My DN Sandworms Review

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Nekhrun
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My DN Sandworms Review

Postby Nekhrun » 26 Feb 2008 19:20

Just thought I'd move this over here since I don't visit DNBBS anymore:

Nekhrun's Notes: Sandworms of Dune

Page 19:
The evermind was growing frustrated.

I’ve really grown tired of the characterization of machines who have very few machine-like qualities. The book is loaded with this kind of stuff. Omnious gets nervous/frustrated/angry far too much to be a convincing machine.

Pages 20-21:
He [Erasmus] and Omnious had both absorbed so many of the lives stolen by the Face Dancers that sometimes they forgot who they were.

Come on, really? This is not even consistent within their own writing. Even after Erasmus joins with Duncan at the end he says he could’ve taken control of him if he’d wanted; and Duncan’s the Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach. Don’t try to tell me that absorbing a Face Dancer’s memory is enough to make them forget who they were. :roll:

Page 42: The acknowledgment of Alia in the Baron’s head as something confusing is never fully discussed or explained. It seems that to even bring it up is a slap in the face to people who have questioned the authors about this.

Page 54: The acknowledgment of Serena in Sheeana’s OM as something confusing is never fully discussed or explained. It seems that to even bring it up is a slap in the face to people who have questioned the authors about this.

The acknowledgment of the whistling language, but no attempt to even use it on Duncan…(See Above). :roll:

Page 65:
…the numerous Navigators shot a message arrow through the folds of space.

Not only does it appear that they can do this, they sent it to Normacle no less. Awesome!

Page 79: What the hell is up with Jessica’s habit of plant feeling? Do we really need to know that this habit is what caused her to find Lady Fenring’s note on Dune? FH didn’t have to explain this and neither does anyone else. She’s Bene Gesserit. They do stuff, leave it alone.

Page 84: There is talk of an image projector. This in itself doesn’t seem that odd, but when you put all of the references together of cameras, and images it seems a little inconsistent with what was written in FH’s Dune novels. I don’t remember there being this kind of communication or surveillance available to humans. I thought this type of thing fell under Butlerian Jihad restrictions.

Page 102: What’s up with the Sandworms any way? These creatures are so far removed from already well-established descriptions that it is annoying to read. Are their insides no longer blazing furnaces of heat now? Sheeana walks right into one with no harm. SandChigger has already done a reading of this elsewhere that people should listen to, but this goes so far beyond a Jonah and the Whale reference. The sexualization of this walk is disturbing and confusing. Is Sheeana supposed to be a penis?

Page 110:
A laugh that sounded like vinegar.

:?:

Page 123:
Chani fashioned an authentic stillsuit for him [Paul] –probably the first one manufactured in centuries.


But wait…

Page 164:
The Sisterhood has been using Fremen stillsuits for awhile now.

When you’re writing 3rd person Omniscient this kind of narration doesn’t really make much sense. It certainly doesn’t show that much care was taken in the editing process.

Pages 126-127; 141; 409 and others: Nice flashbacks to set up Paul of Dune. I get it, there are other books coming out. Come on. 410-if Paul can suck up his spilled blood then why didn’t he do it when he was The Preacher. And don’t tell me it was because he needed to die. He was another pointless character in this book when he should’ve played a more pivotal role.

Page 161:
It was spreading antiflood.


What doesn’t spread anitflood, besides an actual flood? This is silly.

Page 327:
Unendurable torture.


How can something endured be unendurable? This style of gross exaggeration is what sets these books apart from good writing. Ultra-Spice; Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach; Duncan’s melding with Erasmus is easier to access than a Reverend Mother’s Other Memory; the battles are more important, the worms have superpowers and do all kinds of uncharacteristic things. Everything is more/better than anything written in FH’s Dune novels. Why? 396-Why does Ultra-Spice have to be stronger than spice? Everything is so damn over the top. It doesn’t matter to the plot and it shouldn’t matter to the characters.

It seems to me that a great deal of this books seems either to undo what Frank Herbert wrote about, or make it not as significant. Examples: 316-…the quality of heroes the human race needed; 317- The criticism of Leto II on this page and in others shows a lack of understanding of the Golden Path and what Leto really did. 386-Leto II misunderstood what he’d been forced to do—Right. 416—God Emperor= unwitting. Ridiculous. 463-They mention that power corrupted Leto II; how exactly, they do not say. It does not appear at any place that the author’s have a clear understanding of Leto’s character. He would’ve been better left out of these books.

