the Wide Sargasso Sea

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Excape Felicity
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the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Excape Felicity » 25 May 2013 03:07

I have heeded the many warning so have so far been spared the pain of reading any of the dodgy prequels and sequels. I won't judge the guys who wrote them, but I will give those books a miss.

Is there any hope of a Dune book that approaches the quality of Frank's?

Well one encouraging example is the Wide Sargasso Sea, the Jane Eyre prequel which is well-received by
the literati.

So when the copyright runs out on Frank's estate we can all get cracking. However Sargasso was written over 100 years after Jane Eyre so I suspect we need a reality-check on how often literary classics come around. Let's hope our descendents enjoy some quality Dune spinoffs!

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby lotek » 25 May 2013 05:15

Excape Felicity wrote: I won't judge the guys who wrote them, but I will give those books a miss.


I will.
They suck at writing.
They suck in general.

Not sure about Jane Eyre, I did try to read some of the Brontë sisters stuff (well because uni imposed them, but after the first page I thought naaah this is not gonna work... and I went and played snooker for a year.)
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Ampoliros » 25 May 2013 12:43

Jane Eyre was pretty good.

I'll put it this way, the current team cannot make a good Dune book. And if they can't hit good, then there is no chance of a Frank-quality Dune book. That's not to say that another writer couldn't do it, but I don't see anyone being given the opportunity anytime soon, nor having the desire.
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Naïve mind
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Naïve mind » 25 May 2013 15:11

There is a fan-written prequel that's very good. It's not as high-concept as Frank's novels, but he gets the writing style and dialogue exactly right. They're online here, and I've also made ePub and .mobi versions to encourage people to read them.

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Serkanner » 25 May 2013 15:29

Naïve mind wrote:There is a fan-written prequel that's very good. It's not as high-concept as Frank's novels, but he gets the writing style and dialogue exactly right. They're online here, and I've also made ePub and .mobi versions to encourage people to read them.


This is a fan-written story I didn't know yet. I will read it soon. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby inhuien » 26 May 2013 09:07

Elixir is very good.
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Jodorowsky's Acolyte
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 26 May 2013 10:00

Excape Felicity wrote:So when the copyright runs out on Frank's estate we can all get cracking. However Sargasso was written over 100 years after Jane Eyre so I suspect we need a reality-check on how often literary classics come around. Let's hope our descendents enjoy some quality Dune spinoffs!


What a very bizarre coincidence. Two years ago, I wrote a term paper on what kind of quality prequel is Wide Sargasso Sea, and I applied some of the well-written complaints about the Dune prequels from Hairy Ticks of Dune for my topic. I feel bad saying this, but I thought Wide Sargasso Sea was a lazy prequel to Jane Eyre, because it was confusing and conflicted much with Bronte's established backstory. I do think that Bertha's backstory in Wide Sargasso is original, and I like a lot of the Jamaican lore featured in the book, but I felt that should've been a standalone work rather than latch on to someone else's intellectual property.
Even she herself felt like this book wasn't quite a prequel, because she altered Mr. Rochester into completely different man.

Strange thing is that her motivation for writing WSS was her anger at Mr. Rochester, but my Mom and I think her perception is a bit warped. The man's a downright prick, that's true, but he's not an asshole, and he doesn't enjoy keeping Bertha in his attic away from Jamaica for amusement. The reason why she's living at his house with only a single asylum attendant is because asylums in the Victorian period were notoriously cruel, and however mixed his feelings were for his wife, he didn't resent her that badly want to send her over there. Other students in my course originally thought that Bertha should be kept at the asylum without realizing how much they places sucked at that time. I don't know what the Jamaican asylums were like in the Victorian period, but they were probably the same, because they were run by filthy English! Just kidding.

What still drives me crazy to this day is that Rhys claimed that she knew of a man who treated his wife better than Mr. Rochester, but she never specificies who this guy is or what he did.

I argued in class that WSS is too inconsistent and lazy to be prequel, but my professor counter argued that many pieces of literary art revise classic works, like Milton's Paradise Lost reworked the Bible's foundations. From that perspective, WSS works well by itself, but I still wouldn't count it as a great example for how a prequel should be written.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Jodorowsky's Acolyte
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 26 May 2013 10:16

...However, it might not hurt to use WSS as a template for what to do and not to do while writing a Dune prequel.

Or one could write a Dune parody of WSS, which is set on Caladan. How about it being called The Big Blue Watery Planet? ...Nah, it might be mistaken for a Solaris knock-off... Might as well call it Caladan, and cram it with lengthy love scenes between Leto and Jessica on the sea shore.

Oh, and on the subject of Jane Eyre: she's one of the hottest women in literature. :)
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Freakzilla » 26 May 2013 10:47

Serkanner wrote:
Naïve mind wrote:There is a fan-written prequel that's very good. It's not as high-concept as Frank's novels, but he gets the writing style and dialogue exactly right. They're online here, and I've also made ePub and .mobi versions to encourage people to read them.


This is a fan-written story I didn't know yet. I will read it soon. Thanks for the tip.


