Initial Reaction

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Redstar
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Initial Reaction

Postby Redstar » 24 Mar 2009 00:13

I'm too young to have built up as much memories about the original Dune chronicles as most of you have, and I finished reading them not long before Sandworms came out.

I remember reading as much about Dune as I could online, and through Wikipedia I stumbled upon the prequels. I immediately became annoyed in finding out about the BJ, and its numerous 'Cymeks' and the development of the numerous societies we know of in the original series. It was incredibly stupid. I had no idea how FH could possibly write such standard sci-fi cliches when compared to the books I'd read. Needless to say I was relieved to find out who actually wrote them, and the glaring evidence they were not using any Dune 7 notes.

Since most of you were fans first, I'm curious what your initial reaction was when learning of "upcoming Dune books." Good? Bad? Apprehensive?

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Postby Schu » 24 Mar 2009 00:16

Initially, it was a bit of a yay, I mean they said they had his notes and everything! But it quickly turned to shit.

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Re: Initial Reaction

Postby TheDukester » 24 Mar 2009 01:19

Redstar wrote:Since most of you were fans first, I'm curious what your initial reaction was when learning of "upcoming Dune books."

That unless Frank Herbert's death had just been some sort of colossal misunderstanding, there could never be such a thing as "new" Dune books.

And that it wouldn't matter what FH's goofy offspring and his hack friend ever wrote: it would all be fanfic, no matter how big they made DUNE stand out on the covers.
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Postby Omphalos » 24 Mar 2009 01:39

I was in grad school and had purposefully stayed away from my favorite diversion (SF) for years. I don't think that I had heard about it before I saw the first book on the stands. My first question was "who the fuck is Kevin J. Anderson?"

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Postby GamePlayer » 24 Mar 2009 08:41

Before I answer, it's probably important to know that aside from excerpts here and on TAU, I've never actually read a KJA book. Now I know all too well the tired refrain "You have to read a book to know if it's good or bad", but that's the flimsy defense of those selling the books. After you buy the book, they don't care if you like it or not, they already have your money and the trap has been sprung.

In KJA's case, he's simply not worth my time as a consumer. When he writes something worth consuming, he'll get my dollars and not one moment before. In the mean time, "all the critical darlings" like Iain M. Banks are the ones I'll be supporting with my money.

Now with that out of the way, I came into the debacle of the Dune prequels well after the fact. However, I knew some of KJA's reputation for shit simply because of all the bad mouthing he gets in fandom circles. Yes, KJA's reputation for shit is known in circles even outside of the franchises in which he writes. I first heard about his shit writing on a video game forum, so that should give you some indication of how low his writing is to upset the "story" tastes of gamers. No offense of course, I'm a gamer too, but let's not fool ourselves: we all know most video game stories suck.

Digressing, I didn't know 90% of the shit about KJA that I've learned since joining the Dune forums. All I knew was that he was a hack writer. I didn't know he was an insecure, jealous, bitter "author" seeking approval and nursing a wounded ego with all the cries of "talifan" at his command. I consider myself now well informed. As for the Dune prequels, I had already been a victim long ago of the dead author exploitation market. So when I first learned of Dune prequels, my instinct was to avoid them and dismiss them like a typical fan boy; "This is gonna suck". I'm saddened that I was proven more right than even I imagined.
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Postby Frybread » 24 Mar 2009 10:45

I first became aware of the prequels when I was reading the original series for the first time last winter and spring. I have read the BJ, House trilogy, HuoD and SoD.

I didn't know who KJA was until I read some of the Star Wars community's complaints about his hackness on their message boards. I've also read some of his other work and reviews and am not impressed to say the least.

I think Brian could have picked a much better writer to work with than a hack whose sole talent is producing a (poorly written) novel every six to 12 months.

I made the unfortunate decision to buy PoD, which was utter crap. I've since learned my lesson and will not purchase another KJA/BH novel.

