Tolkien, Adams, Rowling, Asimov: Re-reading a trilogy (or do I mean “series”?)

You’ll notice something strange in this screen shot: the Hitchhiker’s trilogy apparently consists of five books, not three.

But of course that’s part of the shtick.

What are we supposed to call it? The Hitchhiker’s pentalogy? Nah, the generic word is just “series,” I suppose.

So, the question is, what is the particular appeal of fictional series? Many of us do feel compelled to read all the books in a series, or at least the first of them until the appeal wears off. There are four series in particular that have successfully called to me to read the complete set:

  • Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which is indeed a trilogy, since The Hobbit is not part of it. I’ve read this trilogy seven times, not to mention seeing the movies.
  • Adams’s aforementioned Hitchhiker’s “trilogy,” which were amusing enough to capture my attention once through, but no more.
  • Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which I read in detail — and then saw all of the movies — and probably some day I will re-read all of them (in order, of course).
  • Asimov’s robot series and Foundation series, which eventually merged to form one complete n-alogy, where is apparently 16, including three works by authors other than Asimov. This, of course, is the most monumental of all of the series I have read — or have partially read, as I haven’t yet read two pf the three non-Asimov contributions. I am currently in the process of re-reading all 16, strictly in chronological order (order of the time in which they take place, not the order in which they were written/published).

Nothing more can emerge from any of these authors except Rowling, so I can at least get a sense of completion of the other three, depending on whether I want to read all the associated books that are not exactly part of the chronology. We shall see.

Categories: Books