Storytelling in the prequels.

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tanzeelat
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Postby tanzeelat » 13 Feb 2008 04:36

Simon - when I mean good writing, I mean at a prose level. The central idea of The Green Brain is a bit daft, and the background is neither as rich nor as deep as Dune. But, sentence by sentence, the prose is amongst FH's best.

SandChigger - well, Dune is still in print over 40 years after its first publication. In fact, a new edition was published only last year - No 71 in the SF Masterworks series. Gollancz even had to make it the first hardback in the series, as they didn't have paperback rights to the book.

I very much doubt the prequels, or even KJA's Saga of the Seven Suns, will still be in print 5 years from now. But then, publishers these days are only interested in immediate profit, and KJA's books do shift a lot of units. They don't care about the longevity of a book. So, KJA has to churn out product at a phenomenal rate in order to maintain his sales level - it's synergistic across titles. Not even the best hack in the world can do quality under those conditions.

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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 04:47

Yet again it's all in who you are. I was unaware until this moment that Kevin dictates his books. That actually endears him to me more, I like that attitude. I to prefer my story to come from a "storyteller" in the ancient sense. So that's cool 8)

Considering Franks approach, that would be the "difference" I was talking about above (well one of many).

Quite simply FH's books aren't pure escape ism like the newer books. Frank's books somehow make you examine yourself in context to his story and the characters there in. I don't know how he achieved this and you are right as far as BH&KJA's not synthesising this aspect.

But then a lot of sci-fi, pre and post Dune suffers from this. FH's Dune books involve you in a way I find comparable to a Bio/Bio-related text, where you really feel for the person (in a biography it's because you know it's about a real person in Dune I'm not sure... otherwise I'd be a best selling author :lol: )

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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 04:53

tanzeelat wrote:Simon - when I mean good writing, I mean at a prose level. The central idea of The Green Brain is a bit daft, and the background is neither as rich nor as deep as Dune. But, sentence by sentence, the prose is amongst FH's best.

SandChigger - well, Dune is still in print over 40 years after its first publication. In fact, a new edition was published only last year - No 71 in the SF Masterworks series. Gollancz even had to make it the first hardback in the series, as they didn't have paperback rights to the book.

I very much doubt the prequels, or even KJA's Saga of the Seven Suns, will still be in print 5 years from now. But then, publishers these days are only interested in immediate profit, and KJA's books do shift a lot of units. They don't care about the longevity of a book. So, KJA has to churn out product at a phenomenal rate in order to maintain his sales level - it's synergistic across titles. Not even the best hack in the world can do quality under those conditions.


Ah, I see. :oops: I agree his wording was excellent.

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Postby Mr. Teg » 13 Feb 2008 10:14

Simon wrote:
Mr. Teg wrote:
Simon wrote:
Freakzilla wrote: As I've said before they are just in a different style than the originals and are a bit more straight forward.

That may have something to do with writing styles varying from generation to generation. Modern writing styles seem more "to the point" than classic styles. Same goes for movies...

I like BH and KJA's writing, not that I'm some writing critic. I found their books (separate and joint works) easy to get into.


Are you suggesting the old and new books are on the same level merely different styles?


No, I'm suggesting the modern "dumbed-down" style is pervasive in everything and through out history. If you go back 300 years in literature and then follow it to the present you can see how each successive generation finds ways to trim dialogue and not be so wordy. I was saying that BH&KJA are merly products of their era, as are we all in our own ways...


By that theory of progression, Frank should be dumb and Brian dumber!?

Both Pinky & the Brain have stated they made a clear and conscious choice to stay away from the style of the original Dune books, and go their own way.

They are hardly the victims of being raised as Dr. Spock kids.

However, you might argue they are 'victims' of the allure of the publishing franchise, but given that Brian recommended Ay, Perdito in a flier at a book signing in LA, not likely....Oops, that was suppose to be before they met :wink:
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Postby tanzeelat » 13 Feb 2008 11:21

Given KJA's other output, I suspect their choice of style was not a choice as such. His current noddy-style prose allows him to keep up his current high production rate. Spending more time on a single book in order to make it better would take time away from the other fifity or sixty books he's writing...

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Postby Fantômas » 13 Feb 2008 13:45

Pardot Kynes wrote:See, Simon, I can agree they made nice adventure novels. That's all though. And they weren't "good literature" either.


Simon?

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Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2008 17:55

Simon wrote:Yet again it's all in who you are. I was unaware until this moment that Kevin dictates his books. That actually endears him to me more, I like that attitude. I to prefer my story to come from a "storyteller" in the ancient sense. So that's cool 8)

OK, so you've never read much of his blog. That's cool...and probably very wise. (I'm sure my blood pressure would be much lower if I avoided it. ;) ) It's mostly blah-blah-blah about the wonder of Kevin, Super Writer.

Although, as I've suggested before, since he never really "writes", just dictates, "storyteller" is probably a better designation for him.

