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Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

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Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Old 08-22-09, 12:12 AM
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Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

I've just re-read Frank Herbert's Dune after a hiatus of about 35 years. While the intervening decades have given me a different and deeper appreciation of its many virtues, I've found that it's still as fabulous as I remember and of course I'm still in love with the Lady Jessica. In any case, I see that there are now about a dozen prequels and sequels that are available, some written by Herbert himself and others by his heirs & successors. Broadly speaking, are these worth spending time on or are they just out there to generate money for the estate? Reviews on Amazon seem mixed. Any input would be appreciated.
Old 08-22-09, 12:27 AM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Personally, I enjoy the original 6 the best, but the first prequel trilogy is also good, as well as the "Dune 7" books (Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune) that were written based on an outline Herbert had created for a 7th book in his own series before he died. However, the books written by Herbert's heirs might mimic his style competently enough, but they never reach his emotional depths.

I didn't care nearly as much for the second prequel trilogy.

Last edited by Living Dead; 08-22-09 at 12:32 AM.
Old 08-22-09, 05:40 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

I've read and mostly loved the original six that were written by Frank Herbert:
Dune
Dune Messiah
Children of Dune
God Emperor of Dune
Heretics of Dune
Chapterhouse: Dune

But I've avoided the prequels and sequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Why? A number of reasons.

1) Books with more than one author are usually terrible. How many great works of fiction have multiple authors? And if Brian and Kevin have any talent, why don't they try writing their own stories for a change?

2) It took Frank Herbert 20 years to write six books. Brian and Kevin have been writing one novel a year for the last decade. Could they really maintain the same level of quality? And the newest book actually takes place between the 2nd and 3rd of Frank's novels. It's a sequel AND and prequel!

3) I consider The Dune Encyclopedia to be the authoritive history of the Dune Universe. It wasn't written by Frank, but it was published with his approval and in his lifetime. And even if you're not interested in ANY of the Dune books, I would still recommend The Dune Encyclopedia because it's simply one of the best works of Speculative Fiction ever written. Rather than using the approved Encyclopedia as their basis for the prequels, Brian and Kevin decided to go their own way.

The most prominent example of a change they made for the worse may be in the Butlerian Jihad, a war about 10,000 years earlier that was the foundation for the current civilization. Frank doesn't elaborate on it much in his books, but the Encyclopedia laid it out pretty well. Some humans became incensed that artificial intelligence (thinking machines, as they're called) has become so prominent in the universe, so they start a religious crusade against societies that continues to use a.i. And because thinking machines are forbidden, the human mind has to evolve resulting in Mentats, the use of spice for space navigation, etc.

Brian and Kevin apparently thought that was a terrible idea and instead made the Butlerian Jihad a war of man vs. machine. Y'know like in the Terminator movies.

Some people have said good things about some of the prequels/sequels, but really why waste the time?

Last edited by Dr. Mantle; 08-22-09 at 05:46 PM.
Old 08-22-09, 06:02 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Originally Posted by Dr. Mantle

Some people have said good things about some of the prequels/sequels, but really why waste the time?
I'll play....

Because, god forbid, the OP should form his own opinion and enjoy them?
Old 08-22-09, 07:23 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

I think that the prequels are a good addition to the story line with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's original story lines but the sequels that they made from frank Herbert's source material were a little forced with the way they tried to write them like Frank Herbert did IMO of course...but they do tie off the story well.
Old 08-22-09, 10:06 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

I've read the sequels Frank Herbert himself wrote, which comprise two loosely connected trilogies. None of them were quite as impressive as Dune, but I remember them being, for the most part, worthy sequels. They certainly get more ambitious.

As for the ones written by his son and Kevin J. Anderson, I haven't read them. However, I have read other works by Kevin J. Anderson, Star Wars and X-Files novels (he almost exclusively writes within other people's worlds). I'd come to the conclusion that Kevin J. Anderson is a horrible, awful writer, which steered me clear of the prequels/further sequels.

For a second opinion:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/10/15/

Last edited by Jay G.; 08-22-09 at 10:10 PM.
Old 08-22-09, 11:39 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Originally Posted by Dr. Mantle
1) Books with more than one author are usually terrible. How many great works of fiction have multiple authors? And if Brian and Kevin have any talent, why don't they try writing their own stories for a change?

2) It took Frank Herbert 20 years to write six books. Brian and Kevin have been writing one novel a year for the last decade. Could they really maintain the same level of quality? And the newest book actually takes place between the 2nd and 3rd of Frank's novels. It's a sequel AND and prequel!

3) I consider The Dune Encyclopedia to be the authoritive history of the Dune Universe. It wasn't written by Frank, but it was published with his approval and in his lifetime. And even if you're not interested in ANY of the Dune books, I would still recommend The Dune Encyclopedia because it's simply one of the best works of Speculative Fiction ever written. Rather than using the approved Encyclopedia as their basis for the prequels, Brian and Kevin decided to go their own way.
Whenever I see a novel credited to a celebrity or the child of a famous author I assume that the heavy lifting is being done by a co-author, who may or may not be listed. In this case my assumption is that Brian Herbert is just there for his last name and that these are essentially Kevin Anderson books.

The Dune Encyclopedia is regrettably out of print, no doubt due to the issues you mention. Used prices seem a bit steep for a copy in good condition, but I'll keep my eye out for it.
Old 08-23-09, 11:48 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

When the prequels came out, I was eager to read them. Bought the first one in hardcover, which I virtually never do. It was complete trash. The plotting and pacing were just horrible, and the dialogue verging on unreadable. It was like a high school kid writing dialogue, trying to work in plot points into the dialogue that had no natural flow at all. The "as you know, this and that happened" kind of amateur crap.

I actually finished the thing (hell, I paid $20-whatever for it, I was damn well gonna finish it). But it almost certainly was the worst book I ever actually finished. Haven't touched anything written by the duo since.

Really poor writing. Unreadably poor.
Old 08-24-09, 02:41 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

This thread certainly contains a wide variety of thoughts on the books. For some reason, I have all but the most recent two and have yet to read anything Frank didn't write.
Old 08-24-09, 03:04 PM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Originally Posted by Dr. Mantle
2) It took Frank Herbert 20 years to write six books. Brian and Kevin have been writing one novel a year for the last decade. Could they really maintain the same level of quality?
To be fair, Frank Herbert was writing many other novels during that 20 year period.

In the years 1965-1970, besides Dune and Dune Messiah, he also wrote:
Destination: Void (1966)
The Green Brain (1966)
The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966)
The Heaven Makers (1968)
The Santaroga Barrier (1968)
Whipping Star (1970)

So that's 8 novels in 7 years. What's more, most of those were serialized in magazines before published as novels, so he was writing pretty near non-stop.

I don't feel being prolific is necessarily a sign of low quality. For example, one of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, has been averaging a novel every 9 months since the mid-eighties.

Last edited by Jay G.; 08-26-09 at 12:21 AM.
Old 08-26-09, 12:09 AM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Originally Posted by Jay G.
I don't feel proficiency is necessarily a sign of low quality.
Agreed. Being prolific (I assume that's what Jay meant, not proficient) is by no means a sign of low quality. The sign of low quality for the prequels is the crappy writing, not the timeframe.
Old 08-26-09, 12:21 AM
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Re: Dune: Quality Of Prequels/Sequels?

Originally Posted by mgbfan
Agreed. Being prolific (I assume that's what Jay meant, not proficient) is by no means a sign of low quality.
Yes, I meant prolific. Fixed.

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