The Cool Kids' Fantasy Club discussion

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Has the slow delivery of some popular fantasy books stopped you buying into series early on?

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence (marklawrence) | 338 comments Mod
Are you someone who waits for all of a trilogy to be published for fear of delays, or simply because Netflix has given us an appetite for bingeing?


message 2: by Steven (new)

Steven (gallifreyan1218) Mark wrote: "Are you someone who waits for all of a trilogy to be published for fear of delays, or simply because Netflix has given us an appetite for bingeing?"

I normally like to wait until at least two books are out if it's a trilogy, so I only have to wait for one if I like the first one. The long waits between my series books is getting harder and harder!


message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma (keeperofthearchives) I read anything that I like the look of as it comes out, then each instalment again when the new one drops (just in case I forgot stuff).

I don’t mind waiting as I have so much on my TBR, I’d rather the next book be as good as it can be, not rushed.


message 4: by Mark (new)

Mark | 165 comments Not at all, been doing it for years, I can remember the BI dark ages(before internet).

I learned to buy books especially from secondhand bookshops/charity shops/mail order. Found books 2 and 3+ in series before I found book 1 so purchased them when could to make sure I had them. In fact I still have uncompleted series amongst my book collection. I must go through and use the wonderful internet to fill in the gaps one of these days.

So i don’t mind the delays, it’s not as if we can superglue the authors to their chairs and force them to write the stories we are wanting to read.


message 5: by Steve (last edited Aug 07, 2018 01:04PM) (new)

Steve | 104 comments It makes me think about the purchase for sure if I have to wait awhile and especially if no issue date is given. I used to only buy completed (or almost completed) series as a strong preference because of impatience waiting.
But now I’ll make the judgment on how much I like the author’s work, or reviews of trusted others.
A précis of previous action in a new volume of a series is strongly, strongly desirable for me.


message 6: by Steven (new)

Steven (gallifreyan1218) Mark wrote: "it’s not as if we can superglue the authors to their chairs and force them to write the stories we are wanting to read. "

Wish we could do this to Butcher... I needs mah Dresden fix! X)


message 7: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Jackson | 24 comments If I like the author or the book has been recommended by a trusted source, I won't bother waiting. I'll read almost any "first" book, and then determine afterwards if I'll continue with the series. If I liked the first, I'll always read the second (eventually).

That said, I won't deny the frustration isn't poignant sometimes (*cough* Rothfuss *harumph*), but writing a book is tough work, and writing a quality book is damned laborious. I don't have the right to get impatient with anyone but myself, and besides, I have a lot of shelf to pare down in the meantime.


message 8: by Felix (new)

Felix | 10 comments Too many years have passed between Rothfuss end of his trilogy. I could care less.


message 9: by Steve (new)

Steve | 104 comments Steve wrote: "It makes me think about the purchase for sure if I have to wait awhile and especially if no issue date is given. I used to only buy completed (or almost completed) series as a strong preference bec..."
I don’t think I answered the question fully though. I can’t think of any authors on my recent read list where I wouldn’t buy the volumes one by one. They meet my ‘good author’ test.
But I would be hesitant about something more than a trilogy from them and definitely anyone new. I don’t want start on a 5-10 volume epic series like the Malayan Book of the Fallen again.


message 10: by Felix (last edited Aug 07, 2018 02:15PM) (new)

Felix | 10 comments Steven wrote: "Mark wrote: "it’s not as if we can superglue the authors to their chairs and force them to write the stories we are wanting to read. "

Wish we could do this to Butcher... I needs mah Dresden fix! X)"


Jim Butcher cranked out almost 2 yearly before he hit his snag. He is still in the honeymoon stages with his 2nd wife.


message 11: by Steven (new)

Steven (gallifreyan1218) Yeah but now it’s been four years. Granted some of those was spent on Cinder Spires #1, but still, he’s on the path of Martin and Rothfuss lol


message 12: by Felix (new)

Felix | 10 comments Steven wrote: "Yeah but now it’s been four years. Granted some of those was spent on Cinder Spires #1, but still, he’s on the path of Martin and Rothfuss lol"

Rothfuss is by far the slowest; it's not even close. George RR Martin will probably never write the ending of GOT. It will be only done by the HBO series I predict.


message 13: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 121 comments It hasn’t stopped me from buying into the series early but sometimes the long wait between books leaves me with no desire to read the next one no matter how much I wanted to read it 4 years before when I finished the last one.

