Since posting my thoughts on Dune and its descendants, I’ve found that there are no shortage of people out there who agree with me. In fact, there are even sites dedicated to expressing the dissatisfaction Herbert fans have with the garbage his son and Kevin J Anderson have been putting out. Not surprising really, but I learned some interesting facts in the course of reading through them. For one, KJA does not run his writing by anyone who was involved in the production of the original Dune novels. His test panel, if that’s what you want to call it, consists mainly of family and friends. Second, I learned that, contrary to my expectations, the latest installments they have made have been doing quite poorly. In fact, let this serve as a correction to my post: the “interquel” novels, known as the “Heroes of Dune” set, are not a trilogy. Sisterhood of Dune is in fact a departure from the interquels, apparently due to sagging sales. Score one for the good guys!
Now some thoughts on these revelations: First of, what kind of serious author tests his work by getting friends and family to read it? And what the hell do his family know about Dune? Seems to me any fool looking to work the Dune franchise would care solely what the people who knew Herbert best would think, not to mention the fans. Screw family! And seriously, what are they going to tell him? That they loved it because they love him? Or are they going to be honest: “Honey, this is shit! This is an absolute insult to the legacy of Herbert, chock full of cliches and sci-fi stereotypes, and every contrivance known to pulp literature! Franks Herbert’s novels were thoughtful works that dealt with timeless themes and deep philosophical issues. Any child could have turned out this fan fiction bullshit with all its wooden dialogue, cardboard characters and ridiculous plot holes. The only thing missing is a whole lot of spelling mistakes! What the hell were you thinking?!!!”
Well, it’s one thing to criticize. Quite another to put your money where your mouth is. This is one thing I wanted to say in my original post but didn’t because it kind of made me feel like a prick. But if I got one piece of advice, it was that I was being too nice. So here’s some unbridled honesty. Do I think I could do better? That’s the question everyone must ask themselves whenever they decide to get critical. If not, they should probably shut up. But I can honestly say that I think I could do better! And I challenge my fellow Dune fans to do the same. While it may never see the light of day, I think that between us we could come up with a far better end to Dune and I invite people to make suggestions, either here or on various fan sites. You know how a groundswell works, and in the information age, its being done all the time. People produce their own works, put out their own news, and basically vote with their feet (more like fingers, hits and comments make the difference here!). But the result is the same, the popular product supersedes the mainstream crap and soon the mainstream crap is sitting up and taking notice. So let me humbly suggest that we make our own Dune 7, at least a mock-up for it. The ending that we, the fans, think that Herbert would have wanted!
Below is a link to a fansite dedicated to honoring the legacy of Herbert and bashing the prequel/sequel/interquel crap that has followed in his wake: