Know When To Quit

A couple of days late on the F5 this week, but Dan asked:

Some folks don’t know to quit when they’re ahead. As such, there have been some really bad sequels, trilogies, and series installments foisted upon a soon-to-be-disillusioned fan-base. So, which are the worst five cases of N+1 when they should have stopped at N? I’m mostly thinking of books and movies, though some other form would be acceptable. Also, is there anything you would have done to fix the sequel short of erasing it from existance?

Well, now, I’m not really into series in books, or perhaps in movies. (Though I’m willing, because of the lesser time-investment, to go ahead and watch a sequel movie, more than I am willing to read a series of books.) I’m not sure I’ll come up with five.

Here are my thoughts, though:

  • Star Wars, Episode 1. That was just utter crap. Even Jedi is kind of a disappointment. It wasn’t when I saw it, as a child, but I don’t care for it much now. Still, Jedi was necessary to finish that first story arc. Episodes 1, 2, and 3 have been trash, as far as I’m concerned. There is no fix. Deleting Jar-Jar Binks will not fix the second trilogy. Nothing will. Delete!
  • Blade 2. It just was no good. The cheap, the cheese, the craaaap. As a result, I’ve only seen it five times. But Underworld, which I have seen twice, is a better vampire movie, by far, even if it is plagiarized from the best Vampire RPG ever.
  • Pet Sematary 2. I actually liked part one, and it’s one of the few Stephen King horror things I did like.
  • Changeling: The Dreaming. Okay, this was an RPG by White Wolf, and I frankly had no idea how anyone ran a game using it. They’d put out relatively successful games based on the idea of other mythic supernaturals, such as Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts (my favorite!), Mages, and spinoffs based on Mummies and Vampire Hunters and the like… so why not Fairies? Ahem. Now, Mage: The Ascension was hard to run, but at least there was some basis for a game there. I didn’t know what anyone would do with Changeling.

Um, that’s all I can think of for now, from things that come to mind (instead of things I’ve been told about, such as Jaws II or Rocky II…).

9 thoughts on “Know When To Quit

  1. I have nothing against sequels in books, as long as they are planned to be that way or you are paying in a world that you (or even others: Thieves World, Wild Cards etc.)have created. LOTR wasnt but was serialized anyway because Unwin & Allen felt the public wouldnt take such a long story. I loved the Belgariad, but felt that the Eddings Machine were cashing in with the Mallorean etc. Thankfully they have a light and witty approach so it still makes them worth reading. The attempts by Kevin. J. Anderson and Frank Herberts estate to cash in on Dune is honestly truly pathetic. I think that after the original Foundation novels, the cash cow should have been slaughtered, the same goes for Arthur Clarkes Odessey books, 2001 was sufficient. Finally, I think that the Second Thomas Covenant series was completely unnecessary, totally without reason.

  2. Ah, yeah, the Mars books. I really have to get to those eventually. I have a feeling that more than a lot of SF, they’d be ones I’d love.

    I liked Thieves’ World when I was a kid, but when I got older and tried to reread them it wasn’t quite so fun. Might like them now, I don’t know.

    Dune: I’ll tell you an awful little secret, I’ve never read Dune. I’ve seen both movies—and the BBC 6-hour miniseries is much better than the 80s film with Sting in it. I’ve only read the first book of Foundation, and I hated it, though I have it with me and will read it in the coming year if for no other reason than I ought to, as an SF writer.

    I don’t have much interest in the bulk of old SF because the writing frankly sucked. I like PK Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, some Asimov sometimes, and some short-story writers from the old days, but so much of it falls short of Orwell and more recent speculative fiction writers like Nancy Collins, Maureen McHugh, China Mieville, Connie Willis, Stephen Baxter, Bruce Sterling, Greg Egan, and Iain M. Banks.

    Eddings I hated from the beginning and couldn’t read. I wouldn’t go near Eddings with a ten foot pole.

    What do you think of Card’s Ender books? I read the first one, and the first book of the Shadow books, and thought they were both pretty good, but I’ve heard iffy things about a lot of the rest, and having read some of Card’s nonfiction I always wonder what kind of subtle ideological exposure I’m getting. Mormon conspiracy, ooooh!

  3. Lol…I have read the Alvin Maker Series, which is really good as an alternate earth series, the Ender series I have but havent read yet ( so many books so little time). I love Banks, with or without the M, so thats something. PK Dick is a god but I could never get into Sturgeon. In the speculative fiction area Im more into out and out fantsy and horror to be quite honest, and classic SF sometimes lets me wonder around a bit, quick easy reading, also (as a writer myself) it helps to go back and look at what came before. Though I started reading the Lensman books again recently and put them away, I enjoyed them as a boy but now… Nancy Collins is good but Bruce Sterling always comes across as a little heavy for me.

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