Dune is Dry


After reading this book I finally realized what I don’t like about Brian Herbert’s and Kevin J. Anderson’s writing:  They exhaust every possible path the novel can take before delivering the obvious outcome.  It is repeated so often that it becomes a boring exercise wading through reams of crap.  In several cases I was tempted to simply turn to the last paragraph of a chapter to get it over with.  And could it really be over with?  I have no intention of reading any more Dune novels because Brian and Kevin are simply churning out crap to milk Frank Herbert’s legacy for all it’s worth.  Step out from under your father’s shadow and write something original, Brian.

Putting the last paragraph aside, it was nice to simply see the end.  I read Sandworms of Dune in two sittings determined to get it over with.  And another flaw stands out, it was over with too neatly.  For all of the effort put into belaboring the reader to death everything is dealt with in a matter of pages.  Then the conclusion is belabored as well.  And the words of a friend of long ago occurred to me, “Frank should have stopped after the first book.”

Dune is dry.  But the Herbert’s want to pull the tits off.

Dune: One Loose End

Dune: Battle of Corrin is the conclusion of the three volume prequel to the original Dune anthology by Frank Herbert.  It documents the events leading to the destruction of the Omnius Empire and the final battle of the Butlerian Jihad at the planet Corrin.  All of the loose ends are neatly tied up by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson but one:  The essential connection between the Bene Gesserit maternal ancestral recall and the Spice Agony.  I found their patch to be wholly unsatisfactory.  Otherwise a good read.

Internet: Macro, Meso, Micro, Nano

One of the interesting concepts that emerges from Brian Herbert’s and Kevin J. Anderson’s Dune contributions is the silvery Omnius Sphere. Basically a Macro AI’s entire memory (on the scale of a global internet) stored in a sphere small enough for a human to carry–the size of a soccer ball.

The strangest incongruity I found in the story was this: If disembodied human brains in life sustaining containers–cymeks–could control robotic bodies and space ships, why couldn’t an Omnius Sphere? In fact, why couldn’t this meso-sized copy of the internet become micro and personal sized? Even yet, a completely decentralized nano-internet augmenting each human brain which spiders and is spidered by other nano-internets?

Since Google has a complete copy of the internet on it’s servers, we could call Google a meso-internet and future AI. What if we could scale down Google’s entire system to a single device that one person could operate? What if we could put all of Google on a hand held device or even augment ourselves with it?

I think multiple copies of the internet as a whole will be crucial to future human liberty. The decentralized meso-internet will define a region, probably a continental block.

It Ain’t Frank, To Be Frank

I started reading Frank Herbert’s novels when I was in first year university.  I had all of them in hard copy and I found the Dune Chronicles to be spellbinding.  The other day I was looking for some light reading and here to my surprise were a series of new Dune Chronicles by Brian Herbert (center) and Kevin J. Anderson.  I decided I would test the waters with Hunters of Dune.

Brian and Kevin are both accomplished authors and I found Hunters of Dune a good piece of science fiction.  Apparently, Frank Herbert had left his notes for the conclusion of the Dune Chronicles in two safety deposit boxes that were discovered a decade later and Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune are the product.

I have to admit, my Dune memory is fuzzy.  But I could sense that the writing was, as Brian and Kevin admit, not Frank Herbert.  The passages where prescience is described does not have the vivid prose that Frank used.  And there appears to be a logical flaw in the Hunters novel:  the depiction of the conundrum of the Honored Matres origin, how it is obscured and how it is found doesn’t fit logically with the character who discovers it.  But I will leave that to other readers to consider and debate.  I am willing to suspend my skepticism for the fun of the story.

Dune is a great tale.  Brian and Kevin filled out its beginnings and end courageously.  And as a gift to my son I plan to buy the entire series in hard cover for posterity.