Case in point...the Outlander series. I read the first four one after the other in 1996/97 and had to wait until 2001 for The Fiery Cross. I was desperate to read number 5 but by the time it came out I couldn’t give two hoots about it. I ended up buying it and it still sits here with the earlier books unread. I haven’t bought any of the others.

I have bought the Name of the Wind and Wise Mans Fear and was going to start reading what we have of the trilogy later this year. GoT on the other hand....I have book 1 but haven’t read it yet. I bought it for my husband to read (which he did). And we’ve only watched the first season of the show. It would usually be something I’d like but I just couldn’t get into it.

Mostly though I’m happy to sit and wait for the next one. We didn’t discover Harry Potter until Goblet of Fire was released. I saw it on the news and bought it for my sons birthday so I could see what all the fuss was about. We all loved it and waited eagerly with the rest of the world for each book. I was also the same with the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.


message 14: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Burroughs (pooks) In retrospect--as long as it took between some of the books, I think the length of time it took Jo Rowling to complete the series enhanced the experience.

Yes, I bitched and moaned and whined whist waiting, but it almost became part of the magic. By the last two, I stood alone in line to buy mine at midnight even though I'd already pre-ordered my UK hardcovers. I ended up with a partial set of US but a full set of UK.

That communal experience of waiting in line alone but surrounded by like-minded readers added another thread of magic. And I will forever be amused that I was sitting on the floor at Borders', waiting for midnight, when I reached for a book to skim from the shelf and read the first paragraph of Lolita and fell into that book hard. When I was finally in front of a cash register with both books in hand, the salesperson laughed at the combination of books and people around me, probably giddy from waiting and finally being on the brink of the last book, fell out laughing, too. Someone offered to take bets on which book got read first. I nipped that in the bud.

I had coffee, Coke, and a brand new light bulb by my reading chair. My heart belonged to Harry.


message 15: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 121 comments From 5 on I always had mine on release day and it was always finished by the day after. And it did feel better knowing you were waiting with so many others. Rather magical. There were the detractors who couldn’t understand why you were so excited about a “children’s book” but I ignore them. Most of them think I’m mad anyway. Reading books (or watching shows) about magic or spaceships makes me weird apparently. I like it here where people get me....but I digress....There were so many levels to Harry Potter. Still are. I’m always discovering new things with each reread.

My heart still belongs to Harry. He’s my reread when I’m feeling down. We stayed 3 extra days in LA last trip over to the US so I could go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. An important stop in London was Kings Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4. Next trip is to Orlando and I’m coming home with robes (last time was only a wand and a scarf). And yes....I’m nearly 55 and I’m a Potterhead. And a Trekkie and a Whovian and a Sherlock fan (that’s another fandom that knows about waiting) and whatever you call Star Wars nuts.


message 16: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (godsinruin) | 2 comments I don't think too much about what is complete and what isn't when I decide to start a series. It's a big plus, for sure. But for the most part, I just want to read something that speaks to me in some way. I don't want to dismiss a book out of hand because even if the series isn't finished, there are books already there that might have a story or character that I really enjoy. What if I miss out on that because I didn't take a chance? Also, at this point, as someone who has always been a reader but has really gotten into it in a big, big way in the past 5 years, I have so many already completed series to read and try, it's a slight boon to have a few that I can take a breather on.


message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence (marklawrence) | 338 comments Mod
It's worth noting that the hesitation some folk feel does then start a vicious circle / self fulfilling prophecy, particularly with small publishers and books in translation, where the failure of a book 1 to sell well can lead to the cancellation of book 2 or 3. New authors in particular need their readers to jump in early.


message 18: by Deb (new)

Deb | 22 comments I don't generally think about the next books in a series - all I consider is whether that book sounds good or not. I prefer to read a really great book and have to wait a while for the next one, than to not read it and read something bad instead. What I don't like is when there are books in a series that are in-between books, so you're all excited for this book, you've waited for a year or two, and then all it's doing is setting the next book up and there is no real progression in the plot. THAT's a waste of my time and money, and is usually when I will think about whether or not to read the next one.


