Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

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MuaB'Beep
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Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 25 Aug 2014 09:34

Hi everyone!

This topic will be specifically about House Atreides/Harkonnen/Corrino books. Sorry if I will make some errors as english is my 3rd language and sometimes I just lack words to write.

I've read those 3 books around three times - two times in polish and third time in english. My decision to read them in english was made because I stumbled on this forum looking for some honest reviews of the prequels - and one of the main reasons why they are seeming bad outside of some minor stupidity is that they are poorly written.

Hands down the polish translator did amazing things with this book - he literally almost copied the style of FH (he did new translations of original Dune so he went with the flow). Few days ago I finished reading House Corrino. I don't know why but english version is almost insulting. It reads like a comic book script (if anyone read those he knows what I mean). Sentences are either too short or too long. Commas, periods and dashes are sometimes in wrong places. There is almost no flow to the text. I dunno know why but I feel that foreign translators did marvels to make those books readable. Maybe that's just the famous KJA style that everyone loves - and why his books are selling so well.

But back to the topic - prequels just messed up the image I had for various characters. From the top they made Shaddam some sort of pompous, incompetent buffon. Of course we knew he wasn't a particulary good emperor, he was much blamed for the decline of Sardaukars but he wasn't some simple-minded man-child with violent outbursts. In the original he seems little like a tragic figure - he even thought Leto as a successor, but politics set them aside and in the end he was swept away by changes that Paul started. In prequels he is a paper thin caricature of napoleon's complex with a tiny winky.

Fenring became some sort of violent sadist super-genius instead of a cunning diplomat and Shaddam possibly only friend. He was not giving him advices but orders again making Shaddam incompetent. We knew from original Dune that he was a very talented fighter and would not fear to get his hands dirty from time to time - but in the prequels he is almost a ninja (albeit he loses to Duncan in a match when to think about it - Hasimir could kill Paul in a duel, does this mean that Duncan was better fighter than Paul even in his prime?).

Duke Paulus I always thought was some sort of a cold and violent macho man who probably abused Leto calling him a pussy. I dunno why I thought about it - maybe because Jessica harsh words (I don't think she ever hated anyone this much). In the prequels he is a big soft daddy-figure - there is nothing why Jessica would hate him so much (and of course we knew she didn't knew him as he died long before she became Leto concubine).

I could ramble more about everyone in the book but what I think the most insulting change was with the Harkonnens. Vladimir from being fat because the loved binge parties became a sick old man. That just ruined his character for me - I always thought that he loved being obese, he loved life, he was a hedonist and a pervert. In the original we have hints he is a homosexual with pedophile and sadistic tendencies - but in the prequels he is outright leaving corpses in his office. Baron was well spoken and talkative in the original while in the prequels he is a unsophisticated disgusting brute. Rabban is outright retarded and even more monstrous than Vladimir - he is a rapist, moron, father killer and hunts little children for sports.

I mean what the prequels did was charge the characters up to eleven. They became caricatures, one dimensional constructs for plot advancement. It is even more insulting in the english version when in polish one it was a little more reserved.

My question is - for those who read prequels and put aside how badly they are written, anyone liked the changes?

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby D Pope » 25 Aug 2014 10:00

MuaB'Beep wrote:Hi everyone!
My question is - for those who read prequels and put aside how badly they are written, anyone liked the changes?

In a word, no. I certainly didn't. Your question uses the word 'changes,' and I think that doesn't
quite cover the differences between the Dune books and nuDune. The characters aren't just
changed, they are completely different. In order to understand the difference, imagine taking
some mediocre sci-fi story and replacing all the specifics with Dune equivalents so that the
main character whose name was Bill is now Paul & so forth. It's not just changed, it's Mad-Libs
using Dune words. In other words, the names are the only things mcDune has in common with
books written by Frank Herbert.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Omphalos » 25 Aug 2014 11:22

I read them, and had the same feeling. Those were not characters from Dune.

KJA sucks.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby SandRider » 25 Aug 2014 21:38

I'm interested in the idea that a Polish Translator made the McDune readable.
I wonder what could have been accomplished if TOR had hired an English-competent
editor before publication?

Of course, the obvious solution involves a Time Machine and killing Keith in the womb,
but I digress ...

