Why is it that you’re so much more likely to find series in genre fiction? I’ve never really thought about this before, so bear with me.
I think it goes back. A ways back. Back when genre fiction came out with new stuff weekly, and when fans read anything with a spaceship or a sorcerer on the cover. Back then, there was just too much. So our obsession with the series came about, because we knew that we liked this book, that book, or the other book. So, when someone said ‘this is what comes after that book that you love,’ we listen. We go to it.
But that’s not all. The next book was reliable. If they hadn’t been reliable, I think we wouldn’t have the same jumble of trilogies, duologies, and endless armies (i.e. Dragonlance). But the next book worked. And then the one after that still worked for the fans.
And today, it’s still useful. People have ‘their authors.’ That’s who they read, because they know they can get quality from those authors. So, series, I think, are a natural extension of fandom. But there isn’t really mainstream fandom. I mean, how can you be a fan of something with nothing to bind it together other than being appealing to a lot of people. That’s why we get all the series and they get a lot of single books that get lost in anonymity.
That’s my theory, anyway.