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:


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

  1. Alexey Shiro –

    That is certainly a possibility — although it would still take a long time to build those bases and they ultimately wouldn’t solve my issues about the moon being a restrictive place to set a story.

    Your English is excellent, given that it is not your native language.

  2. Nini –


    Dash did not end up with Kira. There was never a romance between them.

    And he couldn’t end up with Zan. He could only visit her.

  3. Couldn’t you have Teddy and Ben meet up in a book in which they solve a mystery involving xan?

  4. Hey this is spy school related, but Ive had this question ever since I started reading spy school about 5 years ago. Who is on the front cover of the book? At first I thought was Alexander Hale but in some books hes not really a main character and it would seem weird to have him on the cover, but i also didnt think it was Ben because of the way he dressed.

    2 more
    Who was the guy who tried to assassinate Ben in book one if you cant tell me will we ever find out?
    Was Mr. E sending Tina a “birthday card” because she was assigned to some boring place, if you cant tell me will we ever find out

  5. NeverEver –

    The silhouette on the front of the books is not any specific character. We just call him ‘Spy Guy.’ (Though it could be a girl too.)

    The answers to your next two questions are classified.

  6. Stu –

    *That is certainly a possibility — although it would still take a long time to build those bases and they ultimately wouldn’t solve my issues about the moon being a restrictive place to set a story.*

    – well, O’Neil colony is a pair of counter-rotating cylinders 32 km in length and 8 km in diameter. The internal surface should be enough for most purposes) But yes, it would took… decades, before such huge object could be constructed.

  7. Luca –

    Creating a series set at Moon base Beta would not solve any of the problems I mention in this post.

  8. Hello, Mr.Gibbs I am a huge fan of yours, and I a fellow author. I am a teen who has developed a love for writing. So I have a few questions
    1) What is key for writing an unexpected mystery novel like fun jungle?
    2) would accept a short story written by someone as a continuing to moon alpha base or the last Musketeer?
    3)Can we not have more drama in spy school? a lot of people I know are losing interest in it…
    4) what are your favorites in books?

  9. Val

    1) Plan your mystery ahead of time. Work out the twists that will catch the audience by surprise.

    2) Your question seems to be lacking some key words. Are you asking me if I would accept someone else continuing either series with a short story? The answer to that is No. People are welcome to write fan fiction, but it is my choice as to what to do with my own series and I have decided to end them.

    3) Please specify what you mean by drama. Do you mean the drama of whether or not Ben and his friends will defeat the bad guys? Because the series would be awfully boring without that.

    4) I highly recommend The Westing Game. I also have some recen blog posts listing other books (and authors) that I like.

  10. Val, Personally, I love the drama (whatever it is, but I think I know what you are talking about). If anything, I would want more just speaking for myself, and from what I gathered from the other posts on this website, the other people love it to. If you go to the newest post, and ask if people want more or less or the same, I think there will be WAY more mores and the same. Not trying to offend you or anything, just wanting Stu to know, even though he probably knows, for he is a very smart person.

  11. I know this sounds weird but why do characters in your books (specifically spy school) seem immortal like Ben seems dispose of the antagonists in a way which they should be dead in one book only but only to come back in another. I know you have to work with the fact that this is a book written for children(and up) but I see no harm in just having a character get hurt badly and not be seen ever again. This really started to bother me with Joshua broke pretty much every single limb but was still able to recover enough to chase Ben down.

  12. Gtuart Sibbs –

    Two reasons:

    1) You’re right, these books are written for kids.

    2) For every reader like you who has an issue with this, there are a hundred readers asking if Joshua is going to come back.

  13. Hey Stu, I recently read all of the MBA books and I fell like this was the best series that you have written so far. It gives such character to a thing I thought was amazing (I am an aspiring astrophysicist). I also noticed something that indicates a Stu Verse. First in book 6 of Funjungle Harper said that she will name rockets after dinosaurs. In MBA 3 raptor 12 was the rocket that Dash took to go back to earth. Garth was a spy for the pentagon. And look at what you see. Spy School! I feel like these are not coincidences.

  14. Hey Stu

    I was wondering about dystopian books because I recently reread the Hunger Games and the Divergent series. I wondered if you like these genres and have thought of writing this genre. (This is a question, not a suggestion).

  15. Syon –

    Since there are so many dystopian books out there, I really feel like that is a very crowded market and there is little point to my entering it. Especially because that’s not really my genre.

  16. For a moon base beta series maybe you could talk about something no realistic about how moon base beta is awesome and create a whole new main charecter and other characters. Maybe you can talk about new types of space suits and better technology and talk about how space suits are like wearing slightly uncomfortable clothes instead of really uncomfortable clothes

  17. SH –

    That still wouldn’t take care of the issues i had that drove me to end the series.

  18. I only discovered your books a few months ago and already finished the entire Spy School series, including SSR (I’m a very fast reader). I also just finished the MBA series, and I literally cried. Then I got up on the coffee table and sang and danced. Your books are amazing.

  19. You’re books are so good! how did you come up with the idea for FunJungle? Also i would like to know how some of the characters came to be! My favorite series are FunJungle and MBA!

  20. Gordon Freeman –

    The answer to your FJ question is on my FAQ page.

    As for the characters, I’d need an essay to answer that in full. Suffice to to say that creating characters is a lot of work.

  21. Stu, kinda a nosy question (feel free to not answer it) but how does the whole Kindle-normalhardcover book transfer work? Is that up to the publisher or do you partake in it? Sometimes, will certain details change?
    (I…don’t really know why I’m posting it here. I guess another question should be where should I post this stuff?)

  22. Also, what font do you use for the spy school covers? And why did the font change for Last Musketeer?
    (If it even did, looks different could be the same for all I know)


  23. TheComician –

    My publisher handles everything that deals with publishing and distribution on diferent platforms. So I don’t know what is involved with the kindle transfer. But the books ought to be exactly the same.

  24. TheComician –

    I do not know what font is used on my books.

    The Last Musketeer series was done by a different publisher. That’s why the covers look different.

  25. In “upcoming events”, What do you mean that Moon Base Alpha will open in 2041? How do you know?

  26. Alexander hale –

    That part about MBA opening in 2041 is a reference to the MBA series. It’s a joke.

  27. But didn’t the series take place in 2040? It ended in 2041, but didn’t it start in 2040?

  28. Stu
    This is never adresed in mba after the end of the second one is ninas mom ok or did her sickness kill her

  29. Stu
    I apricite your answer I am sorry for breaking one of your question making rules I did not read that post until after I posted the comment

  30. A person that actually read Last Musketeer and thought it was great and wants more even know there won't be. :( says:

    The old covers are not getting printed anymore right?

    If so does that mean its a rare collectors item?

  31. A person —

    Maybe one day the old cover versions will be collector’s items. I can’t really say.

  32. Fill in the blanks:

    “You don’t have to ____ anything for me,” Erica interrupted. “ You’re the one who needs to find ____. You’re going to need it. Because I’m ______ for you, Ben. There’s nowhere you can run. There’s no where you can ____. I’m going to make it my life‘s mission to ____ ___ ____. I will not rest until I find you. Do you understand?”

    “I know you can do this. You’re a better _____ than I am— and I’m good at __________.”

    “ I’m an _____,” I said.
    “ You’re not an _____, Zoe told me. “ You’re very _____.”
    “Well, maybe that’s the problem, then. I’ve been ____________ this.

    “I don’t like ________ people,” _________ replied. “ ________ never solved anything.”

  33. Gibbs fan –

    To come up with the campus, I fiddled around, drawing some maps. And I picked an area of Washington DC where I thought it would fit in well.

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