Every now and then i look to see if sequels are in progress

So, I’ve mentioned Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswoman several times recently as a series that is (a) fantastic, but (b) unfinished. Of course this is not the only example of this unfortunate phenomenon. Every now and then, one hears good news about something like this. On occasion, I go looking for good news. Or any news. So:

1) Steerswoman. No news. I haven’t given up hope. A few years ago, I met Kirstein at a convention and asked directly about this series. She still planned, or at least hoped, to finish it at that time. I’m not exactly optimistic that we will ever see the rest of this series, but I’m not deeply pessimistic either.

2) I save deep pessimism for the second half of Robin McKinley’s Pegasus. I’m morally certain we will never see the sequel. I have grave doubts that we’ll ever see another book of any kind from McKinley. From time to time, there are fragments of news that McKinley is working on something — a sequel to Sunshine called Albion (she said she was working on that in 2008). Or a new book featuring a Deinonychus. Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll ever see any of these books. I believe McKinley is suffering from a chronic illness and also has had trouble working on anything since her husband became ill and passed away. If anyone has seen anything about McKinley in the last year or so, it would be nice to know if she is okay, whether or not she is working on anything.

Meanwhile, I am very optimistic about —

3) The second installment of Hild by Nicola Griffith. Griffith has been pretty good about providing updates about what’s going on with her life and what she’s working on. You probably recall Griffith has MS and paused to write an autobiographical novel about that, interrupting work on the Hild series. However, this past November, this post came out declaring that the sequel to Hild, Menewood, is finished. If this book is being traditionally published, I expect it will probably come out in 2022 or 2023, depending on how fast revisions go and where there’s space in the publisher’s calendar. That will give us a pause of roughly ten years between the first book and the second. And the series won’t be finished, even though each book is a monster. I won’t wait for this series to be completed. Hild was probably my favorite book of the year when I read it. It is just an amazing work. Griffith is stunning as a stylist and equally stunning as a historical author. One of these days I should do a top ten list of my all-time, absolute favorite books ever. Hild will be on that list.

In the meantime, I see that Griffith has a new short novel, an Arthurian story, coming out next spring. Anything by Griffith is always good news, so that’s nice to see. I bet it was a nice, easy story compared to the Hild series, as anything would be.

What’s a sequel you would particularly like to see? With a bonus gold star if you also have any kind of news about when and if that sequel might appear.

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26 thoughts on “Every now and then i look to see if sequels are in progress”

  1. I don’t think I’ve heard any news from Robin McKinley since 2018. I admit, I haven’t read anything she’s released since PEGASUS, which seemed to arrive less as a complete book (even one in need of a sequel!) than a bundle of pages shoved at the publisher with “this is all you’re getting.” There’s not even a complete story or character arc, as I recall. (Maybe my memory is soured by disappointment). But I still adore her early work, especially THE BLUE SWORD, HERO AND THE CROWN, and OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD — they were the cornerstones of my reading as an elementary schooler and become pivotal to my sense of self growing up.

    (And I will remain forever fond of Robin McKinley for the very lengthy, personal letter she wrote back to me, as a 12-year-old fan writing her in 1993; she went far out of her way for me, and I treasured that letter for years.)

    I was looking forward for years to the third book of Melanie Rawn’s RUINS OF AMBRAI trilogy, but I don’t think we’ll ever see it. The first book does stand very well on its own, the second book slightly less so, but at least they’re not wholly ruined by the absence of the next book. One of these days I’ll reread them.

    I’m also not looking for Patrick Rothfuss’s THE DOORS OF STONE, but that’s a combination of factors: I don’t believe he’ll ever write it (and it sounds like Betsey Wollheim has given up expecting it, too), but also I don’t think I want to read it anymore.

  2. Mary Beth, you are entirely right. We have characters — the king particularly — acting in a blindingly stupid way, the bad guys manipulating everyone with ease, and the friendship between the young protagonist and the young pegasus broken up. End of story. Nothing is tied up. Nothing is at a good point. Very ugh. Mind you, all that’s from memory, but still, ugh. I could not possibly re-read the story as it stands because the way the story fades out on negative situations is highly unpleasant.

    I loved the ones you mentioned, although I think it is fundamentally impossible to put a good ending on any Robin Hood retelling and Outlaws of Sherwood is not an exception. Of the others, I particularly loved Sunshine. But if we were so fortunate as to get new books from McKinley, I’d be fine with going on in the world of Damar.

    Good for McKinley, writing a nice letter to a twelve-year-old fan!

