Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aldo, Aug 9, 2013.
Seriously? Now I feel even better about avoiding those books like the plague.
Yep. The nuDune version is that Paul wanted to really play up the religion stuff, so he had Irulan spin a tale about him doing and learning everything we saw in Dune, except it really wasn't true. FFS, KJA/BH have Paul literally run off-planet and join the circus (the Jongleurs), when he was 12 (I think; it's been awhile since I read that book). Of course we Orthodox Herbertarians pointed out that it says very specifically in Dune that Paul's first off-world trip was to Arrakis, at the age of 15. They just dismissed it and said Irulan had written a propaganda tract at Paul's orders, and THEIR version of the events before, during, and after Dune was the "correct" one.
They committed one of the cardinal sins of writing science fiction: they assume their audience is stupid, and either didn't understand FH's books or would just shrug it off and accept the new version. After all, we do live in an age where George Lucas continually re-butchered his own Star Wars universe and the audience still watched the movies and bought the books, right?
They miscalculated with the group of us who pushed back. George Lucas could do any damn thing he wanted with SW; he owned it and was still alive to make those decisions. But Frank Herbert is not alive, and I think he would be appalled to see what's been done to his legacy.
What the..? You mean they actually retconned Dune itself to be a propaganda piece produced by Irulan at Paul's behest? Some might consider that clever and meta, but undermining the central narrative of Dune in such a profound way hardly seems worth just having that kind of "cool twist."
But Lucas' "butchering" was pretty tame, all things considered. Arguably a better analogy to the Pinky and the Brain situation would be the butchering committed by some of the SW books themselves, something that KJA was involved in, not coincidentally ( though he was far from the worst offender ).
To be fair, J.R.R. Tolkien himself completely retconned the Riddles in the Dark chapter from The Hobbit, changing it almost entirely in later editions. In The Lord of the Rings, the original chapter is retconned in to being a lie Bilbo told people about how he acquired the ring. A total George Lucas move, that very few people I meet seem to know about.
Definitely a piece of trivia that gets the ladies interested.
I think there's a *big* difference between an author retconning their work (which is their right) and retconning someone else's--particularly if that someone else was the originator of the IP.
However we may dislike what Lucas did with Star Wars post RotJ, it's his baby, he can do with it as he pleases. Same for Tolkien and anyone else for that matter. What Brian Herbert & KJA did was take one of the most highly regarded works of Science Fiction literature and spin off a flurry of inferior publications that did little more than cash in on Frank's notoriety, using his son's name in an attempt to legitimise the whole thing.
Not that it's a big deal IMO. In a the years and decades ahead, people will still be reading the original Dune and only an unwary few will get a nasty shock when curiosity leads them to some cheap obscure spin-off novels.
The idea that Irulan's account of the original Arrakis incident is incorrect and coloured with propaganda is an interesting premise with solid story-telling potential.
Sadly, these people have zero interest in story-telling, and are only interested in sensationalist ideas that will help them milk the franchise further.
That's exactly what they did. Most of my books are still packed away, or I could dig out my copies of Paul of Dune and Winds of Dune* and quote the relevant text.
*KJA himself asked me in an email why, if I hated his books so much, did I continue to read them. I said I kept hoping (in vain) that they'd get better.
I've been rereading the first Dune book as part of my Dune series reread, and even though this is about my fifth time reading it, I always forget how the first book sometimes gets kind of caught up in trying to be "deep" sometimes. Its a classic and I love it, but for a short while (from Paul and his mother's escape to the desert after the attack that kills Duncan until they meet stilgar's band) it really goes off the rails with the "deep" stuff and Paul's future seeing. It isn't for very long and it picks up immediately when they meet Stilgar's group, but for a short section the book just gets way too into Paul's visions and becomes a bit annoying to get through. To be clear, we're talking about probably less than 40 pages in a book thats almost 500 pages, but it gets me every time I read it. Stuff like it is scattered throughout the book, but its never really a problem, except in the small section. I think Paul is a great character, but the sections with him having/thinking about/talking about his visions can make the book drag sometimes. It really doesn't happen in Dune Messiah, mostly just Dune. It doesn't effect my enjoyment, its just something I've noticed everytime I read the book.
Dune doesn't "try" to be deep. It is deep. And the beauty of it is that it can be read on two levels: the basic adventure story of the young man whose family was wronged, his quest to take back his heritage, and his basic coming-of-age.
The whole story is that and a hell of a lot more. Frank Herbert expected his readers to be able to think, ponder, and reach their own conclusions about some of the themes. One of the major themes is that of blindly putting your faith in a hero. Any hero. It may work out in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a disaster.
Yup. The deconstruction of what it means to be a messiah, and Paul's lack of comfort with it, is one of the best things about the book.
I don't think I have any real criticisms of the novel at all. Paul and Jessica pissing about in the sand at the beginning of the second act is kinda boring at times.... I guess? But even then, I'm just reaching for stuff to bitch about. The novel is pretty much perfect.
Maybe, maybe not. IIRC the original novel isn't presented as an in-universe historical document, it just has the chapters prefixed by a small excerpt from one of Irulan's numerous books. I mean it's not like she's the voice of the narrator all the way through.