This undoing/outdoing of continuity is what the Expanded Star Wars Universe has been trying to do since KJA left it. [EDITED BY THE ALMIGHTY MODERATOR]

Shouldn’t Jessica, Paul and Leto all have Normacle’s memories? They should’ve been able to figure out what was/or was going to happen. Normacle’s role in this series has been well documented in other places so I won’t bother with her.

Page 364: If Normacle could just jump everyone around wherever/whenever she wanted, why didn’t she do that before Omnious even launched his fleet? This whole mess could’ve been avoided in Muad’Dib’s time.

Page 366: Heroism is not your strong suit.

Already well documented elsewhere on this site, but a Reverend Mother should care little for heroism.

Page 374: Enough with the Paul stabbing references already!

Page 386: I didn’t much care for Spider-Leto adhering to the sandworms.

Page 391: Why does Waff think that simply letting worms go is going to restart the spice-cycle? We’ve got damn worms flopping all over the universe.

Page 442: Nice Vulcan mindmeld Duncan.

Page 446-447: WONDERWORM POWERS ACTIVATE! Form of…A big stupid worm!

Pages 461-462 Duncan brings back the Guild and Machine ships to Synchrony. Didn’t it say somewhere (page 21) that the machine ships did not have/use foldspace technology because Omnious didn’t trust it?
“Something indefinably human was required to travel through foldspace, an intangible ‘leap of faith.’ The evermind would never admit that the bizarre technology actually made him…nervous.”
I thought they just used their normal engines, so how would Duncan fold them back. Anyway…

Overall, I thought the banding together of humans was pretty weak. They actually wrote about how it happened in the Legends series, but here, any kind of alliance building is ignored. There aren’t really any memorable/powerful (in a literary sense) characters in this book. What was the point of those prequels if not to show a united humanity? For that matter, what was the point of Hunters of Dune? It seemed like they were drawing a lot of information from the Lynch film as they were writing (what was up with the dog reference?).

As Duke Leto in Dune said,
Damn sloppy way to operate.


I can appreciate that Duncan is a human who has been perfecting himself in each incarnation and that he had certain “abilities” because of that, but having an unbroken memory is never explained either. I didn’t find this book to be any better than any of the others and I’m glad it’s all over. We’ll have our time to vent and be upset, and then we can go back to discussing Frank Herbert ideas.

You can also see my full review of Sandworms of Dune on my myspace blog.

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Simon
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Postby Simon » 29 Feb 2008 14:21

I can't respond to all of this in one sitting but here we go:

page 19- That was the point. Men made Machines and despite the vast differences they were more alike (developed machines like Omnius and Erasmus and Surat) than either species would have liked to admit.

page20-21: It is consistent with FH though. In Heretics some of the face dancers "lose themselves" to the personalities they adopted, for example the priest Tuek. The implication was that this had occurred to O&E and had altered their consciousness.

page 42- I got nothing, it's been a few months and I can't remember what the explanation was for this off hand...

page 54- Some of the Serena clones from the Legends era survived, thus Serena's DNA was still floating in the gene pool, hence Serena OM.

page 65- What is this referring too :?:

page 79- Wow, this is just nit picking :lol:

page 84- You may want to read again...

page 102- I actually agree with you here a little bit, I did a double take when she walked into the worm as well but I figured she just didn't go into that segment of the worm. The "whole" worm can't be a total furnace, that just wouldn't be conducive to life 8)

page 110- vinegar has a"cutting" scent, hence a cutting or loud laugh.

(to be continued)

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Tleilax Master B
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 29 Feb 2008 14:48

Simon wrote:I can't respond to all of this in one sitting but here we go:

page 19- That was the point. Men made Machines and despite the vast differences they were more alike (developed machines like Omnius and Erasmus and Surat) than either species would have liked to admit.


Then why the hell do they want to exterminate all the humans? Isn't it the irrational, emotional behavior of these apes that they so hate? Having a stupid machine that sometimes acts like a machine and sometimes acts like a human is pretty lame and inconsistent--and makes their supposed hatred of humans seem implausible.

page20-21: It is consistent with FH though. In Heretics some of the face dancers "lose themselves" to the personalities they adopted, for example the priest Tuek. The implication was that this had occurred to O&E and had altered their consciousness.

