Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brian, Leave Dune Alone!

Dune is my favorite book. By "favorite" I mean it would be the one book I would take with me to a deserted island. I have read the original series (first 6 books) over and over again, and I keep returning to it.

When Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert's son, first started publishing the House and Legends trilogy, I was generally happy about the concept. After all, what could be bad about reading more of your favorite fantasy world? The books that Bryan wrote weren't as good, but they served as some sort of history archives, setting up the background and the events that led to the Dune story.

Six books of Pre-Dune weren't enough for Brian. Obviously, the trick seemed to be working - write anything that says "Dune" on it, and people will buy it. Yeah, I bought all 6 books of the two trilogies by Brian Herbert. And it was starting to feel weird.

Then came Hunters of Dune. And it wasn't good. At all. Hunters of Dune was supposed to let us know what happened after the somewhat-cryptic ending of Frank Herbert's final Dune book, Chapterhouse: Dune. It is a badly written book, that utterly ruins the spirit and beauty of the original Dune. Frank Herbert was a gifted writer and a man of amazing imagination. His son falls seriously far from that tree, and another writer in the form of Kevin Anderson doesn't really help.

What Frank Herbert could convey in one paragraph, now took a whole page. Perhaps they needed to fill the pages. Maybe the publisher thought it would be a good idea. People love FAT books, and you can charge more for them, can't you?

I didn't even touch Sandworms of Dune. Frankly (no pun intended), I'm too scared. I don't want to read Brian's version of the future of Dune. I know it won't be good. I love Dune too much, and I don't want any more horrible books by the no-good son to spoil it for me.

It could have ended here. But nooooooooooooooooo. Brian apparently needs more money or something of the sort. He is bored, perhaps. His friend, Kevin, probably also feels the need to milk this cash-cow some more. The pair are planning YET ANOTHER SERIES of books, this time more Pre-Dune.

The first volume in the series, Jessica of Dune, is scheduled for an autumn 2009 release in trade paperback. The other books in the series are Irulan of Dune and Leto of Dune for releases in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

And I say - Brian, Leave Dune Alone! In the name of Shai-Hulud! Leave us with the glorious, wonderful world that your father has created, and stop sucking the marrow out of this poor cash-cow that you have found.

Fat chance, though. I hope the upcoming Dune movie will bring us some happiness. In the mean time, we can watch Brian and Kev ruin yet another piece of the Dune universe.


Anonymous said...

Yup, the Terrible Two of Herbert Jr. & Anderson pretty much soiled the whole Dune experience for me. I think the only worse scifi experience I've had was suffering through the Star Wars prequels...

SandChigger said...

Just a few clarifications, for the record. ;)

Paul of Dune is the first of four "Heroes of Dune" books and it comes out next month, on September 16.

A lot of us (Orthodox Herbertarians. Join our Jihad!)suspect that it is really Kevin doing most of the writing. We also believe that there was no "Dune 7" outline or it was too short and incomplete and contained little of what they gave us in Hunters and Sandworms. And those boxes and boxes of notes and materials they found in Brian's garage attic were probably mostly grocery lists and recipes, etc.

The HLP (Herbert Limited Partnership) apparently has no shame and little integrity and from what we can gather exercise no editorial control whatsoever over what Kevin and Brian write and publish under the Dune brandname. The only Frank they seem to care about now is the "-lin" one on the $100 bill.

(One final point: melange turns the whites of your eyes blue, not the iris. :D )

Anonymous said...

I definitely think it's Anderson doing the writing. And not just most of it - I'd say all of it, or so close as to make no difference. There is no difference in the writing style between these new 'Dune' books and Anderson's shitty Seven Suns books. Which, because I'm sick that way, I read the first three of. :D

SandChigger said...

(I've read some of Brian's Timeweb, the first book in a series he is (supposedly) writing on his own, and it is horrible, much worse than the Dune books. FWIW.)

Revital Salomon said...

Well, guys, I don't CARE if Santa Claus himself writes the f$%$^ books. They suck and this must be stopped!

I started re-reading the entire, ORIGINAL, Dune series. And it's so wonderful...

