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View Full Version : Biggest Book Sequel Disappointment


ivylass
03-30-2003, 12:34 PM
You all have run into them...eagerly anticipated book sequels that left you wondering why you plonked down $29.95 for the hard cover because you couldn't wait the extra year for the paperback.

For me, it was The Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel, the latest in the Earth Children series. Set aside for a moment that her fans had to wait 12 years for the next book. She introduced about 35,000 new characters and it was very difficult to keep track of them all, especially since they wandered in the story for a few pages and disappeared again. Ayla's incessant recitation of her lineage got very tedious, and Jondalar's step-father got a new spelling of his name with no explanation.

I finished reading it, then closed it, bewildered, feeling slightly betrayed.

I waited 12 years for this? Or could Auel have gotten away with it if she hadn't waited so long and built up her fans expectations to a level no one could have met?

Lsura
03-30-2003, 12:55 PM
I came in here to say Shelters of Stone.

After the wait for this book, I expected something much better. I can't even bring myself to re-read it to try to figure out what plot was there. I'm also certain that if the next one comes out anytime soon, I won't be buying it.

raisinbread
03-30-2003, 01:17 PM
Sundiver, the first book of Brin's Uplift series, was an okay book. Nothing exceptional but I did like the whole idea about uplift. After reading it I went out to get Startide Rising, read the first hundred pages then gave up on the story. Terrible, just terrible.

ITR champion
03-30-2003, 01:30 PM
Life, the Universe, and Everything is the one that stands out in my mind. The jokes fall flat time and time again. It reads like something written by a high-schooler who just finished a creative writing class and wants to be like Douglas Adams, but just doesn't have the creative flair.

Dune Messiah was also a bit disappointing.

Fiver
03-30-2003, 01:33 PM
Larry Niven's second sequel to his classic Ringworld was titled The Ringworld Throne, and it was a steaming pile of excrement.

cmkeller
03-30-2003, 02:15 PM
Mostly Harmless. While I agree with ITR Champion that Life, the Universe and Everything was the weakest of the first four Hitchhiker books, it at least felt like Douglas Adams was still trying to entertain his readers. Mostly Harmless read to me like he wanted to get them off his back, as in "OK, I've written you another one, now all the universes are completely destroyed, and there's no hope for another sequel ever!!! Now let me get back to my life..."

Czarcasm
03-30-2003, 02:23 PM
All of the Myth books by Robert Asprin after the fourth one have been overextended and underwritten pieces of excrement, with barely enough plot to fill a single comic book.

Gilligan
03-30-2003, 02:39 PM
Rama II. I had only recently read Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur Clarke, and couldn't wait to read II. I didn't get very far into II before realizing something was terribly wrong. I had to force myself to finish it just to see how it ended, and now have no interest at all in the other books in the series. Only after I finished, I looked again at the cover and read the forward to find that it was co-written with Gentry Lee, whom I hadn't heard of before.

Tangent
03-30-2003, 03:20 PM
After reading and loving Orson Scott Card's Ender series of novels, I began reading his Homecoming series. I really enjoyed the first three novels. The story was interesting (if a little soap-opera-ish) and the characterization was great. Card built up a LOT of tension between some of the main characters. Then, in the fourth novel, Card brings the characters back to Earth--the first humans to return to the planet in 40 million years. The story isn't bad, but you don't ever get the big payoff that you were expecting after reading four books! There is virtually no description of what the Earth is like after 40 million years except for the two new sentient species with which the humans interact. And the tension that builds even bigger between the two conflicting characters is never released! One of them simply takes his followers and leaves! No real resolution. Card got me to really like and care about these characters, and then he just has them fade away as kind of an afterthought at the end of the book. There is a fifth novel in the series (which I am reading now) that takes place 500 years later, and it isn't especially good either.