Cupcakes & Machetes (hybridcreature) | 35 comments It doesn't necessarily deter me. A lot of the time I'll buy a book and then just let it sit on my shelf until the next one is closer to coming out.


message 20: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 98 comments When I was young, I held off on reading Stephen R. Donaldson's Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant until White Gold Wielder was published and I could read the entire trilogy all in one sitting.

These days, I'm much more relaxed about things -- for one thing, as mentioned above, if nobody buys unfinished series, then those series will never be finished because the publishers will drop them; for another thing, given my current reading pace, I'd probably rather not try to sit down and read, e.g., all ten Malazan books straight through because that would be something close to an entire year's worth of reading; I'm more likely to read two or maybe three books in a series, then move on to something else, with plans to come back to the first series later.


message 21: by Addi (new)

Addi (asuhail) | 64 comments I usually buy a book if it is a compelling story, well-written and there is good world-building. For Carlos Ruis Zafon's work, I've waited for years before English translations have come out, and its always worth it.

However, I think the Rothfuss/GRRM cases have drastically changed my own behavior. This is also set in contrast with Mark, Joe Abercrombie and Michael J. Sullivan who finish their series before the first one gets published and whose material actually is consistently top notch and not uneven for it.

I am not one of those who blames GRRM or Rothfuss. But their practices have cascading effects for readers and fellow writers alike. So this has less, imo, to do wiht Netflix and more to do with the disappointment of being shut out of a world you invested hours and hours of your life in.


message 22: by Russell (new)

Russell Cullison (russellcullison) | 2 comments For me, there's a certain exciting magic in being involved in a fandom while a series is ongoing. I loved being part of the Wheel of Time fandom and (to a lesser extent, since I'm a bit older) Harry Potter. I wouldn't want to miss out on that sense of community and camaraderie.


message 23: by Felix (last edited Aug 08, 2018 01:02PM) (new)

Felix | 10 comments Addi wrote: "I usually buy a book if it is a compelling story, well-written and there is good world-building. For Carlos Ruis Zafon's work, I've waited for years before English translations have come out, and i..."

GRRM: Has written many books in sci fi/horror before GOT - He was the head-writer/producer of Beauty & the beast TV show long before doing the latter for HBO/GOT series. Yes he is slow and probably won't write/publish the ending of GOT in book form - we will see the ending on HBO.

Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, were released in 2007 and 2011 respectively = 3rd book is 7 years and counting & he gets perturbed if asked when? Most of his responses are snotty & short tempered on the release date. To treat your fans this way = me never reading another book he writes....


message 24: by Shae (new)

Shae | 69 comments I've purchased each of GRRM's Game of Thrones novels as they've come out - but haven't read them as yet - felt the need to save them until I could see an ending on the horizon :-)

I'm just about ready to pick these up now :-)


message 25: by Pamela (new)

Pamela  | 53 comments I prefer to read a completed series. A couple of years ago, I binged on the complete Dark Tower series, now that was a lot of reading, but I was hooked and glad that next book was there to read. With other shelved series that I own, I'll read 2 or 3, then go to something else, then come back to the series when in the mood to revisit a particular character. However, there are plenty of series I have started, and a year between books isn't too bad, cause I have a huge TBR list. Several years between books, forces me to reread to remember, which I'm not likely to do. I'll let HBO end GOT for me and skip Kvothe.


message 26: by Beverly (new)

Beverly (bevarc) | 32 comments I tend to shy away from a first book in a series that has just started and when looking for reads, I look for completed series or almost finished series with a reliable projection of the release of the final book. I am sick of waiting for "the next" book in some (unmentioned but you know what they are) series! Besides, I'm getting kind of old, and I know it doesn't make sense, because if I'm dead I won't care, but I don't like the thought that I might KTB before I finish all the series I have begun.


message 27: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence (marklawrence) | 338 comments Mod
+chews fingernails while waiting for The Hod King+ but then again, if I hadn't read book 1 there might well never have been a book 3.


