It’s always been said to new writers to not try to do series but to stick to single novels. While that is true for getting started (doesn’t mean you can’t leave the first novel open ended or have character’s that have enough back story that you can write more books) it doesn’t mean you can’t do it either. In fact, Goodreads. com listing of top Science Fiction of 2012-13 is nothing but series after series.
Kind of makes you wonder doesn’t it?
Today I’d like to discuss a series I stumbled upon called Starship Operators. I found it after doing a Google search on science fiction anime with female protagonists. It is an interesting piece of anime that I will go in depth over. First off the main character is a girl named Shinon and this is what she looks like:
It starts off with the battleship emerging from FTL and she’s on the bridge alerting the Captain that everything checks out. As a Cadet, she’s nearly finished with her courses and will be graduating soon. The Captain proceeds to tell her: “I’ve always found your voice to be soothing, Shinon. It’s like listening to a digital recording.” He then goes on to basically insult her and tell the girl she’d make a miserable secretary.
A aggressive Kingdom attacks her home world and the government surrenders without fighting back. The senior officers abandon ship-per orders from the conquerors-leaving Shinon and the cadets behind. From there things get interesting. The Cadets decide to fight back but they need to own the ship, so they make a deal with the Galactic Network to air themselves as a reality show. I won’t give the rest of the plot away but Shinon isn’t your typical female lead. She’s conflicted, confused by emotion and a more realistic portrayal than most are.
The series also plays fair, for the most part, with physics. Lasers aren’t seen until they strike-which is what would happen in real life. It also has ship battles taking hours before they fight due to the large distances involved-as would real life.
So, in a nutshell, if you want a science fiction anime that plays fairly nice with physics and has a different type of protagonist, then this is for you.
One thing I’ve started to see in some series’, which one author shall remain nameless is very guilty of doing, is the writer spending 1/3 to 1/2 of each book recapping the events that happened before. Why? Do you feel that people need to be caught up that much? Each series novel so, ideally, be able to stand alone. I’ve written two, and started on a third, novels with Talia and her sisters and each of them are complete stand alone books. They’re tied together by references to events that happened earlier and personality responses to them, but the first books aren’t necessary to be able to enjoy the series. This is how we as writers should write books.
A friend of mine finished the last book of a trilogy from a very well known science fiction and fantasy author and she had a major complaint about the last book. “It took forever to get to the action.” So I asked her: “Did XXXX spend the first third to a half of the book recapping the things that already happened?” Her answer was “Yes.” So, in my opinion, she got ripped off from the $9.00 charged for a trade paperback. What makes things worse is this happens in another popular series that comes out in hardcover first, which means people are paying 25-27 dollars for a book and only getting half a book of new writing.
If we as writers want to start seeing our paychecks drop, then start to make the reader feel ripped off. They spend their hard earned discretionary money on our work, so we owe it to them to make sure they get their money’s worth. Besides, writing is like any other customer service based business: the reader pays our paychecks.
Keep that in mind when writing your next short story or novel.