Dune

Hawki

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Well, if you're sitting on your dad's very valuable IP you may as well cash in, and if you've got no writing talent, you can always licence the writing part out. That brings in Kevin J. Anderson: I've read one his novels, and it convinced me that I never need read another.
Except Brian Herbert was writing books before he started writing Dune with Anderson, and has written other books since then.

That said, reading Sisterhood of Dune now, and having read most of Saga of Seven Suns (also by Anderson), it's got Anderson's fingerprints all over it. Worldbuilding is fairly good, but the writing is functional more than anything else, the characters are fairly bland, and there's some bizzare choices of language, such as when the characters refer to "the evil [thinking] machines." This is primary school-level language. Secondary at best.

I'll be honest, you're probably not missing out on much by skipping it, and assuming the level of quality is constant, probably the rest of Expanded Dune as well.

B. Herbert could definitely have done far better than Anderson, indeed. I have no doubt F. Herbert had plans and notes for beyond the seventh novel even if he clearly peaked with God Emperor and kinda descended into weird pulpy psychosexual shit with Heretics and Chapterhouse, but what B. Herbert and Anderson did with it was ridiculous.
Is it actually confirmed how much of each author writes the books?

I can't comment on Brian Herbert at all as a writer, but Anderson...well, as I said, Sisterhood has multiple similarities with Saga (even down to plot points, arguably), so I could imagine that it's Brian doing outlines while Anderson does the actual writing, but if so, I'm left to ask why.

The weird thing is, I'd say Anderson's got the opposite problem. At least going by Saga, he's very good at worldbuilding, but he can't really create interesting characters to inhabit those worlds, and the writing is all function, no form. It makes me want to see Saga adapted into a TV series or something - streamline the plot, get a better writer on hand, bingo.
 

Agema

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Except Brian Herbert was writing books before he started writing Dune with Anderson, and has written other books since then.
Yeah, but I'm not sure any of them have ever gleaned anything significant in sales or critical appreciation.

That said, reading Sisterhood of Dune now, and having read most of Saga of Seven Suns (also by Anderson), it's got Anderson's fingerprints all over it. Worldbuilding is fairly good, but the writing is functional more than anything else, the characters are fairly bland, and there's some bizzare choices of language, such as when the characters refer to "the evil [thinking] machines." This is primary school-level language. Secondary at best.
I don't want to be too mean to authors who write tie-in lit, because some of them of good. But the majority are second or third rate, including Kevin J. Anderson. Some of them manage to launch solo projects off the back of popular tie-ins, but most of them don't build that into a lasting career because they're not very good.

If you have a "name" and an "unknown", chances are the unknown is doing the writing. The name is supplying IP rights, ideas, consultation, or even just a brand. For instance, the Arthur C. Clark joint projects (e.g. with Gentry Lee) are pretty much all written by the collaborating author, not Clark. James Patterson runs a writing factory where he puts his name on books for providing consulting duties for lesser-known authors so they get a book with likely guaranteed decent sales, and he gets a cut.
 

Hawki

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I don't want to be too mean to authors who write tie-in lit, because some of them of good.
:)

But the majority are second or third rate,
:(

James Patterson runs a writing factory where he puts his name on books for providing consulting duties for lesser-known authors so they get a book with likely guaranteed decent sales, and he gets a cut.
Yeah, tell me about it.

Patterson's an author I've kind of developed an irratonal dislike for, simply because there's so much of his damn stuff on the shelves. Sort of "it's popular, so it sucks," only from what I have read, it does kind of suck...
 

Eacaraxe

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Just finished watching the damn thing myself. Yeah, that was way better than it had any right to be; I certainly never expected to see a major studio adaptation of Dune that stayed true to the source material with few if any compromises. Hell, there were a few scenes in the movie I'd forgotten were in the book for as long as it's been since I read it.

Kinda wish they'd kept Duncan nuking the crap out of everything on his way out of Arakeen, though. One of the more comedic moments in a very dramatic, serious point in the book. I suppose they didn't want any inadvertent callbacks to Momoa as Ronon Dex.

I do wish they'd stayed true to the book with how hellish sandworms were, too. But neither the Lynch film nor the Sci-FI miniseries did the sandworms justice. I can accept that, given how sandworms are in the novels, are one of those things audiences would be likely to reject.

