Here’s why both the Moon Base Alpha series and the Last Musketeer series have ended

Hi everyone –

The information in this post may be old news to many of you, but I have been getting a lot of questions from readers asking why both MBA and Musketeer stopped at three books.  The posts where I explained this are now a couple years old, so I thought I would revisit the issue.  The reasons I stopped writing each series are quite different.

Why I ended Moon Base Alpha

When I first started writing this series, I really thought it might run for a long time.  But I also made the decision to write a sci-fi series where space travel was depicted as realistically as possible.  My good friend, astronaut Garrett Reisman, who was overseeing the human space flight program at SpaceX, served as my technical advisor.  I was very pleased with the world that I created, but it had an unforeseen side effect:

It was very limiting.  Moon Base Alpha was small and cramped; there weren’t many rooms and less than thirty residents.  I had originally planned to bring in new residents (which is why the Patucket family is mentioned) but after three books, I was having trouble coming up with new ways to make life in the moon base exciting.

Meanwhile, the world outside the moon base was also more limiting than I had realized.  Planet Earth has billions of different locations, all of which are different from each other — but the exterior of the moon is basically the same, no matter where you go.  True, there is variation, but for the most part, it is moon dust, with the occasional crater or lava tube.  And there is no way to get from one place to another quickly, so even if there was great variation, I couldn’t move my characters very far.

Even worse, the only way to go outside the moon base involved wearing a space suit, which provided its own limitations.  An action sequence in a space suit is very different from one where the characters are free to move about in any way they would like.

Therefore, I realized that, if I kept going with the series, it was going to start feeling repetitive — and I didn’t want that to happen.  I really hated ending the series, because it was a very personal series to me, but I thought that letting it get boring would be worse than bringing it to a close.  (Plus, I was having trouble getting inspired to write another book.)

Many of you have written to me, suggesting various ways to move the series along.  But all of them have their issues:

Why not open Moon Base Beta — or move the series to another planet?

Neither of those really solves my issue with a series that is set in a base on another planet (or a moon) feeling limited.

Why not follow up with Dashiell’s life when he gets back to earth?

What made this series special was the fact that it took place on the moon.  Once it returns to earth, it’s just not that special any more.

Spoiler alert:  Why not continue the story after it ends in Waste of Space, on another planet in another galaxy?

Because, first of all, after the epilogue in Waste of Space, Dashiell is in his forties.  But more importantly, the story would be very different that the type of story I was telling in the series so far.  I wanted to write mysteries set on a moon base, which was technically science fiction, but very heavy on the science.  Switching to a whole new world would definitely open up what I could do — but it would veer into full on science fiction, which isn’t really what I want to write.

So is the series over forever?

Probably.  I won’t rule out the chance that maybe, some day, I will be inspired to write another story in this series, but for now, I am going to focus on the three series I have going: Spy School, Charlie Thorne and FunJungle.  That is really the maximum number of chapter series I can handle.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read the MBA series, you can get the whole thing in a lovely boxed set by clicking here.

 

Why I ended The Last Musketeer

The Last Musketeer is, to this date, the only series that I have written for a publisher besides Simon & Schuster.  (That’s why the covers look different.)  It is also the only series I have written that was not my original idea.  Before Belly Up was even published, I was approached by an editor at another publishing house (which I will not name).  The editor wanted to know if I would do a three book series and gave me the basic concept: Kid goes back in time and meets the three musketeers.  He had a few other ideas, which I used in the book, although I would say that 98-99% of the story is my own original ideas.  I was told that this was a huge priority for the publisher, and that I would need to be prepared to do a lot of travel to promote the series.

Here’s what happened instead: After I finished the first book, the publisher fired the editor and shut down the entire division.  I still was under contract to do the other two books, but no one really was looking out for the series.  In my opinion, the publisher didn’t do much to market the books at all.  To this day, they have never arranged for a single school visit, festival or book store event.  Meanwhile, the original covers were very disappointing.  Bookstores didn’t realize that I had even written those books.  They looked so different, people assumed that a different Stuart Gibbs had written them.

I would have been happy to write more books in this series if the publisher had supported it.  But it made far more sense to write books for a more supportive publisher like Simon & Schuster instead.  There is little point in writing a book that you think no one is ever going to read.

I spent years pestering the publisher of The Last Musketeer to change the covers, which they finally did.  This change encouraged more bookstores to carry the books, and so they have started selling better — although they still don’t sell nearly as well as my other books, as that publisher really still doesn’t promote them.  The major way those books are promoted is on this website.  At this point, it has been nearly a decade since I wrote that series, so I can say that there is no chance that I will revisit it.

I still like the series, though.  If you want to give it a try, you can get the first book by clicking here.

And just in case you’re interested, here’s what the book originally looked like:

 

Here’s what it look like now:

 

338 thoughts on “Here’s why both the Moon Base Alpha series and the Last Musketeer series have ended

  1. My daughters are in love with the spy school series and really enjoyed charlie thorne. Will charlie and erica cross paths?

  2. Kristina –

    Thanks for your kind words! I am not planning a crossover at this time — but sure, they could cross paths some day.

  3. Mr. Gibbs,
    I have noticed that the main characters in the MBA, The Last Musketeer, Spy School, and FunJungle series all have kind of the same personality: cautious, smart, not very athletic. Is there a reason for that?

