We all know the pain when our favorite television show is canceled after only a season or two, but this is something that is even worse in the literary world. George R. R. Martin fans are very anxious for the author to finish his A Song of Ice and Fire series as there have been authors who died before they could complete their work. Sometimes their children or other authors were able to eventually finish what the original authors started, but other times fans were left hanging.
1. The Dune Series by Frank Herbert
Dune, released in 1965 by Frank Herbert is one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time and he followed it up with five more books over a twenty year period. After Chapterhouse: Dune in 1985 there were to be more books, but Herbert passed away the following year. Thirteen years later his son, Brian Herbert, along with science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson started publishing prequel novels to the series. Brian then discovered a 30-page outline for the sequel to the original series, dubbed Dune 7 by Frank. With the aid of Anderson, Brian released Hunters of Dune in 2006 and Sandworms of Dune in 2007, thereby finally completing the original series started by his father.
2. The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan initially envisioned his Wheel of Time series as six books, but it eventually spanned fourteen volumes, not counting the prequel novel and companion book. Although the first novel, The Eye of the World was published in 1990, he had started working on it in 1984 already. While preparing for the twelfth, and final volume in the series, Jordan realized that he might not live long enough to see it to completion. He then put together extensive notes before his death in 2007. Another author, Brandon Sanderson, was able to not only write the twelfth book, The Gathering Storm, based on Jordan's notes, but also two more, titled Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light.
3. The Dirk Gently/Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams
Special mention should go to Douglas Adams, who technically never got to finish two separate series. Adams started on a book called The Salmon of Doubt, which was to be the third book in his Dirk Gently series. He then decided to salvage some of the ideas from the book for a sixth Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book to make the series end on a more upbeat note. Adams died before he could finish the book, but it was released posthumously in its incomplete form as part of a collection of unpublished material.
4. The Exiles Series by Melanie Rawn
Melanie Rawn is unique as her Exiles series was not cut short by death. Instead, the author is still very much alive at the time of writing but fell into clinical depression while working on the series. She released The Ruins of Ambrai in 1994, for which she received a Locus award nomination, followed by The Mageborn Traitor in 1997. However, more than twenty years later The Captal's Tower remains unpublished. The author has since moved on to other projects while trying to recover from her depression, leaving fans of the Exiles series losing hope that they will ever know the resolution to the cliffhanger ending in The Mageborn Traitor.
5. The Childe Cycle by Gordon R. Dickson
Gordon R. Dickson spent many years working on his Childe Cycle series, with books like Necromancer, Tactics of Mistake and The Chantry Guilt. He also produced nine titles in his Dragon Knight series but died at the age of 77 before he could write the final book in the Childe Cycle. Unlike other authors, nobody has stepped up to complete the series either.
6. The Millennium Series by Stieg Larson
Most readers will be familiar with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. These books make up the Millennium series by Stieg Larson. Despite being best sellers, the author was already busy with the third novel before he tried to get the first two published. Unfortunately, he died shortly afterward, but had also written about three-quarters of the fourth novel in the series on his computer. In fact, he intended to write ten books about his characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Another Swedish author was tasked with continuing the series, but he did not have access to the unpublished material, which is in possession of Larson's partner Eva Gabrielsson. The new author, David Lagercrantz, eventually wrote The Girl in the Spider's Web and will be working on two more novels in the series.