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Postby Seraphan » 24 Mar 2009 11:59

I was reading some mangas online at the time and well, around 90% of mangas that exist are utter shit. So my standards at the time still tolerated shit writting and plot elements along with cheesy characters and dialogue.
But even still while reading the machine crusade and house corrino, the thought that it seemed like a soap opera was prominent. Story elements getting dragged, the forced events for drama, etc.
In reading Hunters however, my forgiveness got thrown out the window. The writting was lazy, characterization was the worst i'd seen. It seemed like i was reading childish anime fan fiction.
The killing blow arrived when i read A Thing of Eternity's "My Review of Sandworms" at DN. The complete rape and destruction of all the ideas that Frank Herbert had embedded in his novels, along with the subsequent substitution with scientologist and fascist crap (normacle saves the day, mankind should all be in the same basket); my rage and disgust at the treatment of such a wonderfull literary work of art became more than apparent, it was voiced, like others.
Sadly the holders of the Dune franchise, like a fascist government, dont allow the vox populi to manifest itself agaisnt the authors. So i left and joined Jucurutu. The rest is known history.
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Postby SandChigger » 24 Mar 2009 12:12

When I first read the first three books in high school, there were only three Dune books. ;) I read God Emperor in a hardcover Science Fiction Book Club edition, whenever that would have come out ('81 or '82?). Was busy with other things when the last two books came out, so I didn't get around to reading them until 1988 or so, after I was over here in Japan.

I vaguely remember hearing that someone was writing something new in the Dune series, but I wasn't interested enough to look into it. After all, the author of Dune was dead. I eventually saw a paperback copy of House Atrocious when looking for a "plane book" for the trip back over here, read the cover blurb, read a bit of the first chapter, put it back. Couldn't understand why anyone would be interested in that period of Duniverse history, just before the first book. I didn't read enough (then) to know conclusively that the book was shit; I just knew it hadn't "grabbed" me.

Didn't pay any further attention to the new books until late summer/early fall 2003 when the paperback of The Butlerian Jihad came out. Now the Jihad is something I could see people being interested in ... 'cause I was, too. ;) Tried reading it on the plane, couldn't believe how fucking bad it was, put it into the seat pocket somewhere over the Pacific and slowly read it over about a month after getting back here. The rest of the saga I've described before, so no point in rehashing.

I'd never heard of Kevin J. Anderson before reading that first book; without the Dune connection I probably never would have given anything he has written a second glance. I'm not even sure that I knew Frank Herbert had a son who wanted to be a writer. (I understand he still does. I hope that dream comes true for him someday. Before he dies, I mean.)

Either way, if this is the best Brian Herbert can do (or let be done) with his father's greatest creation, it would have been better that he had crashed and burned in that supposedly traumatic airplane near-miss that's had him browning his tighty-whities for the last four decades. Fucking coward. I hope by the time Anderson is finished, the only time the Herbert name will be regarded with any respect at all is when it has Frank Patrick in front of it.

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Postby Mandy » 24 Mar 2009 13:13

I didn't know the prequels existed until I spotted them in a display at Barnes & Nobles about 6 yrs ago. I picked one of them up, noticed who they were written by, and just put it back down. I had never heard of KJA before then, and had no interest in reading Dune written by anyone other than Frank Herbert. I didn't have anything against KJA, I just knew the books would be disappointing, in the same way as watching a movie based on one of your very favorite books is disappointing. I had no idea he was a hack... then I read some of the excerpts online and I was glad I hadn't wasted my money.
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Postby DuneFishUK » 24 Mar 2009 14:38

I think HA came out at exactly the right time for me - I must have read it when I was 14-15 and it appealed to me, and tbh I didn't think it was that bad. It wasn't great, but still a good start. The only way was up... so I thought.

Gave up halfway through HC. That was fucking terrible. :wink:

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Postby Freakzilla » 24 Mar 2009 15:23

I can't remember how I first found out about the new books, maybe browsing on Amazon, but I was quite excited. I hoped for the best but I didn't expect FH's prose of multilayered plots. I nether had heard of KJA.

