Ah, winter. A man’s fancy turns to the end of things.
When I think of a good book after the years go by, I can always remember how it ended, rather than how it began (The clever beginning of The Hobbit being a fine exception).
Someone once said a good beginning in a book will keep you reading, but a great ending will sell the next book.
I believe this is true. When I was ten, or something like that (we’re talking decades here, folks), I read Cities in Flight by James Blish (the older omnibus version). To this day, I marvel at that this collection of stories, a great bit of science fiction by a wonderfully talented author.
If you ask me, after all these years, how the book began, I can’t really describe it to you. Ask me how it ended, well; I could talk about that at length. Cities in Flight has such an awesome ending, I believe, if I can recall correctly, it moved me to tears. I was in awe. I was hooked. I was humbled. I wanted more.
Ben Bova is another author of speculative fiction who does the great ending, and I can think of several others.
When perusing writing blogs, one always comes across mounds of advice on how to start your story, but we don’t come across many examples of writers sharing their endings. Which is understandable, who wants to give away the ending to the novel they just slaved over? It’s hard enough putting the ending in a synopsis. Why, how could I give away the mystery’s ending?
But I digress. What are some of the endings to novels that stuck with you, that made you buy the next book, made you ponder and think?