Linty Fresh
03-30-2003, 03:28 PM
Wow, nine posts and no one's mentioned Hannibal? I waited for that sequel for eight years, and when it finally came out, I put aside a whole day off to read it. A huge flaming pile of suck. It didn't wasn't even "the bills are due" suckage. It was like Harris set out to write a piece of crap.

Hey, Tom, I'm sure the publishing racket is a pain in the ass, but try not to take it out on the readers, OK??

Daniel
03-30-2003, 03:30 PM
Gilligan: I also opened this thread to suggest Rama II. You've impressed me though; I didn't even make it past the preface.

Boyo Jim
03-30-2003, 03:37 PM
Ditto to Rama II and The Ringworld Throne.

I'd have to say everything after the first two volumes of Farmer's Riverworld sucked.

Also Jack Chalker's series, after the first book about the world of hexagons that I can't remember the title of.

Max Carnage
03-30-2003, 04:05 PM
Crichton's The Lost World. It was so obviously written AFTER they figured out who would be coming back for the second movie. "Goldblum and Attenborough or the only one's who signed up again? But I killed their characters in the first book. No, no, it's not a problem...I'll make up something."

Mahaloth
03-30-2003, 04:11 PM
Dune Messiah

Fortunately, the next few in this series were great.

elfkin477
03-30-2003, 04:15 PM
Black House. It's hard to follow up on a book as good as the Talisman but God, you think that King and Straub could have put a little more effort into thinking it through in the 20 years between books. Makes me wonder if they hung out with George Lucas...

Agrippina
03-30-2003, 04:26 PM
Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card. Ugh, this book is horrible. It's like someone wrote it after looking at short descriptions of the main characters. What happened to the characters we all knew and loved? Like Bean or Petra? Sheesh.

MetalDog
03-30-2003, 04:27 PM
The Black House.

I loved The Talisman, but The Black House sucked like a Dyson. I stuck it out to the end, hoping like hell it would rescue itself and it never did.

Hated the /constant/ Author intrusion. Hated the /total/ change in style from the first book. Hated the plot. Hated the chosen perspective. Hated the needlessly lengthy and detailed descriptions of the town.

The one character in it I really, really liked got killed off. Bah.

I've read most of the non Gunslinger stuff King has written and like most of it a lot, even Insomnia, which suffered from slight Gunslingerness, but not so much you couldn't enjoy the basic tale. Not this, though. It's like he and Peter Straub set out to break a ton of writing rules and succeeded in proving why they're there to begin with.

I'm sure the Gunslinger fanbois loved it. I loathed it. May it never darken my eyeballs again.

Icerigger
03-30-2003, 04:36 PM
Another vote for Rama II.:mad:

Fern Forest
03-30-2003, 04:41 PM
Petty Pewter Gods by Glen Cook. The first five of the series were so amazing. They blended fantasy and detective stories so well and DQL was alright but then this one just felt so different. Like he was trying to make it something it wasn't to draw a larger crowd. FSH began to get things back on track but ALS just made it seem like DBZ. Everything has to keep getting bigger and more extravagant until it loses all touch with reality. I just want a detective story with Dark Elves, Ogres and boatloads of Redheads.

King Kelson's Bride by Katherine Kurtz. What had been, up until then, more then 13 books exploring this ficitonal magic world moved on to being a court piece with so-and-so of the house of this-and-that and the high and mighty whachamacallit of place-a-ma-bob. And many things made no sense. I hope she plans out the next series carefully.

Stephe96
03-30-2003, 04:56 PM
This one's easy: "Son of Rosemary" by Ira Levin. Awe-inspiringly bad sequel to one of horror fiction's greatest novels.

Hometownboy
03-30-2003, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by raisinbread
Sundiver, the first book of Brin's Uplift series, was an okay book. Nothing exceptional but I did like the whole idea about uplift. After reading it I went out to get Startide Rising, read the first hundred pages then gave up on the story. Terrible, just terrible.

