Reading a lot of the angry fan reactions to the years-long wait between George R. R. Martin books, it struck me that a lot of readers seem to feel that by publishing a few books in a series, an author is entering into an unwritten contract with readers to produce more books in that series at a particular pace, and that if an author doesn’t do that he’s going back on his word or not doing his job. I suspect many authors don’t feel that by writing one or more books they’re entering into any sort of unwritten agreement with their readers to produce more books, let alone at a particular pace. Maybe it would help if everybody’s expectations were spelled out from the start. I wonder if books will start carrying software-style disclaimers:
THIS WORK OF FICTION IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF TIMELY SEQUELS OR A SERIES CONCLUSION ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR OR PUBLISHER BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DISAPPOINTMENT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DISAPPOINTMENT OVER UNRESOLVED MYSTERIES; DISAPPOINTMENT OVER THE AUTHOR’S TIME-WASTING HOBBIES; DISAPPOINTMENT OVER THE AUTHOR’S DEMISE) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE READING OF THIS NOVEL, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DISAPPOINTMENT.