I got to God Emperor of Dune but never finished it.
The first 3 books are a trilogy of sorts taking place in the same time period although the first book can really stand on its own.
From what I remember of God Emperor was it jumps like 2,000 years into the future and Arrakis is no longer a desert planet and there’s like a Duncan Idaho cloning factory and God Emperor Leto II is a sandworm who controls all the Spice and universe and everything and something about an underground resistance to take him down.
God-Emperor also had a neat stylistic trick where every chapter was from Leto II’s point of view. The God-Emperor was so massive, he not only deformed space-time and human history, he also deformed the narrative.
I remember that now, which is more than can be said for my memory of the rest of the series. I used to retain every detail of these novels, now I can’t even recall if I’ve read them or not! It’s been 20+ years, but still.
From what my brother reported back to me, these two books combined first painstakingly remind you of the original 6 Dune books by Frank Herbert and summarize every single thing that happened in them. And then they finish the story by finishing off the threads from God Emperor, and Heretics and Chapterhouse. He said it was worth reading just to see what Frank Herbert had intended, but he hated that he read the series right before starting these two books, because he had to sit through hours and hours of summary of all the events that he’d just gotten done reading.
Edit: Oh wait, did you mean, these two books don’t exist, in the same way that people say there was no Star Control 3 and no Master of Orion 3? That possibility just occurred to me. If that’s the case, then, yes, you’re right. They don’t exist. :)
Overall from what my brother reported, he thinks Kevin J Anderson is a terrible author and Brian Herbert is not bad. So in all their collaborations, when he likes certain books, he thinks that’s because of Brian Herbert, and when he doesn’t like them, he blames that on Kevin Anderson.
In the book they also resort to suicide bombings and smashing planes/ornicopters into things. Plus, the culture is clearly Arab and Middle Eastern in influence, and they engage in Jihad.
I hope the Middle Eastern look and feel is preserved but even then I think some aspects might have to be toned down.
I mean, a straight adaptation would be fascinating and much darker then the original novel (which is pretty dark in itself), but it might be too risky for something bound to be so expensive. I mean, in this age the apex of blockbuster social commentary seems to be Black Panther. Dune as written can certainly be too much.
I think if portrayed faithfully, the Fremen could work. The mistake would be to write the events fairly closely but try to update it to comment on Isis or Saudi Arabia or something. “Relevant” internal conflict would not be interesting.
What’s also interesting with the narrative is that Paul is uncomfortable with the messiah role he’s playing (especially at the first glimpses of prophecy that he gets), and only really goes all in at the end, with the recognition that at that point there already is no stopping things.
When i first read Dune I preferred the first and second books, because it was the desert planet and Fremen culture that interested me so much. I struggled with God Emperor, and even more so with Heretics and Chapterhouse but over a few decades and many re-reads the scope of the latter novels have endeared me to them. You really get the feeling of time and history between the first Dune and Sheeana and Odrade finding the horde of the long dead Leto II in the location from the original novel.
The prequels and Dune 7 I read at the time, despite most of the prose being very poor even for a pulp/trash fiction fan like me. The one thing Herbert captured so strongly in his novels was religion and belief with the Fremen culture and Pauls jihad. The prequel Butlerian Jihad novel didnt even acknowledge the jihad bit of it all at, that was especially disappointing. Holy war is not just another war. Frank got this, his son and Anderson most certainly didnt. I think reading the wikis and a summarised plot is probably a better idea if only to learn what some of the unanswered questions left by Chapterhouse (Daniel and Marty) and I wonder if Frank really did plan to use gholas of favourite characters in such a fanfic way.
I think a Dune that doesn’t embrace the source material (including the Jihad/religious aspects) is pretty much doomed to failure. The religious element - the “War is raging now in my name, and there’s no way to stop it” aspect - the “Hero whose actions result in terrible events” - are pretty essential to what makes Dune the story that it is. Take that out, and you’ve just got a fairly incomprehensible “Prince becomes King” story (much like Lynch’s attempt).
I think the concept of prescience as a dead end and self-fulfilling doom is fascinating. There are so many amazing socio-politico concepts introduced in Dune. Technology, as a crutch holding back human development, another Dune theme, is the more practical manifestation of the prescience trap. Such an amazing work of fiction.
I saw this then started on the books, and Lynchs looks and feel is embedded in my psych and drives my vision of the novels. Which I think, is a good thing. Harkonnen is techno-industrial, Atredies Space Euroroyalty, Imperial baroque and bits of the Fremen worked albeit missing some of the Space Beduoin aspects. Still love the film, music and well, anything to do with it.
Im a child of the 80s and my formative era the 90s, peak Dune years.
In my headspace i think Marty and Daniel might well have been the AIs, and Tleilaxu Face Dancers a problem but they probably wrote 6 novels off half a page of notes. is there anything available of Herberts actual notes?