I’m sure most of us have all read a series, especially a YA series, that just never seems to end. I’m thinking about Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series… These series start innocently enough, with a good idea, and soon they gain a loyal following of readers. But once a series is officially considered a success, the prequels start streaming in, and the novellas, and the spin-off series, and the short stories. While fans can’t wait to read new content featuring their favourite characters, this has always left me feeling a little uneasy. Why can’t the authors let a series end? Is this just lazy writing? Are the authors monopolizing on the loyalty of their fans to make a buck? Is this just glorified fan fiction?
On the other hand, maybe it is a positive thing that a series can continue to churn our new content. Maybe that is the mark of a successful idea.
The author of the article could decide if a series that never ends is a positive attribute, a negative one, or something in between.
On one hand, a fictional universe could be so rich in worldbuilding detail that the reader may feel the need for expansion upon the source material even after its canon: they may seek closure for a particular character arc, or background on a breakout side character, or elaboration on the world's history or a background event... the author may choose to respond to this need, or not. Fanfiction provides a sandbox for the readers where they can write into existence the stories that they want, without intruding on fellow readers' expectations (or "headcanons", as they're called: assumptions about characters/events that may or may not be "canon", or verified in the official material.) On the other hand, if a author chooses to respond to this need, the way they handle the material will not be amenable to each and every reader and this can cause backlash. After the author concludes the primary story they were telling, the interpretation of the work is mostly left to the readers, whether the author likes it or not. When the author expands on the work, it must be a meaningful addition to the universe and it must also fit in with what we have previously seen of it. There is no point making additions if the new material is just the old themes rehashed with no new nuance introduced into the conversation. – Malavika2 years ago
Authors typically do this for a couple of reasons.
A. They originally intended for it to be a fairly long series to develop characters, introduce characters or just plot related things.
B. They see the money coming in.
C. They signed a contract that requires them to keep writing. I remember this being the case with an author being under contract to write a third book to their original duology. This was with an author who's books became a big thing in the film scene but unfortunately I can't remember the name. – AshleyEstrada2 years ago
One example of a franchise that has far outstayed its welcome when it was a perfectly decent five-book series was Percy Jackson. Loved those books as a kid. I even liked the next round of books in the series that followed his Roman counterparts before eventually bringing him back into the fold. However, I totally lost interest after yet another series set in the same universe began to follow Apollo. I read through the first book in that series and it's certainly everything you come to expect from those books but there is an awful sense of treading water with the same ideas and concepts that have seen different variations throughout the plot. Then there is the additional Egyptian/Norse elements that were added in (and somehow taking place within the same universe). There's more than enough mythic material to work from, obviously it's worked in Rick Riordan's favor, but a good idea to focus on is where the attention span of the reader starts to get lost along the way? Then again, Magic Tree House has 34 original books and 55 Merlin Mission books so who knows? – Runestrand2 years ago
I don't think extending a series is a good or bad thing. Authors are going to profit from their work as much as they want and as long as their readers allow them. – T. Palomino10 months ago
Interesting topic to explore. Especially when a book series is picked up as a movie or show and the author is pressured to put out more content – Anna Samson8 months ago
This is a very interesting topic to touch on. I think just going into a book store and seeing the amount of series packed into the YA section is enough to know that sometimes things get a little out of hand. I don’t think it’s ever really lazy writing though, I definitely think, at some point, so many of these authors are cashing in on their idea or trying to push it to a point where they can get a film or series greenlit. If the universe is big enough, then an author can definitely have multiple books, prequels and spin-offs that are done well. It just depends on the depth of the world and characters. Planning is everything a lot of the time. Cassandra Clare is definitely a great example as well! There are so many books within the Shadowhunters universe and find all of them to pretty much the same. – pipermarie20027 months ago
Contemporary (South Asian) Indian fantasy literature is heavily based on its rich history of culture and mythology. However, to grow as a genre (by creating stories that exist outside of/apart from our multiple readings of preexisting myths – stories that are original), does it need to explore stories and characters, other than the ones that already exist in cultural consciousness? (By this I mean the stories from mythology that are widely known [in India] and are passed on through generations).
I think it's interesting considering that these are things that people actually believe...I wonder if calling it "mythology" is actually a bit offensive. – nimraahmad6 months ago
‘The Second Sex’ ultimately serves as the most eloquent, sophisticated and detailed synopsis of the patriarchal society and how it oppresses women. As Simone illustrates it is the amalgamation of destiny, history and myth which create “bird cage of oppression”. The reasoning that this oppressive structure has been created is muddled; however, there are three major considerations as to why it has been created: 1) out of necessity, 2) for control, 3) as a means of transcendence.