Wait a minute. This is exactly the opposite. If it were FDs absorbing O and E, then yes, you could make that argument. But these were Machines, with memory and storage banks. How the hell does absorbing the personalities of FDs alter their memory banks? Once again, this doesn't sound very machine-like to me......

page 42- I got nothing, it's been a few months and I can't remember what the explanation was for this off hand...

Eh, I guess I don't have much of a problem with this for the same reason that when Alia was in Mohaim's head, or sent the message to Paul in the future, it was never explained either.

page 54- Some of the Serena clones from the Legends era survived, thus Serena's DNA was still floating in the gene pool, hence Serena OM.

God that is fucking pathetic. That wasn't even in any of their books, it was in a stupid short story. A short story that was so incredibly childish it made me laugh out loud. In that same story Erasmus was removing people's limbs and reattaching them in weird places, so people had legs for arms, etc. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

page 65- What is this referring too :?:

Its referring to the fact that there has never been a "message arrow" mentioned anywhere in any other books. I.e., let's just make shit up randomly as it suits us :roll:

page 79- Wow, this is just nit picking :lol:

Eh, its just one more aspect that points to their crappy writing style--having to explain every little detail to you instead of letting you figure out a little on your own.

page 84- You may want to read again...

Simon is right on this one. Comeyes and holograms were used in the original series.

page 102- I actually agree with you here a little bit, I did a double take when she walked into the worm as well but I figured she just didn't go into that segment of the worm. The "whole" worm can't be a total furnace, that just wouldn't be conducive to life 8)


Yeah, bad. But what is the worst thing here is that somehow the worm is filled with spice essence. This shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how the spice cycle works. The worms don't make fucking spice inside of them, spice is made in spiceblows by the sandtrout. The bubble bursts and the melange dries out on the sand. When the hell did worms start making spice inside of them? These idiots need to read the appendix of Dune again... jeesh. :roll:


page 110- vinegar has a"cutting" scent, hence a cutting or loud laugh.

Eh, I guess they mean "bitter". Whatever, I'm with Nekruhn on this one; analogies should make sense. You shouldn't have to think about them, they should be obvious.

(to be continued, when simon continues :D )
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Nekhrun
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Postby Nekhrun » 29 Feb 2008 16:04

Hey Simon, I appreciate the attempt (even though I vehemently disagree with your responses). Seriously. I've been waiting for a preek to try and make sense of it all.

The only thing I would add to Master B's comments is that, the robots wouldn't get lost in a persona if they were strong enough to overpower the Ultimate KH. Omnious has disdain for humans, why would he allow himself to be so closely associated with a persona he saw as so terrible and worthy of destruction, no matter how much Erasmus manipulated him.

Robot characterization is a difficult thing and I think these authors have failed miserably in the attempt. They just can't get out of their minds that robots wouldn't act so much like vindictive humans.
Simon wrote:(to be continued)

Can't wait.

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Postby SandChigger » 01 Mar 2008 02:11

Nekhrun wrote:Page 19:
The evermind was growing frustrated.

I’ve really grown tired of the characterization of machines who have very few machine-like qualities. The book is loaded with this kind of stuff. Omnious gets nervous/frustrated/angry far too much to be a convincing machine.

Simon wrote:page 19- That was the point. Men made Machines and despite the vast differences they were more alike (developed machines like Omnius and Erasmus and Surat) than either species would have liked to admit.

Sorry, Simon, but that doesn't convince me, either. But...I also disagree with Nekhrun about O&E not being "machine-like" enough.

I think the problem is that we simply have no idea what an Artificial Intelligence is going to be like, or what it will/can develop into. K&B took the easy way out and simply portrayed them as humans in mech drag. THAT's my big problem with their characterization. I'm willing to imagine that an AI could develop responses similar to what we call emotions, but their origins and manifestations would presumably be different. (But things like Omnius not using spacefolding because it made him nervous is simply stupid from any logical point of view of the situation: he couldn't die even if a million ships were lost.)

