October 5th, 2004, 10:59 PM
December 11th, 2011, 03:26 AM
I first read Dune as a teenager and I liked it. A lot! I read the following novels in the cycle a bit later on. For the most part, I liked them. I found Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune to be a bit more turgid than they should have been...but that was a minor flaw, overall. I chalked it up to those novels being written in a particular time, by an author of a particular age. Heritics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune re-kindled my love of the "Duneverse" and then left me hanging. Since then, I've read the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson continuation of the saga, and I found it acceptable. Passable. I've read the prequel trilogy concerning the Great Houses, and found them to be enjoyable: not great, nothing close to what Frank Herbert himself might have written (He invented the Dune Universe, so naturally he'd be the best writer for it!) but they were OK. Readable. Pleasant time-wasters: rather like the literary version of cheese puffs.
I've since picked up The Winds of Dune. I've tried to read it, but that book has an emetic effect on me. It's nothing but one, dull, uninspired, vaguely cynical cliche after another. It's as if Anderson and Herbert 2.0 simply sat back and decided to turn the literary legacy of Dune into a turn-key money-making operation. It's such a shame too, because Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson probably deserve a lot more respect than they've given themselves with The Winds of Dune.
December 13th, 2011, 07:00 AM
KJA has his place in the wide realm of SF writers, but I'm not really keen on the practice of taking another author's work and expanding on it with your own ideas. It feeds people's desire to read more about the world they loved the first time around, but for me it isn't and can't be the same setting if it hasn't been imagined by the original author.
Anyone can fantasise about the world created by another author, but only the original imaginer knows what really happened, or where the story would have gone next.
I read Dune as a teenager and ploughed through all the books one after the other. I jumped on House Atreides when it came out and was soon disappointed. It wasn't so much bad writing or a rubbish story... it just didn't feel right. As I remember the plot was pretty lame but that's not the point. It didn't feel like the same universe. It felt a tv cartoon version of a classic.
I was always fascinated by the Butlerian Jihad and was desperate to know more, but I won't read the book. As far as I'm concerned it's a legend, a story that was never meant to be told. Reading someone else's version of it would never live up to the mythical status it has in my mind.
December 14th, 2011, 12:58 AM
Reply to megaphage
You hit the nail on the head with your comment. I suspect the main reason why I dislike the Dune prequels is simply because they're somebody else's vision of a universe that they didn't create. I can understand the urge to write a continuation or an explanation: and there's room for that in literature. David Brin, Gregroy Benford, and Greg Bear all wrote additions to Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe...and they did good jobs. I think what I ultimately disliked about the more-recently-written Dune prequels is their greatly diminished quality; the novels going into the histories of the Great Houses were readable and enjoyable to a degree. They lacked the intellectual heft of the Frank Herbert originals, and they lacked the graceful prose (though Herbert went from graceful to ponderous on numerous occasions.) I think what I disliked most was the cynical attitude that seems to have gone into the novels. As (in my opinion, at least) the writing became lazy and uncreative, it seemed as if Anderson and Herbert 2.0 simply decided to make money by putting the name "Dune" on anything, because the hard-core fans were too desperate to care if what they were getting actually lived up to the Dune name.
December 14th, 2011, 01:23 AM
Reading these books is sort of like witnessing a traffic accident; you know it's going to be bad but you can't help looking. I think that might explain at least some of the success of these prequel/sequel series.
Like a lot of others I found them Ok, not nearly up to the standards of the original. The Great Houses prequel's were enjoyable, the Butlerian Jihad series tolerable... I think I'll stop there before it gets worse. It's a completely different style that doesn't quite mesh...
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