Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

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Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 10 Nov 2019 11:11

In response to a couple of questions on Goodreads about five years ago, Brian Herbert describes the extent to which they used Frank Herbert's notes in the new books (not including the "Dune 7" volumes):

Brian Herbert wrote:We also found more pages of general notes about the Dune universe, but were only able to use them minimally, for an epigraph here and there, for example. Those notes did include one chapter, in which Lady Jessica and Duke Leto meet—and we included that in one of our new novels.
https://www.goodreads.com/questions/494 ... utline-for

Brian Herbert wrote:We also have other notes of Frank Herbert’s that were found in storage, but they are bits and pieces of information that we can only adapt for a short epigraph here and there, or – as we did in only one case – as a portion of a chapter.
https://www.goodreads.com/questions/226 ... g-universe

I know some of you don't believe a word Brian or Kevin say about the notes, but I tend to credit their claims. Of course, what he's saying here is that the new books (apart from Hunters and Sandworms) only draw on notes by Frank Herbert to a minimal extent, which I think we all find easy to believe.

With one exception: He's claiming that Frank Herbert wrote a chapter where Jessica and Leto meet, that they included in one of their books. (Though the second comment is less expansive, only saying there was "bits and pieces of information" that they adapted as a portion of a chapter.) If this is true, it would be interesting to try to identify which part is by Frank Herbert.

This event takes place in House Harkonnen. However, it's a little bit complicated because they actually "meet" twice: first seeing each other from a distance when Jessica is twelve and Leto is accompanying his friend Rhombur Vernius to buy a BG concubine, and then five years later with Jessica presented as a gift to the Duke by Reverend Mother Mohiam. In this scene, Leto holds a knife to Jessica's throat, threatening to kill her (for no very clear reason).

So which scene is Brian referring to? Nothing stands out to me as Frank Herbert's writing. The only halfway plausible candidate I can find (assuming some tampering by Brian and Kevin) is this passage from the first scene:

Dune: House Harkonnen wrote:At that moment Duke Leto glanced up at Jessica, as if sensing her presence in the balcony shadows—and their gazes met. She saw a fire in his gray eyes, a strength and wisdom beyond his years, the result of bearing difficult burdens. She felt herself drawn to him.
But she resisted. Instincts … automatic reactions, responses … I am not an animal. She rejected other emotions, as Mohiam had taught her for years.
Jessica’s previous questions vanished, and for the moment she formed no new ones. A deep, calming breath brought her to a state of serenity. For whatever reasons, she liked the look of this Duke …

… But I am far from convinced. (I'd quote the whole thing, but the second scene in particular is too long. The first scene is about one sixth of the way through, in a chapter with the epigraph “What is this Love that so many speak of with such apparent familiarity? Do they truly comprehend how unattainable it is? Are there not as many definitions of Love as there are stars in the universe? —The Bene Gesserit Question Book” The second is about halfway through the book, in a chapter with the epigraph “The Bene Gesserit tell no casual lies. Truth serves us better. —Bene Gesserit Coda”)

It's also hard to see why Frank would write either of these scenes: there's no place in Dune or any of the sequels for a chapter about the meeting between Jessica and Leto. And the first scene is all wrapped up in House Vernius plotting that obviously has nothing to do with Frank, while the second flatly contradicts Dune (where we learn that Leto sent buyers to pick a concubine, who reported back to him about Jessica before he met her) and also ties into the even-more-obviously-unrelated-to-anything-that-ever-passed-through-Frank's-mind subplot about the Harkonnen no-ship as well as Leto's first concubine and son.

The best explanations I can think of would be:

(1) What Brian at one point calls a "chapter" they found is really something much less than that suggests, more in line with the "bits and pieces of information" he talks about. Either some brief notes (e.g., "When J and L met 1st time, L threatened life"), or a flashback by Leto or Jessica that was cut from Dune (or reworked into one of the flashbacks we see). Such a flashback would probably be very short, a paragraph or two at the very most. A small authentic nucleus by Frank Herbert (for the basic concept, if not the actual writing) could conceivably exist in either of the two scenes.

