Hairy Ticks of Dune

Home of the Orthodox Herbertarian Jihad

Why the Legends of Dune trilogy sucked
(and The Great Schools will be no better)

As of today (January 21, 2011), I am beginning a rereading of the Legends of Dune trilogy. In addition to filling in the chapter-by-chapter synopses for each of the three books, I will be posting my thoughts on why the books are so bad — and why they fail as Dune books! — here on this page. I have added a few heading for topics I already know I will definitely want to discuss...

Update: The best laid plans... I had not anticipated the psychological resistance to rereading this crap being this strong, but it seems that over the last week I have proven quite resourceful in finding one thing or another to do instead of this. Nevertheless, I begin at last! (January 28)

Princess Irulan writes:

The prologue to Dune: The Butlerian Jihad is divided into two parts, the first of which is preceded by the above line. The section mentions both Muad’Dib and “my father, Emperor Shaddam IV” and is clearly intended to be read as penned by Irulan. The second section, however, is slightly more ambiguous: is it still in-universe text by Irulan or is it the usual narrative voice speaking? Or is Irulan the narrator throughout the book? The series? And was this ambiguity intentional and laying the groundwork for eventually declaring Frank Herbert’s Dune books in-universe texts? Is Kevin J. Anderson that clever and devious? Was Brian Herbert even awake?

The opening of the prologue sets the tone for the entire trilogy: everything is a foreshadowing and explanation of the future Duniverse, every person and event tied to those of the original books and the Preludes. Only the most idiotic reader would not realize that the universe of a set of prequels will eventually develop into the universe of an original series. The heavy-handed manner in which Anderson & Herbert attempt to drive home the point that their scenario is how the Duniverse evolved indicates just how stupid they think their readers are.

And, as I have blogged just today, it appears that Anderson & Herbert outsmarted themselves (again) by having Irulan mention the Fremen Jihad in the prologue as “current”, fixing the time of writing in the period between Dune and Dune Messiah. This is unfortunate in that, years later, in a conversation with Ghanima in Children of Dune, after Ghanima mentions Agamemnon, Irulan asks not “The Titan cymek?” but “Who’s Agamemnon?” Could she, Bene Gesserit trained, so easily have forgotten the name of one of the major baddies from the past? Someone she had written about so extensively in three books years before?

What do you think?

The Titans

The unneeded and unwarranted introduction of the “cymek” Titans is one of the more inexplicable decisions made in the creation of the Legends series. One can only assume that either Kevin J. Anderson or Brian Herbert has an unhealthy interest in all those bad “Jan in the pan” movies from the 1950s and Japanese Transformers comics and anime from the 1980s & 1990s.

The Brain That Would Not Die movie poster

The Titans are unneeded because it should have been possible, for writers with any sort of real talent, to present the two essential sides of the basic conflict behind the Butlerian Jihad without the distraction of these in-between monstrosities. And they are unwarranted because there is absolutely nothing in Frank Herbert’s books that even hints of their existence. The Titans are beyond any doubt the inferior creations of one or two very inferior minds.

Omnius & Erasmus

The “Evermind” Omnius is introduced in the prologue backstory; the “independent robot” Erasmus not until Ch. 5.

The Sorceresses of Rossak


Norma Cenva


The General Setting