Good post here. English-as-a-Third-Language mouse writes 100X better then tehKJA.
Good observations, rational, backed up with examples. I wonder how an Anderclone would
respond?
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Naïve mind » 25 Aug 2014 23:39

MuaB'Beep wrote:Duke Paulus I always thought was some sort of a cold and violent macho man who probably abused Leto calling him a pussy. I dunno why I thought about it - maybe because Jessica harsh words (I don't think she ever hated anyone this much). In the prequels he is a big soft daddy-figure - there is nothing why Jessica would hate him so much (and of course we knew she didn't knew him as he died long before she became Leto concubine).


I think they intended Paulus's bad marriage to be the reason why Leto didn't marry Jessica, and Jessica is supposedly angry about that. KJA even wrote an "alternative early Dune" where becoming the Duke's "official" wife is the major character arc for her.

There have been other reasons why I wanted to be able to read Polish. But none so fantastic and unbelievable as experiencing the work of the translator that made the prequels readable.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Freakzilla » 26 Aug 2014 06:38

I think the really simple answer to this is that they didn't understand the original characters or the universe they lived in.
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MuaB'Beep
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 26 Aug 2014 06:41

SandRider wrote:I'm interested in the idea that a Polish Translator made the McDune readable.
I wonder what could have been accomplished if TOR had hired an English-competent
editor before publication?


This could be the case - I heard JKA and Bobo dictate books and rarely look at them after. With the lightning tempo they write it is no wonder they don't proof read and made so many continuity errors they had to write another books about those errors.

Naïve mind wrote:There have been other reasons why I wanted to be able to read Polish. But none so fantastic and unbelievable as experiencing the work of the translator that made the prequels readable.


Because of polish is a slavic language it has completely different roots than english - translating things straight could end in a bogus text. Polish translators have two main ideologic schools - translators and adapters. Translators try to convey what author had originally in mind and adapters try to explain it to the reader. In case of Frank Herbert books - original six where translated and prequels+finals were adapted. Sometimes it is better or worse - usually depends on the source text.

Basic things that are used in adaptations are:
1. broader vocabulary in case when words repeat
2. shortening and cutting sentences not important that may confuse the reader
3. broadening sentences that may be not understood by the reader and are important
4. simplifying strange grammatical constructs
5. in case of something hard to understand use captions

Those could lead to some heavy butcheries of the original text. I think in most cases of KJA and Bobo books it went for the better.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby lotek » 26 Aug 2014 11:25

That's a neat way to explain translation.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Omphalos » 26 Aug 2014 12:29

SandRider wrote:I'm interested in the idea that a Polish Translator made the McDune readable.
I wonder what could have been accomplished if TOR had hired an English-competent
editor before publication?

Of course, the obvious solution involves a Time Machine and killing Keith in the womb,
but I digress ...

Good post here. English-as-a-Third-Language mouse writes 100X better then tehKJA.
Good observations, rational, backed up with examples. I wonder how an Anderclone would
respond?


Remember how you used to run your posts through varioius language translating sites? Maybe you could do that to the Polish version of Dune and put it up here!

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 26 Aug 2014 13:02

Omphalos wrote:Remember how you used to run your posts through varioius language translating sites? Maybe you could do that to the Polish version of Dune and put it up here!


I tried doing that - also translating but it went very similar to english original. Can't explain why the text just flow better - maybe if I will have a bit more time I will post some fragments here.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Omphalos » 26 Aug 2014 17:55

MuaB'Beep wrote:
Omphalos wrote:Remember how you used to run your posts through varioius language translating sites? Maybe you could do that to the Polish version of Dune and put it up here!


I tried doing that - also translating but it went very similar to english original. Can't explain why the text just flow better - maybe if I will have a bit more time I will post some fragments here.


SR did it as a joke.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Naïve mind » 27 Aug 2014 00:33

MuaB'Beep wrote:I tried doing that - also translating but it went very similar to english original. Can't explain why the text just flow better - maybe if I will have a bit more time I will post some fragments here.


Could it be that the Polish books are actually the originals, written by a competent writer in Poland, and that the English versions are actually machine translations?