(2) In some earlier draft, proto-Jessica ("Dorothy Mapes" in their Spice Planet novella) joins the household of proto-Leto ("Jesse Linkam") within the timeframe of the book. In that case, this must pre-date the introduction of Paul's character ("Barri") into the story—at least as anything other than a baby. This hypothesis can only really work for the second scene; however, the idea of the Bene Gesserit doesn't seem to have come until later in the writing process, so it would mean that very little of Frank's original version survives in the published version.

(3) Brian is misinterpreting what they found, and it was not actually meant to be the first meeting between Jessica and Leto. I'm struck by the superficial similarity between the second meeting and the scene found in Dune where Gurney holds a knife to Jessica's throat. Could it be an early version of that scene, with Leto holding the knife? We know from papers at Fullerton that in earlier drafts, Leto really did suspect Jessica of being a traitor.

I guess I tend to lean towards some combination of the first and third idea: that it's based on something quite brief (because the writing doesn't seem to be by Frank), likely for a scene not intended to be the first meeting between Leto and Jessica.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Ziggy » 10 Nov 2019 15:47

Even were these based upon Frank's notes, why would the authors choose to include material from notes that the novel contradicts? It just baffles me. In Dune it clearly states that buyers were sent for Jessica.

"Not since the day when the Duke's buyers had taken her from the school had she felt this frightened and unsure of herself."

This is what really irks me about BH / KJA, notes or not, there is no good reason to contradict Frank's work again and again and again …

If said notes really do exist (and I have serious doubts) why do they insist that they supercede the final version? As 'writers' surely they should be able to grasp the concept of outline to draft to completed work.

The last sentence of the portion you quoted sounds suspiciously like they are trying to emulate Frank's style:

"Against his own will and all previous judgments, Kynes admitted to himself: I like this Duke.

I used to hold out some hope that we might actually get to see the mythical Notes [TM] but after years pondering the authenticity of their claims, I came to the conclusion that they don't exist. The story regarding their discovery and content changes depending which interview you read and not to mention the serendipitous timing, appearing on cue as they discussed writing the sequels / prequels / interquels / sidequels, the key vs drill, etc. I've given up analysing the BH / KJA novels.

Just realised that might sound snarky, Aramsham, and certainly not my intention. Apologies if my frustrations with New Dune led me to sound that way. Thing is, I was very much like minded in the beginning. I read the Prelude / Legends books and the abomination that was Hunters / Waterworms hoping for even a tiny glimmer of prose that might have come directly from Frank. Having re-read the true Dune novels many, many times now and become more immersed in Frank's style of writing / themes each time I just don't buy it anymore.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 13 Nov 2019 03:03

I'd actually like to set aside any debate over the existence of Frank Herbert notes in Brian's possession, and simply work from the assumption that his comments here are based on something real (even if we conclude that he's not being 100% accurate). To my recollection, there are only three specific things in all their books that Brian or Kevin have claimed are based on notes by Frank Herbert:

-Mohiam being Jessica's mother
-The resurrection of Paul etc. as gholas in the Dune 7 books
-The meeting between Leto and Jessica

Therefore I think these things are worth close examination and consideration. The Mohiam thing has been discussed at length, I think most people accept that the Dune 7 gholas were something Frank had in mind (given that it's foreshadowed in Chapterhouse), but I haven't seen any discussion about the Leto and Jessica meeting.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Ziggy » 13 Nov 2019 09:33

Had a look at BHs comments on Goodreads. He states:

"Those notes did include one chapter, in which Lady Jessica and Duke Leto meet—and we included that in one of our new novels"

Said notes he's referring to are supposedly general notes and not the infamous Dune 7 notes. It's plausible, so let's concede that these are genuine simply for the sake of argument. His statement above is a little ambiguous in that we can read it one of two ways, the material was incorporated into House Harkonnen or the chapter in it's entirety was used. Either way he seems to be implying that a significant portion of the notes were employed.