Just to show you how views vary...I ran across "Startide Rising" and "The Uplift War" before I found "Sundiver." I loved SR and especially TUW, which I've read several times, but I've started "Sundiver" perhaps four times, and couldn't get past the first 50 pages.

Doomtrain
03-30-2003, 05:18 PM
The last few of the Wheel of Time books. What a smouldering pile of ass a promising series has become.

Wordy One
03-30-2003, 07:43 PM
I liked Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City books less and less as the series went on. By the end, Mary Ann and Mona had become completely insufferable, and a lot of the humor of the first two books was sorely lacking.

And the third book, Further Tales of the City, with the whole Jonestown subplot? Yech.

That said, those six books are still some of my favorites.

Why A Duck
03-30-2003, 07:45 PM
For me, all three sequels to Hyperion were disappointing, the last two especially.

Baldwin
03-30-2003, 09:26 PM
William Goldman did a sequel to Marathon Man called, if I recall, Brothers. Bad idea.

Little Nemo
03-30-2003, 10:21 PM
Yet another vote for Rama II and Riverworld Throne, two unfortunate examples of the theory "write anything, we'll sell the title". But I did like Startide Rising.

William Goldman did a sequel to Marathon Man called, if I recall, Brothers. Bad idea.
William Goldman also wrote The Princess Bride which has deservedly become a classic. He wrote a sort of sequel called The Silent Gondoliers which has deservedly been forgotten.

On an obscurer note, Jonathan Nasaw was a minor novelist of very limited success when he wrote The World on Blood. This book is, in my opinion, one of the best vampire novels written in the last twenty years. Others apparently agree and it became a best seller. Nasaw must have felt the pressure of producing a follow-up and his next book was a sequel, Shadows. Unfortunately, lightning did not strike twice. Shadows went off in such a different direction from The World on Blood that I almost suspect Nasaw had not written the book as a sequel but then decided to cram the previous book's characters into roles in the new book. Shadows did not sell well and none of Nasaw's subsequent books has done well either.

susan
03-30-2003, 11:38 PM
2010, 2061, 3001. Made worse by Clarke's liberal quoting of the previous books, sometimes as whole chapters.

TeaElle
03-30-2003, 11:52 PM
Oliver's Story, a sequel to the classic romantic tearjerker Love Story. Oliver became sympathetic as he found his own moral path (diverging from his family) and especially as his wife died in the first book. In his eponymous sequel, he is turned into a banal, pathetic widower who ends up in a relationship with a woman who is so much of an outrageously polar opposite to his dead, beloved, Jenny that you spend many pages of the book (really a novella more than a novel) rooting for his new love to fail. Ech.

Snooooopy
03-31-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by Shoshana
2010, 2061, 3001. Made worse by Clarke's liberal quoting of the previous books, sometimes as whole chapters.

3001 was particularly disappointing, especially the ending that echoed the movie "Independence Day." To Clarke's credit, he did try to justify such hokum, but I didn't buy it nonetheless.

cankerist
03-31-2003, 12:22 AM
Ummm.... anyone remember "Closing Time", a little dogs breakfast of a sequel (in the loose sense) to a little book called "Catch 22".

I think this "Closing Time" actually defines this topic.

Sublight
03-31-2003, 01:05 AM
40 minutes. You beat me by 40 stinkin' minutes, cankerist. ;)

Closing Time isn't anywhere near as good as Catch-22, but then, what is?

Little Nemo
03-31-2003, 10:23 AM
Another disappointed sequel I just remembered: Aztec Autumn, the late Gary Jenning's mediocre sequel to his bestelling Aztec.

coyasicanbe
03-31-2003, 10:54 AM
Another vote for Hannibal.

Loved Red Dragon, loved Silence of the Lambs, absolutely, positively despised Hannibal. Just a huge stinking pile of crap.

And Mr. Harris, if you're tired of the characters, then don't write the friggin' book.

