Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by wayoung, Dec 22, 2016.
Paul Atreides must protect the Cayenne Pepper!
Because for some reason I can never get the damn image to work I'm quote tweeting the one time I did
People don't have to like the books but I will never understand the death threats.
Like whatever you like. What you spend $20 on is up to you. If anyone is sending death threats to Brian Herbert, he should call the police.
One thing I find reprehensible about this entire NuDune situation is the dishonesty. I do not believe for one moment that the garbage KJA/BH wrote is in any way whatsoever based on any "notes" they may or may not have found in Frank Herbert's desk, garage, attic, or wherever else they claim to have found them, or in what form they claim to have found them in, or how many notes there were.
The story about the "notes" has kept changing over the years, depending on which interview you watch or listen to, or what they've said at conventions. You'd think that would be something they could keep straight, but they can't.
If they're done writing the books (as I heard after the last of the origins of the Bene Gesserit/Mentats/Navigators books were published), why don't they publish these so-called "notes"? There are scholars who would love to study anything Frank Herbert had to say about what his plans were for "Dune 7" and fans would definitely pay $$ for them (and KJA has never been shy about boasting about how much money he makes from these books, so why not make some more from the dedicated fans who have a scholarly take on their favorite authors?).
But... what we get is a shrug and a disingenuous "Oh, why would anybody be interested in those? It's not like there's much to see"... which flies in the face of before when we were told what a treasure trove of notes they'd found.
Another thing I find reprehensible is the attitude Kevin J. Anderson has toward people who don't like his writing. For a professional, he has a really thin skin when it comes to criticism. I don't care how many books of his were on the best-seller list of whatever... if his books bore me, if they annoy me, if I get the impression that he is talking down to the readers, if he appears to have the impression that he can ignore basic scientific principles such as conducting space battles in 3 dimensions rather than 2, or that you can't realistically conduct a STL space battle and have time pass at the same rate onboard the ships AND the planets and the readers would be unaware of this... that means he considers his readers to be stupid, and that is something no science fiction writer should ever do.
When called on such errors, a professional author should not resort to childish insults, calling such readers "Talifans."
I think the most reprehensible thing, though, beyond the inability to get the story straight about the notes, or insulting the readers critical of the books, is the blatant attempt to erase Frank Herbert's own voice from his own creation. Retconning certain details that were clearly established in Dune (Paul's birthplace, Duke Leto Atreides' life, the absolute taboo against thinking machines, the fact that the crossing to Arrakis being Paul's first time off-planet, Duncan Idaho's early military service with the Atreides) was unnecessary, and did not improve the books in which they were inserted.
The part in Paul of Dune in which it was flat-out stated that the novel Dune was no more than a propaganda piece written by Princess Irulan at Paul's orders to manipulate certain biographical facts and cement Paul's role as a messiah, and that therefore everything in Dune was wrong... that's the first time I have ever literally thrown a book across the room in sheer disgust. Two authors who already demonstrated in spades that they had no real understanding of the original six novels, proceed to inform the newer readers that the first novel was wrong in the first place?
That's blatantly saying, "Ignore everything Frank Herbert wrote. Only WE have written the REAL story."
As I used to say at Arrakeen forum: There can be only six. Six original novels by Frank Herbert, with the seventh sadly never finished. Add in the Dune Encyclopedia (which Herbert gave his blessing to, with the caveat that he might contradict some part of it in future novels, which of course he did by creating yet another Duncan Idaho ghola), and other Dune-related material written by Frank Herbert and published in other forms such as the poetry in Songs of Muad'Dib and the essay in Eye.
The rest is bad fanfic that got professionally published. And while I have nothing against fanfic (I write a lot of it myself, in a number of different genres and franchises), I despise bad fanfic that so blatantly disrespects its own source material.
Note that I have never once denigrated KJA's wife or family. I have never denigrated anyone in FH's family who was not involved in the HLP. I actually like Byron Merritt, when he's not so earnestly trying to tell me what a wonderful job KJA/BH did on their books (I realize that back then it was part of his job to convince people to like the nuDune books).
It can't be easy to have a situation where you really want to convince someone that you love the legacy his grandfather left, but be put in the position of having to defend books that try to erase that legacy.
They actually had a line in the books saying the original was all lies and only their stuff is the truth?
It's one thing if the original author decides to retcon things, but for someone else who came in after the author died to do that is pretty disrespect.
To quote the lead character from one of my favorite new shows:
Meh. Their time and money to waste on spinning that drivel.
I don't see a problem with this.
