As is perhaps to be expected when writing a series of novels narratives can become complex. While the central characters may well be there all the time, particularly in the case of a first person narrator, other come and go and they all have lives in the back ground that continue when they are ‘off stage’. But in a series of novels that not too complex. Where it becomes more complex is when your writing a series of novels and then you interweave a few short stories that are directly related to the novels. Even if those short stories stand alone from the main narrative, they is almost bound to be some cross over. Even if that was never the intention…
Chronology and narrative chronology (the order in which Hannibal is best read) are two different things
As such, the chronology of Hannibal stories at the moment is as follows
- The Elves and the Boot-maker ( short story, published in Harvey Duckman volume 4)
- The Cheesecake Dichotomy (short story, published in Harvey Duckman volume 1)
- A Spider in the Eye (novel)
- From Russia with Tassels (novel) *up to about two thirds of the way through
- A Scar of Avarice (chapters 2 and 3 of the novella which take place in the middle of Tassels )
- From Russia with Tassels (novel) *final third
- A Scar of Avarice (chapters 1 and 4 of the novella which take place in Esqwith’s Passing Place as Hannibal tells a story (the middle two chapters) )
- A Squid on the Shoulder (novel forthcoming)
The narrative chronology, the order in which the stories are best read to avoid little spoilers and the order in which they would appear if they where these ever combined into one complete edition (which is unlikely, but might happen in a few years time)
- A Spider in the Eye
- The Cheesecake Dichotomy
- From Russia with Tassels
- A Scar of Avarice
- The Elves and the Boot-maker
- A Squid on the Shoulder
All of which is getting a little complicated…
To be fair the short stories are nice little additions to the cannon, and no one needs to read them to follow the novels, they just exist and some characters that first appeared in the shorts, because that was where they came into being, then appear in the novels. For example, as the writer I would like people to have read ‘Cheesecake’ before they read ‘Squid’ purely because Hettie Carthurst who is integral to ‘Cheesecake’ returned to the narrative in ‘Squid’. But it doesn’t actually mater if they have or not Hettie as a character works in Squid without anyone having read her introduction to the series.
Hettie ‘Spanners’ Carthurst is something of a force of nature that way.
The reason all this comes to mind is that while working on Squid , I am also writing another short story ‘The Peanut Conspiracy’ (working title) which falls after Elves both chronologically and in the narrative chronology, but possibly post Squid in the narrative. I also have a couple of other Hannibal shorts that may or may not make it to the page penciled in my notebook. All of which will only muddy the waters more , and the Novels currently are planned to run to six books , which is another four years worth of writing more than likely so go only knows how many other little stories might end up in and around the series.
So, to sum up, its complicated …. But on the other hand , its a lot of fun to write, and Hannibal keeps me guessing as he develops as a character, he is definitely starting to get a little more heroic as the books go on , despite his protestations… Something I didn’t see coming, but then Hannibal lies to everyone , even his writer….