Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dune Returns!

Anglican General's Warning: The following contains large amounts of geekery, science fiction, and general dweebyness.
Rated 'N' for Nerds: Viewer discretion is advised...

As most of you know, I am a science fiction addict. My all time favorite series of books is the Dune series, written by Frank Herbert. It is not simply sci-fi, it's allegory, it's simply fantastic writing. Herbert wrote in the following order, if my memory serves: Dune, Dune: Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune.

Dune is quite possibly the best science fiction novel ever written. The God Emperor of Dune is the most complex. The theology, philosophical, and political ramifications of this novel are simply stunning if you like that sort of thing. It will absolutely twist your mind.

Unfortunately, Frank Herbert died shortly before beginning the last novel in the series. His son, Brian Herbert, took up his mantle some 10 years later and wrote two incredibly well down prequel series to Dune. The first three (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Corrino) laid the groundwork for the original novel. Each one got better as Herbert and co-author Kevin Anderson finally began to master the complexity of Dune.

Herbert and Anderson also published another prequel series a few years ago which takes place about 1000 years before the original Dune novel when the humans are controlled by the thinking machines they created. This was a truly well done series, which I think rivals the original Frank Herbert Dune in style, complexity, and content. The three in that series, Butlerian Jihad, Machine Crusade, and the Battle of Corrin were by far the best science fiction writing of the 90's. (Way better than that never ending Wheel of Time crap.)

If you want to see the covers of all the books, the official Dune novels website is here.

This long lead in does have a purpose. It has been rumored for about 3 years now that Herbert and Anderson were going to finally end the original Dune series by finishing what was originally known as Dune 7. Apparently Dune 7 will be a two volume work and the release date was finally announced earlier this week and Herbert's blog. The first one, The Hunters of Dune, will come out in September 2006, and the last, The Sandworms of Dune, in September 2007.

I hope they will be stocked in Cambridge. If not, someone is going to have to either mail me a copy when it comes out or else call England's equivalent of 9-11 because I will have had a stroke.

I now return you to your scheduled Archer programming...


Stephen Newell said...

If this is true, consider me your official "Dune dealer." Okay, I'll stop. But seriously, consider yourself taken care of.

I have yet to read the prequels, though I suppose I should get off my Southern Baptist arse and get them. But I'm too wrapped up in reading Calvin's Institutes right now to really muster the motivation to tackle more Dune. Dune makes Lord of the Rings look like Dr. Seuss in terms of complexity.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Well, after I posted this article, I noticed on the official website that there is cover art for both the American and UK versions, so I am assuming I will be able to snag one over there with different cover art (Sweet!).

I recommend the 2nd trilogy prequel about the thinking machines over the first, although the first are good in their own right.

Chris Allen Gaubatz said...

I have to respectfully disagree on your statement that the Dune prequels rivaled Herbert's original Dune canon. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Dune prequels read like a banal list of chronological events, and lack the philosophical flare Herbert exhibits in the Dune canon. While I enjoyed reading the prequels, they certainly could not stand on their own. Herbert Sr. created a wonderous universe for his readers to delve into. Herbert's son and Kevin J. Anderson are merely cashing in on the 'Dune' brand, without being able to deliver a comparable product.