A few years back I saw Amazon advertising that Weber had a new book ‘coming soon’, and my initial response was positive. I enjoy reading Weber’s work, and he has contributed to several fictional universes that I like to read about from time to time. But that first response was the direct cause of the second, less favorable, response. To paraphrase, “*&#@ Weber went and created another independent series.”
I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. Every writer obviously has the right to branch out when they start getting stale, but sometimes a fella just feels led on and teased a bit. Weber’s Honor Harrington series is his most famous work, and he’s written a lot in that universe. When he got tired of playing in that universe he went and created a brand new one with the Safehold series. My initial reaction to that was pretty much the same as now, but then I read the first book and Weber hooked me in tight in that universe too. We won’t even talk about all the other series he’s dabbled in.
So from both a selfish and selfless standpoint, it’s hard to begrudge the man exploring whatever projects he wants. But as a fan, I can’t help whining about it anyhow, at least a little bit. See…. he had brought his Harrington series to a good stopping point. The war between interstellar powers was finally winding down and came to a satisfactory conclusion, as was the personal life of the heroine. I’d miss the familiar characters and universe, but I had closure. And then Weber went and did another novel picking up where that one left off and essentially positioning the original two warring powers from the first dozen or so novels at odds with an even bigger power. It wasn’t really a surprise, you could see the pieces falling into place many volumes ago, but still, this might have been a good place to pause for a few years and go write about somebody else. Instead I’m left with ongoing cliff hangers in two universes as he switches back and forth publishing books in both.
The biggest sad though, is the Hell’s Gate series. Weber and co-author Linda Evans created a multi-verse. Rather than being about space travel in our universe like typical sci-fi, it’s about inter-dimensional travel. Lots of Earths existing in parallel universes and on two of those Earths civilizations find portals to travel between the parallel earths and they use those to explore and exploit resources from the other Earths. One world developed magic, and the other discovered special mental abilities along the lines of telepathy and telekinesis. (Both of these seem to be in place of the reliance on science on our own Earth.) Weak leaders and poor decisions when groups from both worlds meet result in a war between the civilizations. The war between the civilizations was in full swing for two novels with attacks and atrocities on both sides, and then nothing. No third novel. It’s like a series finale with on a cliff hanger. As I understand it there are some practical business issues holding things up, but it’s enough to make my eye twitch every time I see those two books on my shelf.
This all started as a way to introduce my review of ‘Out of the Dark’, and I realize I’m not doing anything but complaining. So we’ll just cut this off here and you can tune in next time for the actual review.