It’s easy to see why an episodic novel might not work. The narrative rhythms of an effective short story are wholly different from those of a novel. Suppose we have a series about the Star Smasher. In the first story, the Star Smasher confronts the ultimate challenge of his career when he faces the searing radium-stars of the Nebular Ninja. In the second story, the Star Smasher confronts the ultimate challenge of his career in the savage star-claws of the Galactic Leopard. In the third story, to introduce some sadly needed variety, we send the Star Smasher on vacation, where he discovers the nefarious plots of the Cruel Concierge of Cassiopeia K. In the fourth story we reveal that the Star Smasher is the secret identity of Glurk Franduel, a minor character who has appeared in the series before. The fifth story is a plotless postmodern meditation on suffering and secrecy where Glurk Franduel and his Star Smasher persona argue at length and with many gratuitious high-cultural allusions in an obvious and somewhat futile attempt to snag a literary award. There is no sixth story because the magazine folded or the editor regained his sanity.
Can Fix-Ups Be Fixed?
Posted by Lou Anders
James Enge on the "episodic novel":