High-Opp

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    Non-Dune Frank Herbert Book Discussion

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Cpt. Aramsham
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Re: High-Opp

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 30 Dec 2012 06:14

Mr. Teg wrote:I am interested by the various comparisons you posted.

Thanks.

Do you think Frank is saying bureaucracies bad, superheroes good or bureaucracies lead to fascism?
I wouldn't be surprised if Frank read Hayek or Paterson. If HO really follows Dune then he may have envisioned a Dune Messiah closure but never got around to it.

You'll have to read it to judge for yourself, but as I interpret it, FH (at least for the purposes of the story) prefers the capable dictatorship of Movius to the corruption and infighting of the democratic/oligarchic bureaucracy it succeeded.

The viewpoint of the book seems to be that history is cyclical, that all regimes grow to be resented and are eventually overthrown, only for the revolutionaries to set up a new regime. This is presented as routine, and the emergence of Movius as a "hero" and eventual dictator/Emperor is therefore neither a disaster nor a tragedy, but something the book seems to view quite cheerfully. It's certainly a much more straightforwardly happy ending than Dune, even as Movius predicts that he (or one of his heirs) will one day himself be overthrown. The book ends by Movius proposing that the measure of a good government is how well it manages its own demise: "The significance of what we have done has been known to many governments, seldom practiced in its pure form. For a civilization to survive a crisis . . . in order that the good will not go with the bad . . . it is essential that an element of the government have charge of the revolution."

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Naïve mind
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Re: High-Opp

Postby Naïve mind » 30 Dec 2012 07:04

That sounds reminiscent of Joseph Tainter's thinking on social complexity (with which I'm unfortunately unfamiliar to an extent greater than the wikipedia article, but I thought I'd pass along the reference).

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Re: High-Opp

Postby Mr. Teg » 30 Dec 2012 09:28

I can't judge for myself what he meant until I read this one myself.
What extent the book was tainted by dumb & dumber?
(I really got to get to Fullerton next year...)

But the view on the government reminds me of busab.
Actually the guy Sandrider interviewed directly commented on this theme if I remember correctly.
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D Pope
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Re: High-Opp

Postby D Pope » 30 Dec 2012 20:26

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:...as I interpret it, FH (at least for the purposes of the story) prefers the capable dictatorship
of Movius to the corruption and infighting of the democratic/oligarchic bureaucracy it succeeded.

I wouldn't say it that way. I think he preferred a responsible individual to a bureaucracy. When discussing
an 'ideal' bureaucracy in GEoD, Leto explains why he uses rebels and what's wrong with bureaucrats. I don't
disagree with your statement, I just recoil from the idea of a dictator.

> I can't remember where I read it but he also says something like, "Give me balanced judgement over rule of law."

On a side note, the first few times I read Dune, I kept wondering about the common folk that keep paying for
the whims and pettiness of their leaders. Odd that it doesn't come to mind as often now.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Naïve mind
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Re: High-Opp

Postby Naïve mind » 07 Nov 2013 11:58

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:so I'll give some impressions from the POV of a Dune fan.


Subtle :)

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:So, as a novel (or novella), it's not very good. It's clearly FH, but obviously an early draft of a not-very-promising book: it's noticeably underdeveloped, unfinished and unpolished.


I concur, it's at least 80% FH, but it's typical 1950s Astounding fare. Daniel Movius is no Leto II in terms of character development or complexity. On the other hand, he wrote worse than this.

There's the occasional paragraph that looks like something KJA wrote:

They mean to kill me! thought Movius. He suddenly slashed his right hand down at the gunman's wrist, heard the gun clatter on the floor. Almost in the same motion, he brought up his left thumb, jamming it behind the other man's ear, saw him collapse. Again he thanked fate for the years spent in privileged gymnasiums, for Okashi's patient teaching.


There's a section in the middle that contains a tense standoff in a BuTrans office that, very uncharacteristic of Frank Herbert, has no internal dialogue, and sort of falls flat. I suspect this to be by KJA also. The concluding chapter has a similar feel to it.

