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Discussion: Too Many Fantasy Trilogies?


Today’s topic comes from QSFer Blaine D. Arden:

“Why so many Fantasy Trilogies (and endless series). What is wrong with stand-alones?”

OK, so I come down on the trilogy (or more) side of this fence myself. I love losing myself in an epic fantasy that I can return to again and again. But I also see the appeal of stand-alone books.

It seems to me that this also connects to the debate we had last week about Epic Fantasy and story length… and the argument that High Fantasy, at least, might not lend itself to short stories. Does it lend itself to stand-alone novels?

So what’s your take? When reading Fantasy, especially High Fantasy, are you satisfied with a stand-alone novel, or do you yearn to roam free in a trilogy or more? And what are your favorite examples of each?


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3 thoughts on “Discussion: Too Many Fantasy Trilogies?”

  1. I think if I’m going to invest the time and effort to create a believable world with believable challenges and believable beauty, I want to get more mileage out of it than one stand alone story. Plus, if I create a suitably complext world, there is bound to be more than one story lurking in it. Every character has a story…

  2. That might not be true for magical realism, say, which can easily be just one story (even if it’s divided into volumes). But for genre fantasy, I like to have the created world explored more fully than one story can do.

  3. I think Mr. Meeker is correct. I think it really depends on how well the world is developed. I think Michael Sullivan’s Riyria Series is a good case in point. Sometimes the story cannot be told in a single volume without feeling rushed and cramped. Other times you can tell the author has begun stretching for content and should have ended the series. My main issue with series relates to the latter, it’s often easy to tell when authors themselves are tired of writing a particular setting or character even if readers want more. So how to know when to draw the line and end it?


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