We live in the Age of Sequels, where almost everything seems positioned to turn into a series—of novels, movies, disasters, whatever. It often seems there’s no such thing as a standalone any more, especially in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. Which is great! A series allows a talented author to really explore their universe and characters, to dig in deep and do more than move a plot along.
Sometimes, though, the center cannot hold, and a book series grinds to a halt. The years pile up and that next book doesn’t come, leading to panic in the streets (or at least on the internet). Here are five SF/F sequels we can’t wait for, books we really, really, really hope are coming soon. Soon-ish. Someday?
The Winds of Winter, by George R.R. Martin
Book six of A Song of Ice and Fire is the most discussed sequel—probably the most discussed book, period—in the world of epic fantasy. With the television adaptation already breaking ground that hasn’t been covered in the novels, fans are especially impatient for the final two books of the series, which began in 1996. Though plenty of evidence exists suggesting that Winds is nearing completion in manuscript form, four years after the publication of A Dance with Dragons, Martin and his publisher have yet to announce a release date for the penultimate installment. Of course, even when that date finally comes, all that really means is that the waiting (and complaining about waiting) for book number seven will begin in earnest. This is one of the few books about which you can say with a straight face, “if it doesn’t come out soon, we riot.”
Hungry Ghosts, by Stephen Blackmoore
Eric Carter is a great character, and Blackmoore’s first two books featuring him, Dead Things and Broken Souls, are phenomenal urban fantasies with a gritty, noir edge. The third book, Hungry Ghosts, was officially scheduled for a June 2015 release. Blackmoore posted on his blog back in March that he wasn’t happy with the manuscript and had scrapped it completely. There’s no current ETA, which is an unfortunate circumstance, but you have to respect an author who owns up to a problematic draft and opts to take his lumps rather than publish something that will disappoint fans. In the mean time, we’re rereading the first two when we need an Eric Carter fix.
The Captal’s Tower, by Melanie Rawn
You think waiting five or six years between GRRM books is bad, try being a fan of Melanie Rawn’s Exiles trilogy. The first volume, The Ruins of Ambrai, was published in 1994; follow-up The Mageborn Traitor hit three years later. Since then…nothing. Fans have been waiting 18 years to find out how it all ends. Rawn, an otherwise prolific writer, said she was struggling with depression at the time and moved on to other books. All hope seemed lost…until last year, when, in a blog post, the author revealed that she is committed to finally finishing book three, The Captal’s Tower, after she is done with her current work-in-progress.
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The Doors of Stone, by Patrick Rothfuss
It has been four years since the release of The Wise Man’s Fear, yet just a few weeks back, there was a happy dust-up at Comic-Con as the TV rights to Rothfuss’ incredibly popular Kingkiller Chronicles epic fantasy series slipped away from 20th Century Fox and went back up for grabs. Yet the third book in the series, The Doors of Stone, has a release date that more or less translates to “when it’s done.” Rothfuss even joked on Facebook that Harper Lee has taught him an author can wait 55 years between books, leading to a chorus of groans from rabid fans everywhere. If the series becomes the next Game of Thrones on TV, the delayed third book will start to loom even larger as time goes on.
Thorn of Emberlain, by Scott Lynch
The fourth book in Lynch’s fantastic Gentleman Bastard series actually has been given a release date or two (not to mention a cover); currently, it is rumored to be coming on September (or is that October?) 17 of this year. But a date isn’t always reassuring, because the publisher had to repeatedly move back the announced release date for Lynch’s last book, The Republic of Thieves. For the moment, we can hope that if they’re confident enough to pick a date, the inevitable new delay won’t be too bad, and we’ll soon once again enjoy the company of thief, con artist, and adventurer Locke Lamora in the wake of the fall of the Therin Throne Empire. It’s a story that only becomes more engrossing and complex with each new volume.
CrossTalk, by Connie Willis
This one is cheating a bit, as it’s not a sequel, but we still want to read it yesterday. Blackout and All Clear both came out five years ago, and the official release date for CrossTalk is September 2016, with no guarantee it will stick. Releasing Blackout and All Clear (books #3 and #4 of the Oxford Time Travel series) as separate volumes caused some confusion at the time, as they’re clearly really one novel split in two, and many things that puzzled readers (such as characters who seemed like carbon copies of one another) turned out to be clever bits (the characters actually were the same people, with assumed names) once you’re read the whole thing. Nevertheless, the end result earned all the awards and whetted appetites for more Connie Willis, and the wait has been interminable. Let’s hope CrossTalk, rumored to be a sort of sci-fi screwball romance, holds onto that date—even if it is still more than a year from now.
What books are you eager to get your hands on?