Over at SF Signal, there’s a nice little discussion about binge reading going on. I started to add my two cents worth (comment 7), then realized I was going on too much. So let me start over here:
Hi, my name is Mike, and I’m a repeat author binger. In fact, I will go so far as to say, I have an author binging problem.
I like my stories long, drawn out, and complex, and the only way to do that is to find one that’s across multiple volumes.
And I don’t like waiting for “the next book.” No, I’ve been burned by that stick more than once, and its not for me. I like to read a series from start to finish, in as close to a single gasp as I can. And I can only do that, without waiting for years, if I wait to start to dive into an author until they’ve finished their current work.
But is it really so wrong? I mean, sure, people like me us distort the publishing industry’s expectations, but we have needs too, right? So we waited to read the Malazan novels until they got to book six or seven; so we didn’t start the whole Kevin Anderson Hidden Empire [CORRECTION: Seven Suns, Hidden Empire was just the first book] series until years after it ended; yes, I waited for Reynolds to finish an arc before picking it up. When I did pick them up, I read them in a complete package, start to finish.
I have a problem with waiting for the next book. I lose interest, my memories become cloudy on characters, and in the interim I’ve filled my noggin’ with other books. But if I wait it out to get a series in a single grab, I get the whole story arc in one swoop.
This isn’t to say that I restrict myself to only “series” novels. I binged a little on Stephenson, and really, who hasn’t at least once binged on Asimov or Heinlein? But as a general rule, I binge read because I’m immersing into a series. One commenter mentioned that they burn out when they do this, but I find that switching genres helps immensely. I’ll binge read a fantasy series, then wash myself clean with some swashbuckling space opera until I’m ready to see some more fey lands in peril.
What about you all? Surely at least a few of my blog readers read in genres that support these long arc books (trying not to pigeonhole this as a sci-fi/fantasy phenomenon, though I think its more common to see long story arcs in these genres). Go wild – leave a comment 🙂 And I won’t be offended if you leave it over at SF Signal where the thread originated.