SandChigger wrote:If I had to choose between the two, I would choose the Encyclopedia. It is better written and while the "new Dune" works are purportedly based on notes and outlines by FH, the editor and writers of the Encyclopedia at least had some direct input from Frank Herbert while he lived. Brian Herbert claims that he and his father discussed the latter's Dune books, but we have only his word for it and a near dozen of new books that by their very content and approach would seem to make a liar of him.
The fact that the Encyclopedia
was designed to be completely an in-universe document is what makes it exciting to me. I bought my copy around thirty years ago, at a used book store in Bellingham, but I never truly appreciated
it until more recently. It sat in the shelf, only browsed at occasionally, even as I grew more and more delighted with Frank Herbert's work over the years.
When I bought it I hadn't even read the sequels. I'd tried Dune Messiah
but didn't get far. Now, years later, I appreciate why I didn't enjoy the novel when I finally did read it (and I have read it several times since). Most won't understand the reference, but Marc Platt's Doctor Who
novel Time's Crucible
was an interesting and amazing work of literature that seemed plodding and occasionally agonizing --- but at the end, just as later with Dune Messiah
, I understood that, rather than merely being told
the story and its events, I actually had to live
and experience them.
A document like the Encyclopedia
, designed to be something that was a product of people within the Dune
universe with no hint of any sort of narrator makes it a delight to browse.
Ironically, it was only when I discovered (through mention on the DuneNovels forum) that there was a PDF copy floating around that I began to truly browse and enjoy the book anew.
Parenthetically: I found the scanned version and the typeset version (as well as what seems to be an abridged Russian version). Sadly the typeset version doesn't have the bibliography which, while fictional, is fascinating. And while I haven't looked too closely, it also has at least one typo. Is there an original version of the files floating around, in whatever word processing or typesetting system, in which changes could be made?
(Then again, incurring the wrath of the HLP would not be wise. Strike that last remark.)