“Rollback”, part 1 and the problem with serials

I just finished reading part one of the four-part serial “Rollback” by Robert J. Sawyer in the October issue of ANALOG. It was terrific! I couldn’t put it down, once I got started in earnest. Of the two other Sawyer novels I’ve read (Calculuating God, and Homonids) this is the best yet. The characters are great, the plot (what has thus far been revealed) is intriguing. Even the little details of the world 40 years from now are both interesting and believable.

I can’t remember the last time I read a novel serialized in a magazine, but there is a problem with them: I now have to wait an entire month before I can read part 2! I suppose it’s not quite as bad as having to wait six months to find out how the cliffhanger on Smallville is resolved, but still, a while month!? And once that comes around, a few hours of reading and I’ll have to start waiting all over again!

Of course, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. Part of the allure and excitement of a serial is the wait. I was looking forward to this story, however, and I was not disappointed, so naturally, in this age of instantly-downloadable music, online purchases, etc., I want my fix now!

But it’s kind of fun to have to wait. Something to look forward to throughout the fall.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.