But in summary, the influence of the editor wasn't noticeable enough to draw me out of the story, so I'd say he did a good job.

Several themes, motifs and plot points prefigure similar elements in Dune.


I would say that, of all Frank Herbert stories I've read, this one is the most Dune-like in structure and content. With some effort, you might even compare the warring Bu-Trans and Bu-Con with the houses Harkonnen and Atreides.

the Bu-Psych analysts and their predictions for the end of their civilization are pretty much plagiarized from the psychohistorians of Asimov's Foundation series, making that influence on Dune even more apparent.


I like the section where they suggest that Movius isn't their creation, but was produced by the forces of history. Very Asimovian, and reminiscent of sections in Dune where it is suggested that even the shrewd Bene Gesserit are merely puppets of history.

What's most striking to me about High-Opp is how much of a straight-up power fantasy it is. Daniel Movius is a regular Übermensch, a scientifically proven genius and savior who doesn't ever seem to break a sweat overthrowing the government and getting revenge on anyone who's ever wronged him.
(...)
The fact that after overthrowing the hollow shell of a nominal democracy, he is hailed by the oppressed masses and installs himself as Emperor is presented as entirely unproblematic. The moral of the story seems to be Bureaucracies Bad, Superheroes Good. It frankly comes across as pretty fascist, or at least "severely conservative."


Which is in line with the kind of stories pulp sf magazines bought in the 1950s. Joseph Campbell, despite his reputation as a great editor, seems to have had a taste for them (note that this is the guy that gave a big platform to L. Ron Hubbard, around the same time he published Dune).

I think there's an interview with Frank Herbert somewhere in which he expresses some delight in "slaughtering one of Campbell's sacred cows" (prescience as a desireable super power. And I may have misquoted him there), and it's possible that the same streak of rebelliousness lead him to take the ascension of Movius to a ridiculous extreme.

(including his ex-fiancée, in a nastily rapey scene)


I can agree there. This story is a product of another era; the women are weak-willed, vulnerable, emotional, silly, and otherwise just toys for the Alpha-males. Which is strange; even though none of Frank Herbert's stories are feminist pamphlets, his female characters are usually more complex and competent than here.

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lotek
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Re: High-Opp

Postby lotek » 07 Nov 2013 13:58

I'll get tired of kja bashing when he gets tired of pulling crap out of his mouth into his dictahiker.

The only thing that makes the hate go away is avoiding contact with his proose, but I just can't stand such mediocrity squeezing Dune for all it's worth, like a real life Rabban.
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Naïve mind
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Re: High-Opp

Postby Naïve mind » 07 Nov 2013 16:11

lotek wrote:I just can't stand such mediocrity squeezing Dune for all it's worth, like a real life Rabban.


But in moderation, those Harkonnen genes produced the Kwisatz Haderach :lol:

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Re: High-Opp

Postby Omphalos » 07 Nov 2013 16:52

Are those guys even producing books any more? I haven't heard of one being published for quite a while now.

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Re: High-Opp

Postby Serkanner » 07 Nov 2013 17:36

Omphalos wrote:Are those guys even producing books any more? I haven't heard of one being published for quite a while now.


If I remember correctly another Hellhole and another Dune Atrocity should be published next year. I wonder if even the fanboys care anymore these days.
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lotek
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Re: High-Opp

Postby lotek » 08 Nov 2013 05:52

Naïve mind wrote:
lotek wrote:I just can't stand such mediocrity squeezing Dune for all it's worth, like a real life Rabban.


But in moderation, those Harkonnen genes produced the Kwisatz Haderach :lol:


And Feyd ^^
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Re: High-Opp

Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » 03 Dec 2013 19:35

Naïve mind wrote:Joseph Campbell, despite his reputation as a great editor


John W. ;)


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      martinburo
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      Re: High-Opp

      Postby martinburo » 28 Jan 2014 17:36

      Do you think this was really written by Frank Herbert? I very much doubt it, because Tim O'Reilly gives a complete bibliography somewhere that includes several unpublished manuscripts, so I don't see how he would have missed this one. Frank Herbert has been dead for 28 years and all of a sudden this manuscript turns up?

