The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 230): When the Sequel Book Is Better Than The Original

In episode 230 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester, Jeff Patterson, Sarah Chorn, Larry Ketchersid, Django Wexler, and Paul Weimer discuss sequels to books that were better than their predecessors.

The Panel:

  1. The Guns of Avalon (Chronicles of Amber, No. 2) by Roger Zelazny (Avon Books)
  2. The Tainted City (The Shattered Sigil) by Courtney Schafer (Night Shade Books)
  3. A Discourse in Steel: A Tale of Egil and Nix (Tales of Egil & Nix) by Paul S Kemp (Angry Robot)
  1. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (HarperTorch)
  2. The Demon and the City (The Detective Inspec) by Liz Williams (Open Road Media)
  3. Deadhouse Gates: A Tale of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (Tor Fantasy)
  1. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot)
  2. Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations) by Michael J. Sullivan (Orbit)
  3. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1) by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  1. Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole (Ace)
  2. Clay’s Ark by Octavia E. Butler (Aspect)
  3. City on Fire (Metropolitan) by Walter Jon Williams ()
  1. Aestival Tide (The Winterlong Trilogy) by Elizabeth Hand (Open Road Media)
  2. Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (Heechee) by Frederik Pohl (Orb Books)
  3. Anvil of Stars by Greg Bear (E-Reads, Ltd.)
  1. Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Del Rey)
  2. Children of God (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) by Mary Doria Russell (Ballantine Books)
  3. Happy Hour In Hell (Bobby Dollar) by Tad Williams (DAW Hardcover)
  1. Forbidden Knowledge: The Gap Into Vision (The Gap Cycle) by Stephen R. Donaldson (Spectra)
  2. The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW)
  3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day by (Lions Gate)
  1. The Scar by China Mieville (Del Rey)
  2. Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)
  3. The Privilege of the Sword (Riverside) by Ellen Kushner (Spectra)
  1. The Mirador by Sarah Monette (Ace)
  2. The Great Hunt: Book Two of ‘The Wheel of Time’ by Robert Jordan (Tor Books)
  3. The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles) by Anne Rice (Ballantine Books)
  1. The Spellsong War: The Second Book of the Spellsong Cycle by L. E. Modesitt Jr. (Tor Fantasy)
  2. Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2) by Jim Butcher (Roc)
  3. A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)

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Featuring original music by John Anealio

Tell us what you think – Add yours lists to the comments!

13 thoughts on “The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 230): When the Sequel Book Is Better Than The Original”

  1. Definitely agree re: THE SCAR, VAMPIRE LESTAT, TERMINATOR 2, and FORTRESS FRONTIER (the latter of which is topped again by BREACH ZONE, so that’s maybe just a sign of author improvement and development). VAMPIRE LESTAT has to be read with QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, too. Can never read them separately or far apart.

      1. Interesting and accurate observation! Not that that negates the ability for the sequel to better, mind you.

        here’s an extra credit project, Jeff: A top 7 list of the best alien geek toys (like face hugger plushie, etc.) :)

        1. McFarlane Queen tops my list.

          And yes, I am not demeaning Aliens. It just shows that the same universe can support different flavors successfully, something later directors did not remember.

  2. Point of Pedantry- KING RAT was Mieville’s first novel and published (in the US) with Tor. For my money, it is the second best thing he wrote after THE SCAR.

    I agree with Patrick about THE GREAT HUNT – Here Jordan breaks more out of the Tolkien mold and expanded things a great deal. Might be the best novel in the series

    “VAMPIRE LESTAT has to be read with QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, too. Can never read them separately or far apart.”

    Yup, they pretty much are two halves of one book, it felt to me.

  3. Fool Moon is a great example. I enjoyed the first Dresden book well enough, but Fool Moon kicked it up several notches.

    I’m reading and enjoying Paul S. Kemp’s The Hammer and the Blade, so glad to see that the next book is being touted as being even better.

    I personally thought The Ghost Brigades was a step up from Old Man’s War, with no disrespect to OMW which is a fine, fun read.

    Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold was a stronger book than Shard of Honor (again, both being very enjoyable).

    1. Fool Moon is a prime example, but I think you could add the second book of almost any urban fantasy series featuring a paranormal investigator to this list. The entire genre has a tradition of tentative first installments.

      I’m not sure if the genre’s authors are attempting to keep their first books self-contained in case they don’t get picked up as a series or if urban fantasy simply has more than its fair share of new/inexperienced authors.

      In either case, it’s not a bad thing. Seeing authors of my favorite genre refine their style is enormously encouraging for me as an aspiring author.

      1. I can see that in the few UF series I’ve sampled. I personally think it is great to see an author improve from one book to the next, especially if I had a positive experience with the previous books.

    2. –Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold was a stronger book than Shard of Honor (again, both being very enjoyable).–

      Well, considering that Shards was her first book and Barrayar was her 10th or 11th, yeah.. You would hope it was a stronger book. I’m currently going through the Vorkosigan Saga by publication date.

  4. I also think the 2nd Locke & Key trade paperback is better than the first. The first has a lot of confusing flashbacks in the beginning, and the 2nd has the awesome Head Key.

  5. Believe it or not, I finished Peter F. Hamilton’s Void Trilogy before the Pandora’s Star/Judas Unchained books, which the trilogy was a sequel to. I just got too bored somewhere at the beginning of Pandora’s Star. But once I finished everything later, it’s hard to say what was better overall.

    1. I have yet to read Pandora’s Star/Judas Unchained, which I keep meaning to remedy because I know they are the series that everyone says you “should read” before all his other books. They are also supposed to be epic. I can’t believe I haven’t read them yet.

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