Other than that...effects, soundtrack, pacing, script were on point. Villeneuve's economy of storytelling was honestly the best part of the film. Casting was impeccable. The Voice scenes were spot on, and honestly the best scene in the movie was the gom jabbar. The filmmakers absolutely nailed that.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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Just finished watching the damn thing myself. Yeah, that was way better than it had any right to be; I certainly never expected to see a major studio adaptation of Dune that stayed true to the source material with few if any compromises. Hell, there were a few scenes in the movie I'd forgotten were in the book for as long as it's been since I read it.

Kinda wish they'd kept Duncan nuking the crap out of everything on his way out of Arakeen, though. One of the more comedic moments in a very dramatic, serious point in the book. I suppose they didn't want any inadvertent callbacks to Momoa as Ronon Dex.

I do wish they'd stayed true to the book with how hellish sandworms were, too. But neither the Lynch film nor the Sci-FI miniseries did the sandworms justice. I can accept that, given how sandworms are in the novels, are one of those things audiences would be likely to reject.

Other than that...effects, soundtrack, pacing, script were on point. Villeneuve's economy of storytelling was honestly the best part of the film. Casting was impeccable. The Voice scenes were spot on, and honestly the best scene in the movie was the gom jabbar. The filmmakers absolutely nailed that.
I wish we had gotten the dinner scene. I totally understand why it's not there, but it's a really important scene to show how the Atreides are changing the social heirarchy of Dune and how unhappy it makes the nobles already there. It also introduces the smugglers that end up being completely absent from the first movie.
 
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SckizoBoy

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Oof... a lot of Kevin J Anderson hate here(!)

That said, I've only read one book series by him and in all fairness, I kind of dragged myself through pretty much the entire second half of it out of a desire to find out what happened. Could've been worse... But holy-shit, some of the alien species he came up with were cool, but he didn't know what to do with 'em.
 

Hawki

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Oof... a lot of Kevin J Anderson hate here(!)

That said, I've only read one book series by him and in all fairness, I kind of dragged myself through pretty much the entire second half of it out of a desire to find out what happened. Could've been worse... But holy-shit, some of the alien species he came up with were cool, but he didn't know what to do with 'em.
Are you referring to Saga of Seven Suns?

Anyway, I've said my piece on Anderson plenty of times, so TL, DR, he's good at worldbuilding, but average (at best) at writing and characters.
 

Eacaraxe

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I wish we had gotten the dinner scene. I totally understand why it's not there, but it's a really important scene to show how the Atreides and changing the social heirarchy of Dune and how unhappy it makes the nobles already there. It also introduces the smugglers that end up being completely absent from the first movie.
I just don't see how it fits in any adaptation that would have focused on economy of storytelling, which is basically the only way to do Dune coherently outside some Jodorowsky length bullshit. The film didn't need any more plates to spin than it already had, let alone introduce subplots about how the extant upper crust of Arrakis was totally happy with Harkonnen rule because they were allowed to profit at the suffering and privation of the people, and resentful the Atreides were putting a rapid end to it.

By far the most important part of the dinner scene, from the perspective of the overarching narrative, is it's where Kyne's plans to terraform Arrakis are revealed -- and that there already is enough water on Arrakis to restore it to its historic ecosystem. But, neither of those points are important at that point to warrant its introduction to that story through an entire scene, let alone when the later scenes in Kynes' ecological station reveal much of it organically and with economic storytelling. The presence and amount of water on Arrakis is revealed likewise upon Paul's and Jessica's introduction to Seitch Tabr, and when Stilgar speaks of the Fremen's plans.

And in any case, where that water is, the full implications of terraforming Arrakis, and most importantly why the terraforming project originally stopped, don't really play a key role until Children of Dune anyway...so it's better to hold off on it until the third film, assuming it happens. And before anyone asks, the answers to those questions in spoilers for the interested:

Terraforming Arrakis would cause the sandworms to go extinct. Water is lethally poisonous to sandworms, and sandworms ultimately produce the spice.

Sandworms undergo metamorphosis between life stages, the first being sand plankton and the second being sandtrout. Sandtrout instinctually seek out water and capture it, forming colonies that create massive artificial cisterns deep underground. Sandtrout's excretions combine with the water they capture, creating spice's precursor called a pre-spice mass.

Eventually temperature and pressure in pre-spice masses grow to a point they can't be contained, and explode to the surface in a spice blow. The spice blow kills most of the sandtrout, and those that survive enter a chrysalis phase to emerge later as young sandworms. The spice on the surface dries and changes chemically, into melange to be harvested.

There's no water on the surface of Arrakis despite the planet once having been quite similar to Earth with rivers and oceans, because it's all captured deep underground by sandtrout. The sandtrout desertified the planet, thereby creating an ideal ecosystem for their own final life phase -- sandworms.