You don't see a problem giving a big "fuck you" to the author who created the universe you're currently writing in, gleefully undoing the canon events and characters that had been established, telling the readers that the original author's work is wrong and that only the new books should be taken as canon?
I don't believe that the intent on the part of BH and KJA was actually what you're claiming, but even if it were, it's their prerogative to do so as those responsible for the Dune property.
Just as it's the prerogative of any private owner of an original Van Gogh or da Vinci to wipe their arse with it, nail it to their garden shed and charge people for the honour of seeing it. And yet, it still makes them uncultured, privilege swine who don't understand and certainly don't deserve what they have. Prerogative doesn't enter into it.
Indeed, this is worse since the parties in question didn't even *pay* for it. They inherited it. It just fell right into their laps, and all they care about is wringing more money out or it with the least amount of effort and imagination possible.
I gave up after Dune Messiah so I'm as happy as I ever was with Dune.
Ha, I was so distracted by Paul running away to join the space circus I had totally forgotten about the whole "Dune is in universe propoganda" junk.
At the risk of sounding insensitive Dune will always exist and no future work will ruin it. So I don't get the disrespect argument.
Sure, but it just seems wrong to me for the people who have been handed to reins of a franchise to take a giant metaphorical shit all over the original source material. And it's even worse when one of the people doing it is the son of the original creator, since you'd expect a son to show his father a bit more respect.
They may have the legal right, but their ethics are at the bottom of a very deep dumpster.
You forgot about the scene where Irulan's biography of Muad'Dib was given to the Fremen to read and they kept wondering why she got it so wrong? Why, everyone knew that the Messiah was born on Kaitain, and not Caladan, and of course he had been off-world several times before coming to Dune, and blah-blah-blah... And it's later stated very explicitly that the entire contents of Frank Herbert's novel Dune is nothing more than made-up propaganda that Paul ordered Irulan to write. That was the point where I threw the book across the room in disgust.
So maybe it wasn't only a "fuck you" to Frank Herbert. It was also a "fuck you" to the fans who don't like the way the HLP turned the series into the cruddy mess it became.
I don't blame Brian for this as much as I blame KJA, btw. I've read some of Brian's own work. It's not bad. His biography of Frank was interesting (though of course I can't know what he left out or changed). But my point is that it was readable and kept my interest, and he didn't see the need to repeat everything every few pages as though he didn't trust the reader to remember.
Of course you don't. Neither do many others I've explained this to over the years.
I've encountered so many people who say they're going to read the whole thing in chronological order, and then after House Corrino they get extremely confused and upset because what they read in Frank Herbert's books contradicts what they read in the KJA/BH trilogies, and they think Frank got everything wrong, how dare he!
Trying to explain to some of these people that the original Dune was published in the early 1960s when the genre of science fiction was not like it is now, when the world was politically different, when the publishing industry was different, and when most SF authors didn't write books in the expectation that they would be optioned for an action movie and therefore paid their readers the compliment of expecting them to be able to think for themselves and handle complex themes without having to have it spoonfed to them... just flew over their heads.
These are arguments that happened on dunenovels.com and at Arrakeen when some of the new readers joined.
Okay, pop quiz here: Where did the creators of the Orange Catholic Bible gather after the conclusion of the Butlerian Jihad to hammer out the details of what to include and leave out or change, in order to create a holy book for the masses that would spread the word that anything even hinting of machine intelligence would be taboo, anathema, forbidden, etc.? The objective was to ingrain this into every citizen's head so thoroughly, that in their gut-level reaction they would believe "thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind" to be a holy truth.
The answer is easy: Hawaii. It says so in one of the appendices of Dune.
To people who read the Legends trilogy, they react like that's impossible: "Earth was destroyed! You can't have a meeting on a planet that was destroyed!"
Frank Herbert's references to the Butlerian Jihad did not include destroying Earth. It was still very much there, alive and intact. Quoting the relevant part of the Appendix and explaining the references to Hawaii made the new readers go... okay, it must have been a space station orbiting the world and they called THAT "Hawaii."
Except that's not what the Appendix says.
Earth still exists at the time of Dune (the year 10,191 A.G.). It's just such a backwater that it's been forgotten and rarely mentioned even in the history books. The only people who really remember it are the Fremen (their remote ancestors were from Earth), the Bene Gesserit Other Memory contains memories of Earth (the B.G. were well-established long before the Butlerian Jihad, thankyouverymuch, so that Sisterhood of Dune novel was quite unnecessary), and of course anyone else with ancestral memories (Alia, Ghanima, and Leto II - all who gained those memories due to their Pre-Born status and therefore had access to ancestral memories on their mothers' side stretching back as far as having ancestral memories was possible). To everyone else, Earth is a myth that they don't bother thinking about. It's there, but forgotten, just like some regions or events in our own reality are still there, but just forgotten over time.
