Love ’em or hate ’em, book series are a fact of genre publishing. The science fiction and fantasy genres are not immune to it—bookstore shelves are filled with titles that are sequels or more inconspicuously labeled as a "something-something" novel. But readerships often dwindle and thus few series stand the test of time.
Read the last SF Signal on the pros and cons of SF/F series.
However, some long-running series are still going strong. This is great news for readers who love to immerse themselves in a world for the long haul. A handful of recent SF/F releases are part of a larger series that have been running for at least 10 years. Here are five:
The Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh
Cherryh’s Foreigner series follows the career of Bren Cameron, a diplomat and translator to the alien atevi civilization, who place a high value on loyalty. It began in 1994 with the book Foreigner. The latest novel is Intruder, the 13th in the series, which sees Bren in a civil war negotiating for peace with an atevi who has never before seen a human.
The RCN Series by David Drake
Drake's RCN space-adventure series follows its protagonist Lt. Leary, an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, from one adventure to the next. Drake describes the series as a science fiction version of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, which began with Master and Commander. The first book in the RCN series is 1998's With the Lightnings. The newest is book No. 9: The Road of Danger.
[The books in the RCN series include: With the Lightnings; Lt. Leary, Commanding; The Far Side of the Stars; The Way to Glory; Some Golden Harbor; When the Tide Rises; What Distant Deeps; and The Road of Danger.]
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Household name King's famous series began in 1982 and combines elements of fantasy, science fantasy, horror and western as it tells the story of Roland, a member of a magical order and a so-called gunslinger, on a quest to find the fabled tower that is said to be the nexus of all universes. The latest novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole (eighth in the series, but chronologically fitting between books four and five), regales readers with more of Roland's back story.
[The books in The Dark Tower series include: The Gunslinger; The Drawing of the Three; The Waste Lands; Wizard and Glass; Wolves of the Calla; Song of Susannah; The Dark Tower; and The Wind Through the Keyhole.]
The Wars of Light and Shadow series by Janny Wurts
The Wars of Light and Shadow is an epic fantasy series depicting the conflict between two half-brothers, Arithon and Lysaer, who were cursed after defeating the dreaded Mistwraiths. The latest volume, Initiate's Trial, begins with Arithon (now free from the curse) in captivity and Lysaer (still cursed) bent on killing him. It begins a new cycle in the overarching series and, like the books before it, builds up to a spectacular finale.
[The books in the Wars of Light and Shadow series include: Curse of the Mistwraith; Ships of Merior; Warhost of Vastmark; Fugitive Prince; Grand Conspiracy; Peril's Gate; Traitor's Knot; Stormed Fortress; and Initiate's Trial.]
The Count Saint-Germain series by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
The historical Count Saint-Germain series is named after its vampire protagonist, who was inspired by Count Saint-Germain, a mysterious 18th-century French man linked to occultism. The first book (Hotel Transylvania) was written in 1978 and the latest (Commedia della Morte, 24th in the series) sees Saint-Germain attempting to rescue his love from execution by France's Revolutionary Tribunal.
[The books in the Count Saint-Germain series include: Hotel Transylvania; The Palace; Blood Games; Path of the Eclipse; Tempting Fate; The Saint-Germain Chronicles; Out of the House of Life; Darker Jewels; Better In The Dark; Mansions of Darkness; Writ in Blood; Blood Roses; Communion Blood; Come Twilight; A Feast in Exile; Night Blooming; Midnight Harvest; Dark of the Sun; States of Grace; Roman Dusk; Borne in Blood; A Dangerous Climate; An Embarrassment of Riches; and Commedia della Morte.]
John DeNardo is the editor of SF Signal, a Hugo-nominated group science-fiction and fantasy blog featuring news, reviews and interviews. He also like bagels.