Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Winds of Dune...or should that be hot air?

Between 1965 and 1986, American science fiction author Frank Herbert wrote six novels depicting a vast, complex universe centred on a remote desert world, source of the most valuable substance in existence. Dune (1965) went on to become the biggest-selling individual science fiction novel of all time, and its sequels continued the story across some five thousand years of human history. In the books, the ossified human Imperium is laid low by by the coming of Paul Atreides, a super-being created by selective breeding by the Bene Gesserit sisterhood across millennia. Paul becomes humanity's messiah, but later rejects his own place in history and tries to tear down the empire he has created. His son succeeds him, merging with a race of creatures indigenous to the desert world of Arrakis (Dune) to become the God-Emperor of humanity, ruling for thousands of years until he orchestrates his own assassination. In the final two Dune novels, the Imperium is laid waste by the arrival of the Honoured Matres, a sect of powerful women opposed to the Bene Gesserit, but it is then revealed that they are running from an even more powerful threat. Chapterhouse: Dune (1986) ends with many characters dead, Arrakis itself reduced to a burning cinder in space and most of the surviving characters on the run in an experimental spacecraft.

The real deal.

Frank Herbert sadly died in 1986, apparently leaving behind no notes on where he was planning to take the Dune series in the next volume (he'd already signed a contract for a seventh Dune novel). He'd also been speaking to his son Brian, who'd published several SF novels himself, about a possible collaboration on a story about the Butlerian Jihad, the war between humanity and 'thinking machines' that took place ten thousand years before the events of Dune. Herbert had dropped many hints as to the nature of this war, setting it up to be a crusade launched by humans against robots and AIs and their own human allies in a religious fervour, but the full story had not been told.

Herbert's death seemed to shut the door on any further additions to the series, but the Dune name did not entirely die. Although lambasted for being incomprehensible to people who hadn't read the books, David Lynch's 1984 Dune movie became something of a cult classic in following years, and the Dune universe became a popular choice of setting for computer games, with 1992's adventure game Dune being a major success. Its prequel of a year later, Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis, was even more successful, creating an entire genre (the RTS or real-time strategy genre) which went on to great success in following years and introduced the Dune universe to a whole new audience. With the six existing novels continuing to sell quite well, it was clear that this was one SF universe that was not going to die.

The new DUNE book, by the inventor of the Sun Crusher, which even hardcore Star Wars fans think sucked donkey balls.

The notion of creating new Dune fiction had come up several times, with Brian Herbert expected to pick up the legacy of his father's work, but he resisted every offer that was made, feeling that his father's testimonial to his late mother in Chapterhouse: Dune made it a fitting career capstone. In addition, Herbert was unwilling to create new Dune material from scratch, and with no information on where Frank Herbert was taking the story in the seventh novel available, it seemed like the mystery would remain unsolved.

This changed in the late 1990s, when an editor suggsted to Brian Herbert that a tribute anthology could be written about the Dune universe, with many major modern SF authors contributing to a collection of stories about the setting. Herbert was not convinced, but agreed to get in contact with one of the authors most enthusiastic about the project, Kevin J. Anderson.

In which it turns out absolutely every single organisation, ethnic group, race and ethos in the DUNE books was created by a small group of people, many of whom knew one another, in the space of about twenty years and then remained completely stagnant for ten thousand years. Who'd have thought?

Anderson had first emerged in SF circles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a number of okay, mid-level SF novels like Resurrection, Inc. He hit the jackpot with media tie-ins, penning the Jedi Academy trilogy of Star Wars novels in 1994 (the first big series in the new Star Wars book line after Timothy Zahn's legendary opening trilogy) followed by three books based on The X-Files. A big fan of Dune, he was keen to find out what happened next in the series, "even if I had to make it up myself". He contacted Brian Herbert in relation to the anthology, but revealed he was keener to work at novel-length.

Whilst the two authors were discussing the project, some of Frank Herbert's possessions fortuitously showed up in a safety deposit box. Miraculously, among the possessions a number of outlines and notes for 'Dune 7' were discovered. The timing seemed like an omen from the gods or something, and Brian Herbert and Anderson set to work on a series of new Dune books. Frank Herbert's notes showed them where he was planning to go in 'Dune 7', but they felt that the story twists and turns in that volume needed to be better set-up ahead of time by other elements, elements that would take six books (as many Dune novels as those that already existed) to depict.

After some consideration, Steven Spielberg had to reject Kevin J. Anderson's proposed script for a Jaws remake.

