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“A Resource for Dune Fans of All Orientations”

(With a nod to Mastah B for the idea.)

Purposes of this thread:

- To compile a list of (less-than-persuasive) arguments and rationalizations commonly used by fans of the new books, in the hope that such a list will help reduce the amount of repetition of same in the future and promote the development of new points of view, permitting discussion to evolve to a higher level

Please put anything you can remember in the comments and I’ll edit them into this first post. (Suggestions as to ordering also welcome!)

“ARGUMENTS” AND RATIONALIZATIONS

1. “If you don’t like them, don’t read them.”

2. “Of course the style is different: they’re different authors! D’uh!”

3. “They have the Outline and Notes!”

4. “Gosh darn it all, Brian is Frank Herbert’s son. If he doesn’t know what Frank intended for the series, who does?!” (AKA “Dune over Wheaties”)

5. “The books are best-sellers worldwide!”

5.a. “But KJA is a bestseller in many, many, many, many Science Fiction universes! Of course he is the best man for the job!”

6. “Frank intended the Enemy to be machines from the start. Anyone can see that!”

7. “Come on, they’re just books! They’re for entertainment, for chrissakes! Get over yourself!”

8. “”But they are bringing in younger fans, and that is always a good thing!” / “Sales of the originals have increased since the new books appeared!”

9. “You’re just angry because the new books don’t agree with your preconceived notions!”

10. “Just be glad that you’ve got some new Dune stories!”

11. “They own the copyright, so they can decide what is canon and what isn’t!”

12. “Frank’s books contained inconsistencies, TOO!”

13. “If you think you can write better, then why don’t you?”

13.a. “Only a writer can criticize the work of other writers!” (AKA “The Ganymede Gambit”)

14. “The new books are easier to understand, so they’re better as an introduction into the Duniverse.” / “They are just trying to explain things that Frank didn’t cover very well, or things that fans found confusing.”

15. “Any inconsistencies are inconsequential and don’t effect the story.”

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16. “Kevin and Brian are really nice guys.”

17. “KJA’s Special Forces don’t receive any payment for positive comments or reviews they post across the internet.”

18. “These are just our opinions so why don’t you haters just quit posting your negativity?”

[Revision 2009.08.07.0934] (Original version posted here on the Dune Novels BBS)

List Explanation, Notes, Commentary, & Responses

1. “If you don’t like them, don’t read them.”

It is difficult to imagine this being used by a true Dune fan, because anyone who can think this obviously doesn’t understand the motivations of a true fan; namely, that any suggestion that a story or book contains any hint of Frank Herbert creates an irresistable need to read it and see for oneself.

There is also the “Hope springs eternal” factor: Even many detractors have noted an improvement over time in the quality of the books. How can you know that you won’t like a new book if you don’t read it?

2. “Of course the style is different: they’re different authors! D’uh!”

This argument is often supplemented with “Nobody could write these as well as Frank could” which KJA then further supplements with “I wish Frank would have been around to write these himself; but since he isn’t, and Brian and I are the biggest Dune fans, we wanted to see how it all ends”

It also ignores the fact that there are good authors and bad. And that the talents and skills of even good authors may not be appropriate for the telling of certain tales.

And for many Old Dune fans, the writing style is not the issue.

3. “They have the Outline and Notes!”

Those who have read The Road to Dune will note that Frank Herbert didn’t always follow his own outline, and some of the plot points he left out are much, much worse than the final product. Beyond that, Kevin and Brian have admitted to mixing in their own ideas (Erasmus). Without public access to the Outline and Notes, there is no way to verify that any given story element is as Frank Herbert intended.

4. “Gosh darn it all, Brian is Frank Herbert’s son. If he doesn’t know what Frank intended for the series, who does?!”

“Gosh darn it all, George Lucas is himself, and he still couldn’t make a good Star Wars prequel. Point in case, I don’t care who wrote the new books; even if Frank wrote them, they [might] still be bad.”

