Prequel Books are Still Books

I've been having an odd argument with the good people of Goodreads.

THE NEW HUNGER is my second book. It's the second book in the Warm Bodies series. Yet for some reason, Goodreads wants to call it “Warm Bodies 0.5"

The half-book status I can understand, since it IS a novella, so call it “1.5" if you want...but zero? What is that? If the first book in a series is book 1, then book 0 would have to be...a book that doesn't exist. But this book does exist. You can buy it here. So what's with the zero?

Well, THE NEW HUNGER is a prequel. The story (most of it) takes place before the events of WARM BODIES, and apparently, to a lot of people that means it's somehow a “negative installment" or even not a part of the series at all. As one news item put it, “Marion is calling this a 4-book series, even though one of the books is a prequel."

I don't like this, you guys. This is nonsense. A prequel is as much a “real book" as a flashback is a “real scene" and its place in the series is wherever the author put it. 

I didn't write THE NEW HUNGER after WARM BODIES by mistake. It's not “out of order" any more than flashbacks are out of order. It's book 2 for a reason: because your knowledge of book 1 changes the way you read it. It attaches a premonition of hope to an otherwise bleak outcome. Prequels are unique because they tell a story in two overlaid layers of time: the one playing out in these present events, and the one playing out in your memory of the future. And if you take it upon yourself to “fix" the author's “error" and rearrange the books, you lose all that.

So can we keep this book in the series? Can we stop shoving it to the back like supplementary bonus material? Because even if it's not apparent yet, I assure you THE NEW HUNGER is a crucial link in this story. It lays the foundation for much of what's coming, and without it you're going to find yourself quite lost in THE BURNING WORLD.

Ok, the weight is lifted, I'm glad we understand each other, I love you, thank you, goodnight.