I find I can only do so many series before my head explodes. Honestly, authors resurrect characters and series, like soap operas, recycle characters. There are so many epic fantasy series out there, some starting life as a stand alone – or as an outgrowth of early works where and author developed ideas. Dune was such as book. I recall how blown away I was by it when I read back when it first came out. I never did make it to the end of the series, just book 1 and 2, because book 3 was published nearly 7 years after book 2 and I’d moved on. It would take 5 more years for book 4 and 3 more for book 5 and then book 6 followed and was the last. Sort of. Now his son, Brian, along with Kevin Anderson, have continued Dune stories as prequels and sequels to the original series.
The unique universal appeal of Dune is surprising. It’s themes and characters carry well into other cultures making it one of the best selling science fiction novels of all time at 20 million copies. But to put that in context, the Harry Potter series sold over 400 million copies and (Lord help us) Fifty Shades of Gray eclipsed that number at over 450 million. Of course Dune, Harry Potter, and many other books will still be popular long after Fifty Shades is lost in time. But it does prove one thing, SEX SELLS! Trust me, Fifty Shades isn’t selling based on it’s unforgettable characters, original plot, and brilliant writing. It’s selling for the same reason Peyton Place sold in the 1950’s, SEX and the lure of the forbidden, in this case, BDSM. (Quick, who wrote Peyton Place and what was the lead character’s name?) Yeah, I remembered the author’s name, but in all fairness, I couldn’t get past page 50 in that book either, though it was decades after publication when I actually tried, and I can’t even recall a plot. Was there one?
Will most of the series so beloved of readers stand the test of time? Unlikely. Anyone over 40 would be hard put to find titles popular in their teens and 20’s still on the shelves in print. Dune? Yup, that’s there. So is everything by Tolkien. But those ARE classics. I’ll bet in 20 years you’ll still find Harry Potter for the simple reason that his story is one we can all identify with – and the reason adults read so much YA fiction. Like The Hobbit, Harry will age well. Some experiences just continue to resonate over time, long after the cheap, voyeuristic thrills of Fifty Shades has been supplanted by the next hot item.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of good, cheap voyeuristic thrills, just not a fan of BDSM. Which segues nicely into another niche market, erotic paranormal romance and futuristic paranormal romance. Kaitlyn O’Connor writes a lot of futuristic si-fi/paranormal erotic romance, spiced with humor. She writes modern shifter romance as Madeline Montague. I’ve kind of been avoiding this stuff because it is a small market, but I’ll include a few here, with fair warning, it’s for adults only. Like most romance, alpha males abound, there is often some BDSM or at least D/s going on, but not the level of kink you get with true BDSM.
Si-fi and fantasy are no strangers to sex. No less an icon than Robert A Heinlein got his book, Stranger in a Strange Land, pulled from school library shelves for a host of reasons including ‘cheap eroticism’. Hey, if you can slog thru 160,000+ words and find a bit of ‘cheap eroticism’ along the way, more power to you! Boy, did you earn it!
(Suggestion – if you actually enjoy reading BDSM, try Maya Banks (also writes mainstream), Shayla Black (also rites as Shelly Bradley), Sylvia Day, and Lorelei James among others. All are light-years better than E.L. James.)
Joey W. Hill (living) – Vampire Queen series now up to book 13, future status unknown, paranormal vampire erotic romance. Hill writes mostly in the BDSM vein, but does some more mainstream series, and stand alones in paranormal, historical, and contemporary genres; Arcane Shot series centers on witches (2 books so far), and she has a paranormal romance series based on mermaids.
Kaitlyn O’Connor (Madeline Montague) (living) – small press author that has gained a loyal following for her humorous ménage Cyberolution series futuristic si-fi romances, 6 books and complete, but as they were written out of chronological order, they can be read as stand alones; as Madeline Montague she writes Wolfen series, a loosely related group of werewolf shifter books, with some, but less humor. 3 books – status unknown. Hard to find author. Short books. Buy the e-books.