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      martinburo
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      Re: High-Opp

      Postby martinburo » 28 Jan 2014 18:03

      Sorry, I just read the rest of the thread, including the first part of the promo that D Pope posted on May 15, 2012. Compare this drivel to Dragon in the sea, and it's obvious the answer is no.

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      Re: High-Opp

      Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » 29 Jan 2014 12:47

      martinburo wrote:because Tim O'Reilly gives a complete bibliography somewhere that includes several unpublished manuscripts


      :snooty:

      CF Chuck Yenter (1977)
      CF Daniel Levack & Mark Willard (1988)
      CF Phil Stephensen-Payne (1990)
      CF Sharon Perry [Fullerton cat.] (2003/2005]
      CF Brian Herbert (2005)
      CF M. S. [aka Kwisatz] (2012)

      It was really written by Frank Herbert... and edited by KJA :mrgreen:


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          Hunchback Jack
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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Hunchback Jack » 01 Apr 2014 23:48

          I read High-Opp on a plane flight to somewhere.

          Is it like Dune?
          No.

          Not even some nascent Dune-ish ideas?
          None that I could see, except perhaps *very* broad themes.

          Was it written by Frank?
          Yes, I think so. If there was any KJA tinkering, it's pretty minimal, or well hidden.

          Is it *good*?
          Well, it's okay. Not brilliant, to be honest. Very fast-paced, not much development of ideas.

          Is it worth reading?
          Yes, if you keep in mind that it is early Frank, and very much a novel of its time - a bit 60s B-grade SF-ish. And, while complete, probably not finished.

          So should I buy a copy?
          Hell no. Get it on the second-hand market, or from a library. Don't give Wordfire Press one penny of your money. Fuckers.

          Why did you write this post in Q&A form?
          No idea. It's been an odd week, and I'm in an odd mood.

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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Ampoliros » 02 Apr 2014 01:15

          I've been debating posting some reviews on the wordfire published books to let people know they may have been written by Frank but they are paying KJA for them.
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          Hunchback Jack
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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Hunchback Jack » 02 Apr 2014 01:57

          Amp, I don't know if posting reviews for that purpose is allowed unless you've also read the book. But the discussion forum for the book is open to all comments.

          HBJ
          "The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
          - Carl Sagan

          I'm still very proud of The Quarry but … let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel.
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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Serkanner » 02 Apr 2014 05:06

          So far I haven't been able to find a used copy in The Netherlands and I don't get my hopes up finding any to be honest. What is a good thing though is that the horrible Mentwats of Dune book in our American Book Center has literally only 5 copies of the Atrocity: 2 HC's and 3 PB's ... there are more Dune copies ( 8 ) on the shelves :D
          "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

          “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

          Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
          and wrote a Dune Novel."

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          Naïve mind
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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Naïve mind » 08 Jan 2015 01:44

          Has anyone read Vonnegut's Player Piano? I just finished it, and I was surprised by the similarities.

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          Re: High-Opp

          Postby Sardaukar Capt » 08 Apr 2015 12:25

          I read the free sample from Amazon on my Kindle. It was decent enough. Images from the 70s movie Soylent Green kept playing in my head as I read it ... lol. (Yeah I know one has nothing to do with the other). If it wasn't published via the HLP/Hack vanity press, I might have spent $5 to read the rest but I can't really stomach giving any of those fools more of my money. It was bad enough I spent what I did in the beginning of their reign of tyranny on hardcover & paperbacks of the House & Legends books before I couldn't stomach them anymore. I thought of buying a used paperback off Amazon but I'm not paying $9.50 + shipping for a used copy of something Frank either couldn't get published or never finished and wanted to publish.
          The name Atreides was also consciously chosen. It is the family name of Agamemnon. Says Herbert, "I wanted a sense of monumental aristocracy, but with tragedy hanging over them--and in our culture, Agamemnon personifies that."
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          Ghanima said. "We Atreides go back to Agamemnon..."
          Distracted, Irulan asked: "Who's Agamemnon?"

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