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby SandRider » 27 Aug 2014 19:38

Naïve mind wrote:
MuaB'Beep wrote:I tried doing that - also translating but it went very similar to english original. Can't explain why the text just flow better - maybe if I will have a bit more time I will post some fragments here.


Could it be that the Polish books are actually the originals, written by a competent writer in Poland, and that the English versions are actually machine translations?


That is the single most rational explanation for the McDune I've ever heard.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 28 Aug 2014 01:44

I tried translating some paragraph but that's little beyond my abilities. Can anyone find the DUMBEST sentence in whole prequels? I can look how it was translated in polish edition.

And SOMETIMES just SOMETIMES I think that KJA and Bobo with all their money actually hired a comitee of ghost writers to sign NDA and make those books for them. I mean Frank Herbert was a journalist outside of his writer job and it took him years to finish each book and probably another bunch of years before for research. The hacks could spew each book in a year meanwhile working on other book like a 8-core processor.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby lotek » 28 Aug 2014 05:07

It wouldn't be the first time that happened.
But I don't think they need ghost writers to spew out this, I mean a 4 year old could do it with one hand behind its back, so...

As for the dumbest sentence, it would be easier to find the smartest one, since there's probably less choice. But we must have a topic on this somewhere, with a few hundred pages most likely.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Freakzilla » 28 Aug 2014 07:00

Maybe they're randomly computer generated?
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 28 Aug 2014 08:54

Freakzilla wrote:Maybe they're randomly computer generated?


Probably those are Erasmus earliest fanfics - has anyone read Butleriad Jihad? I am on half and this book is worse than the prequels. My teeth hurts from clenching them in pain. Sadly there is a new guy translating - I suppose he used google translate.

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby Freakzilla » 28 Aug 2014 11:20

Yes, I've read the prequels/sequels in order of publication up through Hunters of Dune. They were all painful to read.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 28 Aug 2014 12:30

Freakzilla wrote:Yes, I've read the prequels/sequels in order of publication up through Hunters of Dune. They were all painful to read.


Dunno why but I can't become invested in those characters from Butlerian Jihad. They seem so bland and uninteresting. I should be excited reading about Tio Hotzmann the great inventor, Vorian Atreides - the progenitor of the good guys being a machine traitor or about Xavier Harkonnen - the progenitor of the bad guys who is just a sugar coated lawful good ad&d 3,5 rpg paladin character. But if in the next chapter a big bad machine dildo killed them I wouldn't even care.

Steve and Bobo made the impossible - they took the possibly most interesting era in Dune universe and changed it into a snoozefest. I mean I always thought that Butlerian Jihad was a spiritual struggle against machine-thinking men - not literal robots with buzzsaws for arms! Why would robots even keep human slaves? Our needs are totally incompatible. Slavery is a system based on needs for cheap workforce - what could humans do better than robots that would suit their needs? Mine coal?

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby chanilover » 28 Aug 2014 14:08

I haven't read that crud in years, but didn't the chief robot cyborg thing get destroyed by having his brain goldfish bowl knocked off the table by an excitable Labrador puppy?
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby MuaB'Beep » 28 Aug 2014 14:30

chanilover wrote:I haven't read that crud in years, but didn't the chief robot cyborg thing get destroyed by having his brain goldfish bowl knocked off the table by an excitable Labrador puppy?


Oh no Leto II! You spoiled the ending! Damn You all-knowing tyrant! :lol:

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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby chanilover » 28 Aug 2014 14:41

MuaB'Beep wrote:
chanilover wrote:I haven't read that crud in years, but didn't the chief robot cyborg thing get destroyed by having his brain goldfish bowl knocked off the table by an excitable Labrador puppy?


Oh no Leto II! You spoiled the ending! Damn You all-knowing tyrant! :lol:


It was something like that, or there was a scuffle and someone accidentally knocked the brain jar off the window sill with their fat arse.
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby SandRider » 29 Aug 2014 00:29

Gods, how I missed you.

:tissue2:
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby chanilover » 02 Sep 2014 15:00

SandRider wrote:Gods, how I missed you.

:tissue2:


Have you still got those windmills?
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Re: Why characters changed so much in the prequels?

Postby lotek » 03 Sep 2014 05:58

Sounds like a job for...
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