This is not where we left off last time.
We are not starting at the very next moment.
Time has passed. Things have changed. People have changed as well. Such is the nature of sequels, at least the ones that are done well. A rapidly vanishing life-form, the quality sequel is a continuation of what has gone before. This is in contradiction to Hollywood’s approach, which takes one, some or all of the important characters from Part One and places them in different yet comfortably familiar environs.
Conventional wisdom in America is that familiarity sells.
People don’t like it when beloved characters die or are replaced by new characters or actors. It pisses people off. Perhaps it should. There is, after all, an emotional investment, testament to the talents of those involved in the finished product.
The rule of continuing story arc applies in particular to science fiction and fantasy, hence the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings films which carry the same story through three films at a time. In fiction, where the audience is generally more intelligent and open-minded, there is often more breathing room for the author. Each book can occur generations apart.
That isn’t the case here.
Consider this more like an action film series where everything has not been neatly resolved. Remember what went before and the questions that were left unanswered. Don’t forget which characters were affected and how. Ask yourself what story is left to be told.
In other words, only a mental midget would read this book first.
This is a continuation of something that began in the mind of an author and eventually spilled over into a universe facing Armageddon. Jerry Bruckheimer was nowhere to found, but there were still explosions and witty rejoinders aplenty. However, there was no neat ‘n tidy resolution that left the audience smiling and chatting happily all the way to a theme restaurant with yummy potato skins.
There was a victory, but it did not come without its costs. Loves were lost, friendships were strained. Successes that came were hollow and far too late. We were left feeling that something was still on the horizon for these characters.
So, those who know what has gone before should prepare themselves for all the new developments. And, in the words of the Great and All-powerful Yogurt, “God willing we’ll all meet in the sequel. Spaceballs II: The Search for More Money.”
Enjoy the show!