But that's a very romantic view you have, isn't it? A STORYTELLER. Maybe he should confine himself to audiobooks from now on?

Unfortunately, there are a few differences in style between spoken and written narrative, and Dune was originally created as the latter. Repetition and set phrases are a feature of the former. (Brace yourselves, everyone: independent robot? Aaaaah!)

Quite simply FH's books aren't pure escape ism like the newer books. Frank's books somehow make you examine yourself in context to his story and the characters there in.

Thank you for making our point. As "pure escapism" the new books are not worthy successors to the old.


Tanz mentioned Kevin's output. A while back they announced that they would be releasing a new Dune book only every other year after Pall on Dune and some of us hoped that meant they would be taking more time on future books. Unfortunately, in that podcast interview Kevin clarified that they would still be writing a book a year ("because that's the way we work best" or something to that effect) and using the extra year to work on new projects.

So much for hopes for an improvement in quality. (How could there be one, they think they're doing a wonderful job!)
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Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2008 17:58

fantomas wrote:
Pardot Kynes wrote:See, Simon, I can agree they made nice adventure novels. That's all though. And they weren't "good literature" either.


Simon?

Who ARE you? ;)

What are you asking? Pardot's comment was directed at Simon. Where's the mystery?
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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 17:58

Mr. Teg wrote:By that theory of progression, Frank should be dumb and Brian dumber!?



Allow me to clarify, the wording becomes less artful (in my opinion) over the ages. Most writing up until the 20th century was very flowery and long winded (again my opinion). Authors are always trying to maintain a quality story and at the same time make it accessible to as many readers as possible.

The difference in opinion rises when I say "they did walked that line" and you guys say "they crossed it into the land of simplicity". While I agree that Brian and Kevin's books don't quite reach the depths of FH's ( a feat I've never seen ANY sci-fi author acheive :wink: ), I feel like their books are very far from "simplistic"...

EDIT: Quotation fixed by Omph

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Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2008 18:06

Simon wrote:I feel like their books are very far from "simplistic"...


That's just because of the contradictions within contradictions.

Their shallowness is so thorough it seems like depth.

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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 18:10

SandChigger wrote:
fantomas wrote:
Pardot Kynes wrote:See, Simon, I can agree they made nice adventure novels. That's all though. And they weren't "good literature" either.


Simon?

Who ARE you? ;)

What are you asking? Pardot's comment was directed at Simon. Where's the mystery?



I was wondering myself :lol:

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Postby Tleilax Master B » 13 Feb 2008 18:10

Simon wrote:
Mr. Teg wrote:By that theory of progression, Frank should be dumb and Brian dumber!?



Allow me to clarify, the wording becomes less artful (in my opinion) over the ages. Most writing up until the 20th century was very flowery and long winded (again my opinion). Authors are always trying to maintain a quality story and at the same time make it accessible to as many readers as possible.

The difference in opinion rises when I say "they did walked that line" and you guys say "they crossed it into the land of simplicity". While I agree that Brian and Kevin's books don't quite reach the depths of FH's ( a feat I've never seen ANY sci-fi author acheive :wink: ), I feel like their books are very far from "simplistic"...


Flowery prose and well crafted text are one thing; developing an intriguing, consistent, engaging plot is totally different. Pinky and the Brain fail miserably at that IMO. Its not just a change in writing style, they just don't know how to write a decent plot, complete with character development and all of the other asepct of truly engaging writing. And then to go fuck it up in arguably the most popular and talented sci-fi universe created is a royal screw-up IMO. I swear Simon, if half of the prequelites (not saying you are necessarily part of that "half") were to read these stories if they were utterly unrelated to Dune, you wouldn't give two squirts of piss about them. You'd shrug your shoulders and be on to something else, never to go back and reread them. But because they have DUNE plastered all over them, some people give them more credit because they are soooo happy to have more Dune, regardless of the quality of that Dune. That's just my opinion, obviously.....
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Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2008 18:12

Not only that, the "no one could write up to FH's level" is the lamest excuse. I don't think anyone expected that.

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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 18:18

I won't take "any" Dune, I just happen to feel like Brian and Kevin haven't failed me yet. I accept that they aren't Frank and I've always felt that their decision to try "their own thing" rather than ape him was wise.

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Postby Omphalos » 13 Feb 2008 18:18

SandChigger wrote:Tanz mentioned Kevin's output. A while back they announced that they would be releasing a new Dune book only every other year after Pall on Dune and some of us hoped that meant they would be taking more time on future books. Unfortunately, in that podcast interview Kevin clarified that they would still be writing a book a year ("because that's the way we work best" or something to that effect) and using the extra year to work on new projects.

So much for hopes for an improvement in quality. (How could there be one, they think they're doing a wonderful job!)


I asked Byron about this on the old board. Apparently they were planning on doing less than one book per year, but they just "work fast" or words to that effect, accorting to Byron.

