Charles Stross has announced that there won’t be a third book in the Halting State trilogy because reality (in a manner of speaking) has caught up to him too fast. The last straw was apparently the news that the NSA planted spies in networked games like WoW. Stross comments: ‘At this point, I’m clutching my head. Halting State wasn’t intended to be predictive when I started writing it in 2006. Trouble is, about the only parts that haven’t happened yet are Scottish Independence and the use of actual quantum computers for cracking public key encryption (and there’s a big fat question mark over the latter — what else are the NSA up to?).
When I hear about an interesting trilogy, I do my best to wait until all the books are out before I start reading. There are a number of reasons I do this, but having the last book cancelled wasn’t something I considered!
The more I think about Stross’s reason, the more I think it’s lacking. He states,
the Snowden revelations have systematically trashed all my ideas for the third book.
I can’t help but think, dude, get some new ideas. You’re a fiction writer, right? Ideas are your speciality. Besides, if I read two books of a trilogy and learn that the author has abandoned the story because the real world interfered with his fiction, it would be a long time before I even look at the author’s work, much less buy any. I don’t think it’s terribly outlandish to say that releasing two books and calling them part one and two of a trilogy is an implied obligation to deliver a third book. If I had the first two books, that’s exactly how I’d feel. I wonder how the publisher feels about it.