Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Serkanner » 28 Nov 2020 15:45

xcalibur wrote:
Serkanner wrote:
xcalibur wrote:as I've mentioned before, the overarching structure was meant to be two trilogies, with GEoD as the centerpiece, punctuated by time-skips.


Do you have a source for this claim?


it may have been explicitly stated somewhere, but I'd have to go digging. moreover, it's apparent in the narrative structure. Dune, Messiah, & Children follow sequentially, as do Heretics, Chapterhouse, and presumably Dune 7. It's stated that there are large time-skips bookending God Emperor, 3500 years and 1500 years iirc.


My issue is that it was not meant to be two trilogies. Frank had the first trilogy in mind as a trilogy indeed. But after that he didn't had a "plan"to create a structure like two trilogies with GEOD as the centerpiece. There are sources, from memory I recall the BH biography, in which it was stated the last two books were "only" written because Frank needed the money, especially to pay the medical bills of Beverly.

In hindsight it seems there is this, not completed even, overarching structure but it was not meant to be one.
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby xcalibur » 28 Nov 2020 16:02

Serkanner wrote:
xcalibur wrote:
Serkanner wrote:
xcalibur wrote:as I've mentioned before, the overarching structure was meant to be two trilogies, with GEoD as the centerpiece, punctuated by time-skips.


Do you have a source for this claim?


it may have been explicitly stated somewhere, but I'd have to go digging. moreover, it's apparent in the narrative structure. Dune, Messiah, & Children follow sequentially, as do Heretics, Chapterhouse, and presumably Dune 7. It's stated that there are large time-skips bookending God Emperor, 3500 years and 1500 years iirc.


My issue is that it was not meant to be two trilogies. Frank had the first trilogy in mind as a trilogy indeed. But after that he didn't had a "plan"to create a structure like two trilogies with GEOD as the centerpiece. There are sources, from memory I recall the BH biography, in which it was stated the last two books were "only" written because Frank needed the money, especially to pay the medical bills of Beverly.

In hindsight it seems there is this, not completed even, overarching structure but it was not meant to be one.


I see, you may be right about that. there can be a difference between original intention and the final product. I just assumed FH designed it that way, since it seems to fit, and when it comes to these books, I always assume FH knew exactly what he was doing. for the series to end with GEoD would've been interesting. I suppose that would've been a decent conclusion, with the knowledge that the Golden Path continues, but it would've left the future of the universe as a wide open question, with tantalizing clues (Famine Times, Scattering, Church of the Divided God, etc).
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby georgiedenbro » 30 Nov 2020 12:58

I definitely think books 2-6 are harder reads than Dune. I first read Dune when I was 15 and had no problem blowing through it. When I read the later books, especially 4-6 I often re-read chapters to make it clearer to myself what had literally happened. The characters move at their own mental speed and don't slow down for the reader, so when I was younger it was challenging to keep up. Messiah is not so much hard to read as it is hard to understand why you're reading what you're reading. I love that book, but some of the scenes are tonally quite weird (anything with Bijaz, even some of Hayt's scenes). CoD isn't that hard to read other than that it does what I mentioned in another thread, of constantly referring to a set of reasoning that is never actually stated until later in the book. This is easy to grok on a re-read but for a first read-through hides much of the book behind a wall. I'm not surprised that Dune is the popular favorite. Structurally it's probably the best also.

As a side point, I also think that the incredible prevalence of misreading Dune is part of the reason for its success. Your average reading is going to read it as a hero story of total triumph, and the narrative *seems* to fit that interpretation quite well. In fact that's not the point of the book, but if the actual point was made clearer it probably wouldn't be as popular! It's probably better FH left it slightly more subtle, so that people could take from it what they put in.
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Suk on this » 25 Feb 2021 12:24

I have yet to read Heretics or Chapterhouse but, my thoughts so far (I have read Dune many times, Messiah and Children slightly fewer and have just read God Emperor);

Dune is the bomb. It is standalone, it is so dense with language and ideas. It is the ultimate subversion of the Hero's Journey. I can't understand how anybody could describe it as a children's book! But, I couldn't understand how the 1984 movie of the same name could so misunderstand the book and render Paul Atreidis as not just the hero, but actually as a prophecised 'special one'. But, it turns out, that is not an unusual reading of the novel :confusion-shrug:

Dune Messiah, it seems to me, works to clear up any doubt of that. I am puzzled by the idea that Children is somehow perceived to show some form of redemption for Paul? He has left the Golden Path for his son, knew the potential consequences of Chani's prregnancy upon Let also, having abandoned (as did Jessica) his sister to that fate. I don't see redemption.

