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However I would advise against reading the infinite number of sequels that have been written. They have many devoted fans, but only the devopted fans like them. IMHO they are nowhere at all near as good as the original. A few years ago I sturggled through the first 3 or so, and gave up. I think it was the 1000yr old mutant blind physic worm that my incredulity finally choked at and said. NO MORE.
Anyone want to comment on what the non-Frank Herbert sequels are like. I've not tried them.
Interesting for those that are keen, though, as far as the backstory and all that stuff goes.
One book that pair has done that may be of interest to some is 'The Road to Dune', which is how Dune came to be, an earlier quite different version, etc., which I quite enjoyed.
Tough act to follow, of course, given Dune is a lot of people's favorite book.
His author page has 5 more
Messiah, children, god emperor, heretics and chapterhouse.
Children of Dune
God-Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
Chapter House Dune
The first three go together, they are set in the same time and with approximately the same people. The next three will skip centuries or millennia between books, but still have some of the same people.
What I liked most about Dune was the depiction of the rational human. The characters, at least among the elite, were not blinded by emotion and did not let themselves be misled by wishful thinking. They had to deal with hard reality and the existence of other people. They still had conflicting goals and desires, but they were practical about achieving them.
The later books, not written by Frank Herbert, throw all this out the window. They present a universe that is on the side of the good guys because they are good, where justice and honour will always prevail because it is honourable and just, where any action taken for the right reasons is bound to succeed after the appropriate number of dramatic setbacks. I hate those sequels with the burning passion of a thousand burning suns that are on fire.
Anyway, I picked it up at the library on a whim last week and finished it a day or so ago. I was candidly surprised at how much I liked it this go-round. The other thing that surprised me is how little a book published just about 40 years ago didn't really seem all that dated.
I'll have to look into reading the second and third books at some point.
I agree that the characterisations have changed with the prequels by Brian Herbert - but that isn't too surprising, he is a different writer, after all...
While these books are reasonable reads in their own context - once you hold them up to the light of the original series, there are a lot of problems - my biggest being that pretty much all of the institutions and culture of the Duneverse where started during the Jihad 10,000 years before the rise of Paul Atreides...
The Ginaz school, the Landsraad, the Bene Gesserit, the Bene Tleilax, the Guild, everything...
This seemed to leave a vacuum of cultural development between the Jihad and the Atreides empire - something that offended some part of my idea of the Duneverse.
That said - I'm still going to read the so-called Dune 7 books.
Those sequels his son has been putting out (which I freely admit I haven't read) just seem so cheesy. Not much better than another Star Trek/Star Wars/D&D book. I mean, how long is he gonna flog that horse?
I have read Hellstrom's Hive which was pretty good and The White Plague which was TERRIFIC! Some day I'm going to try The Eyes Of Heisenberg and some of his other stuff.
Dune was obviously his masterpiece, but from what else I have read, he shouldn't just be remembered as 'that Dune guy.'
God Emperor was the last one I really liked of the Dune series, and to me the end was THE END. I was satisfied that the story's loose ends had been tied up. Tried to read Heretics but the magic just wasn't there anymore.
For at least three more books; Brian and Kevin are contracted for another trilogy set between Dune and Dune Messiah.
I thought that the first trilogy they did, the House Atreides/Harkonnen/Corrino trilogy, was pretty good; not as good as the original Dune (what can be?), but it compared favorably with Frank's other books in the series.
After that... the Butlerian Jihad trilogy and the Hunters of Dune duology were okay, really, but their concept of thinking machines just never quite jibed with my mental picture. I was expecting Skynet, and got... uh, something else. ;)
With Paul of Dune's return to the Imperium, I find myself looking forward to see what Brian and Kevin have to offer.
Anyway, I guess I feel like Dune is such a classic it should be left alone. I didn't mind Frank Herbert churning out the sequels. It was his private universe after all.
But Brian, please let it go, man. To me no matter how well written they are, these ca$h in sequels not written by the original author just cheapen Dune's image.
Dune as a series is now like the endless fantasy series (Wheel Of Time for instance) that start well, but drag on and on exploring every last nook and cranny of originality until finally nobody cares.
Personally, I just copy/paste and use the HTML <i>/</i> tags...
But Brian, please let it go, man. To me no matter how well written they are, these ca$h in sequels not written by the original author just cheapen Dune's image.
Dune 7 I can't fault him for writing. Frank's death resulted in an unfinished story. The others... *shrug* I enjoy them. But I can certainly understand points of view like yours.
Christopher Tolkein springs to mind, too. Sure, dad had notebooks, but he can't have had that many notebooks.
The last time I read all six books consecutively, I got the feeling that Herbert was really intending to write a seventh, not just to bring the storylines together, but to present a concluding idea. I'm not sure his son will be able to pull that off.
(On a related not, the "official" reason for all the Dune prequels and spin-offs was to give Brian Herbert the opportunity to flex his writerly muscles before starting Dune #7 on the basis of his dad's notes, but I've stopped believing that. There are just too many of those books. If he hasn't been able to grow into the Dune universe by now, he never will).