Woeg
03-31-2003, 10:59 AM
The Bloody Red Baron, the sequel to Kim Newman's Anno Dracula. The latter was an interesting, fairly well written take on the Jack the Ripper story, involving characters from a myriad of Victorian stories and literature. It was a really fun read. The former attempted to duplicate the idea by continuing the story in to WWI, but the character cameos and such overwhelmed the book, and a lot of the "old" characters were completely different acting than they were in the first book.

Tupug Anachi
03-31-2003, 02:28 PM
I, too, hated Hannibal/loved Red Dragon. Also, add me to the list of grumbling villagers ready to storm Robert Jordan's castle!

Payton's Servant
03-31-2003, 03:53 PM
The Black House.

I've never been into the whole Dark Tower thing with King, but I was hugely disappointed with Black House as it had only the tiniest thread connecting it with The Talisman and most of the book consisited of description, rather then action. Which wouldn't have been so bad, if the description had been of something that was even vaguely interesting/exciting.

Not a chance.

DaddyTimesTwo
03-31-2003, 04:20 PM
I read the Rama series in a row a number of years ago (pre-kids), and enjoyed them very much. So everyone's wrong there. ;)

Larry Niven's lost his touch, IMO, and the Ringworld series dipped after Engineers.

But the worst sequel and the LONGEST FUCKING WAIT definitely goes to Hannibal. coyasicanbe got that so right. Mr. Harris, please retire if your characters bore you. Bad baooks don't so anyone any good.

When I was a kid I started all the Dune sequels. I read a couple, I forget which ones, never understood anything. Might go back now that I'm growed up and all.

PunditLisa
03-31-2003, 04:58 PM
Oh yeah, Shelters of Stone was really bad.

There are two that top my list of bad sequels:

Diane Gabaldon's Fiery Cross. I waited a looooong time for this sequel to come out and it was so disappointing. Gabaldon's sense of humor vanished! I had to read 200 pages before anything of note happened. I think it's time to wrap up this story and these characters.

Lonesome Dove's sequels, like Streets of Laredo. LD was an incredible book. McMurtry should have left it alone.

John Carter of Mars
03-31-2003, 05:14 PM
Mary Karr did a brillant job of treating a troubled girl's early childhood in The Liar's Club.
With great anticipation, I ordered the sequel, Cherry, which dealt with the same character in her teenage years.

I finished reading Cherry, but compaired to Liar's Club I found it to be weak and without meaning.

raisinbread
03-31-2003, 06:26 PM
Okay I have one more. It's not so much a sequel but I read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett and I really liked it. Later I tried to read his other work and just put it aside because it was unreadable. Two other Pratchett novels later, borrowed, and I still can not read his work without putting it down.

Geek Mecha
03-31-2003, 06:49 PM
I would have said Hannibal, except it made me realize that I don't care for Harris' writing very much. I remember the offense being more egregious in Hannibal than in The Silence of the Lambs, but the man loves run-on sentences. It tested my focus throughout the whole thing. The story itself wasn't that great, either.

RawkStah
03-31-2003, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by cmkeller
Mostly Harmless read to me like he wanted to get them off his back, as in "OK, I've written you another one, now all the universes are completely destroyed, and there's no hope for another sequel ever!!! Now let me get back to my life..."

I read "A Salmon of Doubt", a collection of Adams' essays/short stories/whatever published post-humously. He was exceptionally depressed/pissed off when he wrote "Mostly Harmless", and, well, that's pretty much what he was trying to do. (At least, that's the impression I got.) He did a similar thing in "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish", when he advises the readers to skip to the last chapter, which has a nice bit about Marvin. He was busy telling the stories he wanted to tell, and the fans just wanted more Marvin and Zaphod.

