[GUEST POST] John R. Fultz on The Power of a Trilogy (+ Giveaway!)

John R. Fultz lives in the Bay Area, California, but is originally from Kentucky. His fiction has appeared in Black Gate, Weird Tales, Space & Time, Lightspeed, Way of the Wizard, and Cthulhu’s Reign. His comic book work includes Primordia, Zombie Tales, and Cthulhu Tales. John’s literary heroes include Tanith Lee, Thomas Ligotti, Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, William Gibson, Robert Silverberg, and Darrell Schweitzer, not to mention Howard, Poe, and Shakespeare. When not writing novels, stories, or comics, John teaches English Literature at the high school level and plays a mean guitar. His short-story collection is titled The Revelations Of Zang. His Books of the Shaper trilogy (published by Orbit Books) includes the novels Seven Princes, Seven Kings, and the just-released Seven Sorcerers.

The Power of a Trilogy

by John R. Fultz

Three is a magic number.

Since epic fantasies usually involve a lot of magic, 3 is also the perfect number of books for a fantasy series. Of course it was the Great Tolkien who established this paradigm with his Lord of the Rings trilogy, the epic fantasy that set the mold for all those that came after it. The publishing industry adopted Tolkien’s pattern of three books wholeheartedly, but in the last couple of decades there have been plenty of series that rage on well past the third volume. These days fantasy series of 5 to 10 books are fairly common. Yet still trilogies persist. In fact the epic fantasy genre achieves its greatest effect with the one-two-three “punch” of a trilogy.
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The Hobbit is upon us. The deluge of marketing was compounded by word that Peter Jackson managed to work out a third film, turning the Hobbit into the Lord of the Rings Prequel Trilogy. If there’s anything that I’ve learned this year, it’s that the SF movie world is turning me more cynical, especially when one is at the receiving end of marketing that really has a disconnect from the finished product.
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