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 n 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 n 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.