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Naïve mind
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Naïve mind » 26 May 2013 11:08

I think Solaris was only blue in the Soderbergh movie—the novel describes it by being alternately lit by a red and blue binary star, if I recall correctly.

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Excape Felicity » 26 May 2013 11:46

I never read (or watched any TV or film version) WSS but maybe will one day. Sounds like an interesting read.

Elixir and Poritrin look intriguing - any chance of a .pdf version?

My preference for a prequels is to A) expand a new story (Prometheus, Sargasso) rather than B) 'explaining everything to death (Star Wars).

Not that A is always good (Prometheus was not as good as I hoped) and B always bad (I loved seeing Darth vader get owned by Obi-Wan).

EF

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 26 May 2013 12:39

Naïve mind wrote:I think Solaris was only blue in the Soderbergh movie—the novel describes it by being alternately lit by a red and blue binary star, if I recall correctly.


Another Lem fan! Give me a five! He is definitely one of my favorite sci-fi authors.

Excape Felicity wrote:I never read (or watched any TV or film version) WSS but maybe will one day. Sounds like an interesting read.

Elixir and Poritrin look intriguing - any chance of a .pdf version?

My preference for a prequels is to A) expand a new story (Prometheus, Sargasso) rather than B) 'explaining everything to death (Star Wars).

Not that A is always good (Prometheus was not as good as I hoped) and B always bad (I loved seeing Darth vader get owned by Obi-Wan).

EF


If you do read WSS, I'm curious what you think of it.
The real problem with the Star Wars prequels wasn't just explaining things to death, but explaining everything from a radically different and silly context from the main movies. I agree, Anakin is such pansy.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Naïve mind » 27 May 2013 03:13

Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:
Naïve mind wrote:I think Solaris was only blue in the Soderbergh movie—the novel describes it by being alternately lit by a red and blue binary star, if I recall correctly.


Another Lem fan! Give me a five! He is definitely one of my favorite sci-fi authors.


:hand:

For me, he's the favorite, for many of the same reasons that I like Frank Herbert's stuff. Lem is much more of a 'hard' SF writer, though, and takes himself much more seriously (and, in turn, had the good luck of being taken seriously by the literary and scientific establishment).

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 27 May 2013 18:17

Naïve mind wrote:
Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:
Naïve mind wrote:I think Solaris was only blue in the Soderbergh movie—the novel describes it by being alternately lit by a red and blue binary star, if I recall correctly.


Another Lem fan! Give me a five! He is definitely one of my favorite sci-fi authors.


:hand:

For me, he's the favorite, for many of the same reasons that I like Frank Herbert's stuff. Lem is much more of a 'hard' SF writer, though, and takes himself much more seriously (and, in turn, had the good luck of being taken seriously by the literary and scientific establishment).


Give me a five, Naive Mind's hand! That's exactly what I'm talking about! HE IS THE ULTIMATE SCI-FI AUTHOR! He is the favorite, I agree and I should of said that too. He's like a Polish amalgam of Douglas Adams, Michael Crichton, Jules Verne, Baron Munchausen, Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Yegeney Zamyatin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ibsen, Samuel Beckett, Dostoyevksy, Tolstoy, and a long list of cybernetists and mathematicians from Eastern Europe. That's how awesome he is. He's so advanced that few people get him. The Science Fiction Writers of America kicked him out of their club just because he wrote that Western sci-fi sucked, and Philip Jose Farmer and Philip K. Dick were unnaturally pissed of by Lem's written and TRANSLATED opinions. They thought he disliked American sci-fi because he was a Communist (which he wasn't, but those guys didn't understand Lem or Poland), but he actually just thought Western sci-fi generally sucked (except for Dick and others). Lem may have taken himself seriously, but he was also exceptionally hilarious for a guy who wrote about how terrible humanity can be, how puny humanity is in the face of the universe, and how catastrophic careless science can be. If you want to discuss with other Lem fans, check out Lem's main website.
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Naïve mind » 28 May 2013 00:23

I was under the impression that Lem's remark about western SF was largely due to the fact that, while in Poland, he'd only had access to the very best of it—the stuff that was good enough to get through the censors and be deemed worthy of translation. But even in the 1960s and 70s, Science Fiction in the West was dominated, at least in terms of volume, by Kevin J. Andersons. He resented being made a honorary member of a group with such low barriers to entry.

One novel of his I consider particularly Dune-like is The Invincible. It starts out as an almost stereotypical sci-fi story; Human Explorers versus a mindless Machine Race, but as it progresses, Lem inserts barbs into the characters' dialogue, and turns the narrative upside down.

And whatever his opinion on the genre of science fiction, he certainly was a master of creating film-worthy imagery. I think there's one story where a lover finds she has the urge to kill her husband, then suddenly peels off her skin to discover that she's actually a hunter-seeker robot designed to kill him. It's a scene right out of a campy Outer Limits episode, but Lem uses it in a very serious story.

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 28 May 2013 15:07

The real reason for why Lem was kicked out is explained here:

http://english.lem.pl/faq#SWFA

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/apr/08/guardianobituaries.booksobituaries
Why was Stanislaw Lem expelled from the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) in 1976?