  3. My biggest bit of news is that I saw on Facebook (which I only visit to look for updates from this author on this book’s progress) that Wen Spencer has finished the last book in her Elfhome series. I don’t know what is going on in her personal life, but she went from being a book a year (sometimes 2) author to not publishing anything since 2017. Very excited for the conclusion to that series.

  4. I admit, I usually stop reading OUTLAWS before I get to the last few chapters. I love Cecily’s moment of coming into her own, but I do not love her getting paired off with Little John nor the destruction of Sherwood nor the Crusade nor– Well. Stopping before the end is good.

  5. Argh, the webshop where I bought Freedom’s Gate has #1 and #3 but not #2, as if it’s a public library. And I have a Kobo, not a Kindle. Buying from Amazon would entail (a) making an account again, which I haven’t had for I think 10 years; (b) getting the book without owning a Kindle, and (c) converting it so the Kobo can read it. Grrr.

  6. Irina, GRR indeed! That’s awful!

    I VIVIDLY feel your pain, as Audible offers the first and third Griffin Mage books as audiobooks, BUT NOT THE SECOND.

    Publishers and stores who make books one and three available but not book two should be subject to a stiff fine and waves of public ridicule.

  7. Various, some without much hope.
    The Mist-Torn Witches, Dead Seekers and Hunters by Barb Hendee. She says on her website that she is working on a sequel of Hunters but no news of the other two All are basically paranormal investigations and the mystery is solved, characters have a HFN but overall story arc is not complete.

    Legendsong and Gateway by Isobelle Carmody, no news for years.

    Blackthorn Witches by Jo Spurrier. She is supposed to be working on book three so hopefully it will actually be published soon.

    And of course ASOIAF by GRRM.

  8. Allan Shampine

    The comment about Rothfuss’s end to his trilogy really crystallized my feelings. I, too, have given up hope that it will ever appear, but I hadn’t realized until I read Mary Beth’s comment that I’m just not that interested in it anymore. I’m not quite sure why, but if it came out tomorrow, I’m not sure I’d buy it.

    I was always sad that Zelazny’s Madwand series ended so abruptly, but there was a short story someone else wrote set in that universe that I thought was a really good coda for the series. it didn’t wrap everything up, and could easily be followed up by other stories, but it gave me a feeling of completion that had been missing. Posthumous follow-ups can go horribly wrong, but sometimes they’re really good, and occasionally they exceed the source material (I’m looking at you, Sherlock Holmes).

  9. Allan, I should look for that Madwand story. I agree that the duology didn’t really feel finished, and I did like it.

  10. I have been toying with the idea of emailing Violette Malan to see if she has ever thought about doing a kickstarter or self publishing the sequel to The Path of the Sun in her Dhulyn and Parno mercenary series. It ends on a horrible cliffhanger — truly it is only half a book — and then the publisher dropped the series. If you want to read the first three books they’re really enjoyable competence porn with some interesting narrative choices.

    In 2018 or thereabouts Diane Duane said she was going to finish the Tale of the Five series with Door into Starlight. The first book, Door into Fire, was published in 1985, so even before the Steerswoman series which I would also dearly love to see finished. I can’t even remember much about the Door books at this point as it’s been so long, but I remember their impact on me when I first found them.

  11. Oh, and I meant to say I would truly love the Damar book that is hinted at in Hero and the Crown, but I’m afraid that will never happen. (I don’t have my copy with me but I think Aerin has a vision, one part of which is Harry and the other is another unnamed woman. I always thought there was going to be a book about her.)

  12. Well, if you’re talking about Zelazny and unfinished series, I sure would have liked to know what happened to Merlin son of Corwin, et al., in the Chronicles of Amber. Unfortunately, that’ll never happen now.

    I haven’t heard anything about Robin McKinley either although I keep checking. Regardless of whether she’s writing anything, I’d like to know how she’s doing. I spent years following her blog and liking what it revealed of her as a person so an update would be nice someday.

    The unfinished series I keep checking in on is the Lupi series by Eileen Wilks. There was a 15th(!) and final book planned as posted on her website but there have been no updates for, I think, a couple of years now.

    A series I was really happy to finally see finished was the Grave Witch series by Kalayna Price which paused for a bit due to, I think, health issues.

    On a side note, I understand people get frustrated or disappointed if a series is not finished yet, but authors are human beings and sometimes life happens! These authors really don’t deserve the vitriol I’ve seen directed at them (not here but elsewhere).

  13. Not a sequel, but sounds like it will lead to them, sort of: Barbara Hambly’s upcoming Scandal in Babylon, a non-fantasy rewrite of Bride of the Rat God as pure historical mystery. Described further by Liz Bourke at tor.com (https://www.tor.com/2021/06/15/sleeps-with-monsters-the-difference-between-survival-and-cruelty/).