  4. Miranda Jackson –

    Smart is a prerequisite for someone solving a crime, and caution tends to go hand-in-hand with being smart. As for lack of athleticism, that isn’t true at all. My characters have varying degrees of athleticism, but overall, none of them aren’t athletic. In fact, some are very athletic (like Greg Rich). They might not be great fighters or great with weapons, but that has nothing at all to do with athleticism. If they get tired during an action sequence, that’s because they are normal people. Let’s face it, you would probably get tired during an action sequence too.

  5. Mr. Gibbs
    I love all your books they are some of my favorite books I have ever read will some of the other series ever go into space and will there ever be a cross over for any of them. Will the next fun jungle take place in the current events of COVID-19 or spy school. And will you ever do another space or time travel series that are a bit more imagination then realistic to solve your problem with the moon base alpha series.

  6. Thomas Marsalek –

    I am not planning a crossover any time soon — and for the time being, I don’t have the time to start a new sci-fi or time travel series. And I am not planning to set a story during COVID for many reasons, but the main one is that, by the time I could conceive of the book, write it and get it published, it would be 2022 or 2023 and the pandemic will be over (hopefully).

  7. I have an idea for Spy School 9. Ben has to prevent war from happening between Nicaragua and America. I’ve read all of your Spy School books and I’m in love with the series. I love every way you tell things in the books, and the humor, and the seriousness, and the emotions that the characters feel, and how realistic they all are.

  8. Braxton Morgan –

    SS9 comes out in fall 2021. That means I have been working on it for over a year already. So it’s a little bit late to be suggesting ideas — not that I can ever take any from readers.

    I appreciate how much you enjoy the books though. Thanks for the kind words.

  9. Lots of people are complaining on how short the MBA series is. I think it was the perfect size (for a series) and I loved the way it ended. Also, a little off topic, Mr. Gibbs, have you read Gone With the Wind? If you haven’t I think you would like it a lot. It’s about a young woman learning how to adjust as the US gets over the Civil war. It’s by Marget Mitchell. I think that’s how you spell it. Also have you ever read To Kill a Mocking Bird? It’s AWESOME, but of course, your books are better. One last book question: have you read The Princess Bride? I love Buttercup.

  10. How much longer are the spy school series going to go? (They are by far my favorite that you have written, and I have all of them)

  11. The new LM covers look much better.(Though I kinda liked the old Traitors Chase cover)

  12. qwertyuiop –

    I do not think that all my series are in the same universe. But even if they were, there are certainly millions of teddy bears in the world. So no, Nina and Erica would not share one.

  13. I understand perfectly why you ended these series! Me and my friends LOVE your books. I have a few questions, have you ever heard or Gordon Korman? he is my favorite author, after you. also, this one is kind of random, what is your favorite food? Thank you for your time Stuart Gibbs!

  14. Hi Mr. Gibbs! will you be putting any dinosaurs in your books? Like a time travel last musketeer thing? Its ok if you don’t, just wanted to give a small suggestion. also ‘Poached’ was one of your best mysteries.

  15. Jordyn –

    Not only have I heard of Gordon Korman, but i have been lucky enough to become friends with him.

    My favorite food is ice cream.

  16. Jordyn –

    I kind of put dinosaurs in Tyrannosaurus Wrecks. They just happened to be extinct.

    It would be very hard to put dinosaurs in a book and not have it feel like a rip off of Jurassic Park.

  17. Hi Stuart Gibbs. I love mba. I do not like how you ended – it made me sad to see it go. Can you please reconsider and make a 4th one? Maybe where you make Dash in his forty’s and he and his family are at mbb? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeee make a 4th one.

  18. Miles P –

    Um…. No. I’m sorry you aren’t pleased with the way it ended but… Every series has to end some time.

    Personally, I don’t think that a story about Dashiell in his 40s would appeal to most of my target audience.

  19. hi Mr. Gibbs. A 4th MBA book would be cool, but I understand if you don’t think it should continue and I love your other books too. my favorite of your books are the funjungle books. but the best ones are (in my opinion) big game and Tyrannosaurus wrecks. I like big game because the end was super duper funy. and Tyrannosaurus because the end was fictional and I think dinos are cool.

  20. Chris –

    Yes, I have many books coming out in 2022. For upcoming releases, look in the right hand column of every page of this website.

  21. I know that you don’t want to make a 4th mba book. And I know the reason. But,can’t you make a new mbb or even a mbc series that the main character is Dash’s son or daughter?

  22. James –

    As i said in this very post, moving to MBB or MBG (Moon base Gamma) wouldn’t solve my problems with the series.

  23. What about make a prequel trilogy kinda like star wars?

    It could be about the aliens, maybe… (But i get that wouldn’t really be “moon base”)

  24. Hello. I just wanted to talk about the mba series. I know that you don’t want to make anymore. But I truly think you could have made it more. I loved these books and I’ve read your other ones too, but out of all of them, these were my favorites. It made me sad when I realized that waste of space was the last book in the series, but I liked how you ended it with dash seeing zan again. But I still think that the series could have been longer. I don’t know if you know a game called among us but if you hadn’t made that epilogue at the end, you could have made mbb with new rooms and a whole new mystery. I would have greatly enjoyed if you had done that. I still really liked the series, but like I said before it could have turned to be greater.

  25. Yoshidude –

    I appreciate that you are upset that I ended the series. I was upset to end it myself. But if I really though it would have been good to continue it, then I would have continued it.

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