The following quote from J. Madison Davis' book on Stanislaw Lem gives an answer to your question:

Lem has always been critical of most science fiction, which he considers ill thought out, poorly written, and interested more in adventure that ideas or new literary forms. (...) Those opinions provoked an unpleasant debate in the SFWA [the "Lem affair"]. Philip José Farmer and others were incensed by Lem's comments (...) and eventually brought about the removal of the honorary membership(...). Other members, such as Ursula K. Le Guin, then protested the removal (...) and the SFWA then offered Lem a regular membership, which he, of course, refused in 1976. Asked later about the "affair," he remarked, that his opinions of the state of science fiction were already known when he was offered an honorary membership (...). He also added he harboured no ill feelings towards the SFWA or U.S. writers in particular, "...but it would be a lie to say the whole incident has enlarged my respect for SF writers".


Some of Lem's amused and critical comments about science fiction attitudes, based on offhand comments by American writers he had read in SFWA publications, worked their way back to the US. Even though Lem's remarks were out of context, and badly translated, they were enough. Lem was drummed out of the SFWA forthwith. Some saw parallels with some of the activities of Soviet-era writers' unions, with their suppression of freedom of speech and discipline for disagreeing with the consensus. Whichever way it was viewed, the action brought little credit to the SFWA.


The latter quote proves my point that the sci-fi writers did not understand Lem at all, and they kicked him based only upon badly translated criticisms of his out of context. He didn't resent being an honorary member, but he did resent being made a regular member after being booted out based upon the SFWA's pettiness.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 28 May 2013 15:11

By the way, there's a forum in the Lem site which discusses Dune a little bit.

http://forum.lem.pl/index.php?topic=613.0

We may want to start the topic of Dune and Lem in another part of Jacurutu. When we do so, I'd like to apply some of Lem's essays on the quality of sci-fi to what KJA and BH have been doing, as well as towards FH's own foundational works.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Freakzilla » 28 May 2013 16:06

Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:We may want to start the topic of Dune and Lem in another part of Jacurutu.


How about I just move this one to General Discussion?
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 28 May 2013 18:31

Freakzilla wrote:
Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:We may want to start the topic of Dune and Lem in another part of Jacurutu.


How about I just move this one to General Discussion?


Thanks, Freak, but I better keep this topic connecting WSS and the Dune prequels here. The Lem parts could be copied to the General Discussion. I may want to go back on discussing WSS with the thread starter again at some point.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Freakzilla » 29 May 2013 07:46

Have it your way, Dude.
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby inhuien » 13 Jun 2013 10:49

Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:By the way, there's a forum in the Lem site which discusses Dune a little bit.

http://forum.lem.pl/index.php?topic=613.0

We may want to start the topic of Dune and Lem in another part of Jacurutu. When we do so, I'd like to apply some of Lem's essays on the quality of sci-fi to what KJA and BH have been doing, as well as towards FH's own foundational works.


Not doubting that these posters know their Stanisław Lem, however they don't get the DUNE sagas at all. The points raised sound like me arguing that Hubble was better than Newton because his Universe is bigger.
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 13 Jun 2013 23:23

inhuien wrote: they don't get the DUNE sagas at all.


I don't? :?

From which part of my posts indicate that I don't understand the Dune saga? The whole Lem thing was my fault, getting off topic by mistake. I was originally arguing why WSS is not the best example for a well-written or faithful prequel. When we got to the Lem part, I wasn't trying to argue that Lem was better than Herbert.

While I am a Lem fanatic, I disagree with him on some points about Western science-fiction. For example, Lem might criticize Dune for being more science-fantasy and adventure oriented, while I would argue it to be far more high-brow and complex than most of the pulp sci-fi adventures of the 60s. Herbert's idea of infusing the books of the Koran with Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Joseph Campbell's books on the hero's journey, Cold War and Third World politics of the 1960s, Stranger and Strange Land, cult mentalities, the 60s drug culture, desert ecology, concerns with technology, etc., were way ahead most sci-fi then and even most sci-fi now.

The only reason why I thought of bringing some Lem into the Dune Discussion is that his points of sci-fi are still observant, even for sci-fi criticism presently. Kurt Vonnegut's criticisms of pulp sci-fi are also pretty good too, but that's for another topic.
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby inhuien » 14 Jun 2013 04:21

Sorry if my post was ambiguous, I was referring to the linked discussion not your posts here.
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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 14 Jun 2013 20:14

inhuien wrote:Sorry if my post was ambiguous, I was referring to the linked discussion not your posts here.


:doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh: :doh:

I'm the one who should be sorry. I'm such a sucker, I missed the point completely that you were talking about the link!

Forgive me, man. :)
'...all those who took part in the rise and fall of the Dune project learned how to fall one and one thousand times with savage obstinacy until learning how to stand. I remember my old father who, while dying happy, said to me: "My son, in my life, I triumphed because I learned how to fail."' -Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Re: the Wide Sargasso Sea

Postby inhuien » 14 Jun 2013 21:11

NP mate, to ere after all is human. :)



a trait i have shown for many years!
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