Doin’ Dune

Some of you live in a permanent state of it.  Some of you don’t know what the fuss is all about.  images1

I get it every few years.

It’s called Dune Fever.

And I go fucking crazy.

So crazy I start to think the series actually lives up to its promise in the later books.

Actually, my view of the Dune franchise falls somewhere in between (a) those people on the one hand who think the first book ruled and the rest was just a giant drone-on, and (b) those people on the other hand who will buy and read anything as long as it has a sandworm and at least half of Frank Herbert’s name on it.  Specifically, I think DUNE MESSIAH is every bit as good as DUNE —  I could talk all day about how it’s, frankly, the best sequel ever written.

But then cometh the Fall.


Where Herbert’s editors gave up.  And I’m tempted to as well.

But I stumble on, like the dying Planetologist Kynes staggering through the desert . .  I reach GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE, and it all comes back to me in one awesome rush that lasts until . . . oh, about the hundred page mark of HERETICS OF DUNE.  Which I finally finished three years back, in the midst of a business trip abroad where I literally had no other reading and no other excuses.

Now I’ve bought CHAPTERHOUSE DUNE and will be reading it on the plane to Norwescon this weekend.  Stay tuned.

(And no, I don’t think I’m ready to deal with the Anderson/Herbert collaboration yet.  For now, I refer you to my esteemed colleague David Louis Edelman, who’s said it all better than I could.)

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12 Responses to “Doin’ Dune”

  1. David Forbes Says:

    I liked the later DUNE books even when they stumbled. CHILDREN was a mess, but GOD EMPEROR was so freaking bizarre I was just enthralled by the craziness of it all even as I realized there was almost no plot (and I was coming to realize at that time that there is a strong streak of misogyny in Herbert’s work).

    I remember little of HERETICS or CHAPTERHOUSE other than that the epilogue of the latter is batshit insane and I didn’t know what the hell was going on when I read it. I think now it’s genius and would have loved to read what Herbert was going to do next. It’s a shame (and terribly inconvenient) that he died soon after.

    I did read the first collaborative prequel, HOUSE ATREIDES. I read it. I did not read any more of them, and shall leave it at that.

  2. Steven Klotz Says:

    I’ve read the series 3 times, always stalling out somewhere in Chapterhouse. Your mentions of Dune have me craving another read … maybe I’ll just plow through Chapterhouse with you.

    Also, I have some of the post Frank books of which you speak on my shelves, but have never gotten around to reading them. But I also have 1/2 dozen non Dune books by Frank Herbert on the shelves that I’ve not gotten around to.

  3. Indiana Jim Says:

    Clearly, you know what you must do next! Succeed, where Frank Herbert failed. Good luck with that. :D

  4. David Louis Edelman Says:

    Great minds think alike. I, too, have recently caught Dune Fever. Just bought nice matching Ace hardcovers of the whole original series and am busy re-reading them for a planned six-part blog on the series on io9. After which I’ll tackle the Brian Herbert/Kevin Anderson HUNTERS OF DUNE and SANDWORMS OF DUNE, just because I really wanted to know where Frank was going at the end of CHAPTERHOUSE…

  5. David Forbes Says:

    I have HUNTERS OF DUNE for the very same reason! I just want to know what the hell Herbert had planned! I haven’t read it yet (I’ve had it for at least a year) because I’m afraid of what might have been done to it. They’ve said it follows Frank’s outline, but they said HOUSE ATREIDES also followed his notes and there’s just no way I believe that.

    Now I’m going to have to tear into it anyway to find out!

  6. David Williams Says:

    Can’t wait to see the io9 series, DLE. That sounds great.

    DF: The general outline of HUNTERS certainly *sounds* like FH . . the idea of a no-ship tearing ass around the galaxy strikes me as astoundingly cool. . . .but I’m kinda dreading the execution of it.

    SK : let’s do it. Chapterhouse or #$# bust.

  7. David Forbes Says:

    DW — yeah, it’s the execution I’m worried about. But I gotta dive in sometime!

  8. Will Nourse Says:

    It’s been years since I read them (I first read Dune in ’75 at the tender age of 9!)and it’s a good reminder to pick them (the originals) up again. I read Atreides and part of Harkonnen but disliked them intensely (DLE is right on) and won’t go there (unless I hear that Hunters and Sandworm are worth it).

    Thanks for the reminder!

  9. John C Says:

    I thought Chapterhouse was one of the better ones written. I hope the new movie lives up to the books. And, the Bene Gerrist rule!
    Regards to all.

  10. AlexJCavanaugh Says:

    It’s been years since I read any of the books. I think I stalled out a hundred pages into God Emperor of Dune. Might try again, but I’ll have to start at the beginning to refresh my memory.

  11. Al Billings Says:

    I finished God Emperor and was done. Dune was one of my favorite science fiction books as a kid too (I read it when I was 12, I think).

  12. SandChigger Says:

    Be very, very wary of the claim that Hunters and Sandworms were based on a “Dune 7″ outline. (An outline which has amazingly yet steadily grown from “2 or 3 pages” to “over 30 pages” in the last decade.)

    I’m gradually adding a series of chapter-by-chapter synopses of the books to my website. On his blog, Anderson proclaims, “i adventure hard, so you don’t have to.” Me, I wade through crap, so you at least know what you’re getting into! (I rarely advise people not to read the books for themselves. There are, after all, people out there who appear to enjoy them.)