Onto God Emperor. I honestly don't know what I think of it. I think it very much depends upon how you choose to read it, and it may well be that the clue to how it should be read is right at the end of the book. The last line that Leto speaks (whether anybody else hears it or not) is "Only fools prefer the past". Given the number of times Leto goes on his 'safaris', his disdain for the Museum Fremen (ignoring that he has created them...itself a clinging to the past, and a forlorn and broken hope that they would retain their essential Fremen-ness?) and his succumbing to his desire for human contact (Hwi) - is he saying he is the fool. There are so many ideas within the book that it becomes almost meaningless as a story. It may be, simply, the only Zensunni novel in existence? A philosophical treatise, with the added clue as to how to read those musings? The story itself is replete with instances where an utterance is made whose purpose is to begin in it's recipient a chain of thoughts, and then we read the continuing references to Leto's apologia (the Stolen Journals)

As a story it does very little for me, but as a hive of questions it does much.

Or maybe I have misunderstood. One glaring chapter really hammers home, for me, how weak the book is as a coherent story - the capture, interrogation and killing of Malky. What was that about? It served absolutely no purpose that I could see within the framework of the narrative. Like, none.

So, in short. I think the book lacks any narrative value, but I actually enjoyed reading it and will do so again.

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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Freakzilla » 26 Feb 2021 16:52

Suk on this wrote:Onto God Emperor. I honestly don't know what I think of it. I think it very much depends upon how you choose to read it, and it may well be that the clue to how it should be read is right at the end of the book. The last line that Leto speaks (whether anybody else hears it or not) is "Only fools prefer the past". Given the number of times Leto goes on his 'safaris', his disdain for the Museum Fremen (ignoring that he has created them...itself a clinging to the past, and a forlorn and broken hope that they would retain their essential Fremen-ness?) and his succumbing to his desire for human contact (Hwi) - is he saying he is the fool.


Memories are not enough

There are so many ideas within the book that it becomes almost meaningless as a story. It may be, simply, the only Zensunni novel in existence? A philosophical treatise, with the added clue as to how to read those musings? The story itself is replete with instances where an utterance is made whose purpose is to begin in it's recipient a chain of thoughts, and then we read the continuing references to Leto's apologia (the Stolen Journals)

As a story it does very little for me, but as a hive of questions it does much.

Or maybe I have misunderstood. One glaring chapter really hammers home, for me, how weak the book is as a coherent story - the capture, interrogation and killing of Malky. What was that about? It served absolutely no purpose that I could see within the framework of the narrative. Like, none.

So, in short. I think the book lacks any narrative value, but I actually enjoyed reading it and will do so again.


A lot of it is FH preaching, but there's a story. Leto is setting up the conditions for his death which will ensure the Golden Path continues. The keys to that being the Siona Gene and the Ixian Navigation Machine. You'll understand more when you see the shape of the empire in the next two books. The remnants of it, I should say.
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Suk on this » 27 Feb 2021 06:03

Thank you for the heads up. Heretics and Chapterhouse are on order and should be here in the next few days, so I will devour those and hope they make more sense of some of Emperor to me.

I can't help but feel that there is something else going on here, though. I'm not usre it is FH preaching, but rather FH having Leto preach - there is a difference. There are some pretty off-kilter concepts within Leto's preaching, which I don't think FH would himself ascribe to. The most jarring is the idea that being under despotic rule for 3,500 years would result in people rejecting despotic rule - which rests on the idea those living under despotism in some way desire that, or to put that another way - that slaves choose their enslavement.