Control has been the epitome of the patriarchal society. Men have sought to dominate their environment and as part of that there exists women. Arguably women have been the greatest challenge to men’s goal of control. Women have stood in opposition to men even when they are bound by the institutions of men. It is because of this dichotomy between menn and women which have strengthened the resolve of menn and their pursuit of control. As history illustrates men have always sought to place women as the objects of their reality and through doing so men have thought that they could control women like they control the tools they create. However, this has not worked in the favor of men and the rise of feminism bears witness.
This is an interesting read, especially in relation to her fiction as well and the way she represents this. It would be good to also look at this in comparison to the other seminal texts, such as Greer's. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood8 months ago
I would love to read further on this, but I have to wonder how this will address colonized males and masculinities? Will this article explore Patriarchy as it exists in the current world or will it seek to universalize the experiences with out respect to material conditions? Will it explore the constraints and enforcers of Patriarchy or will it pathologize "men". I think this will be quite interesting but how exactly do you define "men" under patriarchy? – Sunni Ago8 months ago
Gender terminology would need to be defined clearly, as well as the gendered context that Simone's book was arising from (re: what was the understanding of sex and gender in her time in comparison to now?) – alliegardenia8 months ago
I have read "Le Deuxième Sexe" de Simone de Beauvoir (be sure to check the spelling) in French when I was in High School. And, just like all teens, this did not talk to me at all. I had to read it again in graduate school in my critical theory class and it took a complete different meaning. I guess maturity helped ;-) Now, my helpful note on your excellent topic idea: how can we still make De Beauvoir applicable today? Let's look at the US politics today and apply directly the aspect of "male control" over the very hot and touchy topic of "abortion rights" or "healthcare access to/for women". Looking at what males are trying to (re)gain control over what women can do. Since this is an international forum, the article could even be richer by having international scholars contributing from their own country and examine the rights of women linked under male control (the list of countries that come to mind is too long). This is very promising and am looking forward to read the final product. Good luck with it. – luc9927 months ago
This may or may not be helpful but I was not introduced to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex until I played Nier: Automata. I only bring this up to say that I suspect the majority of Beauvoir's work has permeated into much of our culture now because most of these issues still pervade our society today, though they might manifest differently now. In the game, your main protagonists face off against a boss machine called "Simone" or "Beauvoir" in the Japanese version. You learn she was once a small, stubby machine who was in love, borderline obsessed, with another machine lifeform named "Jean-Paul" after Jean-Paul Sartre. Simone was jealous of his other mistresses and began cannibalizing other machine lifeforms, using them to grow bigger and using their bodies as adornments for her own body. Her incessant search for beauty led to her tragic downfall. She associated her self-worth with an apathetic machine until she lost sight of herself completely and dies at the hands of the player. Although deeply exaggerated, her story becomes incredibly devasting for the player and perhaps somewhat relatable. The story is set tens of thousands of years into the future long past the extinction of humans, yet we still see androids and machines replicating human behaviors such as sexism, apathy, self-degradation, and toxic behaviors with love among others. While this may not be entirely applicable to Beauvoir's work, this could be one avenue to connect the pitfalls of the patriarchy to modern-day society. This game predicts that even long after we are gone, these issues might still persist after us. – iresendiz6 months ago
Disney played a large role in bringing fairy tales to a larger audience. To do so, they had to remove many horrific aspects, such as the stepsisters in Cinderella who cut off their toes and heels to fit into the glass slipper or how the princess is raped while unconscious in Sleeping Beauty. Compare more of the original fairy tales, which explored far more taboo and grotesque content and how Disney has altered them to be more child friendly and palatable. Discuss why this was done and how the purpose of fairy tales has evolved.
Many of the revisions suggested weren't acted upon. – Sunni Ago8 months ago
Hi Sunni! I changed Grimms fairy tales to original fairy tales to accommodate all the origins. I also changed my questions to ask about why changes were made and how fairy tales have evolved over time and why. I specified who I was referring to and what I was asking. Is there anything else I can do to refine this topic? – Anna Samson8 months ago
Maybe make the question: Discuss the purpose of this change and how it is tied into the evolution of fairytales. Or something like that: same question but could be worded differently. – Montayj798 months ago
Might be some old interviews with good old Walt himself to help narrow down this idea a bit. – alliegardenia8 months ago
I think you could talk a bit more about the fairy tales that aren't commonly known to the public! – Sangnat8 months ago
This was a topic I was heavily interested in a few years ago. Children's literature and fairy tales is rooted in violence and weird sexual inuendos. They're more cautionary tales but if you're looking at the "Disneyfication" process, I believe there was an article called "Breaking the Disney Spell" by Jack Zipes. It demystifies Walt Disney a bit (not really in a good way) and will spill some of those trade secrets of marketing gruesome fairy tales for a modern child audience. – iresendiz8 months ago
The concept of social media having an impact on various marketing strategies is nothing new. However, one industry that has been increasingly affected by social media is the publishing industry due to "Booktube" and "Booktok". In recent years, there has been a rise in how these influencers are starting to shape the books that people are reading. There are now tables displaying the latest trending titles in local and big box bookstores, regardless of when they were published. There are stories of writers who gained enough of a following to self-publish their highly anticipated and praised books. How does this impact the publishing industry? What does the future of the publishing company look like? How will authors be influenced by their audience as the distance between writer and reader shrinks with the aid of social media?
