Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Serial Fiction

In Books on October 19, 2008 at 9:30 am

typewriter

When I first started out as a reader, it was of serial fiction. I loved Tarzan books, Encyclopedia Brown, Danny Dunn and others. As I got older I read what’s commonly thought of as “literature,” which I still love (hello Harry Matthews). Then I rediscovered the joy of serial fiction, reading Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe series. I got into contemporary serial fiction when I picked up my first Tony Hillerman book.

Here are the contemporary writers of serial fiction I currently follow, along with some series that, though finished, are among my favorites. The author is followed by the main character and, in parentheses, the home town and time period. Those in green are finished, or apparently so.

  • Steve Berry: Cotton Malone (Copenhagen, now)
  • Cara Black: Aimee Leduc (Paris, now)
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tarzan; John Carter of Mars; Pellucidar (Africa & England, early 20th century; Mars, early 20th century; mythic, early 20th century)
  • Jim Butcher: Dresden Files (Chicago & mythic, now)
  • Caleb Carr: Dr. Lazlo Kreizler (New York, 1890s)
  • Raymond Chandler: Phillip Marlowe (LA, 1930s-1950s)
  • Glen Cook: Garrett, P.I. (mythic)
  • Lindsey Davis: Marcus Didius Falco (Rome, 1st century A.D.)
  • William Dietrich: Ethan Gage (Europe, Middle East & America, late 18th-early 19th centuries)
  • James Doss: Charlie Moon (Southern Ute Reservation, now)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson (London, 19th century)
  • David Gibbins: Jack Howard (Europe & Central America, now)
  • Simon R. Green: Nightside (London & mythic, now)
  • Tony Hillerman: Leaphorn and Chee (Four Corners, now) | Very sad to say Hillerman has passed away. I will miss his voice and his world as much as I miss Ellis Peters’s
  • Philip Kerr: Bernie Gunther (Germany, 1930s & ’40s)
  • Sandra McDonald: Outback Stars (Space, near future)
  • Martin Millar: Werewolves (London & mythic, now); Thraxas (mythic) | Millar, writing as Martin Scott, said he has no current plans for future Thraxas books, though I hope that changes
  • Barbara Nadel: Inspector Ikmen (Istanbul, now)
  • Garth Nix: Abhorsen & The Keys to the Kingdom (mythic & Australia-mythic, now)
  • Laura Joh Rowland: Sosakan-sama Sano Ichiro (Japan, 17th century Togukawa shogunate)
  • Rebecca Pawel: Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon (Spain, 1930s & 1940s)
  • Arturo Perez-Reverte: Capitan Alatriste (Madrid, 17th century)
  • Elizabeth Peters: Amelia Peabody (Egypt, 19th century)
  • Ellis Peters: Cadfael (England, 12th century)
  • Terry Pratchett: Discworld (mythic)
  • Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Agent Pedergast (New York, now)
  • Qiu Xiaolong: Chief Inspector Chen Cao (Shanghai, 1980s & 90s)
  • Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (New York, now & mythic)
  • John Maddox Roberts: SPQR & Hannibal (Rome, 1st century B.C. and Dacia-Rome-North Africa-Egypt 2nd century B.C. & mythic)
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter (England, now & mythic)
  • Steven Saylor: Roma sub rosa (Rome, 1st century B.C.)
  • John Scalzi: John Perry (Earth, future)
  • Alexander McCall Smith: No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Botswana, now)
  • S.M. Stirling: The Change (Oregon, now & future)
  • Paul Sussman: Inspector Khalifa (Egypt, now)
  • Will Thomas: Barker & Llewelyn (London, 19th century)
  • Aimee Thurlo: Ellah Clah (Navajo Nation, now)
  • David Thurlo: Lee Nez (Southwest U.S., 1940s & now)
  • Jack Vance: Severian (Earth, distant future)
  • Gene Wolfe: Latro (Mediterranean, 5th century B.C.)
  • Gene Wolfe: Solar Cycle (Earth and elsewhere, distant future)

I wish there were some kind of service you could sign up for online that would ping you each time there was news that any author you selected was planning a new book, then again when that book was slated for publication and again when it was available.

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  1. I’m sure Amazon.com could be persuaded to help you in this regard. They do, after all, really really really want your money.

    The poetry you are translating is beautiful.

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Amazon tracks individual titles once publication has been announced, but I’d like to find out who’s writing what and be pinged when the book from a series I’m interested in is available.

  3. […] of the problems with having both a devotion to serial fiction and an inability to read poorly written books, regardless of how high concept, is a paucity of […]

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