So this is just one of the ways in which the original six books and the HLP-published stuff is a blatant contradiction that can't be reconciled.
I've talked to people who thought Tolkien ripped off J.K. Rowling. It's not worth trying to explain it because people can't sort out a publishing history but take things out face value. Sorry, I don't feel it needs to be an argument. And I certainly don't see the disrespect of a work that continues to exist.
And I, having only read the original, would have gotten that wrong. I thought Earth was destroyed.
No, I wouldn't. Respect is not something that comes automatically, at least in my experience.
Funny you should mention somebody ripping off J.K. Rowling, since Ursula K. LeGuin was rather pissed off that Rowling never acknowledged getting some of her inspiration for Hogwarts and other aspects of Harry Potter from LeGuin's work.
I could go into the ways in which Star Wars ripped off Dune, or even the episodes of TNG in which Picard's Ressikan flute rips off "The Skye Boat Song"... but this thread is about Dune.
People who can't wrap their minds around the fact that material written in the 1960s-1980s is not obliged to follow material written in the 1990s onward would seem to have a math issue going on first of all.
What led you to believe that? Nothing in Dune ever said Earth was destroyed. Or did you not bother to read the Appendices? If that's the case, you missed a lot of interesting material that helps explain the history, technology, and society of the Imperium as it was at the time of the novel's opening. Not everything can be simply inserted into a story with an "as you know...." information dump between characters talking to each other (this is something that is frowned upon in writing).
So you're okay with Brian taking out whatever personal issues he had with his father in the books.
That's a fascinating topic in of itself.
Just the way they talked about Earth in the book. I did read parts of the appendices but strangely they did not stick as well as other SF works would do (i.e. Heinlein)
Sure. Why not? Let him process through it. It doesn't impact me, as flippant as that sounds as I'm writing it. Largely because as much as I love Dune, well, other than the original, I don't have the same connection with it as others do. So, while I get that Brian's take is controversial I'm not going to sit there and demand he pay respect to the original. Sorry, that's not something I feel is necessary. Dune will stand as a great work, no matter what. It doesn't need paltry respect from me, or any other human to ensure that.
It's not that hard to just "hey, Dune was published first". But I'm the kind of person who likes to help make people understand when they made mistake.
There are plenty of ways to disrespect a work without destroying. Insulting it, or coming in as a new author chosen to continue a beloved franchise and dismissing the original source material as bullshit are good ways to do that. Notice how the creators of the post-Rodenberry Star Trek show's stayed as consistent as possible with TNG and TOS, and how the Disney Star Wars creators worked around the original and prequel trilogy and didn't just dismiss them as bullshit and do their own thing.
OK, I will confess there is one time this kind of thing did happen that I actually liked. In the James Kirk "autobiography" he brushes off Star Trek V as a movie in universe. I'll admit it was pretty disrespectful towards the movie, but I thought it was funny. I think it's also a bit easier to get away with something like that when it's a) not very popular, and b) a relatively minor part of the franchise and not the thing that launched the entire franchise and established it's core mythos.
What gave you that impression? I read the book a while back, and I remember wondering about Earth since it was never mentioned in the body of the book, but I don't remember ever getting the impression it was destroyed. I honestly can't remember if I read the appendices.
I would think the fact that the original is a beloved classic, that it was written by Brian Herbert's father, and that out of all of the writers out there, they were chosen to continue the franchise would earn it a lot of respect.
But, the work still stands. My attitude towards it will not change it as a classic. I mean, Gene was famously dismissive of TOS from time to time, with TMP being his "true vision" (or whatever). I understanding wanting to regard the past but there is line to me where respect turns in to ridged ideology. I don't agree with Brian Herbert but good grief do I struggle with the disrespect argument.
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he felt that he could actually go in and adjust things without it because of his closeness to the work. I don't know the man.
But, to be perfectly honest, to you and @Timewalker, I don't believe a work that has stood the test of time can be disrespected in any meaningful way. I truly believe that people basically are being offended for the sake of the original author. And, that's not a burden I am willing to bear.
ETA: I should add that I admire the passionate defense that has been offered for Frank Herbert's work. I think his work, and his legacy, can stand on its own. If someone is willing to engage his work and not be argued in to liking Dune.
Separate names with a comma.