Have you noticed the trend in ebooks where the author just stops abruptly, and you must get the next book to finish a story? For the past couple of years I’ve noticed that the great majority of ebooks I read don’t have any resolution. I’m not talking about situations where each book has a specific story, but there is an overall story being told as well. I’m talking about a book where there is no end to the story at all, but it is being presented as a stand alone story. Cases where the story just stops in the middle of the action.
It is my intention to never do this. I don’t like it, and I will do my very best to never end a story prematurely just to get the reader to download the next book.
Now on to the story that upset me.
I wouldn’t ordinarily call out names, but in this case I think it is worth mentioning. There is a series of books by an author named Paul J. Joseph. The Through the Fold series, which I listened to on the site podiobooks.com (great site-give it a try). I really liked the stories, especially the first five. They are compelling, and the characters are mostly likable, and always well written. The fact that the main character was a lesbian in a long term relationship with her partner was very refreshing, because they were mostly written as normal characters and the books were not at all about that. To be sure, there were times when this relationship created conflicts with other characters who objected to two women being together, but the most important thing was that it all made sense.
Then came book 6, Window in the Sky. It was interesting. Not quite like the other books, but consistent in many ways. While it wasn’t my favorite of the series, I thought it was decent. Clear up until it neared the end. And if you have any intention of listening or reading this story you probably don’t want to read from here on.
All throughout the series there is a definite attraction that one of the other characters has toward the main character. They not only work together, but become very close friends, and you can see that if she was not gay she may have an interest in him because they just fit so well together. But she is gay, and that is made very clear with her relationship with her partner, who she loves and worries about throughout the entire series.
But this book involves alternate timelines, and it is made clear that the one we’ve all read about in the first five books is not the correct and real timeline, only a strange alternate. And of course the partner to the main character figures out in this one that they really don’t belong together, and says that their relationship was never real and never that of a couple but instead that of close friends, or even almost a mother-daughter kind of relationship.
This is total crap
That is not how their relationship is portrayed throughout the first five books. To add insult to injury, when the main character is returned to the one true timeline, her partner isn’t just not there anymore, but the main character now finds herself straight, though she still remembers loving her previous partner. And to top that all off, the other character who was attracted to her before and her now end up together.
This I almost could have lived with. I didn’t like it, but there was sort of groundwork laid for this, so I was willing to let it go as a disappointing turn of events.
But Mr. Joseph couldn’t leave it at that. He added an author’s note to the end of the story, telling how he had recently become religious and no longer believes that same sex attraction is right, and he couldn’t let his stories end with the character being in a relationship with another woman. That seems to be the whole point of this story. He intentionally wrote this story to correct the problem he saw in his earlier writing. He said he does not condone or support that lifestyle.
I believe a person has an absolute right to their beliefs, even if I think they are incredibly misguided. But this felt like a betrayal. I had invested hundreds of hours listening to his stories, then at the end was insulted by the author himself. It wasn’t enough that he has such strong beliefs that he had to write a story to completely undo his character’s life because of it. No, he had to specifically add an author’s note to the end to basically speak about how horrible he thinks gay people are.
Mr. Joseph, if you are reading this I hope you will take the time to remove that note from your last book and apologize to those of us who felt so offended by it. And in the future you should consider not giving statements to intentionally and specifically insult a good chunk of your audience.
If anyone else is reading this, I recommend you read only the first five books of the Through the Fold series. They are pretty good, despite my personal feelings about the author.