Back in the late 1990s, as a Dune fan it was exciting to hear that some new material was on the way and, superbly, it was all 100% canon material created and outlined by Frank Herbert himself. True, other writers would be doing the actual writing, but that was obviously unavoidable under the circumstances, but at least we would know where Herbert was going with the events of the last two Dune novels and we would get a canonical resolution to that cruel cliffhanger that we were left on in 1986.

Still, it seemed a bit strange (understatement) that Herbert and Anderson weren't writing that story first but were instead writing a prequel trilogy set forty-odd years before Dune, and were talking about doing the Butlerian Jihad after that. They claimed that additional material was needed to set up 'Dune 7', but was that really the case? Wasn't Frank Herbert just planning on writing 'Dune 7' (which was written on the lable of those floppy disks) and that was it, with maybe some idle talk of other books a lot further down the road? It was a bit of a head-scratcher, but the writers seemed adamant they needed to tell these stories first, so the fans let them do their thing.

House Atreides was published in late 1999 and it was...meh. Not utter drek, and a vast improvement on Anderson's horrendous Star Wars novels, but still uninspiring. It also felt a bit weird, and definitely not in keeping with the other Dune books. We were told in the main series that the machine world of Ix was treated with suspicion over its skirting of the proclamation against thinking machines, but now it was revealed that the ruling House Vernius of Ix was closely allied with the Atreides and its ruler and Duke Leto were extremely close friends. The Vernius also notably failed to come to Leto's aid against the Harkonnens in Dune, which seemed a bit strange given the lengths the Atreides went to in order to aid their allies in the prequel trilogy. But at the end of House Atreides there is a note from the authors, explaining how the prequel trilogy was necessary for a further understanding of the Dune universe and everything was derived from Frank Herbert's notes, so fair enough.

The Legends of Dune trilogy was published in 2002-04 and depicted the events of the Butlerian Jihad. At this point a lot more suspicion was falling on the prequel project that things weren't right. The hideous writing (Legends' prose quality is astonishingly bad) aside, there were many differences between the depiction of the war in the trilogy and the references to it in the main books. In the main books it seems that the war was a first strike launched by a religious cult against machines allied with another sect of humans. At no point did the original books suggest that the machines themselves were ruling over all of humanity as a slave/vassal species, an idea that seemed to be more in line with The Matrix than with Frank Hebert's vision. In addition, basic logic also seemed lacking: the preponderance of resources on the AI side in Legends of Dune is so insane that it is impossible they simply wouldn't have annihilated humanity with ease. The notion presented in the original novels of the war being launched by the humans on outgunned, unsuspecting machines seems to be far more convincing.

In interviews for the writing of the Legends of Dune series the authors stated that Omnius and Erasmus - the primary antagonists of the series and the two principal AI characters - were their creations. In this interview the two authors reveal their thought-processes in creating Erasmus, for example.

After the completion of Legends, the authors announced that they would be - finally - writing 'Dune 7', based on Frank Herbert's outline and notes. It had somehow become two new books rather than one, entitled Sandworms of Dune and Hunters of Dune, but fans seemed happy. At long last, they were getting the real deal.

"We shall hunt...DUNE."
"It's the most famous planet in the Galaxy, everyone knows where it is."
"Our work here is done! Now we shall hunt...PIE!"

The books finally came out, and revealed in exciting detail, and clearly based on Frank Herbert's outline, how the 'great enemy' who had driven the Honoured Matres into the Imperium's space and laid waste to most of the Galaxy were the defeated AIs, led by Erasmus and Omnius, still going strong after 15,000 years! Who'd have thought!

Needless to say, this revelation seemed a little suspect. Something was not smelling right. The reader suspected that the other one, if pulled, would have bells on.

You see, it turns out the primary bad guys or antagonists of Frank Herbert's last two Dune novels would be characters who didn't even exist at that time, and were instead created by two other guys fifteen-odd years after his death. Or to put it another way, Frank Hebert's amazingly-detailed notes, bequeathed to Anderson and Herbert Jnr. on the slopes of Mount Sinai (or something), apparently didn't even mention who the bad guy of the final book was, a factor that I naively assumed would have been a reasonably major plot point.

Some Dune fans (okay, me) felt just slightly pissed off and annoyed. They had spent money on books that weren't very good because they'd been promised it was all based on Herbert's original notes and outlines. Fair enough, the delivery method of the story wasn't great, but the actual, core events were designed by Frank Herbert himself and were legit, or so we were told. And it was now revealed that this was not the case.