Interesting topic, but there was an article published about this exact topic about 2 weeks ago on this site. – CulturallyOpinionated12 months ago
The impact of "Booktube" and "BookTok" will be revolutionary in the new procedures and willingness to work with new writers in different genres rather than a specific one. The publishing industry's future will be influenced by the readers' choices, popular genres, and tropes that are gaining the most traction. The future of publishing companies depends on what they are willing to accept without backlash from the intended audience or cult favorites. The question of how authors will be influenced also depends on the independent person and what they value. Do they value feedback from their audience? Do they want to see what their next book should be about? – byrdsy9 months ago
How can a character, such as Shakespeare’s’ Othello, be compared to characters in film. For instance, what similarities (physical, psychological, etc) does Othello have to characters that kill on film, such as the characters from the 1995 film, The Usual Suspects.
The focus here should be on what drives these people to kill. Explore economics, manipulation, and corruption. Obviously, these two works have easily identifiable differences, but the objective is to dig into the psychological to show how their different circumstances leads them down the same road. In other words, think of Othello as a character in The Usual Suspects (or vice versa, one of the characters from The Usual Suspects in Othello’s place).
I once listened to a podcast titled “New Evidence Calls into Question William Shakespeare’s Authorship of ‘The Usual Suspects’,” by The Onion. This topic reminds me a lot to that podcast, and how people can come up with crazy ideas disguised as serious matters. – T. Palomino10 months ago
Many of famous horror author H.P Lovecraft’s work contains themes and language indicative of racism towards indigenous and black communities. Even the famed "Call of Cthulu" retains aspects of racism when referring to the activities of indigenous and black communities. They are labeled as practicing "Voodoo", and often referred to as savages. How has the work of H.P Lovecraft aged? Is something like this acceptable for fans of the genre to hold as an example?
I believe someone suggested a similar topic before. (As I remember commenting on it.) While yes, H.P Love Craft held views that many, my self included find distasteful, those elements are often what people sight for creating the sense of otherness/horror in his books. He does not understand other races, cultures, or sexual identities, and that was part of the reason he feared them. I don't believe you have to like an artist on a personal level or agree with their views to appreciate their work. Some personal examples for me are Raymond Chandler, R.Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery and Danny Masterson are all people who have done/said things that I personally disagree with. But I enjoy the book the Big Sleep, I can listen to ignition or fly me to the moon. I enjoy watching James Bond and That 70's show. Many people feel separating the artist from the art is people ignoring/giving a pass to the actions of the individual. I don't believe that is the case. As R. Kelly are and Danny Masterson are both in jail for their actions. I would also mention people can change, as Lovecraft eventually changed some of his views, as over the years he became friends with a gay man, and over time began to change some of his views on homosexuality. Whether people forgive someone or engage with their work is always a personal decision. – Blackcat13011 months ago
In H. P. Lovecraft’s "Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1927), Lovecraft describes a horror that distances itself away from anything physical and attempts to attack the psyche of the reader through cosmic mystery, ancient folklore and culture as well as our primal instincts. Themes such as space and the deep ocean, primordial Gods and mythology and their respective mysteries seep into literature to create a profound sense of dread and isolation from the real world.
With the advancement of computers and networks, a new theme in horror fiction has found its footing amongst the aforementioned ideas: the theme of technology and the mystery of cyber data, the disposable nature of human flesh, its replacement by better and stronger artificial prosthetics and the paranoia of human-made machine rising against its own creator after achieving consciousness, something only humans so far possess. Works such as Harlan Ellison’s "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1968), Mamoru Oshii’s "Ghost in the Shell" (1995) or Frictional Games’s "Soma" (2015) explore this newfound horror with different methods, but with great success.
The question therefore lies within the nature of this trope. Is technological horror part of the weird and the supernatural as it treats technology as its own entity and its own vast realm of mystery, similar to that of the endless space and the deep ocean? How does technological horror fit with the ghost, thriller or other forms of scary themes? What other modern fictional stories bring forth technology as a truly terrifying aspect that attacks the mind of the consumer and isolates them from their world, rather than cause brief shock or superficial scares?
Great topic here. I'd encourage anyone tackling this topic to also consider Serial Experiments: Lain as another source of technological horror dealing with many of the same questions. It's a... complicated piece... but could provide some compelling ideas. – Elliot Brunk11 months ago
This means that the presence of technology in our lives is modifying and amplifying the meaning of horror... "Black Mirror," for example, is basically horror as a consequence of technological advancement and implementation. – T. Palomino11 months ago