Voice Of The Fans: Consistently Entertaining Series

  

I’m in the middle of reading Kage Baker’s Not Less Than Gods and I’m impressed with how good the book is. In fact, I’ve read two other Company books and they’ve been uniformly excellent. In fact, a quote from Amazing Stories (on the back) sums up the Company series quite nicely:

One of the most consistently entertaining series…

The Company books have been that so far but it got me to thinking about other series that I’ve found to be entertaining from start to finish. I can name two right off:

  • The Harry Dresden series from Jim Butcher – One of those rare creatures that starts out good, then gets better with each passing book. The latest novel Changes takes some risks with Dresden’s situation and is all the better for it. And this is from a guy who is not a fan of fantasy. This series is that good.
  • The Sten series by Allen Cole and Chris Bunch – One of my all time favorite series. I’ve read and re-read them probably six times or so over the past twenty years. The later books lose a bit of steam, but the last book goes a long way toward redeeming them. They’re SF military(ish) black-ops adventure novels that are just a lot of fun to read. I may have to read them again.

But what about you? What series have you found to be consistently entertaining?

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s define a series as consisting of three or more books and we’ll stipulate that you’ve actually read the entire series (one or more times).

Let us know!

12 thoughts on “Voice Of The Fans: Consistently Entertaining Series”

  1. Love the Sten series too, though I’ve misplaced one of the novels somewhere during a move and haven not re-read it in a while (I will once I replace that missing volume).

    It would be uncharacteristic of me to mention any series other than the John Grimes/Rim Worlds stories by A. Bertram Chandler.

    There are some 22 novels and short story collections, as well as numerous shorts not collected covering John Grimes tales; throw in the related Rim Worlds novels and collections and you can add another eight or so volumes.

    Though short (published in the 60s, 70s and 80s), that’s still more than enough to keep a fan busy for a while.

    2008 saw the publication of what is believed to be the only remaining unpublished story – Grimes and the Gaijin Daimyo – in Jack Dann’s Dreaming Again anthology.  The series is therefore as complete as it is ever going to be.

    Like Sten and the other series mentioned, this is what has now become identified as space opera, but a space opera with a very believable background.  Chandler was a merchant seaman and transferred his working knowledge of that profession to the universe he created.

    Want to check it out?  the website http://www.bertramchandler.com is the official unofficial authors page, and some additional information can be found on my site http://www.rimworlds.com

  2. I’m a sucker for series either duologies, trilogies or longer. But I’m only including those of 4+ completed novels with reocurring characters. (But not including “set in the same universe” type books.)

    “Pendgergast” series by Preston and Child

    “Virga” series by Karl Schroeder

    “Odd Thomas” and “Frankenstein” series by Dean Koontz

    “Repairman Jack” series by F. Paul Wilson

    “Sigma Force” series by James Rollins

    “Codex Alera” series by Jim Butcher

    “Ethan Gage” by William Deitrich

    “Kane” series by Karl Edward Wagner

    “The Saxon Chronicles” by Bernard Cornwell

    “Elric” series by Michael Morecock

    “Combat K” series by Andy Remic

    “Alex Benedict” series by Jack McDevitt

    “Flagship”, “Lucifer Jones”and “Fable of Tonight” series by Mike Resnick

    “Sookie Sackhouse” series by Charlaine Harris

     

  3. You may laugh, but when I was younger I liked

    “The Amtrak Wars” series by Patrick Tilley

    and when I was _very_ young

    “Starstormers” series by Nicholas Fisk

  4. Good lists in previous comments, but failed to mention:

    “Honor Harrington” series by David Weber

    “Dune” series by Fran Herbert, and continued by his sone (and others)

    “Diskworld” novels by Terry Pratchett

    “The Chronicals of Amber” by Roger Zelazny

     

  5. I’ll second the Dresden File novels – I’ve found them to be very good indeed. 

     

    I’ll also recommend Allen M. Steele’s Coyote series. The first was easily the best, but the rest are quite good. 

  6. Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” series is always good…it’s not great literature, but it never fails to entertain me.

    It’s an old chestnut by now, but Asimov’s “Foundation” series and the related novels were not only consistently good, but actually made me hunger for more (although to be honest, I have not read the new, non-Asimov, novels yet).

    Brian Lumley’s “Necroscope” is another good read…as is anything else he’s written, in my opinion.

    Finally, though it’s outside the genres under discussion, Andrew Vachss Burke novels have always been among my favorites series.

  7. I see that this will date me badly, but you young whippersnappers don’t know really good SF series! Why, when I was your age, science fiction was printed on pulp paper, and we had to walk uphill in the snow two miles to get to the news stand to buy something to read! Usually it cost two buffalo-head nickels to buy. That was when money was real money! Kids these days with your gasoline powered horseless carriages and your electronic calculating machines! Gabnabbit!

