This is the manifestation of a series fan’s eternal fear – that a beloved author will pass away before the completion of the series. And this has happened before. Sometimes the series is discontinued, sometimes other writers take it up. When the latter happens, they might take the story in an unexpected direction or may not live up to the previous books, or may outshine the story. Whatever happens, this change of authorship defines the series, as it has done in these books. Here we have listed some famous authors who died before finishing a book series.

Frank Herbert (Dune)

Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series - Frank Herbert
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – Frank Herbert

Herbert’s magnum opus and a work that defined the genre of science fiction, Dune, isn’t written entirely by him. Post the release of the debut of the series, Frank Herbert write six more books over a period of twenty years. After this, it was his intention to write more books but he unfortunately passed away. Thirteen years later, his son Brian and sci-fi author Kevin Anderson fulfilled Herbert’s dream by materializing two more books to conclude the series.

Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time)

Robert Jordan
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – Robert Jordan

Jordan far exceeded his own plans when he crafter the masterpiece of science fiction, Wheel of Time. He stretched the series from an intended six volume one to a series spanning fourteen books, apart from prequels and companion novels. However, he soon despairingly realized he may never live to finish the series. So he began to outline copious notes for the same. Now, the famous fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, finished not one but three books out of his notes.

Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series - Douglas Adams
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – Douglas Adams

Post finishing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams started writing another book, ‘The Salmon of Doubt’ for his Dirk Gently series. But then he changed his mind and decide to incorporate the material of that book into a sixth Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Apparently, in this version of the series, he wanted to end on a happier and less grim note. However, unfortunately this never happened and he passed away. However, the material was then published in a collection of his unpublished works, posthumously and without editing.

J R R Tolkien (The Children of Ruin)

J R R Tolkien
J R R Tolkien

Everyone knows Tolkien for his worldbuilding and as the heralder of the epoch of fantasy (to be really dramatic). Anyway, Tolkien is the author of the most famous fantasy series ever, The Lord of the Rings. However, he was also a master fantasy author and wrote copious notes on worldbuilding, fantasy writing and more. So when he passed away without finishing the Children of the Ruin or Silmarillion. Thankfully, his son Christopher Tolkien compiled those notes and created books to keep his father’s legacy alive.

Gordon Dickson (The Childe Cycle)

Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series - Gordon Dickson
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – Gordon Dickson

The Childe Cycle is a wonderful military science fiction featuring fourteen humanity worlds that conduct interstellar travel to win over each other. A meticulously planned series, Dickson spent a great many years perfecting the story. However, unfortunately, he passed away right before finishing the last book. No one has stepped up to fill in his giant shoes since.

L Ron Hubbard (Mission Earth)

L Ron Hubbard
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – L Ron Hubbard

The author of Mission Earth, L Ron Hubbard passed away after releasing only the first book in the series. Afterwards, Xenu continued writing the series on his behalf. This book is a sweeping science fiction that includes interstellar travel and alien invasions – and is considered a masterpiece of its genre today.

Robert Ludlum (Jason Bourne series)

Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series - Robert Ludlum
Famous Authors Who Died Before Finishing a Book Series – Robert Ludlum

This espionage thriller series about a man who wakes up with no memory of the past was Ludlum’s passion project. However, he passed away after writing the first three books. Post this, Eric Van Lustbader took up the project. Since, eight books in the series have come out. Thankfully, this is one of the series in which the quality has been maintained.

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