Mel (Epic Reading) (mel-epicreading) YES!!! Sorry but between Robert Jordan and GRRM I have almost given up on long term fantasy. I am 35 years old and been waiting for Game of Thrones books since I was 17!! Long before the rest of the world was on board with aSoFI. That’s nearly half my life and it’s going to be more than half my life before the next book even comes out.

I won’t read Sanderson’s new series until at least book 6 or 7 (of ten) is released because of this. Sorry to these authors who lose my faith but I just can’t do it anymore.

I love the trilogy set-up that both Mark Lawrence and Robin Hobb have used so effectively. I am okay with trilogies that build on one another with the same world or characters. What’s best is that you can usually read a trilogy and feel content in the end. Also it means the author has to have an ending in sight and work towards it. Tangents end up being new books, novellas or what not and not ramblings in say book 4 of a series (ahem, GRRM).

This is actually my number one annoyance in fiction these days is series that go on and on. I’d rather read 3 amazing novels then 10 okay ones. I get that doesn’t maximize revenue for writers but the reality for many long-time fantasy readers is that we cannot stand to be strung along with no pay-off forever.
I truly believe GRRM will never finish his series and many years ago (before HBO) he told me no one would finish his series if he died like with Wheel of Time. Instead his words were “you’re all screwed”.
If I were to meet him again today I’d rant about how he already screwed us all. 1) by not writing books 2) by ‘finishing’ his series on TV and leaving his readers in the dust for the millions of dollars to be made in mass-market television.

Whew! I realize this is a rant. I’d apologize for that but this is a huge button topic for me as a long time loyal Fantasy reader and I just can’t help but get fired up about it. 😉


Mel (Epic Reading) (mel-epicreading) I should add... I totally get it Mark when you say that it hurts new authors that many of us avoid new, long series. I try not to do this with new authors if I’m interested enough in their series as I do understand how publishing works. But it’s like heartbreak in love; you usually are wary the next time around.

Note: I have not read Rothfuss no matter how many people tell me to (because he’s apparently brilliant). I just can’t go through more frustration, anger and heartbreak over not receiving the next book or a completion to a story like Rothfuss is creating within his fandom. In case it wasn’t obvious from my rant above, I 100% blame GRRM for my anger towards my favourite genre ever.

One other thing: I love when newer authors announce all three or four books in a series and the anticipated publishing dates or when they indicate outlines or many chapters are already written. It show commitment and planning which I greatly treasure in Fantasy stories. 😊👍


message 30: by Steve (new)

Steve | 104 comments There’s a danger of this thread developing a strong GRRM theme because he has set the recent standard for much anticipated late delivery!
I may be unusual here but I’m more relaxed about him finishing GoT.
I credit his GoT for getting me into modern character based fantasy, and changing the genre to a very significant degree. That’s led to so many other authors writing character based, darker fantasy.
So even if he didn’t finish his book series I’d still give him very high credits and get on with the genre that I believe he’s helped spawn...
I’ve enjoyed the books he’s written so far and I think I could extrapolate to several possible endings. It may be that he chooses one I don’t like! So maybe it’s best left as it is if he really has got a writers block.


message 31: by Deb (new)

Deb | 22 comments I also think that as readers we have to understand this is an art form. The authors are creating worlds, and sure, we pay money to get to visit them, but they don't owe us anything. They obviously know that if they don't write the next book, they don't get paid, and possibly irritate their fans, so I don't think there's ever a deliberate intention to disappoint us and stop their revenue stream.

I like to enjoy what is available, and if an author I love does not continue to write, then I use that time to read other books. If they produce another book, I'll go out, read it, and be excited about it, and if not, I move on.