The Fremen -- and Kynes and Kynes' father -- are fully aware of this, and the extent of their terraforming plans were to create habitable temperate zones at the poles, while most of the planet remained deep desert. The Fremen bribe the Spacing Guild with their own (illegal) spice shipments to keep knowledge of the planet and the Fremen secret, and prevent any attempt to learn more about the planet -- the real reason there are no satellites in orbit of Arrakis, the stuff about magnetic fields is nonsense.

Because, y'know, if the imperium learned the sandworms were the secret to spice production, and there were actually ten million Fremen on the planet riding around on sandworms and carrying out their own secret terraforming project fucking with the most expensive and necessary commodity in the known universe, there'd be hell to pay.

The melange smugglers were more or less a necessary evil to cut, things as they were. I expect if anything they might show up in part 2 to demonstrate how more than Atreides in exile, and Fremen, revolted against the Harkonnens and help Paul seize the imperial throne.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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I just don't see how it fits in any adaptation that would have focused on economy of storytelling, which is basically the only way to do Dune coherently outside some Jodorowsky length bullshit. The film didn't need any more plates to spin than it already had, let alone introduce subplots about how the extant upper crust of Arrakis was totally happy with Harkonnen rule because they were allowed to profit at the suffering and privation of the people, and resentful the Atreides were putting a rapid end to it.

By far the most important part of the dinner scene, from the perspective of the overarching narrative, is it's where Kyne's plans to terraform Arrakis are revealed -- and that there already is enough water on Arrakis to restore it to its historic ecosystem. But, neither of those points are important at that point to warrant its introduction to that story through an entire scene, let alone when the later scenes in Kynes' ecological station reveal much of it organically and with economic storytelling. The presence and amount of water on Arrakis is revealed likewise upon Paul's and Jessica's introduction to Seitch Tabr, and when Stilgar speaks of the Fremen's plans.

And in any case, where that water is, the full implications of terraforming Arrakis, and most importantly why the terraforming project originally stopped, don't really play a key role until Children of Dune anyway...so it's better to hold off on it until the third film, assuming it happens. And before anyone asks, the answers to those questions in spoilers for the interested:

Terraforming Arrakis would cause the sandworms to go extinct. Water is lethally poisonous to sandworms, and sandworms ultimately produce the spice.

Sandworms undergo metamorphosis between life stages, the first being sand plankton and the second being sandtrout. Sandtrout instinctually seek out water and capture it, forming colonies that create massive artificial cisterns deep underground. Sandtrout's excretions combine with the water they capture, creating spice's precursor called a pre-spice mass.

Eventually temperature and pressure in pre-spice masses grow to a point they can't be contained, and explode to the surface in a spice blow. The spice blow kills most of the sandtrout, and those that survive enter a chrysalis phase to emerge later as young sandworms. The spice on the surface dries and changes chemically, into melange to be harvested.

There's no water on the surface of Arrakis despite the planet once having been quite similar to Earth with rivers and oceans, because it's all captured deep underground by sandtrout. The sandtrout desertified the planet, thereby creating an ideal ecosystem for their own final life phase -- sandworms.

The Fremen -- and Kynes and Kynes' father -- are fully aware of this, and the extent of their terraforming plans were to create habitable temperate zones at the poles, while most of the planet remained deep desert. The Fremen bribe the Spacing Guild with their own (illegal) spice shipments to keep knowledge of the planet and the Fremen secret, and prevent any attempt to learn more about the planet -- the real reason there are no satellites in orbit of Arrakis, the stuff about magnetic fields is nonsense.

Because, y'know, if the imperium learned the sandworms were the secret to spice production, and there were actually ten million Fremen on the planet riding around on sandworms and carrying out their own secret terraforming project fucking with the most expensive and necessary commodity in the known universe, there'd be hell to pay.

The melange smugglers were more or less a necessary evil to cut, things as they were. I expect if anything they might show up in part 2 to demonstrate how more than Atreides in exile, and Fremen, revolted against the Harkonnens and help Paul seize the imperial throne.
I don't disagree with you, but to me personally I think one of the most interesting parts of the first Dune book is the emphasis on how water is treated. The lengths that those living on Dune go to preserve it, the value of it. Emphasizing that is pivotal to the understanding of the entire freeman culture, and the dinner scene does a great job of that.

I didn't actually expect it to be in the movie, too much of the scene is internal monologues about spy games, but I'm still disappointed at its absence.
 