I've just retrieved my copy of House Harkonnen from banishment and the chapter in question begins on page 297, for anyone else wishing to examine it. In my opinion, it doesn't read at all like Frank's style and contains some odd references, for example D-wolves and no-ships? More than just a bit displaced in the established chronology. Thufir would recognise Voice? He seemed rather surprised some 16 years (or more, based on Paul's age) later in Dune. An Atreides-Tleilaxu war? I could go on but it reads more as pretty much a continuation of the general plot lines of the Preludes series which are almost certainly products of BH/KJA and not FH.

It's such a great pity that the Herbert estate are unwilling to release Frank's material they claim to be in possession of. Perhaps there is not enough to justify a book along the lines of Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-earth series but why not add these to the Fullerton archives?

I'll re-read this chapter again, carefully but to be honest, nothing so far strikes me as anything obviously written by FH. In fact the BG read as not being terribly bright with no depth, a recurring theme in the BH/KJA novels and in stark contrast to how Frank portrayed them. Easily my favourite 'faction' in the Duniverse and sad to see them diminished in this fashion.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby georgiedenbro » 13 Nov 2019 12:59

I actually have no doubt that Frank kept copious notes regarding the proper Dune series, and so the notion that Brian found notes regarding Leto and Jessica is entirely plausible. I don't think the writing style disparity in House Atreides/Harkonnen is such a big deal because unless the notes were complete chapters in prose then KJA/Brian would have had to actually compose the story out of the notes anyhow, no doubt including elements of their own as well. I don't have that much of a problem with that. I'll also note (heretically) that I didn't think the first three House books were as utterly atrocious as the books that followed. The Jihad books are bloody terrible and clearly violate canon, whereas the House books seem weak compared to Frank's books but were not the total garbage that followed. It strikes me as believable that for those first three books they really were trying to go off FH's notes and mostly keep true to Dune, which might account for their mediocre quality (a compliment for them), whereas the Jihad books were filled with nonsense and even the prose got worse.

The real issue is the so-called Dune 7 notes, which I don't really believe they have, personally. Or at best they may have the odd page that doesn't say what they claim it says. I'm also not even entirely convinced that I think Paul and the others were meant to be resurrected. We learned from Duncan's totally awakened ghola that it was possible to combined DNA from different gholas of the same person to combine their awakened memories (and more). So it might have therefore been possible to combine DNA from different people into one ghola and to awaken all of their memories in one person. The DNA canister Scytale had might just as soon have been used to make one super-ghola with the memories of everyone inside; seems possible, no? Sort of the inverse of M&D, who take personas after the fact, whereas this other method would combine them in advance.
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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Ziggy » 15 Nov 2019 09:28

It strikes me as believable that for those first three books they really were trying to go off FH's notes and mostly keep true to Dune


I've already highlighted in my previous post several major plot inconsistencies from one chapter alone! The authors of New Dune, in my opinion simply didn't apply any care or consideration of the originals. I'm sure that they have read them and any notes Frank left behind but we know from his many statements, that KJA dictated the novels, then presumably straight to print. This is a lazy approach, especially given they are writing within someone else's mythos. I've never written a novel and have no delusions of grandeur that I am up to the task, but have authored several scientific papers. These are relatively small documents compared to a novel, typically say around 6000 words on average, but I have spent many weeks of labour on single piece of work. Notes, drafts, referencing, cross-referencing, proof reading, tweaking, formatting, re-writes, re-phrasing, etc. It's a very intense and demanding task. Importantly, they must be consistent with my own previous work and that of other researchers in the field. It is a process of continual feedback and a single skim read of the background material is absolutely not sufficient.

In short, it's a difficult and time consuming task to maintain that overall consistency, regardless of the subject matter. KJA frequently brags about how many pages he can 'write' in a short space of time. So, once the words have been spewed onto paper, your task is done, right? :roll: I couldn't disagree more strongly with this approach to writing, of any kind. The Preludes may be 'better' by comparison to the Legends but this is a bit like pointing out the merits of a cat turd over dog shit. There is no synergy with Preludes and original Dune.