While I love King's "Dark Tower" series, "The Drawing of The Three" always struck me as being the weakest. It wasn't the best, but it was necessary to get to the next bit in the series.

cankerist
03-31-2003, 07:43 PM
Sublight - hehehe. Sorry for beating you to the punch, but we're in the same time zone so no one had a headstart advantage! :)

Anyway, I didn't go into detail about how and why "Closing Time" was such a letdown after an interlude of 34 years between the original and the sequel. Any thoughts?

Qadgop the Mercotan
03-31-2003, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by RawkStah
He was busy telling the stories he wanted to tell, and the fans just wanted more Marvin and Zaphod.
That's because the stories he wanted to tell mostly sucked. IMHO. He was an extremely talented, but erratic, writer. Inner demons, and all that. Adams seemed unable to expand and elaborate on, more meaningfully, his universe. Unlike Pratchett, who does it nicely with Discworld. IMHO

Sublight
03-31-2003, 07:59 PM
I'm not really sure what the problem with Closing Time was, considering that Heller's other later books, such as God Knows and Picture This, were great, in my opinion. I think perhaps if he had written the same kind of book with a completely new set of characters, instead of continually trying to relate what each character was thinking with what happened to them in Catch-22, it might have worked out better.

Fibber McGee
03-31-2003, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by Czarcasm
All of the Myth books by Robert Asprin after the fourth one have been overextended and underwritten pieces of excrement, with barely enough plot to fill a single comic book.

I liked the Myth books up until Sweet Myth-tery of Life, but found Myth-ion Improbable unreadable, and have heard enough bad things about Something M.Y.T.H. Inc. that I'm not even gonna bother.

Then there's Xanth. The first twelve or so books were good though they never got any better than Castle Roogna, Centaur Aisle and Night Mare, the best books of the series in my opinion. After that though, the series had degenerated into sameness. Every book is the same plot with different characters plugged in, and while the puns started out as a cute device, they were the ultimate demise of the series in my opinion. When an author starts letting audience submissions dictate the direction of his stories, well . . . while there's nothing wrong with writing to your audience, Piers Anthony has taken it to surreal new extremes.

Enright3
04-01-2003, 12:44 AM
The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy. Ludlum took a good idea, and churned it into a psychological mess. I get it already, he's dealing with his old identity. Poor conflicted soul

Buttercup's Baby, the long-lost sequel to The Princess Bride. It really sucked. ;)
E3

Apos
04-01-2003, 12:45 AM
WOT definately is up there in both crapitude, and long waits for crapitude. We've been on the cusp of several major events for books now, and he somehow manages to draw it out more and more without most of them happening. In the earlier books, the characters traversed the entire continent on determined quests, toppling cities and chasing this or that lead on a huge, creeping evil plot.
But the latest book might as well be called "what some people were thinking about while camped out in the wilderness/taking a bath/resting in a villa/hiding in a traveling circus. There's even a chapter where the deadly Deathwatch guard warrior commander spends his time sitting in his study or something thinking about stuff.

brianjedi
04-01-2003, 12:55 AM
Not exactly a book, but a graphic novel:

Frank Miller's DK2

Sounded like a good idea, I suppose, especially since The Dark Knight Returns was great, but this thing was a steaming pile of goat turds. It's like he decided after about page 5 of the first part he was going to phone the whole thing in. Sad.

Diogenes the Cynic
04-01-2003, 01:17 AM
How about Scarlett. that piece of crap sequel to Gone With the Wind?

Margret Mitchell must have been spinning in her grave like a top when that overhyped suckfest actually got published.

Vorae
04-01-2003, 03:25 AM
Originally posted by brianjedi
Frank Miller's DK2

I thought of this title as soon as I read the thread topic. If only I hadn't been two hours too late to offer something new. :smack:

FriarTed
04-01-2003, 06:31 AM
Woeg, hunt up Newman's JUDGEMENT OF TEARS-Anno Dracula 1959 (titled DRACULA CHA CHA CHA in the UK)- it's much closer to the original than was BRB. Also, Newman has some short stories in the series- ORSON WELLS' DRACULA (set up like CITIZEN KANE), FRANCIS FORD COPOLLA'S DRACULA (wonderfully like APOCALYPSE NOW- Brando is The Count, Hopper- Renfield,
Sheen- Harker, Duvall- Van Helsing), a Buffy satire, a Count Yorga 1970 one, & ANDY WARHOL'S DRACULA aka JOHNNY ALUCARD. The Copolla, Yorga & Warhol ones are on the Net- as is Newman's own site. I don't have the links handy tho.