Eacaraxe

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I don't disagree with you, but to me personally I think one of the most interesting parts of the first Dune book is the emphasis on how water is treated. The lengths that those living on Dune go to preserve it, the value of it. Emphasizing that is pivotal to the understanding of the entire freeman culture, and the dinner scene does a great job of that.
That's actually what I approved of most, the film's narrative economy. That was expressed more than adequately between the scene about the palm trees, Stilgar's meeting with Leto, and the brief dialogue about the stilltent's water reclamation. The film didn't need a scene emphasizing it, as it was a vital subtext of several scenes and a consistent background element throughout, so the film didn't have a scene emphasizing it.
 

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Oof... a lot of Kevin J Anderson hate here(!)
I never thought about it, but I guess that includes me. I had to look him up to remember, but he wrote a lot of Star Wars stuff that was absolute trash. At least imo. I tried reading a couple of his books and felt thoroughly burned.
 

immortalfrieza

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Just finished watching the damn thing myself. Yeah, that was way better than it had any right to be; I certainly never expected to see a major studio adaptation of Dune that stayed true to the source material with few if any compromises. Hell, there were a few scenes in the movie I'd forgotten were in the book for as long as it's been since I read it.

Kinda wish they'd kept Duncan nuking the crap out of everything on his way out of Arakeen, though. One of the more comedic moments in a very dramatic, serious point in the book. I suppose they didn't want any inadvertent callbacks to Momoa as Ronon Dex.

I do wish they'd stayed true to the book with how hellish sandworms were, too. But neither the Lynch film nor the Sci-FI miniseries did the sandworms justice. I can accept that, given how sandworms are in the novels, are one of those things audiences would be likely to reject.

Other than that...effects, soundtrack, pacing, script were on point. Villeneuve's economy of storytelling was honestly the best part of the film. Casting was impeccable. The Voice scenes were spot on, and honestly the best scene in the movie was the gom jabbar. The filmmakers absolutely nailed that.
As someone who hasn't read Dune or watched Part 1 yet this is great to hear. My greatest concern is if they can keep up the momentum. It would be all too easy to go lazy in Part 2. For instance, even without the extended cut the Hobbit Trilogy was IMO firing on all cylinders throughout the first and second movies, but fizzled out with the third movie. Not to mention if they keep adapting Dune books from here on out. One has to fight the desire to rather than be exceptional to just put something workable in and call it a day on a constant basis if you're making something, and that includes adaptions.
 

Eacaraxe

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As someone who hasn't read Dune or watched Part 1 yet this is great to hear. My greatest concern is if they can keep up the momentum. It would be all too easy to go lazy in Part 2. For instance, even without the extended cut the Hobbit Trilogy was IMO firing on all cylinders throughout the first and second movies, but fizzled out with the third movie. Not to mention if they keep adapting Dune books from here on out. One has to fight the desire to rather than be exceptional to just put something workable in and call it a day on a constant basis if you're making something, and that includes adaptions.
So, that's where Dune gets funky. Dune was originally published as two serials in Analog magazine; the novel as it's known today is actually a compilation of those serials. Hence why the book is so damn massive and dense. The first Villeneuve film covers basically the first serial, and a tiny bit of the second.

The first serial ends with Paul and Jessica in the stilltent. You'll know it when/if you see it. That part in the novel is actually much longer, and reveals a couple explosive plot details that have huge ramifications for the rest of the story -- that the first film doesn't touch. What happens after the stilltent is actually the first part of the second serial.

Basically what this boils down to, is the first film covers the boring part of the novel. It's basically all world building, exposition, and dialogue scenes with little action except at the very end. It's good if you like political drama and intrigue, but it is still the comparatively slow and plodding part of the book. Hence, why I keep raving about the first film's narrative economy -- the film was going to live or die on it.

The second film is where it's going to start drifting into action/sci-fi, with the plot threads around the drama and intrigue thickening. So, with Dune, it's not a matter of preserving the momentum but rather building it in the first place, and the first film was quite successful in that from my opinion as a lifelong fan of the novel series.
 

Specter Von Baren

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So, that's where Dune gets funky. Dune was originally published as two serials in Analog magazine; the novel as it's known today is actually a compilation of those serials. Hence why the book is so damn massive and dense. The first Villeneuve film covers basically the first serial, and a tiny bit of the second.

The first serial ends with Paul and Jessica in the stilltent. You'll know it when/if you see it. That part in the novel is actually much longer, and reveals a couple explosive plot details that have huge ramifications for the rest of the story -- that the first film doesn't touch. What happens after the stilltent is actually the first part of the second serial.