I can't remember where it was now, probably the DN board, but I've posted that I would have been more satisfied if we had never been provided with the "machine side" of things, if the attacking machines had simply been portrayed as something alien and menacing, unfailing and implacable in their onslaught, whatever the motivations for it were. I've also said that the inability of Omnius to alter his basic programming is simply untenable for an AI with the capability of manipulating physical objects. Whatever Omnius was to begin with, after thousands of years of (independent) development, he/it would have become completely alien to us. That's what makes that quote at the beginning of SandwormsI have waited and planned and built my strength for fifteen thousand years. I have evolved. It is time—so risible: he hasn't changed at all, he's still the same dimwitted megalomanic from the Legends.

Nekhrun wrote:Pages 20-21:
He [Erasmus] and Omnious had both absorbed so many of the lives stolen by the Face Dancers that sometimes they forgot who they were.

Come on, really? This is not even consistent within their own writing. Even after Erasmus joins with Duncan at the end he says he could’ve taken control of him if he’d wanted; and Duncan’s the Ultimate Kwisatz Haderach. Don’t try to tell me that absorbing a Face Dancer’s memory is enough to make them forget who they were. :roll:

Simon wrote:page20-21: It is consistent with FH though. In Heretics some of the face dancers "lose themselves" to the personalities they adopted, for example the priest Tuek. The implication was that this had occurred to O&E and had altered their consciousness.

Tleilax Master B wrote:Wait a minute. This is exactly the opposite. If it were FDs absorbing O and E, then yes, you could make that argument. But these were Machines, with memory and storage banks. How the hell does absorbing the personalities of FDs alter their memory banks? Once again, this doesn't sound very machine-like to me......

Um...absoption of a personality presumably means adding data to those databanks, so that would alter their content, no? ;)

Again, we're relying on imagery from primitive modern computers here. But I don't buy it that an AI personality would unintentionally "absorb" another personality in such a way as to "forget" itself. Or that there could be any "recovery" after such absorption, because the two would have merged and become something new.

I've said it before and I will no doubt say it many times more, but these new books all suffer from a massive failure of imagination. (Well, no, that's not true. I guess it did take a lot of imagination to wed Josef Mengele with an "independent robot". It's just a sick imagination that would have been better kept bottled up.) It seems to me that Kevin and Brian were just too lazy to do some research or try to come up with something more interesting.
"Let the dead give water to the dead. As for me, it's NO MORE FUCKING TEARS!"

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Nekhrun
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Postby Nekhrun » 01 Mar 2008 09:30

SandChigger wrote:I can't remember where it was now, probably the DN board, but I've posted that I would have been more satisfied if we had never been provided with the "machine side" of things, if the attacking machines had simply been portrayed as something alien and menacing, unfailing and implacable in their onslaught, whatever the motivations for it were.

That is something I think Frank would've done. That would make things far more menacing in the reader's mind. That's a fun concept to imagine. I wonder if I tried to read the KJA/BH books and ripped out the chapters with robots if it might be a better book. Then again, ripping out pages at random would probably make their books much better anyway.

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Postby SandChigger » 01 Mar 2008 13:16

:lol:

I've also found it beneficial in reducing the ole BP. ;)

They really should have considered something like that in the Legends. (But maybe it would have been beyond their abilities?) Those books needed something dramatic to overcome the fact that we all knew how it was all going to turn out, to begin with.

Of course, we all knew how the last two books had to turn out as well. (Two words: Secher Nbiw. Corroborating evidence: Gaud Andaud. ;) ) Or were supposed to, at least. The only mystery was the little bumps along the road in getting there.
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Postby Rakis » 02 Mar 2008 00:08

Nekhrun wrote:
SandChigger wrote:I can't remember where it was now, probably the DN board, but I've posted that I would have been more satisfied if we had never been provided with the "machine side" of things, if the attacking machines had simply been portrayed as something alien and menacing, unfailing and implacable in their onslaught, whatever the motivations for it were.

That is something I think Frank would've done. That would make things far more menacing in the reader's mind. That's a fun concept to imagine. I wonder if I tried to read the KJA/BH books and ripped out the chapters with robots if it might be a better book. Then again, ripping out pages at random would probably make their books much better anyway.


In the Fanfic DUNE ADVENT, the author used Frank's idea of an army of Hunter-seekers obliterating the Old Empire...They were controlled by the Tlelaxu and the Ixians that went in the Scattering...It's a plan made by the Tlelaxu to reach the Ascendancy :twisted: :twisted:
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