Having said that, I do like that the Lynch movie chose to make her just that and I hope future adaptations (because someone will get around to it eventually) will also take that route. Indeed, in an ideal (imaginary?) world, the adaptation of each film would be narrated by a different character from the next film, making the series a book within a book within a book etc. sort of like 'Cloud Atlas'. So Irulan narrates Dune, Leto or one of the Duncans narrates Messiah/Children, Odrade or Teg narrates God Emperor and feck knows who narrates Heretics & Chapterhouse (the face dancer couple maybe?)
The idea is that the excerpts from Irulan's works (and others; some were authored by Stilgar) come from books she will write in the future. In this respect, Irulan functions a bit like the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V (at least the Branagh version): she pops up every so often and makes small editorial comments and little bits of insight to give the reader more information or a better frame of reference. Unlike the TV miniseries or Lynch movie, Irulan doesn't show up as an actual character in her own right until the very end.
That would have to be Siona, narrating God Emperor of Dune. Odrade and Teg don't show up until Heretics of Dune. Sheeana would be a good choice for Chapterhouse.
Is Sheeana the one that could "communicate" with the sandworms? If so, I was going to suggest her but couldn't remember the name (haven't read the post 'Dune' books in over a decade!)
Not sure Siona would be the best choice for GEoD as she's a little too involved in events. Irulan was, as you say, not featured in the narrative until right at the end and there's an in-universe reason for her to be recounting the events in "the future." Indeed, IIRC her writing the books is mentioned (by Chani?) in Messiah. Having said that, I had forgotten that those excerpts weren't all written by Irulan, so maybe it could work. I guess I think it should be someone from the distant future recounting GEoD since I seem to recall something about the framing story looking at the events from an archaeological POV rather than from the perspective of someone who lived it.
I also think that whomever narrates should be something of a mystery to a first time viewer. Like in Dune, unless you read the books or seen the previous adaptations you're not likely to know who the narrator is until she shows up at the end. I think that's a handy way to build some narrative depth and should be continued if at all possible.
So going into DM/CoD and have it narrated by Leto II who isn't even born until a third of the way through the film creates some interest and character resonance, particularly when he starts referring to Paul as his father. And again with GEoD you start the story expecting to see a direct follow on from Leto becoming this half-worm god-man and instead get the perspective of a fremen girl to whom Leto is practically a myth. So like I said, the last one ought to be very mysterious and using the face dancers would be a nice way to honour how Chapterhouse ended.
And no, I don't think anyone should adapt the drivel that came after that. Better to leave the story open ended and ambiguous IMO.
The whole sequence of Paul and Jessica in he desert was probably one of my favorite parts of the book. It really showed how deadly the sandy frontier of Arrakis really was, and for me as a first time reader, I had no idea how they were going to get out of this situation.
So when the movie makes it appear that they run into Stilgar and the Fremen right after crashing? That was a huge disappointment....but then at that point in the film it kind of turns into a highlight reel of the book rather than a narrative anyways.
My only real problem with them in the desert is the time spent on Paul starting to have a lot of visions of the future. It was a stuggle to get through, and on top of that he was acting like an ass for no reason. It wasn't them actually being in the desert, or them trying to survive, that annoys me, its that the book wastes time dealing with his visions, when honestly I don't care that much. I mean, it is important to the series, but it didn't need to go into detail about them or having Paul just act weird around that point of the book.
Oh, it's great. I was just trying to pick my least favourite part for the sake of it. There are no poor chapters in the entire book.
For some reason, my favourite bit has always been the knife fight with Jamis. From my experience the way action sequences in general and fights in particular are portrayed in book often feel very tedious. I can't quite explain why, but that scene had me riveted from start to finish. Even though I'd seen the film before I read the book and knew Paul had to survive...it somehow managed to make me forget that and feel like the character was in real jeopardy.
Yep. I didn't suggest Siona for Heretics, because she's still a child in that novel. She's an adult in Chapterhouse.
I'd have to find my copy of God Emperor and refresh my memory. The easiest solution would be to use Duncan the (whatever number), as there's 1500 years between God Emperor and Heretics, and the Bene Gesserit took over the program for breeding ghola-Duncans.
There's one thing the Dune Encyclopedia had to say about Duncan: that after Leto's death, Duncan became known as "Duncan-the-Last" because he destroyed every last bit of genetic material that could be used (other than his own current body) to breed more Duncans. His reason was simple: Nobody had ever asked if he wanted to be brought back from the dead and made to live in a world so far removed from what he'd known in his first life, with all the people he'd known and loved, forever dead and gone. Obviously, that's one part of the Encyclopedia FH didn't agree with. And since the Encyclopedia only covers the first 4 novels, we have no idea how the Heretics/Chapterhouse version of Duncan felt from a historian's perspective.
The risk you'd run with this approach is that people who haven't read the books are more likely to be confused by characters they can't immediately identify. I remember seeing the Lynch movie in the theatre back in 1984, and overheard a father telling his son, "Now pay attention. This is important." when Duncan Idaho's scenes came up and he was killed. Obviously, the father had read the books, and wanted to teach his son about Duncan's place in them. Some of the lead actors in the Lynch movie had "play or pay" contracts for the next two books, so I honestly think that if the Lynch movie had made money, there would have been more movies.
Just something silly to hopefully dilute the bad taste of the Brian Herbert material.
It's not meant to mock Frank's classic material. I just thought there was a casual, coincidental resemblance.
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