Basically what this boils down to, is the first film covers the boring part of the novel. It's basically all world building, exposition, and dialogue scenes with little action except at the very end. It's good if you like political drama and intrigue, but it is still the comparatively slow and plodding part of the book. Hence, why I keep raving about the first film's narrative economy -- the film was going to live or die on it.

The second film is where it's going to start drifting into action/sci-fi, with the plot threads around the drama and intrigue thickening. So, with Dune, it's not a matter of preserving the momentum but rather building it in the first place, and the first film was quite successful in that from my opinion as a lifelong fan of the novel series.
Sorry for coming to this discussion late but you mentioned that none of the film's really capture "how hellish" the sandworms are. What did you mean by that exactly? Like design wise? Or did you mean in how they function?
 
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Eacaraxe

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Sorry for coming to this discussion late but you mentioned that none of the film's really capture "how hellish" the sandworms are. What did you mean by that exactly? Like design wise? Or did you mean in how they function?
Haven't been on due to work, but so, in the movies and miniseries they're just...giant worms, right?

In the novels...not so much. They're more like half-mile-long biomechanical nightmares whose digestive systems are basically giant blast furnaces. When they open their maws, flames and superheated gases escape that basically incinerate anything in front of them. Hence, why they just annihilate spice harvesters. They don't crawl through sand or burrow, so much as kind of melt their way through it.

When they surface, they emit huge columns of black smoke, and when they get near the surface the sheer amount of static electricity they generate cause pop-up dry thunderstorms for miles around. Wormsign isn't just large waves of sand displaced by the worm's body, it's also that massive column of smoke and the huge electrical storms their presence cause. The worms themselves aren't what's lethal; their mere presence is because few if any living things can survive the superheated gases, smoke, and electrical discharge that come with one's arrival.

Which is why fremen summoning and riding the damn things is so terrifying. Sandworms are living weapons of mass destruction, and their mere presence is enough to cause mass casualties and collateral damage. But that's not even the worst part; they excrete concentrated spice, that narcotic that expands consciousness, awareness, sensitivity, perception of time, and enhanced latent prescience. So it's not enough you're going to be electrocuted or incinerated, if you're lucky. You're going to be electrocuted or incinerated high off your tits, experiencing time dilation and with supernaturally-heightened sensitivity towards pain, likely having experienced it once as a premonition before it actually happens.

In that light, it's no wonder why fremen consider them living manifestations of god...y'know, the old testament one.

Hence during the Battle of Arrakeen, the use of atomics to breach the shield wall was the least of the threats the fremen brought to bear. The sandworms were capable of dealing more damage...than nuclear weapons. And they did.

For all the shit the '84 movie gets, it's also the one that got closest to how worms are in the book.
 
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Specter Von Baren

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Haven't been on due to work, but so, in the movies and miniseries they're just...giant worms, right?

In the novels...not so much. They're more like half-mile-long biomechanical nightmares whose digestive systems are basically giant blast furnaces. When they open their maws, flames and superheated gases escape that basically incinerate anything in front of them. Hence, why they just annihilate spice harvesters. They don't crawl through sand or burrow, so much as kind of melt their way through it.

When they surface, they emit huge columns of black smoke, and when they get near the surface the sheer amount of static electricity they generate cause pop-up dry thunderstorms for miles around. Wormsign isn't just large waves of sand displaced by the worm's body, it's also that massive column of smoke and the huge electrical storms their presence cause. The worms themselves aren't what's lethal; their mere presence is because few if any living things can survive the superheated gases, smoke, and electrical discharge that come with one's arrival.

Which is why fremen summoning and riding the damn things is so terrifying. Sandworms are living weapons of mass destruction, and their mere presence is enough to cause mass casualties and collateral damage. But that's not even the worst part; they excrete concentrated spice, that narcotic that expands consciousness, awareness, sensitivity, perception of time, and enhanced latent prescience. So it's not enough you're going to be electrocuted or incinerated, if you're lucky. You're going to be electrocuted or incinerated high off your tits, experiencing time dilation and with supernaturally-heightened sensitivity towards pain, likely having experienced it once as a premonition before it actually happens.

In that light, it's no wonder why fremen consider them living manifestations of god...y'know, the old testament one.

Hence during the Battle of Arrakeen, the use of atomics to breach the shield wall was the least of the threats the fremen brought to bear. The sandworms were capable of dealing more damage...than nuclear weapons. And they did.

For all the shit the '84 movie gets, it's also the one that got closest to how worms are in the book.
I see...

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