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. The "Legends" trilogy I thought was OK, since it takes place so long in the past. But "Hunters of Dune" and "Sandworms of Dune" were garbage. Utter garbage. And now they're doing to write a four-book series beginning with "Paul of Dune."

SandChigger said...

Aw, Rivital, tell us how you REALLY feel. :D

The first of the new books I read was The Butlerian Jihad. I'd passed on the "Houses" because they just didn't sound interesting. But something about the Jihad, THE formative event in Duniverse history, now that would be interesting.


I couldn't believe the cover contained both "Dune" and "Herbert" on it, it was that bad.

The "Legends" may take place in the distant past—from the point of view of Dune—but they're also set 11,000-plus years in our future. Vroom-vroom FTL spaceships, Transformer-Terminator robots, and Jans-in-the-Pans evil humans-gone-bad? The Hacks Twain have NO imagination whatsoever.

(Did enjoy the piranha mites eating that guy's nads, though!)

Lord Nemo said...

Yeah but Chig, seriously, even the pirhana mites are old hat (..i loved it too ;)) Luckily, i managed to get all the prequels second-hand, so no money to the HLP. Couldn't even read most of House Harkonnen as about 150 pages were missing and replaced with the previous 150 pages.

I will not, under any circumstance, make the same mistake of buying and reading anymore tripe from the Hacks Twain again. Will not even stretch to the 75p they will charge for it second-hand, not after the traumatising experience of reading the PoD extract. I need therapy.... :s


Revital Salomon said...

Lord Nemo, I also swore an oath not to spend another dime on these horrific, lame, so-called tales of Dune. I think Brian Herbret and Kevin Anderson are lame writers with no talent, no depth and no respect to the genius who actually wrote Dune.

I actually don't remember much of any of the books they wrote - yet another sign of the shallowness of their writing. They have damp hands!

Ampoliros said...

2 things; first Rivital, your a beautiful woman with beautiful mind, and second, KJA...represents all that is wrong with capitalism and the free market. As much as it works, it allows crap like this to be inflicted upon great literature. Too me, Dune is the second greatest spiritual experience I've ever had and its all about the human spirit and what it can do (great and terrible). The new 'books' IMHO seek to destroy that spirit through their base mediocrity. So yes, Please! Brian, for the love of all that is Holy as well as "sacred Human presence" that your father wrote of, LEAVE DUNE THE F ALONE.

Morgaine said...

i totally agree
good thing i stopped buying right after the House trilogy and throw them out already

but Yes, Brian, enough is enough!

Cairon said...

I think I love you...

Hand of Leto said...

İt may seem strange but i am deeply devoted to Dune. What brian and kja are doing is nothing short of Harkonnen greed. İ feel we've been given a glimps of what is in store for mankind in the Dune Chronicles. it's a shame that these two see nothing more than money in it. its clear the son is not an extention of the father in this case.

MirrorIX said...

Well I went out and bought the autographed hard back copy of "Paul Of Dune" hoping that perhaps this particular book, given the title, might be a little closer to what is found in "Dune Messiah."
I was mistaken. After reading all the prequels and purchasing the audio version of "Hunters Of Dune", I told myself I wouldn't bother buying any more. I additionally had bought "Maker Of Dune" when it was first published. I think I should have stuck to my resolve. After reading so many books from these two, I bought 4 of the Seven Suns books and some of Anderson's lesser known titles as well as some of Brian's earlier works "Sudana, Sudana", "Race for God." I'm beginning to form a theory about Brian's participation in all this. I think he hated and to some extent still harbors ill feelings toward his parents. That's why he has persisted in doing this. It's why he hasn't taken better care of his fathers work and he's allowing yet another director to try to film another "Dune" picture in a 2.5 hour format. I think he also is showing contempt for all his fathers fans in this latest book because he and Kevin have lifted the essential parts of the showdown at the Battle of Arakeen at the end of "Dune" and inserted, reworked into this latest novel as back story of Paul's youth. By doing so I think he hopes to make a point that if it's panned that readers will:
1. revile his fathers own plot indirectly making them look foolish.

