Well, I have finished Sandworms. My goal was to take notes each chapter and give a truly balanced review of the book, going to far as to promise myself that for each criticism I would also show an example of good character development, dialogue, prose or just quote things that I thought added to the novel. I had such high hopes because I found that Hunters, while still very weak, was a big improvement from the Legends writing, and expected the trend to continue.
It did not. I am honestly disappointed that I was only able to find one single phrase that could be quoted as a positive. I am deeply bothered by this book. I felt that the characters have been reduced to the mental state of perhaps a smart chimp (machines included) that the plot contradicted itself repeatedly, and that at the end of it all the most blatant example of Dues Ex Machina I have ever run across. What follows are my notes, which I have attempted to shrink down to a readable size, presented in the order that I read them Each is a quote from the novel followed by some thoughts. I may have to split this into several posts just to keep people oriented in this mass of information so I apologize in advance for double or triple posting. I had to leave out many of the smaller examples of what I felt were poor writing, but I think that this will paint a fairly accurate picture of the book. I will also be posting a watered down version of this over at DN, if I post the whole thing no one will read it and nothing will be accomplished. When you see the word EDIT that’s where I’ve gone back and added to my notes after finishing the story.
If anyone feels that I have taken a quote out of context please let me know and I will post the surrounding passages in an attempt to find any redeeming quality whatsoever.
"We have time. You have a galaxy to conquer before we need the Kwisatz Haderach aboard that
Unless this means that conquering a single galaxy would only be the first step this is a huge problem. It states very clearly in the original novels that humanity had gone far beyond a single galaxy. EDIT: Now that I’ve finished the book, I see that they repeatedly describe humanity as being contained to one galaxy, though there is a clear passage in the originals that shows humanity in more than one galaxy, or at the very least having the ability to travel to other galaxies where they would be safe. Due to this I have deleted the other quotes I was going to post where they describe the scattering as being limited to one galaxy, it’s just too much redundancy for me. I GO ON TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS IN MY OTHER THREADS SO YOU CAN IGNORE IT HERE
For centuries Omnius had been building his invincible force. Using traditional but supremely efficient lightspeed engines.
Wait wait wait. In the Legends series and the FAQ on this site (www.dunenovels.com) it states that the ships used by the humans and machines were Faster Than Light, now they only go lightspeed? I’m happy to see the boy’s getting a bit closer to conventional physics, but this in direct contradiction to their own work. What goes on in their heads?
- Combining the first two quotes we now have a serious plot flaw to overcome. Let’s for the moment forgive the “one galaxy to conquer” mistake, but even then, at light speed it would take one hundred thousand years to travel from one end of the galaxy to the other. I think boredom waiting for the machines might kill humanity off a bit quicker. If we don’t forgive this (I don’t) and remember that there are many galaxies in the scattering, then it would take Omnius many MILLIONS of years to get there. Again, plenty of time for tea whilst waiting. I truely do hope to see what your explanation for this moronic writing is!
Now we must use those techniques not just for our own protection, but as a functional weapon, a means of influencing armies. No longer passive and protective, but an active force. A Missionaria Aggressiva.”
I actually got a good chuckle out of this. Not exactly razor sharp wit, but it’ll do.
Waff had a much more immediate solution. If he could develop a breed of sandworm that
tolerated water, even thrived around it, the creatures could be transplanted onto innumerable
worlds where they could grow swiftly and multiply! The worms would not need to reconstruct a
whole planetary environment before they began to produce mélange. That alone would save
decades that Waff simply did not have. His modified worms would provide all the spice the Guild
Navigators could ever desire - and serve Waff's purposes as well.
Problem: the worms don’t create the spice. It is formed when a cluster of sandtrout has reached a critical point, fermented if you will, creating the pre-spice mass; which then produces vast quantities of carbon dioxide; pressure builds up and creates an explosion known as a spice blow. When the remains of the pre-spice mass have dried out this is what is known as the spice mélange. No worms necessary, the only purpose of the worm vector appears to be to protect the territory (from what who knows?) and eventually die producing more sandtrout. This demonstrates poor Dune knowledge in general.
Anxious to keep the boy from thinking too much, he stood. "Shall we take it outside, then,
Paolo? Why don't we see how it works?" The Baron gave him an avuncular pat on the shoulder.
"And afterward we can kill something with our bare hands, like we did to the mongrel hounds
This was great to see, fucking fantastic. There’s also a passage from Hunters IIRC, which has a young baron strangling cats for fun. In the “Doon” National Lampoons spoof on Dune they make fun of the baron’s charactor by turning him into a totally unbelievable monster. His main thing was strangling kittens and killing animals for fun. Good to see there was a wide variety of sources for this novel.
Serena was an odd visitor in Other Memory, a woman whose ancient thoughts should
not have traveled down the corridors of the generations, and yet she had been with Sheeana for
Retcon! The authors must have heard about this inconsistency in Hunters and decided to find some solution for it now. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. EDIT: they come up with nothing, again we’re expected to just “revel” in the magic of it all.I love that they took the time to try and retcon their mistake from Hunters, and STILL failed to do so.
Their ridges were an iridescent blue-green, showing a soft pink membrane between segments, a surrogate set of gills that absorbed oxygen from the water. Their mouths were round like those of lampreys. Though they had no eyes, the new seaworms could navigate using water vibrations in much the way that Rakian worms had been attracted by tremors in the dunes. Using carefully mapped models from sandtrout chromosomes, Waff knew that these creatures had the same internal metabolic reactions as a traditional sandworm.
The “traditional” worms don’t breathe oxygen; they create it. This is stated repeatedly and clearly in Frank’s novels. How can the new worms have the same metabolic reactions as a sandworm, and at the same time have metabolic reactions that are the complete opposite? Do these guys even think before they write?This is a HUGGGGE mistake by KJABH, I'd LOVE to see someone try and justify this blatant lack of thinking something through, because the HLP sure gave up and didn't even try to answer it (or any of the mistakes I pointed out)
Sadly, there's more, much more to come, but I can only cram so much into a single post!