The Gross National Debt

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Winds of Dune - book review

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In some cultures on this third rock from the sun, when a person has reached the useful end of their life and becomes a drain on the others, the person is turned out, left to confront the elements and die in them.

Muad'Dib took that long walk at the end of Dune Messiah. Whether or not he actually died in the desert is never answered with 100 percent certainty (99 percent certain). However, the days and first couple of years after his disappearance into the desert are not discussed, until now.œ

The Winds of Dune explores both that time right after Usul walked off and jumps back in time to explain and set the stage for events discussed in Dune the originals and Dune the books by Herbert junior and Anderson. One of the best fill-ins we get is the back story of Bronso of Ix and why he set about trying to ruin Muad'Dib, with Paul's help, blessings and at Paul's requests. Ooh. Ahh.

It also slings in more than a few surprises, a bomb (both as an explosion which kills people and as a literary device that leaves the reader with his jaw hanging) or three and puts more than a few twists. It also fills in a few gaps including some gaps that readers of the original Dune series might not have noticed. One of the bombs - Lady Jessica actually set out to kill her son, Paul, because she was afraid of what he'd become and was doing. There are more surprises, but you'll have to read the book to find them.

It really does MORE than fill in those gaps and drop bombs. This book comes closer than any other work by Herbert and Anderson to the original Herbert's work. I don't mean in style, grammar and such. The character development is truer to the original series and the political, social and economic machinations so present in the original are well developed in this book. At the same time, this is not a Frank Herbert clone book. The master's influences are there, but now the paired authors take flight on their own. With a number of other Dune books behind them, the duo have now provided readers with more than just fill-in. They have expanded the Dune universe.

While the other books in the fill-in series are worthy because they fill in spots, this book is worthy of the Dune series because it's just that good on its own. The SciFi network lists this one as a "SciFi Essentials book." In that I agree.

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