Amongst the wave of recycled and remixed Christmas “classics”, there are a few gems. One is the Pretenders’ 2000 Miles, which remains my favorite Christmas song ever, and which I’ve blogged about before. Another recent one I found both good and novel is Dido‘s Christmas Day.
There’s two main ways a long series can decline, I’ve found.
The two are:
- Type 1: The author’s heart isn’t in it. It’s continued for financial or just sunk-cost thinking reasons, it might be farmed out to ghostwriters who only care about the paycheck, and there’s just less passion.
- Type 2: The author has become successful and/or confident enough that they can go hog-wild, any editorial or self-restraint goes out the window and the whole thing can turn into a vanity project the writer likes more than the readers.
Note these are not incompatible (author is tired so they make it more ridiculous to help themselves through it…), and Type 2 can shift into Type 1 pretty quickly.
Having read all 27 (!) books in Jerry Ahern’s Survivalist series, it devolved into Type 2 around the tenth or eleventh book once it kept going past a good stopping point and stayed there for the entire rest of the series.
Harry Potter got hit with Type 2 pretty hard after the third book, in my opinion, while a lot of mystery novels tend to become Type 1-as did Janet Evanovich, sadly. (I loved one of her early Stephanie Plum novels despite not being the target audience, but looking at a later one showed she’d lost her touch)
I shall link to the Paperback Warrior blog I found, as it has many reviews of many old books in the genre I call “Cheap Thrillers”. As Fuldapocalypse is a similar specialty review blog, I feel like I should link and recommend it.
A lot can change in a while. About a year ago, I wrote a post where I held that special forces held little appeal to me. Now, after reading my share of “commando fiction” (for lack of a better term), I’ve grown fonder of it and fonder of “special forces” characters.
I guess I’ve just had the fortune of seeing them done better than the few examples I’d seen before.
Long-running series have two large issues that I feel are somewhat, but not always inevitable. The first is the “Elite Republican Guard” (named after Bill Hicks’ famous Gulf War joke), and the second is “Arkansas vs. The Blimps” (which I named after a Twilight 2000 module).
The Elite Republican Guard involves the antagonists, or antagonist situations, getting less credible as the series goes on. Arkansas vs. The Blimps involves them getting more outlandish. The two are not incompatible.
So, Payday 2 got its official end.
I only got the bad/non-Secret ending myself, and am nowhere near as good a player to get the good/Secret Revealed ending. While the game turning into a ridiculous wannabe-Assassin’s Creed mish-mash of every conspiracy ever might seem bad in isolation, in context it worked as well as it could have and showed how a little earnestness can go a very long way.
I feel bittersweet. I’ve been playing Payday 2 for a very long time. It’s (a distant) second only to Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, my dream game, in terms of actual time played. I remember playing it on a computer that could barely run it at all, and then seeing the contrast when I got a better system. It’s definitely one of the most mainstream games I’ve played and enjoyed. And the music-the music is incredible.