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:
63 thoughts on “Here’s why both the Moon Base Alpha series and the Last Musketeer series have ended”
Hey I absolutely LOVE your books especially FunJungle and MBA and I know your making the new book in FunJungle But do you plan on making another FunJungle book after Whale Done? And i don’t wanna sound like unhappy with the amount your doing at the moment because I bet this will be the best FunJungle book yet I was just wondering if you were gonna make another one after this. Like i said i’m a huge fan of all your books, keep up the amazing work,
There will most likely be another FJ book after Whale Done but that is not 100% confirmed.
pls make another mba story
Mr. Gibbs I am 10 and I have basically read all your books and out of all of them I am attached to Moon Base Alpha the most so please consider making a 4th MBA (Extra 100 please’s)
As noted in this post, there are many reasons for my ending the MBA series. I wasn’t happy to do it, but i felt that it was necessary.
Why haven’t you made moon base alpha graphic novels yet
Making a graphic novel is not easy. It takes a lot of time, energy and money.
To my fave author, Stuart Gibbs: My entire family are huge fans of your work (my mom especially loved the MBA series, it’s too bad that it’s over :c), and I’m wondering about the future of your books. What will you do when (if) you run out of ideas for your books? Are you considering starting a new series? And what would it be about if you make it?
PS I personally love where you’re going with the Charlie Thorn series. #3 was one of the best books I’ve ever read. Pls consider responding soon.
If I run out of ideas for my books, then I will stop writing, but I don’t think that is going to be an issue because I have lots of ideas. I am not really considering starting a new series at the moment because I currently have four series going, which is plenty.
Hi Stuart Gibbs, I hope you are well!
I absolutely adore all of your books! I love how you encourage saving the planet and fighting climate change! I was wondering if you are going to make another Fun Jungle book?! I find them hilarious and at the same time eye opening (especially whale done). I know you don’t like to take suggestions for books because you’ll be bombarded with ideas(you told us in 2022 when you visited our school) but for Spy school could you do something in Italy, or Spain(Ben speaks Spanish so that might be cool.) Thank you for reading this and I understand why you don’t take advice so thank you for reading this anyway! Thanks!
Marilyn O –
I am so pleased that you have enjoyed my books. I am planning another FJ book, but it might be a while until it comes out.
And as for Spy School, I love Italy and Spain, but there are so many great places on earth, and I really have the plots dictate where the stories go, not the locations. So I can’t promise Italy or Spain any time soon. (Although if you’d like to read an adventure partially set in Italy, might I recommend my book, Charlie Thorne and the Curse of Cleopatra?
Are you going to make a fun jungle graphics novel?
Also your books have saved me from countless boring car trips.
I hope to produce FJ graphics at some point in the future.