The Best Series You’ll (probably) Never Finish (Part I)

Many series end prematurely, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the authors die (cheery, I know). Sometimes their contracts are cancelled or not renewed and the series left unfinished. Sometimes they run over deadlines, or fail to deliver, or a tiger mauls the manuscript on its way to the editor. One way or another, for one reason or another, not all series will come to a satisfying conclusion. With the impending publication of not one but TWO Dresden Files books following a six-year hiatus, I’ve been thinking over the series that I love the most, but I’ll probably never see the end of. So here are (10?) recent series that you’ll (probably) never see the planned-upon end to.

  1. The Gentlemen Bastards – by Scott Lynch

Planned as a seven-book epic, Lynch has thus far delivered on but three of his genteel thieves’ tales. While he had two somewhat anticlimactic releases of Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, the issues really took off after the publication of the latter, when Lynch started suffering frequent and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks. Somehow he managed to publish Republic of Thieves in 2013, after a six year hiatus. And supposedly, the fourth Gentlemen Bastards’ entry, Thorn of Emberlain, is finished (or at least drafted), and may be released soon. Now, I want to mention that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Scott Lynch—it’s only because of him that I included the “probably” in the title. Writing is hard. It’s even harder on a deadline. And anxiety, panic attacks and depression suck. I’ve had a fair amount of experience in this area, and can definitely assure you that they make everything harder. Most of the time I would wake up lethargic, morose and completely ambivalent about life—that’s hard enough when you’re not trying to write a multi-book fantasy epic. Now, I know that Gollancz has been working with Lynch, giving him time, doing whatever they can to see this series come to fruition. And I know that if anyone can complete it, it’s Scott Lynch. But we’ll just have to wait and hope, now.

2. Lucan Drakenfeld – by Mark Charan Newton

Mark Charan Newton published two full-length Drakenfeld novels and one short between 2013 and 2014. Since then, he’s come out with one other novel under a different pseudonym. As works of great fiction go, it wasn’t great. But as for the fate of Lucan—we’ve heard nothing. Not surprisingly, Newton has had a full-time, day job since before 2017. He works for the Waterford Distillery—a dream job for a whisky lover like him—as their communications head. Since we’ve heard little of him since, I’d say that our chances for a third Drakenfeld book are poor for the foreseeable future.

3. Chronicles of the Exile – by Marc Turner

Back in 2015, Tor published When the Heavens Fall, the first entry in the Chronicles of the Exile—an new epic series set in sprawling, fantastical world on par with some of the true masters of world-building. The plot, performance and pacing however, left something to be desired. But in 2016, Turner followed up with two more books—replacing many of the characters from the first novel, while installing counterparts in their places—each novel pushing the plot and world-building to new heights, and quickly established himself as one of the masters of epic fantasy. Early the following year (2017), he came out with a few shorts set in the same world, each hinting at possibility for the future of the series. He even teased the desire to return to the first cast, before continuing with the fate of the second.

Since then, we’ve heard nothing. Now, in preparation for this piece, I’ve actually tried to find what happened to him. And… nothing. Dude’s just gone. I mean, fantasy authors can be popular with their fans, but they’re not rockstars, or kings. It’s not too difficult for them to vanish, if they want to. Or if they don’t, even. Not only did I find nothing, I found a bunch of other people who also found nothing. Needless to say, the Chronicles of the Exile is on hiatus at best—at worst, though, it’s done.

4. Rising World Trilogy – by T.R. Williams

We know relatively little about T.R. Williams. Other than being the author of the World Rising Trilogy, I actually know very… nothing about them. Including their gender and/or choice of pronouns. So let’s focus on what we do know. In 2014, Williams published the first two books of their trilogy. Journey into the Flame dropped in January, proceeded by Journey through the Mirror in December. Originally, Book #3—Journey Past Time—was scheduled to come out in 2015, but was delayed to 2016. Then it was delayed again, this time indefinitely. Since then… nothing. At least for most of the other ones I had something to speculate on, something to analyze, over-analyze, write into a good somewhat decent maybe not terrible article. For the World Rising Trilogy, however, I got nothing. As far as I know, it’s done.