2. Cause people to re-evaluate their opinions of his father and mother's original work.

I admit it's speculative but I wouldn't say motiveless because of the neglect, and abuse he mentions happening to him and his siblings, in "Maker."

While the story isn't what I thought it would be, it isn't all bad. Some of the little prefaces his father is known for putting above each chapter, seem more in tune with his fathers' writing in this new book. The time that Paul and Duncan spend together is welcome if perhaps not what Frank would have written.

If anything Dune, is a must have for you, I would recommend waiting to buy this second hand. If you like many who have given up, buy Stanislaw Lem's book "Fiasco" instead, it's an appropriate word for the work in "POD."

Revital Salomon said...

Well, MirrorIX, I am fighting myself pretty hard, trying to avoid buying another Brian Herbert piece of crap. So far - I am winning. I am re-reading the original Dune series now (I am in the middle of Children of Dune) - and it helps quench the Dune thirst. I don't think I'll buy any more Brian books. I might read it if someone handed it to me - but I doubt even that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am sure there was a Dune 7 outline and notes. I know an editor who saw them.

However, if the two followed the outline closely is a whole other story. I'd love to see the original outline published but I doubt it will ever be published because the two don't want the world to know how much they screwed with the master's works and intentions.

By the way, Frank Herbert Ltd, ie Brian Herbert, required anyone who saw the outline to sign a NDA. That's classy.

Carlos Santillan said...

We all had a laugh when Byron, in the Dune Novels forum, lazily cut and pasted the change of title to the following novels and he announced: Title change: Jessica to the Winds of Dune and Irulan to The Throne of Dune. :) Jacurutu!!

Martijn said...

You are absolutely right... A terrible ending!! It was almost as if I was reading an other version of the matrix! "Neo"/"Duncan Idaho" merges with the machines and has to find a balance between machines and humans.
It seems to me, that one book would be sufficient, but two is better then one... (from a publishers point of view)

Anonymous said...

Y'all niggers drinking dat haterade.

Georgevargas2005@yahoo.com said...

Brah, teh Jakes on US. Even though they suck, they always reach the best seller list.

I bought the prequels, and i bought that butholeran jihad book/ teenagers diary. That was about the time i slammed the 5 pound hardcover book on my table and said Enough, is ENOUGH! I never bought another piece of their garbage. I tried reading the whisper of caladan short story but cringed at the first paragraph and stopped there. O gawd, why u do this?

I left the dune series, i look for quality works now. I suggest to anyone who misses Frank Herbert, to read his OTHER WORKS. He wrote more than dune, there are so many books and short stories. They offer another chance to read a book through his unique and creative perspective. What is great about Frank Herbert is that he ends alot of his stories with cliff hangers, maybe he meant for dune 6 to end the series? This urges you to use your imagination and let go of the walking stick that was dune 1-6. The dune universe cannot end, its impossible so what better way to end the series? Dune 6 bids farewell to the readers with all the main characters starting anew, being pursued by a dangerous enemy much like in dune 1. Then there is the personal message in the form of the free face dancers who represent Frank Herbert and his wife at the end. Isnt this evidence enough? Frank was going to die, he knew it. He could not find solace after the death of his wife and structured the end as the ultimate end, a cliffhanger. It is just his style, appreciate it and MOVE ON.

Iakin Nefud said...

I have read most of the dune prequels, sequels and regretted it mightily,I always hoped they would improve... nope. it's like a copy of something that degrades with every new iteration.
However, i thought the idea was good, the concepts great, but the delivery failed, terribly. BH and KJA can't write for shit. Seen the "official" website? i cried.

G said...

I, like all Dune aficionados, have bought and read every book even these two have put out. Shame on me, but I can't get enough of the universe.
The new books suck so bad it's... it's... they just make babies cry.
One poster said it all: FH could do in a single paragraph what these guys take two pages to do. I'd bet hunters and sandworms would've been a 300 page novella, tops. I'm rereading the originals but I know that I'll never make it through hunters and sandworms again.