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Book Report: The Lost Hero

Your Humble Blogger finished the Percy Jackson series (by Rick Riordan), as did my Perfect Non-Reader, who is perhaps a wee bit obsessed. Loves them, loves them, loves them. So, when she came home from school clutching a pre-order form for The Lost Hero, we shelled out the bucks for a hardback. I don’t like hardback books, myself (and shouldn’t these kids just be getting them downloaded into the chip in the back of the neck, anyway?), and would happily have made her wait on the library list to read the thing and then if it was good bought the paperback in a year’s time. But hey. Kid. Reading. Worth some money.

You know, I can’t remember eagerly awaiting the release of a new book, back when I was nine or ten. It is possible, I suppose, that when I was twelve or so I anticipated the release of Centaur Isle; it is possible that I had already suffered enough disappointment that I had given up on anticipation. Possibly from that series. But I don’t remember being an obsessive fan of any series that was current. Isaac Asimov was still writing books (I remember being pleased when my parents’ EQMM had a new story in it), and so was Robert Heinlein, and I’m sure I had other favorites at that age who were still churning them out, but even at the time, I think I was dimly aware that they were in the decline phase. And they weren’t working in a series, or a series of series, the way Mr. Riordan is.

You know, it may be that I was excited about Moreta when it came out, or before it came out. Maybe not. Now that I think about it, I don’t know how I would have known about a book before its release date, back when I was 10. My parents took the Sunday New York Times, but I couldn’t have been looking at the ads in the book section; I read the Arts&Leisure, and bits of the Magazine (mostly looking at the castles and estates for sale), and maybe looked at some of the fronts of the other sections, but even if I looked at the book section, I don’t know that I would have noticed the ads, and I don’t know that YASF publishers would have purchased ads there. I certainly didn’t have pushers from a bookseller in my classroom with color ads for pre-ordering. That’s progress.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I certainly didn't have the series anticipation experience myself before the age of 13 or 14, when I really discovered fantasy and science fiction and started buying books myself. With the Xanth series, it was not so much waiting the release of the next one as "Hey, there's another Xanth book out!" It was after Centaur Aisle that the Xanth books became more and more deeply disappointing, as I recall. The first series in which I was awaiting the release of a new book, I believe, was Piers' Anthony's Split Infinity series. The first series in which I bought the hardback to get the next book right away was The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The Wounded Land had just been released in paperback when I discovered Donaldson's work, so I got The One Tree in hardback, fairly shortly thereafter. It was a long wait for Book 6.

For about 5 years, as far as I was concerned the entire SF paperback section in our local bookstore was one big series, and I did my best to keep up with it. I never knew what was coming up, but I was there constantly looking for anything new that had come out.

I was much the same, but in the library, rather than the bookstore. And I don't remember the library ever publicizing an event book at all; our local public library has had pre-publication 'it's coming!' signs out in the Teen Room for half-a-dozen books in the last five years. Which is terrific, I guess, but different from when I was a kid.


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