Lara Santiago (living) – small press author; two futuristic stand alones – one intended as a possible series that never happened, Menagerie -is a clever apparently poly-amorous story that begins and ends in present day. Rogue’s Run is an intersteller m/f/m ménage. Reads like the start of a series, but she went from futuristic to Western.
Suzanne Collins (living) – Hunger Games – best-selling YA trilogy set in Dystopian future. Complete. Before writing Hunger Games, she authored a series of children’s fantasy books about Gregor the Overlander in her Underland series, 5 books, complete.
Veronica Roth (living) – Divergent trilogy – 3 books plus numbers short stories, novellas, complete, YA si-fi Dystopian; kind of a Hunger Games knock-off with shades of Twilight Zone
Pittacus Lore (living) – Lorien Legacies (5 books but on-going to 9?) and Lost Files (12 books complete); YA futuristic alien invasion; Another variation on Hunger Games type tropes
Jaye Wells (living) – Sabina Kane, 5 books, complete, UF, vampire, mage, assassin – worthwhile read; Prospero’s War – 2 books complete another under contract. Status of additional books – unknown, UF/magic
Kelly Meding (living) – Dreg City – 5 books, complete, Dark UF, si-fi, horror; about a bounty hunter who is killed, loses her memory, is resurrected, and has 3 days to live, but sometimes, you get to die more than once; Meta Wars – futuristic UF/superhero, 4 books, complete, each book focuses on a specific ‘talent’ of a group/
Linda Robertson (living) – Persephone Alcmedi – 6 books so far and 1 more due this year. Completion status unknown. UF, witches, vamps, weres, Fey. Young witch finds she might be one that was in a prophesy, making her a target for her coven and the only one that change the outcome of a potential war.
Harry Connolly(Living) – Twenty Places, 3 books – series cancelled by publisher; UF/Paranormal/fantasy mystery; well liked by those who read it, but not enough readers.
Rachel Caine (living) – Morganville Vampires – 15 books, complete, YA/UF/vampires; Weather Warden – 9 books, complete; UF/paranormal/magic/romance – weather warden (magic worker) is unjustly accused of crimes and goes on the run to look for the one that can offer proof of her innocence. Outcast Season – spin off of Weather Warden, 4 books, status complete.
M. J. Scott (living) – Half-Light City, 4 books, complete, Fantasy/UF/Fae/Vampires – a new author who seemed to be improving with each book. Watch for more from her.
Marjorie M. Liu (living) – Hunter’s Kiss, 5 books and several short stories/novellas, complete, Paranormal Romance/shifters/magic; Dirk & Steele, 13 books – status unknown, paranormal romance, can be read as stand alone books.
Lisa Shearin (living) – Raine Benares, 6 books, complete 2012, fantasy/magic/high fantasy/some romance; kind of a classic fantasy adventure series featuring a female thief; SPI Files – 1 book released this year, one on order, UF/modern paranormal; author has engaging humorous writing style that makes for quick easy reading.
Jeanne C. Stein (living) – Anna Strong, 9 books, novellas, shorts stories, Plus 1 to complete?, paranormal/UF/shapeahifter/vamp/ romance …. If anyone has any comments on this series. let me know
Richelle Mead (living) – Dark Swan, 4 books complete, UF/paranormal/magic/romance; Vampire Academy, 6 books, complete, YA paranormal/supernatural/magic; popular with adult paranormal fans; Bloodlines – spin-off of Vampire Academy, 6 books, ongoing, YA/paranormal/fantasy
Rachel Vincent (living) – Shifters, 6 books, complete; UF/paranormal/paranormal romance, power plays and life among shifters; Soul Screamers, 7 books, plus novellas and short stories, complete, YA/paranormal/fantasy – school taken over by Hellions and the fight to take it back OK, that is a wrap.
And I know a missed a WHOLE LOT OF SERIES, but I’ll try and update Finis every so often. But seriously, too many hours on Goodreads, Amazon, hunting for author websites and I’m DONE. So for those who hate waiting, you now have a place to start. Anyone wants me to add a series they really liked, just post a comment. I review them all.