What I did expect was for FH's major themes to be included and that the author would do their research to try to avoid contradictions. I mean, anyone with the balls to put their name on a Dune book is going to get their facts straight, right?

:puke:
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 24 Mar 2009 15:28

I was totally excited, I thought it was going to be fantastic. That lasted about 1.5 pages. :evil:
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Re: Initial Reaction

Postby cmsahe » 24 Mar 2009 15:44

Redstar wrote:
Since most of you were fans first, I'm curious what your initial reaction was when learning of "upcoming Dune books." Good? Bad? Apprehensive?
I was excited, I ordered them from Amazon (months later I sold them to a books street seller for less than 5 dollars, he insisted to give me money!) The first thing that made me feel angry was that the volumes didn't have the mentioned House as the main storyline. I like the Harkonnens,I wanted to read about them in an entire novel, but those books were just a three volume hack soap opera. And as has been mentioned by others, it is obvious that they were just making the plot as they were writing the pages, I was sure that that (later) cyborg Prince was Gurney Halleck, but they had second thoughts and discarded the idea. And yes, someone above mentioned videogames, the conclusion, the third book has a plot that reminds me of a videogame. (the little I can remember after a decade).

Fortunately I have my Dune novels! My favorites list is:
GEoD
DM
CoD
D
HoD
ChD
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Postby Hunchback Jack » 24 Mar 2009 16:25

I was pretty excited, thinking that while the writing may not be up to FH's standard, at least the new books would give more insight into elements of the Dune universe (being based on FH's notes).

I remember being disappointed that the first series wasn't Dune 7, but figured they'd still be an enlightening read. I also figured Brian Herbert might be talented enough to pull it off, and would be respectful enough of Dune to be consistent and not stray too far from Frank's intentions.

In my defence ( :) ), I had been reading volumes of The History of Middle-earth around that time, and so was thinking these books, while fiction, would be in the same spirit.

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Postby Sev » 24 Mar 2009 16:41

When I initially read 'Dune', there were only the four books, and I devoured them consecutively - followed by 'Heretics' and 'Chapter House' when they were released. Was apprehensive when hearing that KJA would be co-writing new novels, as I knew he had been involved in writing in the Star Wars and X-Files universes, to little acclaim - although I did enjoy 'Climbing Olympus', but then I'm a sucker for stories on Mars. Got the House trilogy through an SF Book Club, and thought they were a joke, riddled with spelling mistakes, and populated with characters who bore no relation to earlier novels. What really riled me was the realization that nothing was sacrosanct, and the authors were prepared to write whatever revised histories they felt like and call it 'Dune - :(

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Postby Ampoliros » 24 Mar 2009 19:04

My freshman year of college saw me doing a ton more reading. I picked up some of the new Star Wars novels since I had loved the Zhan trilogy. KJA's trilogy was the second I picked up. I have no idea how I finished the entire trilogy, maybe it was out of pure awe that someone could write that much about Star Wars and get just about every detail wrong. Needless to say, when I heard they had handed KJA the keys to Dune, I went on the warpath.

I read Dune my Senior year of college. I had always liked the 1984 movie, and had old copies of the books on my shelf...I can't remember where I got them, probably from my Uncle's cabin, he has a shelf of books people can read and trade and leave when people visit.

I read Dune quickly, and then skipped quite a few classes the next two semesters sneaking off to read the series in the school library. I was hooked immediately.