Worth pointing out that I was not a 'hater' in the beginning and was more than willing to allow for a disparity of writing style (and even quality) when the new books were announced. I had hoped that we would at least get to see where Frank might have taken the story following Chapter House or a pleasant trip to the time shortly before Dune. There was so much scope available in the latter to take it in their own direction without conflicting with the original. A wasted opportunity I think. What we got instead, was a travesty and a shameless lack of respect for the original narrative and its themes. Rather than addressing the changes and inconsistencies, we got excuses and finally we are told that everything Frank wrote was propaganda! We, as fans of Frank Herbert just have to suck that up because it's the final and official view of the HLP. Sorry but NO!

Fans of New Dune are very quick to point out the errors in Franks series but they are remarkably few in my opinion given the breadth and scope of his work. He was an author who really understood the craft of writing and I can easily imagine him labouring over a single paragraph or line of dialogue. I have nothing but respect for the achievements of authors of Frank's calibre. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the hacks, of which I must regretfully include KJA in that category. Brian seems to have just been along for the ride and I have no doubts as to who was the boss in that relationship.


So it might have therefore been possible to combine DNA from different people into one ghola


It's never explicitly stated that Duncan's DNA was changed. I've always figured the different Duncan personas and training were the result of conditioning within the tank, or at best, very subtle changes in genetics. Combining the DNA of different people doesn't make a whole lot of sense and is quite a stretch, even for sci-fi. A 'super-ghola' sounds very much like the infamous UltimateTM Kwizatz Haderach. Given that Frank devoted a lot of the later novels to the Golden Path it seems unlikely he would flip and introduce another potential Tyrant. I do agree, however that there is no convincing case that Paul and others were intended to be resurrected. Sadly, with the The Notes being hidden, we may never know. That being said, with each subsequent reading of the Dune series I've come to appreciate the conclusion and don't see it as a cliff hanger anymore (admittedly I did first time around). Being aware of Frank's unhappy circumstances and having gone through a similar experience myself, I now view it as a poignant and satisfactory farewell.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby georgiedenbro » 15 Nov 2019 11:22

@ Ziggy,

All I said was that it seemed plausible to me that Brian and KJA actually did have the intention in the House series to stay true to FH's work, using his notes. I definitely *did not* say that they succeeded at this, had any clue how to go about doing this, or have any talent whatsoever. I'm talking about what I could believe about their intentions. Those books felt like they were trying to be real Dune books (although they failed, but that's no matter). The subsequent books didn't even seem to be paying lip service any more to staying true to FH's concepts and it became clear to me that at that point they were just making stuff up out of whole cloth. That's the distinction I was making.

Regarding my idea about the mixed-ghola, Freak is much better than me at finding specific quotes, as I'm hard-pressed at the moment to pour through Chapterhouse and look for key phrases detailing what they did to make this latest Duncan. However what I remember is that they combined material from all the Duncans from whom they salvaged the remains. I'm just calling this 'mixing DNA', whatever that means. We don't really know exactly what they're actually doing. But the fact that Duncan revived all of his past memories must mean that he had the genetic material in him, no? It didn't just happen by magic. The weird part was reviving the memories even of Duncans whose materials weren't included in the mix, and I've posted before my theory about how that worked. But if the BT can combine materials from different Duncans into one ghola I don't see why they couldn't combined the materials from entirely different individuals, too. That wouldn't make the result a "super ghola", it would just be a ghola with the awakened memories of all people included, which, yes, does include a KH. That's not much different than what M&D were doing; just a different method of getting there.
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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 15 Nov 2019 14:51

The quotes you're thinking of are in Heretics:

"At Bene Gesserit behest," Schwangyu said, "the Tleilaxu have made a significant alteration in the present Idaho series. His nerve-muscle system has been modernized."
"Without changing the original persona?" Teg fed the question to her blandly, wondering how far she would go in revelation.
"He is a ghola, not a clone!"