Maybe I'm too pragmatic? I might love books and characters, but I would never get angry with the author if they don't produce the next book in a series; I'd just be disappointed.


message 32: by Harveen (new)

Harveen (harvskhails) | 12 comments I don't think it has ever stopped me from buying something I want to read. The only time I recall ever being frustrated and impatient for the next book in a fantasy series was the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini and that was because there was a 3 year wait between each book. I almost gave up on the series waiting for the final book but I had loved it too much when I started. My problem is that I just hope I don't forget about a series because I keep myself occupied reading tonnes of other books and starting a lot of other incomplete series so most of the time I don't notice. Though it is quite a nice surprise when I come across a series in a bookstore I had been reading a while back and has a couple of new books I hadn't got round to. That's actually what happened with Broken Empire as I read Prince of Thorns when it was the only book out and came back to it to discover Prince of Fools had come out with The Liar's Key soon to be released.

I think the long wait between books in a fantasy series putting people off finishing it is more for people that don't read a lot of other books and there's just a few series they do read. There are a lot of people who only read a book because they might like the TV show or movie it's based on so that's the only series they're reading and waiting on which makes it frustrating for them. Just think of all the people who only read A Song of Ice and Fire because they enjoyed Game of Thrones but don't really read much else, I'm sure there are those who have probably given up on the books because the show has gone beyond what was published so they might not see any point in reading it, or the people who would rather have finished the books before the show ended but now that's not really possible.


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 16 comments I started buying the first books of series that sound interesting to support the new authors, but I often don't get around to reading them until the second book in the series is already out. So many books TBR so little time.


message 34: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence (marklawrence) | 338 comments Mod
Mel (Epic Reading) wrote: "Note: I have not read Rothfuss no matter how many people tell me to (because he’s apparently brilliant). I just can’t go through more frustration, anger and heartbreak over not receiving the next book or a completion to a story like Rothfuss is creating within his fandom."

That's entirely reasonable. But on the other hand I am glad that I did read the first two books. It was time well spent and I really enjoyed them. I wouldn't regret the decision even if there is never a book 3.


message 35: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 16 comments Mark wrote: "Mel (Epic Reading) wrote: "Note: I have not read Rothfuss no matter how many people tell me to (because he’s apparently brilliant). I just can’t go through more frustration, anger and heartbreak ov..."

I read the first one and I own the second one but I have noticed with age sometimes I can't remember what happened in earlier books if it takes to long for the sequel to arrive


message 36: by Mike (new)

Mike Bertrand (zestyudders) | 1 comments Mark wrote: "Are you someone who waits for all of a trilogy to be published for fear of delays, or simply because Netflix has given us an appetite for bingeing?"

It's more of a if there is a lapse in time between reading a book in a series I tend to forget what was going on and half the stuff is lost on me. However that wouldn't necessarily stop me from reading a incomplete series. Only reason I wait around for something to be finished these days is because of my lack of time to be dedicated to reading, and my huge back catalog of things to read.


message 37: by Khartun (new)

Khartun | 5 comments Mel (Epic Reading) wrote: I won’t read Sanderson’s new series until at least book 6 or 7 (of ten) is released because of this. Sorry to these authors who lose my faith but I just can’t do it anymore.

Stormlight Archives is going to be 10 books but it's two five book story arcs. The second five will be a sequel to the first five so you should be safe starting after the next book.


message 38: by Pamela (new)

Pamela  | 53 comments Khartun wrote: "Mel (Epic Reading) wrote: I won’t read Sanderson’s new series until at least book 6 or 7 (of ten) is released because of this. Sorry to these authors who lose my faith but I just can’t do it anymor..."

Thanks for sharing that info. That’s great news!


message 39: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 7 comments Never bothered me much - a good book is a good book. I quite enjoy doing a re-read when a new installment comes out. I've never waited for a series to be completed to start to read it


Mel (Epic Reading) (mel-epicreading) Thx for info on Stormlight being broken into two 5 book series. That’s great to hear!

I just want to add I read over 100 books a year. Even so there is sooo much out there to read these days (both good and bad) and so I choose to avoid unfinished works not because I have nothing else to read; but because I have so many other things to read that (hopefully) have satisfying endings.
I love the way Robin Hobb has set up her trilogies over the years. All can be read on their own; or in context of over arching storyline about Fitz and the Fool. I didn’t feel like I spent forever waiting for the newest trilogy. Instead it organically felt like a continuation of a story I love but not a needed add-on to feel content with where Fitz and the Fool were at end of last trilogy.
Maybe this is the way it’s marketed or because of how Hobb writes. What I do know is that I love it as it seems to fit both her need to have time to write and the readers desire for completion of certain elements.
Ironically, while not a true series by one author, the core Dragonlance books do a superb job of this as well.
It can obviously be done and therefore I wish more big name fantasy authors would do it.