Knowledge is unfortunately not always translated into action. Unless Brian goes on record on specific issues, there is no reason to accept this blanket justification for everything in the new books.

And unfortunately, at present we hear too little directly from Brian Herbert.

5. “The books are best-sellers worldwide!”

The best-selling book worldwide in history is the Bible, and the Harry Potter books hold six spots on the top 20. Popularity does not correlate to quality.

5.a. “But KJA is a bestseller in many, many, many, many Science Fiction universes! Of course he is the best man for the job!”

Kevin’s record as a prolific and popular science-fiction writer cannot be denied. It must also be noted, however, that the evaluation of his works is not unanimous. Kevin seems to excel in the creation of action-filled, plot-driven “soft” science-fiction novels…a genre which differs from the original Dune novels in important respects.

6. “Frank intended the Enemy to be machines from the start. Anyone can see that!”

Except where he explicitly states that the Enemy (Daniel and Marty) is Face Dancers, at the end of Chapter House.

From the start, the “enemy” was man’s dependance on machines, not the machines themselves.

FH in Dune wrote:
“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

7. “Come on, they’re just books! They’re for entertainment, for chrissakes! Get over yourself!”

Counter-argument A: They don’t entertain, thus, they fail in their purpose. That makes them bad books.

Counter-argument B: SC’s spiel about how authors who contradict themselves are careless and just bad writers. (See (12) below.)

Counter-argument C: If a person goes to see a movie or buys a DVD or CD and ends up not liking it, that person is going to tell all their friends that they didn’t like it and why. That goes for books, too.

8. “”But they are bringing in younger fans, and that is always a good thing!” / “Sales of the originals have increased since the new books appeared!”

While this is a good thing, it doesn’t justify the new books. Mention violates Godwin’s Law, but the Holocaust brought a lot of attention to the horrors of anti-Semitism. The analogy is obvious.

It seems apparent from discussion on this forum and others that newcomers to the Duniverse who enter through the portal of the new books have a much different view of the Duniverse than older fans believe FH intended. Due to the inconsistancies, a lot must be explained to these newcomers.

9. “You’re just angry because the new books don’t agree with your preconceived notions!”

“One of the reasons I liked Dune in the first place was that it made me question my preconceived notions. Beyond that, we aren’t complaining about what we would PREFER to have happened, we’re complaining about inconsistencies, absurdities, and general bad writing. If the story was well-written, but didn’t quite take the direction I wanted it to, I would have gotten over it.”

“The bad writting doesn’t bother me as the appearant lack of homework. I expect an author of Dune books to know them at least as well as we do.”

10. “Just be glad that you’ve got some new Dune stories!”

This is a variation of “Something is always better than nothing” (or “Oatmeal is better than no meal”) and can usually be silenced with a few well chosen, silly examples.

Also, it is possible to be glad that the new generation of Dune readers will have a completely different impression of what Dune is like and about?

11. “They own the copyright, so they can decide what is canon and what isn’t!”

They can claim canon all they want, but canon can’t contradict canon. The Pope can’t tell us that Jesus was lying. They aren’t Frank, so it isn’t canon.

Copyright really only determines what can be published, especially for profit. Canon cannot be decreed by group fiat. Sure, the HLP can say, “This is canon, this isn’t!” all it wants. But nothing compels us to empower them by agreeing.

12. “Frank’s books contained inconsistencies, TOO!”

(Note that this response implicitly admits that there are inconsistencies in the new books.)

It’s impossible to publish a book containing zero errors. This has always been true (more so in the past when books were copied by hand) and presumably always will be; we live in an entropic universe, noise always gets into the signal. But the fact that someone else made mistakes with regard to content (not simple typographical errors) in no way mitigates the responsibility of an author to make sure that his or her work is as internally consistent as possible.