SkipMagic
04-01-2003, 07:07 AM
Despite how bad some of William Goldman's books can be (Brothers, Heat, Control, The Temple of Gold in particular), they're still better reads (just because his writing style always cracks my stuff up) than the drudge that Stephen King puts out for sequels and original novels these days. Does he have to tie EVERY single book to his Dark Tower series? Was there any excuse to do that to Black House?

He'd probably go back and rewrite IT to have the creature shot to death by Roland if he could. Yech.

And I know this isn't quite the direction of the OP, but the longest series with the best sequels? L. Frank Baum's Oz books.

Yay! :)

Bryan Ekers
04-01-2003, 07:14 AM
Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison was hysterical but the sequels (always cowritten by Harrison and someone else) varied in suckitude.

ivylass
04-01-2003, 07:27 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes the Cynic
How about Scarlett. that piece of crap sequel to Gone With the Wind?

Margret Mitchell must have been spinning in her grave like a top when that overhyped suckfest actually got published.

I think you have to take Scarlett in context. Was it as good as GWTW? Absolutely not. Was it a fun speculation of Scarlett and Rhett after Rhett left? I thought so. I liked it enough to pick up a couple of other Alexandra Ripley books. The Great American Novel? Hardly. But taken with a grain of salt and a sense of fun it's not that bad.

And I know this isn't quite the direction of the OP, but the longest series with the best sequels? L. Frank Baum's Oz books.

I have these!

Morgainelf
04-01-2003, 07:41 AM
Peace Breaks Out, the sequel to John Knowles' classic A Separate Peace sucked.

Also, I was terribly disappointed with The Forest House, the sequel to Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

CalMeacham
04-01-2003, 08:12 AM
I Love Paul Pevere, Whether he Rode or Not is a great sequel to Richard Schenkman's Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History, but the second sequel, Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of World History, was pretty awful. It's a lot shorter, and they eked out the pages by using bigger type. All in all, it has the feel of a book rushed into production.

Nevertheless, it's a pity that neither of the sequels seems to be in print, and never even made it to paperback, while the original has undergone many paperback reprintings.

Ethilrist
04-01-2003, 08:24 AM
The Two Towers.

Sorry.

Alcibiades
04-01-2003, 08:27 AM
I add my voice to the chorus about DK2, and agree with the mention of Hyperion's sequels.

Probably the most disappointing prequel ever was the new Dune books by Frank Herbert's son. Good writing obviously wasn't a family trait.

smiling bandit
04-01-2003, 08:30 AM
Book or movie? As a book, its moves a lot faster than the Fellowship, and has a lot more action. As a movie, Peter Jackson introduced two or three illogical slash out-of-place elements.

Khadaji
04-01-2003, 11:49 AM
Another vote for Hannibal.

Glen Cook's conclusion to the Black Company series. He just ran out of steam.

mcms_cricket
04-01-2003, 11:57 AM
Originally posted by Ethilrist
The Two Towers.

Sorry.

Yeah, but The Two Towers (if I remember right) wasn't a sequel. Seems I read that it was originally one book - but the publishers split it into three because they thought it was too long.

Cricket

GCU Stout Heart
04-02-2003, 10:08 AM
My vote is for Titus Alone, the third in Mervyn Peake's otherwise brilliant Gormenghast trilogy. However, after reading it and being appalled, I discovered that Peake had become mentally ill in his later years. I've decided to blame Titus Alone on that.

Louise.

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