The new Dune books were revealed to be what, in fairness, a lot of less-invested SF commentators had been saying for years: a cynical cash-grab designed to exploit a respected intellectual property and turn it into a franchise. Because the authors knew that this would go down like a lead balloon with the fans, the importance of these 'notes' and 'outlines' had been inflated many times until they became some kind of oracular vision, Frank Herbert guiding their writing hands from beyond the grave. The truth of the matter is that if these notes didn't even tell them who the bad guys were, the notes could not have been very comprehensive at all. Oh sure, I think they exist - the stuff with loads of past Dune characters being resurrected as gholas (so they can re-examine their lives and the impact of their decisions five thousand years on) does actually sound like a Frank Herbert idea - but I think we're possibly talking about some very rough, "What if?" brainstorming ideas, certainly nothing to hang a dozen more novels on.

The exciting new chapter in the saga: Hot Air of Dune. Remember to come back next year for the magnificent continuation, Flatulence of Dune.

Since these events, some critical commentary of the new Dune books has sprung up across the Internet. New blog Keeping the Door has charted some of these activities in a recent post, whilst Penny Arcade have a somewhat more robust and succinct view of events. Naturally, none of it matters. The new Dune books keep rolling off the production line, all shiny and new and bereft of anything that can be called tangible writing ability or artistic legitimacy, and keep hitting the bestseller lists. The authors themselves seem to be happy with the situation. Never mind that they once said that:

"You don't do the grand finale and then add a few more books".

Screw that! There's green to be made! So, after the completion of the 'Dune 7' project more books have appeared, filling in the gaps with stories that were so vitally important Frank Herbert completely ignored them. There's also a nice line in Soviet revisionism creeping in, with The Winds of Dune boasting the legend, "The epic sequel to Frank Herbert's Dune", although I have a clear recollection - might be wrong - that such a book already exists under the title Dune Messiah, published in 1969. We're also in line for more books, about the sword masters and the Bene Gesserit and probably a full trilogy on the life-cycle of a Caladanian mollusc before we are done.

What's happened to the Dune universe is nothing less than a shocking fiasco, and I was disappointed to see many of my fellow bloggers happily plugging away this week with giveaways for the new Dune book. C'mon guys, this thing is going to shift bucketloads of copies regardless, you don't need to help them out with this one as well.

The worst part of all of this is that when I went to reread the original Dune itself a couple of years back, I found myself completely unable to get into it. The sound of Frank Herbert spinning in his grave made it impossible to concentrate on the text.


SandChigger said...

Bravo! :)

Hunchback Jack said...

Well said. Succinct, accurate and well backed up with external links.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, and yes.

Sev said...

Damn good post, could've perhaps emphasised more the canon issues thrown up by the current series, but otherwise superb stuff.

TheDukester said...

Top shelf!

Poor Frank began spinning as soon as his clinically dead son let Anderson the Snake-Oil King talk him into handing over the keys to the franchise. Boiled down, it's all just a grab at some money — and fame! — by Kevin J. Anderson, notes or no notes.

But let's not totally despair. The numbers have been consistently down, with Hunters > Sandworms > Paul on the ol' sales chart. Winds seems to be making no impact at all with critics and fans (#300 ranking at Amazon), and we'll get its official New York Times numbers next week.

My guess is our good friend Kevin is going to be long gone by the time his ridiculous "Great Schools" books are supposed to see print.

Unknown said...

Hurrah! An open, honoust and thoroughly researched review.

Adam Whitehead said...

I haven't read the original books for a while, so I was unsure about the canon issues. I remember the one about Jessica's mother (who is mentioned a couple of times and isn't the Emperor's Truthsayer as KJA suggests) and the Buterlian Jihad in particular seems screwed up. The relationship between the Atreides and Ix also seems to be BS.

Gabriele Campbell said...

What I find strange is that Brian seems to have refused to write anything Dune-related for quite some time and suddenly turned 180° when Anderson showed up. Money can't be the sole trigger, I think, because that would have worked sooner.

I mean, if Anderson were a women, I'd understand it; some men will go a great length to please a women they're in lust with, but here .... *shrugs*

Neth said...

I've been waiting for a post like this to show up somewhere, not surprised to see it here.

I have a general sense of apathy about the whole thing - I'm actually one of those rare SFF fanst that didn't think Dune was all that special of a book (maybe becaue I had seen the David Lynch movie one too many times before ever reading the books). I tried the sequels, but never bothered to finish them. So, I've never been interested in the books that follow.