Firstly, Frank Herbert spent seven years planning the Dune saga. It is a philosophical journey, believe it or not. I think God Emperor of Dune rises to the level of literature. Herbert asks and answers a whole series of questions among which are the force of religion and the human impulse( if not need) to embrace religiosity and myth; the nature of pre-cognition; the use of drugs for mind enhancement; and the manipulation of events by those in power.
Along with the Foundation trilogy (and even the other two written by Isaac) Dune is some of the best writing in sci fi...and great writing reflects great thinking.
From what I understood, Herbert spent seven years working on the first novel, which was serialised in Analog in 1963 and 1965 as 'Dune World' and 'The Prophet of Dune' before it was finally published as a novel. The sequels seemed to have been written following the success of the original novel, and demand from fans & publisher for more.
Umm… he did write Dune 7; it was published in two parts, as Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune.
I can understand that being the reasoning behind the House Atreides trilogy. And much as I might have not particularly enjoy them, the Butlerian Jihad trilogy did lay groundwork for "Dune 7" (at least, as presented by Brian and Kevin), so I can't fault
In my opinion, the most "Dune-like" writing was in those first three books. But, the Herbert estate was obviously happy enough with them; and they're the theoretical arbiters of quality.
Thank you for those posts. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read the Dune saga yet (you can flog me later), but as of a week or two ago I finally completed what I thought to be a complete set of the first three from used-book stores (I tend to be picky with my $1.25 books - I want them to still be close to pristine). Anyway, I intended to only get the first three, because so many had told me not to bother with the rest of the series. Between you two, and reading the reviews on the God Emperor of Dune page, I'm convinced that I need to at least read book 4, even if I don't end up loving it. Guess my collection's not quite complete & ready to read, but at least now I know!
Thanks for the correction, ATimson! Goes to show I live too much in the past. ;)
haylan, very good point about the religious aspect. There are so many themes, especially in the latter 3 books, that I keep forgetting half of them if I haven't read the books recently. Time for a re-read! :)
God Emperor of Dune felt like an end to me - like it didn't need to go any further, but when I read Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune I felt that Frank Herbert was starting a second trilogy set in the same universe - with the fourth book as the darker time-span setup for the second trilogy and the dark 'end' to the first dune trilogy, combined.
(warning: angry rant below, many biased opinions and potshots taken at the author$.)
Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson's books, however, have left a terrible aftertaste to the original richness I felt for the original Dune series (even if I wasn't particularly fond of and/or disliked some of the books in the original six.) Their version of the 7th Dune book, in particular, (broken into two book$: Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune,) is an atrocious mass-slaughtering of the original mythos / arcs (just how many deus ex machina moments can they POSSIBLY add to these stories?!) I mean, why didn't they just tack-on a hollywood-romantic-comedy-ending?
OH WAIT, THEY DID! (If I had wanted to read a romantic comedy, I would have read a romantic comedy not the 'last books of the dune saga' !)
I feel fortunate that I haven't spent any money for their grotesque, pulpy, cheap-star-trek-novel-guilty-pleasure 'creation$' .... (I nearly sprained my eyeballs from rolling them so hard during the 'prequel' trilogy... GACK.) I honestly don't believe that Brian Herbert followed (or even *understood*) his father's notes... and if he DID follow them to the letter, god save the queen because this ship has sunk.
Someone here mentioned they'd read Dune as a teen and didn't like it, but just re-read as an adult and enjoyed it. The same thing happened to me, and I'm pretty sure it's just because I wasn't mature enough for it the first time around. The second and third times, as an adult, I thought it was pretty amazing.
The third time I read Dune, I went straight on to read Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune, all in a row. I thought God Emperor was pretty amazing. I mean, there might have been some clunky writing, and too many Duncans, but the ideas were intriguing. I read these books in quick succession because I was writing a review of Sci Fi's second mini-series, Children of Dune, which of course encompassed both Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.
What impressed me about the first Sci Fi mini-series was that it incorporated what the books are really about to me -- that prophecy is a burden, on all concerned: those who state the prophecy or see the future, those who live it out, and those who believe it all along. The mini-series also showed that Paul knew precisely what he and Jessica were doing: taking advantage of a planted prophecy for their own survival and revenge. The David Lynch version didn't even begin to touch on these themes.
I'm interested to read The Butlerian Jihad because I think it will answer questions that God Emperor hinted at all along. However, I'm not sure I'm willing to put up with many volumes of Harkonnen intrigue and incest. I think there's only so much mileage to be gotten out of that.
Brian & Kevin have written two prequel trilogies and then the final 'two' books of the Dune saga (from Frank Herbert's 'Dune 7' notes.)
Prelude to Dune:
Dune: House Atreides
Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Corrino
Legends of Dune
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
Dune: The Machine Crusade
Dune: The Battle of Corrin
Hunters of Dune
Sandworms of Dune
They are also writing a trilogy that is between the third, Children of Dune and fourth books, God Emperor of Dune of the original Dune saga.
