Being a fan of something is pretty close to being in a relationship. You invest time, money, and emotional energy into it. Things are going along great. You tell your friends all about it. It’s so wonderful to be a fan of this series. Nothing could possibly be greater than it. You can’t wait for the next installment of the series to come out. Then something happens. Maybe the acting has gone bad. They killed your favorite character. The show has run out of money. The writer has gone clinically insane. Suddenly, your fandom is the worst series ever. You try to hang on, because in the beginning it was amazing, but it just goes further downhill. You finally make the decision to give it up.
I was thinking all this when I was browsing my bookshelf. I have most of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. When I first entered the world of Anita Blake, it was the most awesome thing ever. I was introduced into the world of urban fantasy. It’s had an influence on my writing ever since. Anita was so tough and cool. She didn’t take nonsense from vampires, werewolves, or the undead. I hate characters that whine the whole time. She didn’t whine or complain. She kicked up and asked questions while doing it. My wallet began to deplete as I kept buying her books. I reread them many times. I stood in line at Dragon Con to have my books signed. Then the books began to take a nosedive that I am not sure can be reversed.
The books became terrible. The author chewed them up and spat them out. What started as great urban fantasy turned into bad erotic novels. Anita inherited succubus powers and that’s all the books became about. More characters had to be added to feed her succubus powers. The book just became porn with a smallest idea of a plot. It felt like eating nails to finish one. She ruined some of the best characters in the novel. The books progressively got worse. The author refused to listen to concerned fans. The break up was gradual. I stopped getting the new books that would come out once a year. I don’t think I’ve gotten one in three years. I stopped following news about the author. Then came the day when I said, “I can’t do this anymore”. Sometimes, a series just doesn’t get better. So, I broke up with Anita Blake.
I still have the books on my shelves. I honestly don’t know what to do. I don’t read them anymore. I should probably donate them to make room for the Dresden Files. I just remember how awesome it was. There are many reasons a series goes bad. A fan can’t control these things. Some people have the tenacity to stick with it. I stuck with Lost through its bad times. I had to have the answers to the mysteries! Yet, sometimes you have to acknowledge that your fandom is gone.
I know how you feel. I was that way about Wheel of Time after the Crossroads of Twilight. I’d been reading it for 10 years religiously, but after that one, I just had to put it down. Luckily Brandon Sanderson resurrected it, but that’s a pretty rare circumstance.
@Robert: Thanks for comment, Robert. I am glad you shared your experience. I wish I knew Anita Blake would turn around but I sincerely doubt it.