Though I did take a recent shot at it all - as most have you have seen, Tor is doing a big giveaway promo with The Winds of Dune and I was asked to participate (the giveaway prize includes a bag). I rarely seek out giveaways at the blog, but don't shy away from them when offered. So, I accepted. In the time-honored entry methoed started by Pat with an email with a specific title, I couldn't help but rearrange the words a bit. So, to enter the giveaway at Neth Space the email subject needs to be 'WIND BAGS OF DUNE'. I do what I can ;)

Unknown said...

Dune was the first big SF book I read - whilst camping in 1974 - I remeber it well. Completely captivated. Found the first 2 sequels good but stuggled with the follow ups. Perhaps thats one reason I never wanted to read the newcomers!
These day if I reread anything by Herbert I usually read The Dosadi Experiment. (Did reread Godmakers last year).
I guess its like the prequels to Zelazny's Amber series, or Christopher Tolkiens follow ups to LoTR - just not the real thing and I dont want my warm memories burnt and so tend to stay away.
So I guess Im not encourage to change! Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Bloggers who do giveaways don't realize they are tools, but maybe with this extreme case and this post, some of them will think a bit more about it.

Adam Whitehead said...

I agree with the Amber thing, but the Christopher Tolkien example is a bit off. CT only 'edits' material left behind by his father and where that line is blurred - THE SILMARILLION and THE CHILDREN OF HURIN - you can see what he's done by referring to relevant sourcer materials in THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH.

So that's not quite the same thing. Similarly, Brandon Sanderson is in a different situation because we have interviews with Robert Jordan where he's specifically talking about leaving detailed notes and guidelines for another writer to pen the last book should he not be able to do it, and Sanderson has spoken about just doing that and not milking the series any further.

Sandwurm88 said...

Nice review! I agree, KJA and BH won't make it to this "Great Schools Trilogy".

SandRider said...

Not bad at all.
A few little nit-pickings to be had with your interpretations of the facts of the events (the idea of the Butlerian Jihad as "men vs thinking machines" is twisted because of the source - Brian Herbert in "Dreamer of Dune", (what we call the "Dune Over Wheaties" conversation) & some other minor things that are open to debate) but overall a very good recap of what (we think) has happened. (it's SO hard to be sure - TheKJAcket talks out of both sides of his mouth, and Brian only mumbles)

LOVED the captions to the book covers. You get cookie.

and all my fellow Outcast who have posted here forgot to mention our sietch, so I will :

come & get it ...

"Adam Whitehead"
really ?

you're just another SandChigger sock-puppet, aren't you ?

curses! fooled again !

Ludwig said...

"I guess its like [...] Christopher Tolkiens follow ups to LoTR - just not the real thing and I dont want my warm memories burnt and so tend to stay away."

What rubbish.
Christopher Tolkien is an outstanding editor and since his father's death has accomplished a most impressive feat by critically publishing the literary estate. His Unfinished Tales are very well done, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is commendable and the History of Middle-earth series stands out as an exemplary work of philology (without which it would be impossible to appreciate the Lord of the Ring's literary merit). Even his more liberally edited works are superb - The Children of Húrin surpassing all previous editions of that particular story.
Only the Silmarillion might be considered a failure; but then again it was never in a fit literary state to begin with.

Hunchback Jack said...

I'd forgotten the whole "partnership of evil" got started via a Dune anthology proposal that never happened.

KJA no longer (if he ever did) menions that little factoid. He always says something along the lines of "I contacted Brian Herbert to discuss the possibility of a Dune 7".

I guess all I can say is: Liar, Liar pants on fire.


Unknown said...

Actually I didnt comment on their merit- only that as they weren't part of the original canon they therefore didnt necessarily appeal to me.
I am sure CT has done a fine job - and for a change I have purchased S & G to read in due course. I'm afraid the cinical side of me saw a money spinning exercise when it started - so yes I have probably missed out over the years.
Thats the benefit of the internet and blogs like these!

Adam Whitehead said...

It is never wise to trust rumours of Kevin J. Anderson's fall from grace. He always returns, somehow, like Jason even after someone shoves an axe through his skull. 'Darksabre' should have been enough to torpedo anyone's career.

However, I think it is over-saturation that is causing the decline of their sales numbers. The sheer volume of books is ridiculous and is now off-putting to newcomers. I am somewhat concerned that this might spill over and affect sales of Frank Herbert's originals, which would not be a good outcome at all.

Ludwig said...

