Serial Offender: Part One

The Mongoliad: Book One - Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Cooper Moo

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to state up front that I do not like serials as a storytelling format. They're too episodic, too disjointed, too repetitious for my liking. I picked up this book and three of its sequels for three reasons:


1. It's an awesome idea with some intriguing names in the contributors list.

2. The description claimed it was re-edited and formatted into a cohesive series of novels.

3. They were $.99 each.


For me, this book failed in execution on counts 1 and 2. I couldn't really call it episodic, but it most definitely felt disjointed and the repetition drove me up the wall.


After a decent short story (Sinner) that gives a little backstory on two characters, this first book in the Foreworld Saga focuses on two main groups in what branches out into three main story lines. A whole host of characters are thrown at the reader in fairly quick succession, and then a great deal of the time that would have been spent fleshing them out in a regular novel is taken up by reintroducing them every time they pop back into the story. This is one of the biggest problems I have with serials. It might seem necessary to treat your characters this way when you're releasing a story a chapter at a time. Weeks may have gone by since the last installment in which those characters were mentioned. But when you slap all of those installments together and there's no waiting for the next installment, the "book" becomes a murky soup of depthless characters and seemingly endless repetitions of who's going where to do what and why. It was hard to feel anything when characters died because I didn't really get a chance to know them. And then the "book" ended on a cliffhanger without resolving a blessed thing. Stay tuned for the next episode.


I didn't hate it, but I wasn't impressed. I only remember the name of the character who died because they had the same name as a character in one of my childhood favorite reads. It's halfway decent as a whole, but it's hard to say whether I'd choose to continue with the series if I hadn't already bought a bunch of it.