    Anyway, series worth at least two reads-through, at least if you adhere to my modest standards of science fictionary goodness, and are not too hard core about scientific realism:

    The Skylark Series by E.E. “Doc” Smith (SKYLARK, SKYLARK THREE, SKYLARK OF VALERON, SKYLARK DUQUESNE). The last book contains a scene where the two superscientists cooperate to decimate one galaxy by colliding it with a second and repopulate a third galaxy by teleporting the earthlike worlds to safe orbits elsewhere in the universe.

    The Lensman Series by E.E. “Doc” Smith (GALACTIC PATROL, GRAY LENSMAN, SECOND-STAGE LENSMAN, CHILDREN OF THE LENS, along with a prequel FIRST LENSMAN).

    The Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs (A PRINCESS OF MARS, THE GODS OF MARS, THE WARLORD OF MARS, THUVIA MAID OF MARS, THE CHESSMEN OF MARS, THE MASTER MIND OF MARS, A FIGHTING MAN OF MARS, SWORDS OF MARS, SYNTHETIC MEN OF MARS, LLANA OF GATHOL, and JOHN CARTER OF MARS). My interest in the Ulysses Paxton novels is less. 

    The Null-A Books of A.E. van Vogt (WORLD OF NULL-A and PLAYERS OF NULL-A). These include two of my favorite books of all time. There was a third book written called NULL-A THREE, but, alas, it is not equal to the first two and is safely ignored. I think there was a fourth canonical book in the sequence probably written by Kevin J. Anderson: it was called NULL-A CONTINUUM.

    The Planetary novels of C.S. Lewis (OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET, PRELANDRA, THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH) The second book in the series is arguably not science fiction, since it has a supernatural climax, but then again STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND has winged and halo’d angels as characters, and DUNE has a messiah who can see the future, so let us content ourselves by saying these are more Wellsian and less Vernesque scientific fiction — soft rather than hard.

    The Demon Princes series by Jack Vance (STAR KING, THE KILLING MACHINE, THE PALACE OF LOVE, THE FACE, THE BOOK OF DREAMS)  — Count of Montecristo in Spa-aaa-ace. Worth many a rereading. Vance makes other criminals of the future seem pallid by contrast.

    The Planet of Adventure Series by Jack Vance (CITY OF THE CHASCH, SERVANTS OF THE WANKH, THE DIRDIR, THE PNUME) — Jack Vance does a swords-and-spaceships style planetary romance, and exceeds the conventions of the genre adroitly.

    The Dream Cycle of HP Lovecraft (Short stories including ‘The White Ship’, ‘Celephais’, ‘The Cats of Ulthar’, ‘Polaris’, and the novella which is Lovecraft’s crowning achievement DREAM QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH). I fear this fails definition, since it is a collection of short stories, not three novels, but I thought it worth mention nonetheless.

    The Known Space novels of Larry Niven (RINGWORLD, WORLD OF PTAVVS, A GIFT FROM EARTH, aw, c’mon you know these books.) Maybe these are not considered a ‘series’ properly so called, since they are not one story told across several volumes.

    The Amber Chronicles of Roger Zelazny (NINE PRINCES IN AMBER, GUNS OF AVALON, SIGN OF THE UNICORN, HAND OF OBERON, COURTS OF CHAOS) — I scorn the Merlin books, and consider them among the master’s most poorly written works. Read TO DIE IN ITALBAR or DOORS IN THE SAND or TODAY WE CHOSE FACES before reading the Merlin books.

    The Future History of Olaf Stapledon (LAST AND FIRST MEN, STAR MAKER, NEBULA MAKER, LAST MEN IN LONDON) — not really novels, and not really like anything before or since. The third novel is really an expansion of one episode of the second, and the final takes place in the same background universe, but is otherwise unrelated. There is another Stapledon novel called DARKNESS AND LIGHT, which is not officially part of the STAR MAKER background, but an examination of the internal evidence of the text shows that the narrator is the same Earthmen melded to the galactic mind as appears in STAR MAKER.

     

  8. I got hooked on Julian May with the 2 Intervention books (Surveillance & Metaconcert).

    This led me to the Pliocene Exile series which totally blew me away.

    She finished off the stories with the Galactic Milieu trilogy.

    I completely enjoyed every one of these books and have read and re-read them on many occasions.

    • Garrett P.I. Glen Cook

      An humorous fantasy detective. Must be at least 10 volumes by now

    • Malazan series Steven Erikson

    Not for everyone but a very challenging and violent fantasy world. 9 volumes with a10th due    out this year. 4 novellas. A short story due this year. And, from the co-creator Ian Esslemont 2 books so far with more planned.

    • Chronicles of the Black Company Glen Cook

      If you ask me, thesee inspired a lot of the hard-edged fantasy series we see today.

     

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