"I am sure CT has done a fine job - and for a change I have purchased S & G to read in due course."

Regardless of any difference of opinion, I apologize for my somewhat drastic comment (ie "rubbish").

Joe said...

I didn't mind the House trilogy, but The Butlerian Jihad absolutely conquered me and I haven't been back.

Unless there was a reference in the Dune 7 notes regarding what sort (or sorts) of villains would show up in that final volume, I'm very disappointed to learn what they did there. I've put off Dune 7 for a while pending a re-read of the series, but I really hoped that no matter what they did with the prequels, that Dune 7 would be sacred and they only worked from the notes.

I don't suppose there is a chance that Frank Herbert's notes explained the connection between The Butlerian Jihad and Dune 7? If they did, then the created character by BH and KJA isn't that offensive. If they didn't...that's just shitty.

Adam Whitehead said...

Brian Herbert and KJA have basically refused to let anyone else read the notes. They published a photo of the floppy disks with 'Dune 7' written on them a few years ago, which oddly was not very helpful.

I vaguely remember someone claiming that the notes for 'Dune 7' did not even cover one page of A4 and the rest of the notes were for other projects, but I can't remember the source for that.

Joe said...

And that's weird, because the initial reports were that the notes were extensive...and from a cash grab perspective...what better way to make cash than just publish the notes?

Adam Whitehead said...

I wonder if there's been some nice intermingling of the facts going on. I recall Brian Herbert saying that he, quite separately to the 'Dune 7' notes, found a significant raft of notes his father had left behind that he'd jotted down whilst writing the original six books. These notes, when combined, came to several hundred pages and, among other things, contained a significant amount of an early draft of DUNE featuring very different concepts to the finished novel. This is what appeared in that short story collection they released a year or two back.

That is definitely separate to the disks that turned up in a safety deposit box in 1997.

Hunchback Jack said...

In the interview for the "Hunters of Dune" audiobook, Brian said the Dune 7 outline was "just a three-page, er, maybe two-and-a-half page outline", and it was "more clues than precise roadmaps".

So take that for what it's worth.


Unknown said...

I find it best to just stop with God Emperor of Dune, but even it feels like a bit of a stretch.

I like the first two a great deal. I like the middle two a little less.

I couldn't even finish Heretics, the fifth. It was just so... well, I won't get going on it.

But to let a guy like Kevin J. Anderson get his hands on this series... what the hell were they thinking.

Oh yeah, whoring it out. That's what.

Great post man. I loved it.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, thanks. And Heretics and Chapterhouse are great, no matter what some people say ...

Crystal Logic said...

Agreed - Heretics and Chapterhouse were fantastic. In fact, Heretics just might be my top favorite Dune book - yes, sometimes I do think it's even better than the first one.

That fact only made me more anxious to read 'Dune 7', though. Which is how I got suckered into getting those two sequels supposedly based on FH's notes (speaking of those so-called 'Dune 7' floppies... weren't they 3.5" disks? Funny that in '85/'86 those were still incredibly new and in very limited public usage).

And what did I get? Pie being rubbed in my face. Slowly. Deliberately. Across two books. Accompanied by the continuous, sluggish crescendo of a wet fart - the ignoble death-flatus of a great series.

Chris said...

Great summary ! I didn't even know half of it.

I've been a huge fan of Dune for a long time (yes, including the last two books), so I picked up the House trilogy when it came out. I was disappointed and skipped the next books.

Later on I heard about the sequel - Dune 7 - but I wisely did some research before running out to get it. I puked (mentally) so hard when I read what he had done to the universe and to the plotlines that I decided I would systematically pretend it didn't exist.

Unfortunately it seems I will have to puke again, and again...

Brett said...

I didn't even know the atrocities starting with House Atreides were supposedly based off of Frank's notes. Since I didn't, I abandoned the dreck less than halfway through the second book (which is just what this crap deserved).

Love this blog post. Someone finally saying what needed to be said. As mentioned, the worst thing is that every important organization was all created at the same time, by the same people... completely ridiculous.

Steve MC said...

Superb overview. The cover of the book is excellent, too, except for that name at the bottom, which gives the same reaction as seeing Toxic Fungus listed on the side of a box of crackers.

Adam Whitehead said...

I liked HERETICS and CHAPTERHOUSE. They are quite different to the others, and Frank Herbert said at the time he wrote them for the money, but they're also written in a more relaxed style and he's clearly having fun with them. I think Herbert got most of his philosophical musings out of his system with the first four, and decided to make the latter two more action-driven.