Frank Herbert wrote the “Original Six” in a time when word-processing technology was still essentially in its infancy. With the text search technology we have today, no author has any excuse for making sloppy errors in consistency and continuity. Such things are an indication of a lazy and/or bad author.

Finally, FH’s inconsistancies don’t change the fundamental elements of the story and can therefore be considered minor.

13. “If you think you can write better, then why don’t you?”

Some people do. We have the fanfiction forum for that. But most of us never said we could do better (although it’s not such a ridiculous proposition!). Furthermore, we still have a right to critique the “canon” works that the HLP presents to us, as nothing we write will have the copyright or blessings of the HLP.

“I’m not a professional chef, so in a resturaunt, if my food tastes bad, am I supposed to march into the kitchen and cook my own meal?”

13.a. “Only a writer can criticize the work of other writers!”

Roger Ebert doesn’t direct movies. Howard Bloom doesn’t write literature. Most critics don’t actually do the thing they’re criticizing, but they do know about it, which makes their critical remarks valid.

“I’m not a professional chef, so in a resturaunt, can I complain if my food tastes bad?”

14. “The new books are easier to understand, so they’re better as an introduction into the Duniverse.” / “They are just trying to explain things that Frank didn’t cover very well, or things that fans found confusing.”

Many of us first read Dune when we were in our teens. It was all the introduction we needed; what’s wrong with you?

15. “Any inconsistencies are inconsequential and don’t effect the story.”

Even a single inconsistency is of consequence if it causes just one reader to stop and think “WTF?” because any disruption of the willing suspension of disbelief lessens the impact and effectiveness of the story.

And in the opinion of some fans, some of the issues in the new books are serious, namely the machines/robots in the sequels, the backpeddling Ixian technology, etc.

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16. “Kevin and Brian are really nice guys.”

This one is complete B.S. While the two may be nice during fan interactions or friendly to those they know this certainly does not hold up to close scrutiny. KJA is a bully, and a coward who lets others do his dirty work for him. He continues to disrespect the memory of Frank Herbert in favor of his own insertions into the Dune Universe. Real nice.

17. “KJA’s Special Forces don’t receive any payment for positive comments or reviews they post across the internet.”

KJA wrote:
We’ve listed a bunch of possible things to do, some of them quite easy. Or if you do something else not on the list, we’re open to that, too. When you’ve racked up five things, send the list to [email address], and we’ll send your Thank You. We will probably be expanding and modifying the list as this takes shape. (Oh, and you don’t cancel your points once you claim a gift…they keep adding up.)

18. “These are just our opinions so why don’t you haters just quit posting your negativity?”

An obvious contradiction. They want to be free to voice their opinions but shut down everyone else who disagrees with them. They certainly don’t want to address any of the inconsistencies within NuDune so they resort to the arguments on this list.

[Revision 2009.08.07.0934]

10 Responses to “Resources”

  1. Baraka Bryan says:

    it’s “case in point” ;)

  2. SandChigger says:

    Thanks. I’ll pass that along if I can figure out whose comment it was, originally. ;)

  3. redbugpest says:

    This is sad. So very sad…
    I could write an essay on this… But you would just call me a hack. :)

  4. SandChigger says:

    No, you’re just a hack’s fanboy. :)

  5. Omphalos says:

    Write it then. That should be funny.

  6. Tleilax Master B says:

    Who is that jackass redbugpest anyway? This isn’t another one of Hypatia’s pathetic sockpuppets is it?

  7. SandChigger says:

    No, he’s one of KJA’s fanboys from MySpace. He’s got one of those distensible jaws for extra-thorough cybersucking power. He shot his mouth off here and on Jacurutu and on the Amazon discussion theads (where he is B. Conway), but when it came to putting up or shutting up on the threads about the books that Thang and Schu and others started (the ones marked “ATTN: REDBUGPEST”), he chose to shut up.

    Some of us have wondered if he got leashed in by His Master KJA. ;)

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