Compared to other long-running series, that is.
I am one of those poor fools who began reading the Wheel of Time with the release of Eye of the World. It was enjoyable fluff, and had a nicely detailed world that I could feel as having a past as well as the present of the story. And that first book felt like the first book in a relatively short series - I was expecting it to end in a trilogy, or at most a series of five or six books.
By the time I stopped reading the series, it was at five or six books, and at the end of that last book I’d read it was further from a conclusion to the story than it had been at the end of the first book. And I was fed up. I’ve not read one of Robert Jordan’s books in over ten years, and I doubt I’ll ever go back.
Having said that, I enjoy long series. I’m reading several, at the moment, and enjoying them immensely. David Weber’s Honor Harrington books, and it’s offshoots; Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan books; Jane Lindskold’s Firekeeper books; and even Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books.
What is it about these open-ended series that makes them enjoyable, where WoT was just painful and incomplete?
David Weber’s HH books, in particular, have begun one major war, ended it, had the second war fought, and now show signs of opening up the whole of human occupied space to “interesting times.” So, it’s quite fair for me to claim that at the end of the most recent HH book, At All Costs, the series is further from an conclusion, now, than it had been at the end of the first book.
Likewise the Firekeeper books are growing into a sort of travelogue of the whole of Lindskold’s world. The ending of the most recent book, Wolf Hunting, is very much an intermediate stop, not a completion of the story. So, again, we’ve got another series, which at the end of book five, is further from a conclusion than it was at the end of book one.
Both the Vorkosigan and Stephanie Plum books are less problematical for me - they’re open ended series with no set over arching story, beyond the main character’s development, so I don’t feel quite so hypocritical for wanting more of them, while scorning WoT for leaving me with an unfinished feeling at the end of the last several books I’d read.
I figure I’d ask my fellow Dopers for any thoughts they’d care to share on this conundrum. I know that my disgust for WoT is far from being unheard of on this board, and I also know there are a number of fans of HH, and other of the series I have mentioned. I wonder if someone can give me a simple explaination of why the flaw I see in WoT isn’t a flaw when used by David Weber, or Jane Lindskold.
(Yes, one could simply say that they’re better writers, but that’s only part of it, I think. )