Best LOLShai’hulud ever, and Dune diatribe

I’ve been reading the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson prequels and sequels to the late Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Dune is arguably the most influential sci-fi series ever, and in my opinion one of the best ever written, even Frank Herbert’s later books in the series which people tend to shun.
However, I simply cannot stand KJ Anderson’s writing style, and his influence on Brian Herbert and the prequels/sequels is particularly onerous. I find him to be completely without talent for the genre. His penchant for merely dragging the story through a series of plot points is perhaps the most pernicious infraction, however his annoying contributions towards character development (or lack thereof) deserve mention as well. There is a tendency towards mind-numbing quantities of pedantry when stretching out the deaths of minor characters who we don’t really care about at all, especially ones who are somewhat meanspirited, but not quite evil enough to drive satisfaction at their untimely and very long-winded demise. Worse yet, major characters like Paul Atriedes and Baron Harkonnen gholas receive about as much character development as the slig farmer. Additionally, there is a nauseating substitution of typical yarn-spinning techniques like developing a story with simply asking a string of rhetorical questions in an effort to get the reader to think about things he or she, being undoubtedly smarter and most likely a better writer than KJ, had already considered 2 chapters prior. I would suggest that KJ write a book called Completely Useless and Ineffective Socratic Methods for Dummies, but it seems he already has. And he keeps rewriting it. Every time he publishes. Lisan al-Gaib help us.
That being said, I am compelled to get through the entirety of the series because I am so enthralled with Frank Herbert’s universe, and the stories are based upon notes and outlines that he himself had drawn up. The influence is palpable in the expanded Dune universe; it makes the works he did not author at least tolerable.
So anyway. Here’s my vote for the best LOLShai’hulud evah!

3 Responses

  1. I actually can’t understand why people who loved the early Dune novels, don’t like Herbert’s later ones. I have heard that from so many people and it makes no sense to me.
    I can, however, understand and totally relate to not liking the prequels. While I can (and every year or so do) read through the whole of Herbert’s Dune, without reading any other novels, I have yet to get through all of the prequels that are out already. I enjoy learning more about Herbert’s universe, but Anderson makes it painfully like using badly written textbooks to do so.
    It is indeed an interesting coincidence that I believe this is the first post I have ever read on this blog and I just finished a run through sci-fi channel’s Dune last night. Still waiting for Children to come in for us at the library.

  2. I LOVE the later Dune books. I usually re-read God Emperor, Heretics & Chapterhouse every few years. I’ve a theory that many “casual sci-fi” readers don’t get into the final books the way they can into the first (and to a lesser extent, 2 & 3) because the stories are much less “casual sci-fi”. Whereas the deep themes were present in the first books, they become much more central to the final 3, and it might just be too much thinking for the casual reader.
    Just a thought, I’m probably wrong though.
    I did try to read one of the prequels…the first one I think, and threw it down in disgust. It was one of the few books in my life I’ve started reading and not finished. It did nothing for me. Sure, there was a story & a plot there, but there was no magic. I’d rather just read a chronology of events as noted by Herbert than see someone attempt to connect the dots in the mind numbingly boring & uninspired way the pre-se-quals.
    And as much as I am curious about what Frank intended to happen after Chapterhouse, I think that is one of the best open ended endings in sci-fi. I’d rather be happy to live out my life with that curiosity provoking natural thought & conversation that ending provoked than see the curiosity capped by some idiotic “ending” from the current “writers”. Keep in mind I have no idea if they are writing that or not, I just see you mentioning sequels as well. I’ve done my best to avoid any and all news about them.

  3. While reading the “prequels” I became so aggravated that I started putting post-it notes in the pages where there were so many obvious errors. When a cryst-knife went off-world, that was too much for me! I made it through the end of the book – barely with a vow not to attempt any further forays into family writing. Frank – you’re the best!

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