Mark - as a side note you seem to be on the right path to publish like Robin Hobb does! So kudos. :)


message 41: by Dave (new)

Dave Evans | 2 comments As a rule, because of Martin and Rothfuss, I purposely avoid unfinished works. With so many books in my "to be read" pile, it's not difficult.


message 42: by Carla (new)

Carla (carlaribeiro) | 12 comments Well, this is a problem with translations. I started reading a couple of series that were left unfinished in translation - and, since I can't read the original, well... guess I'll never know their endings. Still, when a book captures my interest, and despite my neverending to-read pile, I usually end up getting it as soon as my budget allows it. I just can't resist.


message 43: by Poornapragna (new)

Poornapragna Rao | 3 comments More than the slow delivery, the thing that deters me is the volume. The more voluminous a series the more reluctant I am in trying it.

Now that I'm typing this, volume may actually be related to slow delivery but it's not exactly the same.

I'm clearly not meant to be a writer haha.


message 44: by Eleni (new)

Eleni | 4 comments In general I prefer buying finished series than incomplete but I did get the Kingkiller series just to see what was the fuss about him not finishing.. I will give a try at series that are not finished but there are publication dates out for the next one and surely buy a first book of a series that was just released from a favourite author of mine


message 45: by Helen (new)

Helen | 10 comments I used to buy as they came out and then read on completion. But I fell foul of that with mistaking some series for trilogies (GRRM) and group reads.

Now I vary. I still prefer to read as a whole but I’m not as bothered if I trust the publishing reliability of the author. Eg Mark is a good example of this.

I’m over GRRM and Rothfuss. :(


message 46: by Molly (new)

Molly Ison | 4 comments I don't mind a wait if each book is good, but I've frequently been disappointed by a series becoming less interesting as it goes on or by a lackluster ending. I've found I'm less likely to be disappointed if I read the entire series at once. I think it's almost inevitable that a series that has built up for multiple books and years of waiting isn't going to be able to deliver a stunning finale.

If a book is close to being a standalone, it doesn't bother me to wait to know what happens in serial. For example, Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards books each have a complete denouement, even though continuation of other plotlines is promised.


message 47: by Steve (new)

Steve | 104 comments Molly wrote: "I don't mind a wait if each book is good, but I've frequently been disappointed by a series becoming less interesting as it goes on or by a lackluster ending. I've found I'm less likely to be disap..."

That’s an excellent point. It’s a real disappointment when a series finishes on a flat note.
I’d suggest that if the writer is having some form of ‘block’ in finishing the series there’s a higher than average chance that the ending will be poor.
If the issue is trying to resolve all the complex threads they’ve created then, as a non writer advising writers (!), I’d suggest that not all threads need to be resolved. I like the end of Redick’s Chathrand series where the main threat in the series was resolved but more minor plots and background turmoil were ongoing. As in real life as often as not.


message 48: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence (marklawrence) | 338 comments Mod
I guess the acid test is whether you regret starting an unfinished series.

I certainly don't regret reading the published books in A Song of Ice and Fire or The King Killer Chronicles. They were great. I had many hours of enjoyment.


message 49: by Gryffin (new)

Gryffin Tylers | 16 comments Depends on the book. If the whole series is already out or the last book is coming in under year I’ll wait to buy and binge them if their good. But if I’m super interested I’ll usually just jump right in and willingly wait for the sequel or whatever


message 50: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 5 comments I don't always like to start a series that is currently unfinished mostly because if I have a year or longer in between books, by the time I start reading the new release I have already forgot most of the details from the last book. This could be easily fixed by writing notes during or at the end of my read but if an author put a small recap at the beginning of each series installment like Mark Lawrence does, I would be more willingly to start an unfinished series. I usually will wait until the final book is a few months out to binge the whole series.


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