5. Pax Arcana – by Elliott James

Pax Arcana is [currently] a five book urban fantasy series starring Harry Dresden and Jacob Black love-child, John Charming. A ladies man and perennial smart-ass, Charming was a lone wolf (right?) until almost halfway through Book #1, when he met a lovely blonde Valkyrie that would become the love of his life. And, subsequently, ruin the series following Book #3. Now, it’s not HER—it’s THEM. Together. More to the point, while John and Sig’s interactions from the last few books may have slowed the series, it’s Elliott James’s day job, surely, that may’ve doomed it.

So, dude is a MS/HS English teacher, which means he’s criminally overworked and underpaid. Depending on where he lives, it could be much, much worse. So I’m guessing that while he may or may not already have a second job, he probably didn’t have a lot of free time to begin with. Fun fact: Writing a novel takes time. Less fun, but still a fact: Teaching children takes a lot of energy. And: Writing a novel while teaching children is haaard. I have a little experience in this area—I had to abandon a perfectly good November Novel after only a couple days. James, somehow, made it to Book #5 before vanishing off the face of the earth. Legend Has It, the (as of now) final entry in the Pax Arcana, was published in early 2017. After that, nothing more has been seen of James. His blog seems abandoned and his twitter account has been shut down. The last message I can find from him dates to just after the release of Legend, and describes the new series he’s working on. Now, though I’d read more Pax Arcana books (probably), or something else entirely from him, I kind of suspect the author might have suffered some sort of child-related death.

6. Children of the Old War – by H. John Spriggs

Knight of the Flame began a good, old-fashioned high fantasy series, released by H. John Spriggs back in 2014. Now, as with many high fantasy epics, Knight of the Flame featured a bit of a lag in the middle. Slow-paced, intensive focus on detail and world-building—it eventuall ended in a lovely manner, setting us up for a thrilling sequel. Of which we heard next to nothing for most of two years. And then, Winds of a Growing Storm was released in summer 2016. Now, full disclosure: I haven’t read it. Yet. But—I will.

Anyway, since then (July, 2016), we’ve heard from H. John Spriggs once. Just under three years since Book #2 released, he popped back up on Goodreads and Twitter to announce that he was still working on Book #3, but progress was slow. Part of the reason for this was that he was also writing a prequel to the series at the same time. Now, I’m hoping that Book #3 won’t be too much longer, that he’ll get it out soon—but it will come in his own time. The thing is: will #3 mark the end of the Old War? Or is it just another step in an exceedingly longer series? If the former, I’m skeptical that everything will be wrapped up nicely. But for the latter… it seems that Spriggs is in a good place right now. It’s just as possible he won’t get back to it. Which would be disappointing, but also okay.

This fun and totally not depressing segment will continue in… at some point in the future.

4 thoughts on “The Best Series You’ll (probably) Never Finish (Part I)

  1. Yep, series just ending really sucks. I was reading a series called the Borderlands by Lorna Freeman. It was a great fantasy series, had 3 books in it and was ramping up to really turn into something Epic. Then the author just literally disappeared as far as all her fans could tell. Even today, over 10 years later, nobody knows if “Lorna Freeman” was her actual name or not. And she was published by one of the Big 5 at the time too.

    So I feel your pain. That being said, I hope you continue this series. In a weird way it provides a balm to know that other readers suffer the same thing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve covered most of the ones that’ve gotten to me the most, but there’re always more out there. I’ve heard about one author from this list already, so it’s encouraging that even if I don’t know anything about them, someone does!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The last I chatted with Marc Turner was over a year ago (I beta read the 3rd book, so we’ve sort of kept in touch) and while there are no more Exile books under contract he was writing a crime thriller at the time.

    For me, it’s Melanie Rawn and (coincidentally) her Exiles series that I fear will never be finished. Her story is similar to Scott’s, only hers began with a death in the family before leading to clinical depression. She’s written a whole new world/saga since then, needing a clean break, but she’s promised she will write the final book . . . so I wait for the day we get a pleasant surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh ouch. I hope she does, for both herself and the readers. Good to hear about Marc Turner too, even if it lacks any Exile news. He was one of the ones I tried to contact and heard absolutely nothing from. Was afraid he’d up and died or something.

      Like

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