The Bottleneck

Know what’s hard? Reviewing sequels. I usually aim to do a whole series at once, so as to address the major overarching themes and give a plot intro for the first bit of the first book, and that’s that. I did do that short story followup to the Smoke series, I guess, and that was pretty fun, but it was a good stand-alone story and that’s a universe that lends itself very well to episodic stories. You don’t really need to know what came before to enjoy specific instances of monster-defeating. However, I’ve been plowing through series just lately, and in the case of many, any description of the second book would spoil bits of the first, and so on. So that’s one reason there haven’t been any new reviews. The rest of the Inheritance Trilogy to take an example at random) is excellent but resists all the efforts I’ve made to discuss them without busting bits of the plot for number one. Sigh.

The other problem is author saturation. In this information age, following authors is so, so easy. I remember being an even smaller Ginger Waif and wandering up and down the shelves of the library, hoping occasionally that a new book by a good author would appear, occasionally driven by the internal flame to ask the librarians to tap into their resources to find out if Bruce Coville or Brian Jacques had put out anything new. Carefully typing titles into the brown-on-black screen of the generally distrusted computers that had replaced the card catalog. I still occasionally find books by childhood favorites that I never knew existed, thanks to the insufficiency of the local library system.

Now I have all my favorite authors on facebook and twitter and feeds of all their blogs. Amazon alerts me and friends I can reach at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world give me tips. I’m about to acquire an e-reader of some sort (yup, I surrender, come the after-Christmas sales, anyway) and then there’ll be nothing between me and instant gratification.

And that means whenever the long list of established authors I follow loyally brings out something new, I can pounce on it. And that means precious little time for the random thing I just found at the library.

It looks like a good thing, though. Maybe I’ll fit a day or two into my schedule for it.


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