It has been one read, and very recently, however, and I don't want to swamp these boards with questions. I'll simply reiterate , for now, what I said in my original response; this is a book so dense with ideas that it is a bit of a hammerblow to the senses. I get a sense of things I have not understood, which may be exactly the impact that FH was going for. The more I think about it, the more I am impressed by it. It will be getting another read - after Heretics and Chaptergouse.

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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Serkanner » 28 Feb 2021 03:19

Suk on this wrote:The most jarring is the idea that being under despotic rule for 3,500 years would result in people rejecting despotic rule - which rests on the idea those living under despotism in some way desire that, or to put that another way - that slaves choose their enslavement.

Humanity has basically done exactly what Frank writes. After thousands of years without democratic rule (few exceptions ), a decent part of the people chose to fight for their freedoms and created democratic rule, abolished slavery and continues to fight for other peoples freedoms.

And also, there are plenty of examples where people indeed chose a kind of enslavement or at least didn't fight it. Most Roman slaves were completely content being a slave because life as a slave was often better than being a Roman citizen. And aren't we all slave to the systems we choose in life? Slave of our religious beliefs? Slave of consumerism? Slaves of our bosses? Slaves of social media and technology? Et cetera.
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and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Suk on this » 28 Feb 2021 18:43

Serkanner wrote:
Suk on this wrote:The most jarring is the idea that being under despotic rule for 3,500 years would result in people rejecting despotic rule - which rests on the idea those living under despotism in some way desire that, or to put that another way - that slaves choose their enslavement.

Humanity has basically done exactly what Frank writes. After thousands of years without democratic rule (few exceptions ), a decent part of the people chose to fight for their freedoms and created democratic rule, abolished slavery and continues to fight for other peoples freedoms.

And also, there are plenty of examples where people indeed chose a kind of enslavement or at least didn't fight it. Most Roman slaves were completely content being a slave because life as a slave was often better than being a Roman citizen. And aren't we all slave to the systems we choose in life? Slave of our religious beliefs? Slave of consumerism? Slaves of our bosses? Slaves of social media and technology? Et cetera.


Hmmm... I don't ascribe to the notion that there is some sort of on-going 'evolutionary' social progress - there are enough examples of rebellion against despotism, and short lived democratic and/or more egalitarian movements throughout history (there are hints of revolutionary movements in Ancient Egypt, the many records of "Stasis" within Greek city states, the various conflicts of the Orders in the history of the Roman Republic (including the Gracchi, Tiberius and Gaius), peasants revolts etc. I think we are in something of a blip, brought about by the twin catastrophes of WW1 and WW2 (where the lower classes were, ultimately, the strength of the countries involved, and who therefore held power they had not held before). The problem is that the forms of power are changing, how long can even the increasingly empty notion of democratic 'representation' hold out?

I don't agree with the idea that Roman slavery was something that was welcomed by slaves - I've seen this idea so many times as a kind of apologetic for the Romans' use of slavery, but it was chattel slavery. I'm sure that the poor brutes that were worked to death in the various mining operations around the Empire, or in the great slave farms - and the number of servile revolts should persuade otherwise. One of the bodies found at Herculaneum (near Pompeii) was that of a Syrian Physician. The one item he had carried away from his home, in his attempt to escape, was a box containing his record of manumission. Even for someone as highly regarded and respected as a Physician, being a freedman was infinitely preferable to being a slave.

But I agree with your points about being a slave to so many other things. Beliefs certainly, and they are difficult to shake. I was brought up without any particular faith, and one of the strangest concepts to get your head around is understanding how much discussions with people of faith can be a case of talking past each other. It's interesting trying to put yourself in their place, what would I think if I had been brought up to believe there is literally a conscious man-like being watching in my head all the time, and judging me. But beliefs might be any ideology, I've a feeling 'nation' has acted in some cases as a surrogate of religion, as maybe do political affinities.

