This week for Thoughtful Thursday I am going to go to our reader mailbag for the topic. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed in this space, please contact us. Liam Nolosco asked how I felt about authors who pick up dead writers’ series. He referenced both Robert Jordan and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

When it comes to Robert Jordan, many years ago I was dating a young man who thought the Wheel of Time series was the best thing ever written. I read the first book and started the second, and then broke up with him rather than read any more. My main exposure to Marion Zimmer Bradley was through her editing the Sword and Sorceress series, which was a great series. (If you find old copies at used book stores, you should pick them up.  Some of today’s top authors had their big break by getting a story published in those anthologies.) The other book that I read, and one of the series to which I think Liam is wondering about, is the Mists of Avalon series. I have read that, but my attention puttered out before Diana L. Paxson took it over. Generally, I stop reading series before the author dies. However, there are series that the author stopped writing that I would pay to have someone else take it over so I could find out what happened. (Melanie Rawn, I’m looking at you.) If we open the topic a little bit more, to authors who co-write with other authors in worlds they originated, then my experience with those books is that they generally are not up to the quality of the original books.

Now it’s your turn: let’s talk about multiple authors for the same series, whether it be the original author dying, co-writing in the same series, or the old-style shared world anthologies. When does it work, when does it flop, and are you going to buy Brandon Sanderson’s conclusion to the Wheel of Time?


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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