I love the original Dune series by Frank Herbert. L. O. V. E. them, all 6 books. The complexity of the plots, the subtlety of the writing and the wide range of issues addressed forces you, the reader, to think. The Dune series doesn’t dumb things down or spoon-feed you anything. As a result reading these books is an intensive and rewarding experience.
When Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson released the first book of their Dune prequels, “Dune: House Atreides” in 1999, I was skeptical. It is one thing for Christopher Tolkien to take his father’s extensive notes and compile them in “The Silmarillion”. It’s quite another for someone to take scant notes and materials and then team up with a writer as pedestrian as Kevin Anderson. The result sucked, bigtime.
Amazon reviewer Andrew Hartof the UK sums up my feelings quite well.
Frank Herbert managed to create a Universe populated by big people with grand schemes, sharp intellects, deep motivations, and competing philosophies, all locked in a deadly eons long battle for supremacy and survival.
This book is populated with dim wits with petty concerns, short term goals and shallow desires, all bouncing along fairly aimlessly and counting on luck and coincidence.
No gravitas. No substance. No imagination. This book is to Dune as lift music is to a Beethoven symphony.
I read the rest of the 3 book series in the foolish hope that somehow the writing would improve. Sadly, “House Harkonnen” and “House Corrino” sucked every bit as much as the first one. Since then I’ve been avoiding the continued desecration of Frank Herbert’s legacy like the plague.
That was until today, when I came across “Hunters of Dune“, the latest effort of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. No longer content with just raping the back-story, they are taking up the story line of the original Dune series where it was left at the conclusion of “Chapterhouse Dune“. And how have they handled this material, from the greatest and most popular science fiction series of all time? Based on what I’m seeing in the amazon reviews, not so good. Here are a few.
A great example of damning with faint praise
Clearly, Hunters is written for a different generation of readers and aspires to a more “mass-market” than the elder Herbert’s original stories. The pacing is much faster, the prose more direct, and the plot threads easier to pick up and follow.
Good thing they improved the “mass-market” appeal, because the original Dune was only the highest seller SciFi book ever. This reviewer actually gave it 4 stars too, which doesn’t speak well of his intelligence.
A few more to the point reviews
They shouldn’t have bothered!
Burn This Book!
Unbelievably Bad … Even by the standard of Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson
Brian Hebert, to steal a phrase from another SciFi epic I finished not too long ago, you have forgotten the face of your father.