Of course, all things are relative. Compared to Anderson and Herbert's works, they are a cross between Proust and Camus as edited by Satre.

Woodge said...

Excellent overview. I too was excited to see what Brian Herbert would churn out but after reading Dune House Atreides I gave up. I've read Dune 4 times and I rarely re-read books. But that one always pulls me in.

SandRider said...

1) floppies were 5 & quarter.

2) Frank didn't write the last two "for the money" per se.

He may or may not have written them anyway, but he was offered more money than a sane man could turn down.

and all you KJA-haters,
come on in:

Ellestra said...

I'm so sorry that you can no longer enjoy original.

I'm glad I quit BH&KJA books after I tried House Arrakis and hated it. It was badly written and out of character. I've read spoilers from time to time to see if there was anything worthwhile in next ones but all I saw in Bulterian Jihad books was lamest AIs ever. So I stayed away from that. I was tempted at Dune 7 but the reviews convinced me it was not worth it. I'd rather live with cliffhanger.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. All the KJA/BH Dune books still in print deserve to be pulped and turned into toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

The Legends of Dune series are extraordinarily cliched. It's bad pulp, no doubt. But I'd dissent from the Orthodox Herbertarians a bit. It IS a fantasy universe, and there's no reason to get upset over it. It seems a little... I don't know, in-need-of-a-life kind of attitude. One simply takes from it what one wishes.

A previous commenter writes: "Boiled down, it's all just a grab at some money — and fame!"

Of course it is -- because they are professional writers, albeit not of a particularly high merit, but nonetheless...

And smart businessmen. The Herbert Estate have this down to a science, no doubt. They want money, which is completely understandable, so they are going to do the best they can to make it. Frank Herbert was no different in this respect, hence all the books, the movie, the merchandise. Don't you all remember the plastic sandworm toys and Glossu Rabban dolls?

The only real difference is in the quality of the writing. Frank Herbert was, simply, a brilliant writer, and KJA/BH can't match that, and that's all this is about.

Anonymous said...

I'll add one more thing to my last comment. The thing that really bugs me about the Dune prequels (and now sequels, inter-sequels and tote bags, etc. etc. etc.) is not even so much the writing, which varies, whatever. It's the way human motives are presented.

It's so one dimensional, I very much dislike it. There are heroes and then there are villains. KJA writes the Star Wars-like mythical hero who is all cupcakes, and BH writes the Mengele robot overlord. And there's no nuance. There's no blurring the lines between heroes and villains, or that there can be false heroes, or that one should avoid and detest superheroes of any form. I take a look at these characters in Legends, for instance, and I don't care about them, I don't care if they die. I wish that crash pod smashed Vladimir Harkonnen in the opening pages. They're all cardboard. Perhaps not the robots, but... eh.

George B. Moga said...

I totally agree with you!
I wish they would release the original notes from Frank Herbert to the public, but I guess that's never going to happen.

Dan Guy said...

I love the original six Dune books, and re-read them all maybe every eighteen months at most. My car sports Dune-inspired vanity plates.

When I heard that notes for Dune 7 had turned up, I really hoped that they'd eventually publish the notes. I'm still waiting for that, hoping against hope.

I read BH&KJA's Houses trilogy via the library, refusing to give it any money, and was a little more disappointed than I had expected to be, but not furiously offended. I can't bring myself to read the others. Just checking their wikipedia pages is enough to bring my rage to a simmering boil. They really need to stop.

Anonymous said...

I remember trying House Atreides when it first came out, thinking and hoping this might be something near the quality of Christopher Tolkein's efforts. I threw the book away half-way through it. It was so badly written, I was astonished that any editor would have accepted it for publication. It read like a first-draft attempt by a junior-high-school-kid for a writing assignment in English class. In fact, I think there are a good many junior high school kids who could easily write prose better than that.

I think it also is a sad commentary on the literary IQ of the average reading public that books written so poorly actually sell. I cannot imagine how anyone could read such bad writing and make it more than a few chapters without putting the book down and walking away.

Allanon said...

"full trilogy on the life-cycle of a Caladanian mollusc before we are done"

hell yeah! I'm up toit! just gimme some "notes" of Frank Herbert and I can start!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Adam Whitehead for helping me come to the conclusion to never read KJA and BH books on Dune and for the detailed information on what happened to turn Dune into Dung! God Blesses you!

Potulný rytier zemplínsky said...

An old article, but an excellent article. Especially those last two paragraphs.