When HA came out, I blacklisted it for about 6 months, then bought the paperback just to see how it was. I made it to about 1/2 way through the House Harkonnen book, to the scene where the BG go invisible and mock Baron Harkonnen. I slammed the book, threw it to the floor, and I've been a die-hard crazy OH ever since.
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Postby cmsahe » 25 Mar 2009 00:00

Ampoliros wrote:to the scene where the BG go invisible and mock Baron Harkonnen. I slammed the book, threw it to the floor, and I've been a die-hard crazy OH ever since.
Yes it was so out of character for the BG that the scene results laughable. I thought of David Copperfield (the other one, the magician!) when I read it. I have my KJA SW novels somewhee, lost in my bedroom, Shall I burn them? It would be a funny video for Youtube, but at the same time it would be sacrilegious, to burn a book, I'd feel sorry and sad.
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Postby NotAbout » 25 Mar 2009 00:18

Ampoliros wrote:When HA came out, I blacklisted it for about 6 months, then bought the paperback just to see how it was. I made it to about 1/2 way through the House Harkonnen book, to the scene where the BG go invisible and mock Baron Harkonnen. I slammed the book, threw it to the floor, and I've been a die-hard crazy OH ever since.

I don't remember the scene, though thats hardly surprising seeing as how the KJA books are pretty forgettable.

As far anticipation before they started coming out, I don't really remember that well either. I think I would have only just finished reading CHD at the time, I probably would have been would have been a little excited discovering that there was more to read. Upon reading it though I realised there was nothing to be excited for. Stupidly, this didn't stop me reading more KJA books all the way up to the sandworms train wreck.

Interesting note though, I think I read all the FH books within a year (usually at lunchtimes) but it took me 2 years or more to read through "the machine crusade". Every time I picked it up I wanted to put it down again (Something that consistently happened with all KJA books)

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Postby Tleszer » 25 Mar 2009 09:33

Yeah, their books keep getting worse and worse. Granted, I started with H:A after watching the first mini but, man, my appreciation of their novels declined sharply. Of course, once I finally reached the originals I saw the light but I have become permanently scarred by the Hackery.

Trying to quantify their hackitude is like comparing shits. It doesn't matter which one smells better because in the end it's still just shit.
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Postby dunaddict » 25 Mar 2009 16:02

Tleszer wrote:Trying to quantify their hackitude is like comparing shits. It doesn't matter which one smells better because in the end it's still just shit.


House Atreides is like a dried out turd. At first glance, it can be mistaken for old bread or some other barely edible stuff.
The rest of their shit however, especially Legends, is like diarrhea: disgusting chunks of questionable origin, floating in a horrible, stinking, gooey pap.

:(

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Postby SandChigger » 25 Mar 2009 18:17

Well ... now. That's a series of images that's gonna stay with me for the rest of the day.

Thanks, duneddict! :D

:vomit:

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Postby Tleszer » 25 Mar 2009 20:10

Bravo!
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Postby Hunchback Jack » 26 Mar 2009 04:26

Amp, funny you should mention KJA's Star Wars books. I remember reading the first trillogy of expanded universe novels that came out (by Zahn), and thinking that they weren't great, but were okay.

I then started on the Jedi Academy trilogy by KJA, which came out shortly after the first trilogy. Didn't finish the first book. It was bad even by my lowered expectations of the Star Wars franchise.

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Postby Redstar » 26 Mar 2009 05:29

I still find it unnerving that they hired a Star Wars "writer", of all those perfectly capable and willing people out there. Star Wars is clearly less intelligent than the Dune series and other bronze age science-fiction novels, and has a few well-known authors bashing it (OSC, for one).

The fact that even Star Wars can be ruined has to tell you something: this guy is horrible. He can't write, and he can't tell a story. He can't do anything. There are times when I narrowly avoid a horrible accident or a near-death experience and I think to myself "In some parallel universe, I'm dead. I must be in the good one." Well, KJA being a writer and working on the Dune series tells me I'm on the bottom rung of the multiverse.

Despite that, Star Wars still has its own mythology and its own perks. I don't really love, or even enjoy the franchise, but I don't hate it. There's times when I can appreciate it and what its done. I've also read the Dark Empire series of graphic novels, which were very intelligent and a complete re-imagining of the titular characters of the original series.

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Postby Schu » 26 Mar 2009 05:39

Redstar wrote:Star Wars is clearly less intelligent than the Dune series and other bronze age science-fiction novels, and has a few well-known authors bashing it (OSC, for one).


Not only that, but it's derivative of Dune.