Did they dare risk releasing Duncan from the shielding of that ship? The cell studies said he was a mixture of many Idaho gholas—some descendant of Siona. But what of the taint from the original?

("The taint, Darwi! Remember the taint!")

I don't know that I buy that this foreshadows some sort of Frankenghola mixing together Paul and Stilgar and Chani et al. into one person. I find the simple explanation more credible: that Frank Herbert did intend to bring back the old fan-favorite characters in Dune 7, much like he brought back Duncan in Messiah and the Baron in Children. He wasn't one to let a good thing go.

Ziggy, I understand your frustration with sloppy writers that don't seem to have read the background material closely enough. While I know we shouldn't hold forum posts to the same standard, I had a similar reaction to your post of November 13, which seemed to have missed most of my original post. :twisted:

But really, fellows, could we please keep this on topic? This is veering off into the same old "discussions"/rants that have been repeated hundreds of times on these forums and wherever Dune fans gather.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Ziggy » 15 Nov 2019 16:07

But really, fellows, could we please keep this on topic? This is veering off into the same old "discussions"/rants that have been repeated hundreds of times on these forums and wherever Dune fans gather.


Please, I beg to differ. Any good discussion about the novels is something I welcome and Georgie raises some very interesting and worthy points for discussion. After all the Tleilaxu have certainly created stranger chimeric hybrids; the slig … eeeew … but tasty! I am certainly not ranting though I may criticise their work.

I had a similar reaction to your post of November 13, which seemed to have missed most of my original post.


Well, I did go to the trouble of finding House Harkonnen in the murky depths of the attic in order to read the specific chapter in question. Not exactly the actions of someone wishing to rant or derail your thread. I don't think we can simply ignore that the New Dune authors have mangled and obfuscated established story arcs which makes it very difficult to separate or reconcile their material with what may have been derived from Frank's notes. But yes, we have gone off topic though not a deliberate offence. It happens on forums, especially when the discussion has the potential to be a good one.

Tell you what, maybe it would be helpful if you highlighted sections from the chapter that you think were directly from Frank's notes and we go from there?

My own feeling, if genuinely taken from notes, possibly an earlier draft where Leto reacts to the intercepted note from the Harkonnen courier? Doesn't make sense that this would happen later as in the Gurney scene, given that Leto is dead. I can't see Frank planning to have Leto survive this far in the story as it conflicts with Paul's ascendancy.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Serkanner » 16 Nov 2019 04:07

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:I think most people accept that the Dune 7 gholas were something Frank had in mind (given that it's foreshadowed in Chapterhouse),

I actually don't accept at all that Frank wanted to re-introduce the ghola's. I have always seen the null-entropy tube a "mere" plot device he could use to create plots. So far nothing, in my opinion, can be derived from Chapterhouse Frank hinted at bringing them back. Scytale's thoughts are not hints in that direction either.

The fact the idiot two have re-introduced them (and is some of the worst prose ever written by anybody) is to me just more proof they really had no idea what they were doing, and most certainly for me is proof there are no Dune 7 notes.
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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 16 Nov 2019 05:20

Ziggy wrote:Any good discussion about the novels is something I welcome and Georgie raises some very interesting and worthy points for discussion.

Might I suggest starting a separate thread to discuss that topic, then?

Ziggy wrote:Well, I did go to the trouble of finding House Harkonnen in the murky depths of the attic in order to read the specific chapter in question. Not exactly the actions of someone wishing to rant or derail your thread.

I don't think you were intentionally trying to troll or derail (nor do I think Brian and Kevin intentionally used their books to derail the Dune series or troll fans—as you say, it's sloppiness), and thanks for considering the question seriously. What particularly irked me about your post, apart from it generally restating what I'd already written, was that it seemed to miss or ignore two of my main points: that there were two relevant Goodreads posts by Brian Herbert (both are clearly about the same thing, but described in somewhat different terms), and two chapters in House Harkonnen that could be what he's referring to.