Let me put it another way; Pavlov's dogs learnt their 'trick' through repetition - if you enter a room, shout 'sit' at a dog and beat it until it sits, it will learn to sit and cower. If you impose despotism on mankind for 3,500 years, how would it even know what freedom was?

Like I said, I just feel like I missed something, so will have to read it again....which is no burden at all :)

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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby xcalibur » 25 Apr 2021 09:01

one of the major points in God Emperor is that we claim to want peace, but in reality we want conflict. another major point, and one emphasized by the entire series, is that we must be wary of charismatic leadership. thus, Leto II establishes despotic rule for 3500 years, and takes peace and charismatic leadership to their logical extreme. he does this to prove a point to the human race, to show them that they should be careful what they wish for. additionally, he intentionally oppresses the people to build up energies against his rule. he wants us to rebel, and he takes his rule so far in order to create an equal and opposite reaction, leading to prescience-cloaking genes, no-tech, and ultimately the Scattering. all this is in accordance with the Golden Path. in other words, Leto II immunized the human race against despotism and hero-worship, and ensured that there would never be a God-Emperor after him by way of distance and defense against prescience.

When I set out to lead humankind along my Golden Path, I promised them a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern which humans deny with their words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, the condition they call peace. Even as they speak, they create the seeds of turmoil and violence. If they find their quiet security, they squirm in it. How boring they find it. Look at them now. Look at what they do while I record these words. Hah! I give them enduring eons of enforced tranquility which plods on and on despite their every effort to escape into chaos. Believe me, the memory of Leto's Peace shall abide with them forever. They will seed their quiet security thereafter only with extreme caution and steadfast preparation.
-The Stolen Journals

You cannot understand history unless you understand its flowings, its currents and the ways leaders move within such forces. A leader tries to perpetuate the conditions which demand his leadership. Thus, the leader requires the outsider. I caution you to examine my career with care. I am both leader and outsider. Do not make the mistake of assuming that I only created the Church which was the State. That was my function as leader and I had many historical models to use a pattern. For a clue to my role as outsider, look at the arts of my time. The arts are barbaric. The favorite poetry? The Epic. The popular dramatic ideal? Heroism. Dances? Wildly abandoned. From Moneo's viewpoint, he is correct in describing this as dangerous. It stimulates the imagination. It makes people feel the lack of that which I have taken from them. What did I take from them? The right to participate in history.
-The Stolen Journals
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby Freakzilla » 28 Apr 2021 23:22

Leto had one goal with his breeding program, to bring other memory to near conscious levels (instinct) and to hide them from prescience. Petty woes and joys meant nothing
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Re: Why do the FH Dune sequels get no respect outside of us?

Postby georgiedenbro » 11 Jun 2021 20:06

Suk on this wrote:The most jarring is the idea that being under despotic rule for 3,500 years would result in people rejecting despotic rule - which rests on the idea those living under despotism in some way desire that, or to put that another way - that slaves choose their enslavement.


Oh, I think FH is definitely saying something to this effect. But I wouldn't put it quite that way. I think it's more that people prefer not to be slaves outright, but also for the most part don't want to be free. Being free means having to think for yourself, and I think we have ample evidence that this is too much work or is too scary for most people. Hard to say if it's laziness, apathy, or fear; but regardless, having someone else do your thinking for you seems the norm, not an exception. This can come in the form of thinking machines, charismatic rulers who you feel embody your best desires (hint: they don't), or even slavish systems where all of your choices are regulated by others (such as Muad'dib's priesthood). It's *this* that people seek, which as far as FH is concerned is basically a subconscious desire to be ruled and told what to do. Desiring actual freedom when you already have a life of relative comfort (hence why Roman slavery is not a good analogy) is going to be rare, and I think the contention of the book is that you don't even realize how bad it is to lose your freedom until you no longer have the choice. It can feel good to submerge your mind in a cause or a leader...until it goes just a little further than you wanted, and suddenly it's a nightmare. So Leto II gave them the full force of the nightmare to show them just what their instincts were begging for. He needed the actual instinct to change (I like Freakzilla's framing it as bringing OM closer to the surface).
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