Note: my question is specifically about whether this series had a conclusion or not. Not publisher decisions about optimal book length. I was aware of those already.

I've read The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds by Scott Westerfeld. If I recall correctly, the second book ended with the Navy Captain back on one of the imperial worlds, near his romantic interest, during some kind of big public celebration. Nothing really came to a conclusion.

Had some really good ship-to-ship combat sequences, much more inventive than the average dreadnoughts-in-space fodder we usually get. Think more chess-game type of stuff, with relativistic speed grains of sand and a fighter pilot linked into a minuscule recon drone, a la Accelerando.

Plus some intense spying bits.

But, never heard of it concluding. I almost bought another book in the series, but then realized that, rather than being book #3, it was book #1 and #2 together.

He seems to have written a lot of other stuff since, so am I correct in thinking he's just found more lucrative outlets than hard Mil SF?

P.S. is there a tag for has-this-series-ended?


This was intended as one book originally not 2 see below.

So the ending may just be down to this been the authors first book and didn't end it well.

I can't see any evidence it was intended to be more than 1 book.

From https://scottwesterfeld.com/books/succession-series/

The Splitting of Words

Risen Empire and Killing of Worlds were originally one manuscript, entitled Succession. But this omnibus came in at 180,000 words (about 700 pages). While the book was in production, a certain large bookstore chain did an analysis of their sales, and discovered that sales of most authors dropped off precipitously at $25. So they announced that they would be buying in much smaller numbers of any book that was priced over $25. (This amount has since inflated, but the general rule still applies.)

So Tor and I were presented a choice between cutting the book in half or having this very important chain cut their order in half. Tor suggested the former, and I went along with it. That’s why Risen Empire ends kind of, you know, suddenly.

But I really can’t complain, given that this is rip-roaring space-operatic science fiction, a genre in which "fix-ups" (a bunch of short stories strung together to make a novel) and magazine serializations are a big part of the history. Just be ready to buy Killing of Worlds within seconds of finishing Risen Empire.

  • I'm going to accept it as the linked URL clears up that the series was never finished. But I knew about the first book being split already. For those wondering, the series is pretty much left at cliff hanger level level. It's a good series and I really like the author. But only only go into it if you know this, which the author's blog is not 100% transparent about - it makes it seem like it's concluded, but the universe is not going getting more books any time soon. It's not, concluded. – Italian Philosophers 4 Monica Oct 2 '18 at 0:46

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