Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Batman Cliffhangers...

When I was little, I would love to watch reruns of the old Batman and Robin show. It was on every day at 4:30 pm.  One of the hallmarks of the show was the cliffhanger. If you ever watched the show you could probably recite along with the narrator "Same bat time, same bat channel." And as a kid, it would drive me wild that I had to wait one whole day to find out what happened to Batman! I actually never cared about Robin as I found him terribly annoying. I kept hoping one day Batman would forget to rescue Robin and he would go into a wood chipper or something. 

Ok so why am I bringing this up? Well, lately I've been reading quite a lot of books that seem to love to pull the Batman cliffhanger out at the end of the book. And I don't like it. Why? Cause I am no more patient now than I was at 6. But instead of waiting a whole day, I have to wait a whole year for the next book. This makes me so furious at times that I actually veer between two responses. One response is to obsessively internet search the author and book 2 for any hint of what is to come. The second response is to absolutely not care at all. And that's not such a good thing.

Now there are different levels of cliffhangers. I tend to like ones that provides some semblance of a conclusion while leaving it open ended for a sequel. But that's not the type of cliffhanger I'm talking about. I mean the type that leaves the MCs hanging over an active volcano with cannibals shooting darts from the sidelines. I mean the Batman cliffhanger.

So I wanted to ask the greater blogging community what are your thoughts on the Batman cliffhanger. Do you:
1. Love it
2. Hate it
3. Indifferent

Let me know what you think.


Charles Gramlich said...

I don't like serial books that do that either. A story should stand alone, with an ending, and then there could be unresolved side issues that turn into a sequel.

strugglingwriter said...

"One response is to obsessively internet search the author and book 2 for any hint of what is to come."

I did this not that long ago with Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. The annoying thing is that the book is a trilogy and has already been completely published in German (where it was initially released). So they are holding back the other books for marketing reasons only. Grr.

Anne M Leone said...

Hate it. I can think of one book in particular, which was quite long, which did this. I happily raced through, eager to figure out what would happen. Then, when I got to the Batman Cliffhanger (love that name!) at the end, I felt totally ripped off. What had I read all those pages for if I wasn't going to get any sort of conclusion? It annoyed me so much, I haven't read any other books in the series. I do think too much of a cliffhanger is quite a risk.

Jennifer said...

I agree with you, Ello. I prefer a book in which the main conflict for that book is resolved, which in turn presents/ reveals a new/ greater conflict to be explored in the next book.

I was totally obsessed with Karen Marie Moning's Fever series when all but the last book was out, and that series is much sexier and fizzier than the books I normally read. It was FUN and GOOD. But then I had to wait and wait for the final book and it was on such a dramatic cliffhanger that I've sat on the final book for over year, unable to muster up the emotional energy to go back to that moment.

jjdebenedictis said...

Haaaaate it, hate it, hate it.

It's the author trying to manipulate me. I haaaaaate that. When I buy a book, I expect a story, not half a story.

I will put up with it only in a series where I know I'm going to buy the next book regardless. George R. R. Martin? Can pretty much rip my heart out as much as he wants.

But for a series I'm not yet invested in? It ticks me off so much I refuse to buy anything more from that author.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Thanks guys! I'm glad to see I'm not alone. I also had a recent very very long book I read that pulled the Batman and I was soooooo annoyed that i have no intention of reading the second book. And yet when Hunger Games does it, i have no issues - just an insane desire to get my hands on the book asap. Interesting...

Mirka Breen said...

I’m for books that ‘stand-alone-but-make-‘em-want-to-revisit-the-characters’ sort of story telling.
Ages ago I listened to one of those cliff-hanger stories on the radio (does that date me, or what?) when I had to wait for a whole week for the next installement. The minutes seemed like hours and hours seemed like days- waiting for the poor guy to get off or fall from the cliff, so to speak. Then the solution was SO DISAPPOINTING.
All right for chapter endings. No-fair for book ending.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I actually don't mind them if they are done right, like Andrea Cremer's first book. But yes, it leaves me dying for the next book.

I'm a lot older than you. I remember watching the original Batman's.

Kelly Hashway said...

I don't mind when a new conflict is introduced at the end of a book to set up the next. I like cliffhangers because they make me drool over the next book. Having said that, I do think the main conflict of that book should be resolved in some way by the end. Leave me hanging with a new conflict.

Mary Witzl said...

My first response is to hate it -- "How can they do this to me after I've invested all the time and money into reading the book?" My second impulse is to become indifferent -- "Anybody who's prepared to leave me hanging doesn't deserve my continued readership."

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