tale_of_the_five_omnibus_cover_mediumA number of authors have as-yet-unwritten books that are the subject of inquiries. (I mentioned George R.R. Martin’s experiences of that nature last year.) For Diane Duane, it’s the last book of the “Middle Kingdoms” series, The Door into Starlight. Though it has been thirty years since the first book in the series, Duane has not yet managed to write the fourth—though she gets asked about it a great deal.

The release of updated e-book versions of the first three books in the series a few days ago has prompted another wave of inquiries into when Duane will write the last one. And now she’s replied publicly, on her blog.

There are a number of reasons why that last book hasn’t been written yet. One of them has been that Duane has had some trouble figuring out how the story is going to go. But the big thing that’s kept her from finding the time and effort to sit down and thrash it out is that the first three books historically never sold very well—and after the failure of Meisha Merlin, Duane was never able to find another publisher who was interested.

She could, of course, self-publish it, as she did with The Big Meow (though, having learned her lesson from that, would only do so once the book was actually completed), but the question remains whether it is really worth her time to do so if she couldn’t be certain any but a few of her most vocal fans would really be interested in buying it.

So, in this post, Duane asks those fans to put their social networking where their mouth is:

Here we are in the heart of the Social Media age, with Facebook all over the place and Twitter a force to be reckoned with and Google+ roaring about the landscape making everybody all excitable and nervous. So use them to convince me.

She provides links that can be used for sharing the post to various services, and notes that if the results convince her she will start writing the book in the second half of 2012.

For those who’ve never read the Middle Kingdoms books and might be interested in trying them, the DRM-free omnibus edition of the first three volumes, The Tale of the Five, is available in her on-line store for $10.99 in both EPUB and Kindle-friendly mobi, and at the moment she is running a 20%-off sale—use the code DDCOM in the last screen of the checkout to apply it. (I went ahead and did so myself, having had the print versions of the first three volumes but not the e-book versions yet.) And that will also send a signal concerning potential interest in the fourth volume.

As I said when she first made the electronic versions available, the Middle Kingdoms books are some of my favorites of Duane’s. They borrow similar themes and essentially the same deities from her Young Wizards series (though since they were written first, it might be more correct to say it’s the other way around), though they are clearly set in a different universe (so just call it the same universal structure). They do deal with some fairly adult themes, including matters of alternative (at least, in this universe) sexuality, which may be off-putting to some readers.

Here’s hoping that enough readers prove interested! I know I’d sure like to read that fourth book.


  1. Woo-hoo! I can only hope we (the fans) can drum up enough interest. I’ve been waiting a long time for this book. It’s a favorite series of mine, and the Middle Kingdoms is one of my I’d-move-there milieus.

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