these days. The last time I got rid of any books, I gave a few boxes to my daughter. I don't think she's got room for any this time :-)