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Postby Tleilax Master B » 13 Feb 2008 18:23

Simon wrote:I won't take "any" Dune, I just happen to feel like Brian and Kevin haven't failed me yet. I accept that they aren't Frank and I've always felt that their decision to try "their own thing" rather than ape him was wise.


Here's what those chuckle heads should have done:

Release a book similar to Road to Dune with excerpts from the "boxes" of notes they supposedly found. Add all the tasty little bits, like the scene Frank wrote for the Lynch movie that portrays the meeting of Leto and Jessica. All that good shit. People like me would have EATEN IT UP! It sells like hot cake$, $ale$ of the old books boost, everyone is making money and nobody is being lambasted, then........

When all the action dies down, you release a book called "Frank's Dune 7" or something catchy like that. You publish another book with the outline for Dune 7 and excerpts from the notes one where they think he was going to go. Full of wild speculation and "what ifs"---$ale$ go through the roof again. You're still popular and you're back to writing your other crappy books, with boosted sales from the name recognition you got off the little Dune compendiums you published. Plenty of $$$ for everyone and NO ANGRY FANS.
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Postby Omphalos » 13 Feb 2008 18:38

Ah, but you forget, they dont care about us.

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Postby Simon » 13 Feb 2008 18:38

I don't understand not releasing "the notes" but at the same time I'm not intimately aware of the details behind that decision. They say it's a family heirloom and I could see that. It's the one bit of Dunedom that is family exclusive.

I would imagine you guys should hope they are as money crazed as some make out, that way your guaranteed those notes when the "money train" losses speed.

I doubt that though, so you ladies and gents may have a wait on your hands. (Though for the sake of a unified Dune fan base I hope they hook you guys up!)

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Postby Omphalos » 13 Feb 2008 18:48

Simon wrote:I don't understand not releasing "the notes" but at the same time I'm not intimately aware of the details behind that decision. They say it's a family heirloom and I could see that. It's the one bit of Dunedom that is family exclusive.

I would imagine you guys should hope they are as money crazed as some make out, that way your guaranteed those notes when the "money train" losses speed.

I doubt that though, so you ladies and gents may have a wait on your hands. (Though for the sake of a unified Dune fan base I hope they hook you guys up!)


Family heirloom? Bullshit. Probably every book in Frank's library is sitting in a public library in Florence, Oregon. Every scrap he wrote in his professional career is in the special Frank Herbert collection at the University of California Fullerton, with the exception of a few mystery stories he wrote under a pseudonym that he did not ever want revealed. There is no special family interest here that trumps scholarly interests and/or fan interests. The family has photos, boats, homes, all kinds of stuff to remember their grandfather by. This is a literary gem, that (if it even fucking exists, or was not fabricated by one of the Herberts) deserves...nay!! Must be preserved in a library. This is Frank Herbert's culmination to the greatest thing that he ever did in his literary career. If it is real, it certainly does NOT belong to those fucking greedy bastards in the HLP. They do a major disservice to the memory of their patriarch by NOT preserving those documents by giving them to an institution, and publishing them.

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Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2008 18:55

EXACTLY!

(What B and Omph said. ;) )
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Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2008 19:08

The outline isn't a family heirloom, the secret is.

It's on a floppy disk for god's sake. If you print it's contents do the contents become less valuable?

Only if it's a secret.

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Postby SandChigger » 13 Feb 2008 19:55

And a closely guarded secret at that.

I believe Byron revealed a few months ago that he didn't have a copy of it. Or any of the other materials IIRC.

I think he wasn't even sure what steps had been taken to preverse the floppies' contents.

It's a bit worrying that something so valuable is in the hands of a possible technophobe.

"Oh...drat."
"What's the matter, honey?"
"Oh, Jan...I just erased the floppies...."

:shock:
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Postby Freakzilla » 13 Feb 2008 20:01

Yeah, I was the one asking about that.

I mean, if you were a relative of Brian and in the HLP even, I'd want to see it.

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Postby Mr. Teg » 14 Feb 2008 11:24

Omphalos wrote:Family heirloom? Bullshit. Probably every book in Frank's library is sitting in a public library in Florence, Oregon. Every scrap he wrote in his professional career is in the special Frank Herbert collection at the University of California Fullerton, with the exception of a few mystery stories he wrote under a pseudonym that he did not ever want revealed.


They supposedly found thousands of pages of notes, but almost everything in the Road to Dune was taken from what they photocopied at the collection at Fullerton, while snubbing McNeilly at the same time regarding the encyclopedia and his relationship with Frank. Real classy...
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Postby Omphalos » 14 Feb 2008 11:32

Freakzilla wrote:Yeah, I was the one asking about that.

I mean, if you were a relative of Brian and in the HLP even, I'd want to see it.


I guess they decided to let Kevvie keep the priceless family heirloom in a box in Colorado, along with the soul of FH.