Series Fantasy, also known as Shared World Fantasy, is a long series of stories in either novel or short story form. These series differ from the mere trilogy type series in that their publication can span decades. Other authors may even contribute new stories to the series by expanding subplots, taking up secondary characters, or generally writing new stories within an existing world. Series Fantasy is not fan fiction—it is a formal process and sometimes done in collaboration with the original author.
Variable. Series Fantasy is a descriptive term and has no bearing on any magic systems created.
Variable. With so much space for exploring things and ideas and characters and events, and so many other things, there is plenty of room for authors to explore some grand ideas. Indeed, because of the extensive world-building and multitude of volumns, Series Fantasy presents the opportunity to explore social implications and ideas over long periods of time. But! Not all writers take advantage of this opportunity and instead choose to focus on other aspects of their world and characters.
High. Series Fantasy provides lots of space and opportunity for authors to fully explore and develop all characters—main characters as well as secondary characters.
High. New adventures! More events! There is always something more to be done in Series Fantasy and so the plots are perpetually moving. Sometimes the plot moves forward, sometimes they look to the past, but as the stories unfold they twine together multiple plot lines ever revealing new details and information.
Variable. Like the level of magic, the sub-genre has no particular characteristic violence.
By Terry Brooks. This epic fantasy series blends magic and technology in a future Earth. This series connects with the Knight of the Word novels to expand the history of this world.
By David Eddings. A voluminous series that connects with The Malloreon series, which continues the original Belgariad story. Prophecy, the fate of the universe, a farm boy, all typical earmarks of the epic fantasy sub-genre.
By Terry Pratchett. A huge series, these books are part of the Comic Fantasy sub-genre. It parodies and is influenced by canonical authors like Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Shakespeare in addition to folklore, mythology, and fairy tales. A prime example of series fantasy because new characters and subplots connect as the series continues.
By Steven Erikson. Ian C. Esslemont, Malazan Empire. Erikson and Esslemont created the world of Malazan together, but have each published their own series set in the world.
By Jack Vance. This series of novels and short stories take place in a distant future when the sun is nearly gone and magic has returned to the world. George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and others have taken up this world in a collection of short stories as well, Songs of the Dying Earth to honor the inspiring work of Vance.
By Robin Hobb. Several sets of linked trilogies and short stories of high fantasy set in the same world.
By Robert Jordan. This series was planned as six novels, but is now more than twice that length. It has a detailed imaginary world and magic system. After Jordan's death in 2007, Brandon Sanderson finished the series using Jordan's notes.
By Mercedes Lakey. A series of trilogies and novels set in the world of Velgarth. The series contains complex interactions between humans and non-humans, several cultures and social structures.
By Terry Goodkind. In this 12-book epic fantasy series each book stands alone, with the exception of the final three which are a trilogy. All the books share a common timeline and plot linkages.
By Michael Moorcook. This sequence of novels and short stories is set within a complex multiverse. The eternal champion is a recurring character who exists in all universes and dimensions chosen to fight for the cosmic balance.