Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: "Dune: The Butlerian Jihad"

Dune, if you're not familiar with it, is the most popular and well-regarded science fiction novel ever written.  It's one of my personal favorites, I've read the entire six-book series many times over.

Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, is not one of the original six books, however, and is not written by the same author.  It's the fourth pre-quel book written by the original author's son and his co-writer.

I've avoided the Dune prequels for the same reason I avoid most other attempts to capitalize on successful stories by other authors.  They usually disappoint.

In this case I skipped the first three pre-quels and started with the fourth, as it's largely an independent story, and I hoped they'd gotten their writing and story-telling sorted out, as I'd heard not-good things about their earlier efforts.

Luckily, I took it out of the library.

I won't go into great detail about this book, other than to say the low-star reviews at Amazon or Goodreads reflect my views.  The writing is poor, the story-telling implausible, character motivation is often questionable, and large swathes of what this book was supposed to be about were discarded. The authors do away with the religious motivation for the jihad, for instance, which guts the story. Happily that's not made clear until the very end. Dune was notable for its intelligence,  they did away with that, too.

So if you're looking for an extension of your experience with Dune as I was, skip it.

I did find the story some what entertaining, however, as some of the attempts to fill in the story from the original novels was interesting (it was supposedly based on the original authors notes), but it was soured by the poor and in-your-face story-telling.  So I'm not entirely unhappy that I read the thing.

But I am very happy to have taken it out of the library.  I'll skip the rest.

Dune and the other five books in the original series are magnificent, however.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.

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