Stupid, Stupid, Stupid: Dune – House Harkonnen

The Dune series by Frank Herbert is one of the best SF series ever, ranking up there with fantasy’s Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien) and the Thomas Covenant novels (Stephen R. Donaldson).

And now they’re being bastardized by bullshit from Frank’s son Brian and some other hack by the name of Kevin J. Anderson.

I’ve read House Atreides and House Corrino, and enjoyed them on a sort of a surface level. But they come nowhere near the depth and richness of the least of Frank Herbert’s novels.

Brian is actually not a bad writer, I’m sure. I’ve read his Sudanna, Sudanna, and it’s a subtle, intricate, and compelling tale. Kevin J. Anderson I’ve not read, and can’t make judgements about his prior work. But together they are horrible.

I’ve just started Dune: House Harkonnen, so this will be a review of a book that I’ve not finished, which is not smart. But I simply could not continue past page 32 without writing this as a form of protest.

Derivative! These guys have NO imagination! This was obvious from the previous Dune books that they collaborated on, in which an Ixian scientist creates a no-room thousands of years (yes, litterally eons) prior to the creation of no-technology in Frank Herbert’s books.

But it is just becoming nauseating in Dune: House Harkonnen.

Page 26: a state dinner at the seat of power on the planet Arrakis. (Where have we seen this before? The original Dune, by Frank Herbert.)

Page 28: a comment on taste. (Reminiscent of Lady Jessica’s comment in the original Dune? Yes.)

Page 30: a very young man boldly announces a toast at the state dinner. (Where have we seen this before? Paul Atreides in, you guessed it, the original Dune.)

Page 30: discussion of a wet-planet conservatory on Arrakis, including negative commentary of this luxury on a desert planet. (Both in the original Dune.)

Page 31: by-now-obligatory theft of standard derogatory comment on Fremen’s death rituals. (Yup, in the original.)

All this derivative storyline is lazy. Worse, it’s an insult to the author that imagined such an amazing universe.

Add to this typical B-level authorisms such as:

Page 31: “His fingers were so laden with jeweled rings he could barely lift his hands.” Umm … whatever. Is that the only way you can make your point, by saying he had 50 or 60 pounds of jewels on his hands?

Page 32-33: An ambassador, get this, an ambassador who claims that his duties (his duties!) keep him from knowing whether or not the emperor is going to have another child. His duty is to know the political climate, and nothing is more critical than those at the top of the ladder.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

A half-decent editor should have picked up all these idiocies within about 30 seconds. Bad authors, bad editors … but I guess there’s a nice fat paycheck in the wallets of those who are destroying Frank Herbert’s legacy by bringing it down the level of any of the indistiguishable horrible bland SF and fantasy series that seem so common these days.