Hmmm, I'm thinking I should read the 3 "Legends of Dune" books, at least.
I like your point about rationality. I think the first three books especially should be required reading for philosophy majors. There's a lot of neat stuff going on in there about choice, knowledge, consciousness, etc.
Plus, I love the ecological mindset--through Liet & co. Herbert really was throwing out some Gaia/land-pyramid kind of thinking that was a bit ahead of the curve.
I find Dune 1 to be the best-scripted, as it were: it doesn't necessarily have a gritty, realistic tone, but rather a very charged on-stage kind of feel, with lots of dialogues and monologues, here and there some action and landscape-shots. The action fleshes out the ideas very well; the books sort of slope off after Dune, with the characters and plot feeling very secondary to the speeches that Leto and others get to make.
His other SF is neat, none quite at the level of writing as Dune. Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment are fun, and have some proto-Fremen kind of attitudes. I also recommend The Green Brain, The Santaroga Barrier, Hellstrom's Hive, and The Dragon in the Sea,
I highly recommend Timothy O'Reilly's "Frank Herbert", which is a critical reading of Dune and other writings; it pulls together a lot neat themes. If you can find it...
Also check out http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/sff.shtml .
Oh and KJ is a ghoul.
Please don't. Those will turn you off the whole enterprise. At least, they did me. I don't want to be unnecessarily rude, but half way through the second of the series it hit me that this really was unmitigated rubbish and that by buying the books I was supporting something I really didn't want to be associated with. It's rare for me to agree with the more extreme reviews on Amazon, but expressions like "paid by the word" really hit home (in spirit; no doubt they're not literally true).
I did enjoy the Prelude to Dune series, though. No doubt they would suffer by comparison to the originals, but I didn't really feel any need to compare them.
About the original trilogy, does anyone share my sentiment that Dune Messiah is underrated?
Especially as one of my cats got stuck in the sleeve of my husband's jacket once. Then she stuck her front paw through past her "elbow", so there was no going backwards. We were just about to cut her out when she finally wiggled through....
Back on topic, umm, well, let's see.
Aha! I have some production artwork from the Dune mini-series on my wall, signed by the artist. A friend's dad was the producer, and she got to go to Prague to see some of the filming, and brought us back the artwork as a gift.
(OK, that was sort of related!)
I belong to several Dune discussion forums, and there is quite a gap at times between those who consider the new books equally as canonical as Frank Herbert's books and those who -- to borrow a phrase -- say that "There can be only six!" (referring to the six FH-authored novels).
Has anyone here read National Lampoon's Doon? How about the Dune Encyclopedia? Those are quite good, too.
Absolutely you should give it a shot.
The Dune Encyclopedia is pretty cool, yeah.
I believe that both movie franchises would have benefited incredibly from the use of a narrator over the action. Lynch's version did that a little bit with the voice of Princess Irulan, but it wasn't nearly enough. Herbert's universe is so rich and complicated that no viewer could possibly be expected to understand what he or she is seeing without having read the books first. That's why the movies are such a let down for so many people, I think. If there was a constant narrator, certain elements could be "explained" to the audience while watching the movie.
On another note, I agree with rojse in that Dune Messiah is too short. It doesn't feel like it quite belongs as its own novel. Notice how even the font size and formatting are larger than the other ones! LOL. Anyway, good chat, everybody.
I wonder if this new version will cast the Harkonnens as the good guys, fighting a losing battle against Fremen "insurgents" while trying to introduce democracy to Arrakis and protect the planet's spice industry... :-)
the proper pronunciation is HAR-kuh-nen.
I have the four LPs of excerpts from Dune read by Frank Herbert, but I haven't actually listened to them - I don't have a working turntable :-( But I suspect the pronunciation given above is taken from them or from interviews.
I read the first three original Dune books at least twenty years ago.
Last year I decided to read the entire series - prequels, originals, sequels.
I am just about finished with the third prequel trilogy.
While it has been too long to compare them to the original ones, I have enjoyed them. I certainly do not feel as if I have wasted my time.
Of course this is one person's opinion, I could be wrong.
Perhaps if I picked up the book today my attitude would change toward the book...but I doubt it.
>64 Lynxear: It has many religious references yes, but to say the tone of the book themselves is religious, I wouldn't think so.
It does treats religions in general including most major faiths of today (or whatever they've become after millennia of speculated history) as equally human, historical, mutable phenomenons susceptible to manipulation, which might bother some I guess.
Earlier in the year I had read The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and this bowled me over. It struck me as The Prince discovers PR. On reading Dune I recognised so much in it from "The Leopard". The politics and development of perceptions are to the fore in both books.
"The Leopard" is set in Sicily at the time Garibaldi was carrying out his revolution that led to the unification of Italy.
You might also really enjoy the Dune mini-series. It was 6 hours (with commercials, so maybe about 5 hours in actuality?) so it could explore the themes in more depth. There is also a follow-on mini-series titled Children of Dune that covers the events in the books Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. They're both available on DVD.
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