Ziggy wrote:Tell you what, maybe it would be helpful if you highlighted sections from the chapter that you think were directly from Frank's notes and we go from there?

As I already said in the first post, there are no passages that look to me like Frank Herbert's writing, with the one I quoted the only one I might consider a possibility. There could be maybe half a line of dialogue or a phrase in a description here or there taken from some note, but I cannot identify any.

Therefore, my theory would be that what Brian is talking about was merely an outline for or some notes about the scene, and that the final chapter was written by them based on Frank's idea. But when you strip away all the stuff that has to do with prequel plot lines (e.g. Leto already having another concubine and son), there is very little left:

a. Jessica studies Leto from across the hall in a Bene Gesserit school, is told she will be his mate, she likes the look of him, he glances at her.
b. Jessica is presented to Leto, he questions her about what services she can provide, says he doesn't trust Bene Gesserit, holds a knife to her throat, she keeps calm and he releases her.

I think either of these could potentially be based on notes for an earlier draft of Dune, though very unlikely originally representing the first meeting between Jessica and Leto. The first one could be a note for what turned into Jessica studying Leto from across the room at the beginning of the banquet scene. The second, as mentioned, could relate to Leto's suspicions of her as a traitor, and have turned into the scene with Gurney holding a knife to her throat.

In favor of the first alternative, that scene could very well have been, in an earlier draft, the first time Jessica and Leto meet within the book. However, it's such a trivial and generic thing that it's hard to imagine how Brian and Kevin could see it as something worth extracting from Frank's notes and building a chapter around. (Also, based on papers I have seen, this scene appears to have been written relatively early in the process, and to have had nearly its final form pretty much from its first draft.)

In favor of the second, the dramatic action provides a clear reason why they might want to use it, and the fact that no such scene exists in Dune might explain how they could misidentify it. It also provides something of an excuse for how absurdly ill-motivated the scene is in House Harkonnen: "We don't fully trust these Bene Gesserit and want to keep them on their toes… for some reason… so I, the Duke Atreides, will just grab this teenage girl and threaten to kill her. Whether they are hostile or friendly, no negative consequence could possibly result from this!"

Ziggy wrote:My own feeling, if genuinely taken from notes, possibly an earlier draft where Leto reacts to the intercepted note from the Harkonnen courier? Doesn't make sense that this would happen later as in the Gurney scene, given that Leto is dead. I can't see Frank planning to have Leto survive this far in the story as it conflicts with Paul's ascendancy.

In early drafts of Dune (represented in outlines, notes and some fully written chapters), Leto is the main character throughout the book. This is the stage of the book's development that Brian and Kevin wrote up as a novella, Spice Planet, included in The Road to Dune (which follows the general outline of Frank's story but departs from it in a number of details).

Most of this story corresponds to the parts of Book I of Dune that take place on Arrakis, but there were also early versions of scenes from later in the final novel, just with different characters. (Paul and Jessica's trek through the desert seems to originally have been Leto with Gurney, Kynes and a younger Paul; and the ending had Leto defeat the Harkonnens and blackmail the Emperor in much the same way Paul does in the finished book.)

It's therefore quite plausible that the scene with Gurney could have its origin in a confrontation between Leto and Jessica in an earlier draft. And if such a scene between Leto and Jessica ever existed, it was probably in this stage: the material shows that at this time, Frank intended Leto to truly suspect Jessica of being a traitor. By the time he thought to shift the story to revolve around Paul, I have a hard time believing he would have Leto holding a knife to Jessica's throat.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Ziggy » 16 Nov 2019 08:41

What particularly irked me about your post


I think we've gotten off on the wrong foot here. I have been away from the boards for a considerable time, I don't know you and I have no axe to grind here. If it helps, please accept my apology for upsetting you.


in The Road to Dune ...


My mistake and I'll freely admit that my recollection of Spice Planet is vague. I read it only once when first published and now I can't find my copy.