    I haven’t sought out more information, but I would guess it’s the result of a “what sells” consideration when she closed out the Asher/Ysidro books.

  14. Jeanine, I forgot about the Lupi series – not a promising sign that the links for that book and the FAQ are broken on her website…

  15. R Morgan — I think Duane got herself into a pickle because she was turning each protagonist in turn into a nigh-unto-godlike omnipotent being. I’m exaggerating, but not a lot. After you’ve done that, where do you go from there? So I feel like that may be what happened to that series.

    I need to look up the Dhulyn and Parno series. I do enjoy competence porn.

    Herenya, then link to all the major retailers. I’ll link to B&N when I go wide. Link to Goodreads! Anybody can leave a review there. I am pretty sure that not a single author considers this a good excuse for not encouraging reviews at the objectively most important site for sales. Publishers are killing midlist authors in several ways and this is definitely one of those ways.

    I LOVE Year of the Griffin. That’s a fantastic school story.

    Lace, thank you for mentioning that Hambly book! I really enjoyed Bride of the Rad God. I’m not sure how to handle that without a curse that’s a real magical curse, but Hambly does great historicals and I’m very definitely going to get this book.

  16. Allan Shampine

    If I recall correctly, the Madwand story is in Shadows & Reflections: A Roger Zelazny Tribute Anthology.

  17. Aaahhh! Thank you for this post! Because of it I went to see whether there was going to be a sequel for Kat Howard’s An Unkindness of Magicians, and there is apparently one in the works (A Sleight of Shadows). Although it was supposed to be out last year and is not out yet, so — cautious optimism?

    I am pretty optimistic about Steerswoman because Kirstein has posted various snippets of books 5 and 6. Although of course her posting something from book 6 does not necessarily mean book 5 is finished.

    My husband and I met online back when Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear first came out — he pinged me because I mentioned that as the last book I had read. And now we have two kids and still no Doors of Stone from Rothfuss. :)

    For a really long time the sequel I most wanted to see was the next book in P.C. Hodgell’s Kencyrath Chronicles. I had borrowed Imaginary Lands (a collection of short stories) from the local public library as a college freshman back in the 1990s because it had a Robin McKinley story in it. But the story from the collection that really caught my imagination was Hodgell’s Stranger Blood. I went back the next day and borrowed God Stalk (which still ranks as one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time) and Dark of the Moon (Books 1 and 2). That’s when I found out that the third book, Seeker’s Mask, had only been published as a special edition by a small indie press that then went bankrupt. It took me most of my four years in college to track it down — I still remember waking some random stranger up in the middle of the night because their number was listed somewhere on the Internet as the number for the small publisher that had put out the special edition. Anyway, the story has a happy ending because Hodgell was finally picked up by Baen, and the series is now up to Book 8. I still look forward to each release and still really want to find out what happens, but to me none of the more recent books quite live up to the first…. (Also the cover art for the Baen books are awful and don’t do the stories justice.)

    The sequel that I have preordered (coming out 9/28/21) that I am most looking forward to is Naomi Novik’s The Last Graduate.

  18. TC, thanks! I didn’t know Kirstein had posted snippets. That’s certainly a good sign!

  19. I’m looking forward to the sequel to “Trader’s Leap” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I really want to see what Theo and Bechimo get up to at Tinsori Light, after the great setup in “Accepting the Lance”. When “Trader’s Leap”, sidestepped to a different plotline, my impatience just grew. Thankfully Lee and Miller are reliable, and I trust the next book in this series will come out eventually, even if they take long breaks from it to work on other projects.

  20. Chris, thank you so much for the link, and I agree with everything. I’d read anything she writes, but it’s a shame Pegasus doesn’t seem likely to ever be finished.

  21. Before finishing “Pegasus”, I made the mistake of seeing if there would be a sequel. “Pegasus” was published in 2010, so probably written in 2008-9. It is now then end of 2022. So the prospect of a sequel seems remote. I found this one of the most imaginative and captivating stories that I had ever read. Now that I know that not only will there be no sequel, but that this book ends with no resolution to an end-of-book crisis, I rather wish I had not begun it. The least a 70 year old author should do for her millions of readers is to put out a short story or novella wrapping up loose ends. I will never trust her enough to read anything else she has written.

  22. Yes, I also wish I hadn’t read the first book.

    Really, it would be better for the author not to send the first book to her agent until the second book is just about complete, to avoid situations like this.

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