A terrible sequel can ruin a great original – I am looking at you, Matrix films – but a good sequel can expand on what the original established to create something better. A lot of original works in the sci-fi genre introduce us to a world and it takes a sequel to fully realise the story potential of that world. With that in mind, below are three sci-fi novels that I have loved to which I really want to see a sequel.
Quick word of warning, this post will contain spoilers for the novels mentioned.
Glory Season by David Brin
David Brin is well known for writing epic series of science fiction novels. As well as contributing to the Second Foundation Trilogy with Foundation's Triumph, he also wrote a series of six novels set in his own ‘Uplift’ universe. This is why his 1994 Hugo and Locus award nominated book, Glory Season, seems so strange to me. There is a lot more scope to develop the universe of this novel and most of the main plot threads are left unresolved. It strikes me that it was intended to be the first part in a series for which Brin has yet to write the sequels.
At the close of the novel, the protagonist Maia has found some equilibrium to her life on Stratos but her problems of finding a niche in Stratoian society have not been resolved. Also the story of her relationship with Renna is left on a cliffhanger – Renna is a visitor to Stratos, and carries a warning from the rest of humanity about the return of an alien enemy. He forms a deep friendship with Maia but his presence on Stratos triggers a violent struggle to capture him. In the climax Renna fakes his death to stop the fighting and this devastates Maia, however in the resolution Maia discovers Renna is still alive and she determines to find him again.
A second novel covering Maia trying to find a foothold on Stratos whilst looking for a way to contact Renna would be an interesting read. It is likely that there will be more contact between Stratos and the rest of humanity in their near future so it would be interesting to see how Stratoian society changes when they are less isolated. It would also be interesting to see how Maia would react to visiting worlds with cultures more similar to our own.
Most of all I would like the sequel to explain more about the hostile alien species which the Stratoians defended and Renna claims is returning. A sequel to Glory Season could expand the scope of the narrative to the galactic scale and the novel explored the wider conflict between humans and the invaders.
A Deepness In The Sky by Vernor Vinge
Vernor Vinge's 1999 novel is a staggering accomplishment in science-fiction. Its epic plot is set over 40 years, as two bands of human space explorers investigate the strange world of the Spiders. The novel itself is a prequel to Vinge's 1992, Hugo Award winning novel A Fire Upon The Deep, but there are substantial gaps in the story between the end of the A Deepness In the Sky and the start of A Fire Upon The Deep which a sequel would perfectly fill.
Of the unanswered questions, the most mysterious is what happens to the novel’s protagonist, Pham Nuwen, after he leaves the Spider’s world and before the god-like energy being Old One reconstructs him in A Fire Upon the Deep. Pham is last seen heading towards the Unthinking Depths at the centre of the galaxy as he searches for technologically-advanced civilizations. Those who have read A Fire Upon the Deep will know he is going in the wrong direction, as the most advanced civilizations in Vinge’s universe live on the galactic rim.
A novel covering Pham’s journey into the Unthinking Depths, revealing what he encounters there and covering his eventual meeting with Old One, would be a fascinating read. It would also fill in the one area of Vinge’s ‘Zones Of Thought’ universe that has not been explored yet. A Fire Upon the Deep is set in the Beyond and A Deepness In the Sky is set in the Slow Zone, but nothing has so far been set in the Unthinking Depths.
Vinge has such a vivid imagination that I want to read more about his universe. A Deepness In The Sky opened up so much of the history of Pham Nuwen and his time in the Slow Zone, but I still want to find out more. I want the story brought full circle with him being sent to the Beyond at the beginning of A Fire Upon The Deep.
The City And The City by China Miéville
The continuing debate about whether The City And The City is science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy or just a plain crime novel is a testament to how intriguing China Miéville’s novel is. It focuses on two cities which are physically intertwined with each other, yet the residents cannot interact with or acknowledge the existence of the other. Whether this division is scientific, magical or psychological is never fully explained.
The mystery surrounding the two cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma is so essential to the appeal of The City And The City that I would not want it explained in future books, but there is still ample scope for further stories in that universe. At the end of the book, Inspector Tyador Borlú has been transferred to Breach, the mysterious, semi-mystical department which enforces the border between the two cities. A future novel covering the cases which Borlú investigates while working for Breach would be fascinating.
Miéville has a brilliant imagination for the uncanny and the macabre, and I would like to see him write more weird fiction/crime cross-over novels. I want to see what strange and gruesome murders Breach will investigate in the future, and the concept of the two intertwined but divided cities is so interesting that I want to read more about it.
Above are three of the novels to which I would like to see sequels. There are others, but those are the ones that I would be most excited about if they were to be announced. I am sure that you will have suggestions of your own – so let me know in the comments below!