I think though we are left to play a guessing game regarding the scene in House Harkonnen. Brian is very unclear in his statements though what he wrote does seem to point the meeting scene as that being derived from early notes. The knife could easily be an embellishment by BH/KJA. While we might disagree, I can't help but feel that contradictory, older draft material just doesn't belong here, even if penned by Frank himself. The complete chapter BH refers to might have been more appropriately found in Road to Dune, or even published online for the sake of scholarly interest.

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Re: Frank Herbert chapter in House Harkonnen

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 17 Nov 2019 03:00

Ziggy wrote:I think we've gotten off on the wrong foot here. I have been away from the boards for a considerable time, I don't know you and I have no axe to grind here. If it helps, please accept my apology for upsetting you.

Oh, likewise. It was just that particular post I found frustrating, and I only mentioned it because of what I considered the irony. I hold no grudge, and no apology necessary.

And I was serious about suggesting starting another thread. The Dune 7 ghola question is interesting in its own right.

Ziggy wrote:what he wrote does seem to point the meeting scene as that being derived from early notes. The knife could easily be an embellishment by BH/KJA.

Without the knife bit I'm just not sure what the notes would say. It's the only thing that makes the scene more distinctive than "they met," it seems to me.

Though actually, I'll add another part of the scene that could have been written by (or based on notes by) Frank Herbert:

House Harkonnen wrote:“Unlike the Emperor, I do not maintain a harem.”
The other Sisters looked impatient, and the Reverend Mother let out a long sigh. “The traditional meaning of the word ‘harem,’ Duke Atreides, included all the women for whom a man bore responsibility, including his sisters and mother as well as concubines and wives. There was no implied sexual connotation.”
“Word games,” Leto growled.”

Compare Frank Herbert's short story "Operation Haystack" (one of the Lewis Orne stories that were combined into The Godmakers), which was written around the same time as he started work on Dune:

Operation Haystack wrote:Polly looked back at Orne. “Just answer me one question: How’d you know I was boss lady?”
“Easy,” said Orne. “The records we found said the … Nathian (he’d almost said ‘traitor’) family on Marak was coded as ‘The Head.’ Your name, Polly, contains the ancient word ‘Poll’ which means head.”

Operation Haystack wrote:“Nomads,” said Orne. “This house is a glorified tent. Men on the outside, women on the inside. Look for inner courtyard construction. It’s instinctive with Nathian blood. Add to that, an inclination for odd musical instruments—the kaithra, the tambour, the oboe—all nomad instruments. Add to that, female dominance of the family—an odd twist on the nomad heritage, but not completely unique. Check for predominance of female offspring. Dig into political background. We’ll miss damn few!”

(There are similar discourses on etymology and cultural history in the other Orne stories as well.)

I didn't include it originally because I figured that the idea that Duke Leto already had another concubine certainly didn't come from Frank, but on consideration, they could have lifted it from some other context. Of course, it could also just be an imitation.

Ziggy wrote:While we might disagree, I can't help but feel that contradictory, older draft material just doesn't belong here, even if penned by Frank himself.

I don't disagree, that's just not my concern. I've long since dismissed the new books from consideration as valid extensions of the universe, so I don't really care whether something like this "belongs" or not. They could stick in Darth Vader and Dumbledore for all the difference it makes to me.

My primary interest is to understand Frank Herbert's intentions and the process by which he wrote the Dune novels (including ideas he considered and discarded). My secondary interest, which comes back to the first, is to understand the relationship the new books have to material, both published and unpublished, by Frank Herbert. Spice Planet is a very interesting case to analyze because the relationship between Frank's notes and the finished story is relatively well documented, but it's also something of a one-off. If the meeting between Leto and Jessica provides another case study, it might throw more light on what (if anything) we can discern about Frank Herbert's ideas and plans from the new books.

The answer so far seems to be "it's complicated."

I don't hold with Serkanner's conclusion that the notes are all a lie, and I must say I consider the reasoning for it very weak. I'd like to keep that discussion out of this thread, though, since it tends to take over everything.

(BTW, check your PMs.)