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September 26, 2006

Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere


My family doctor has had quite a few useful things to say to me on subjects not strictly within his medical purview. One sentiment struck me with particular force; this being his fervent hope Frank Herbert's son is hit by a bus before he can further ruin his father's legacy. I will settle for death by bungee, work related three-hole punch injury or some equivalent of the last supper of Mama Cass and the Ham Sandwich of Destiny.*

I will pray for quick and painless, Lord. But Lord, mainly I will pray for quick.

In recent years, Herbert’s son, Brian, and Kevin J. Anderson have collaborated on their own series of “Dune” novels, in which the authors fill in the back stories of the franchise’s central characters without hitching their sandworms to Frank Herbert’s unfinished opus. (The dust jacket to one such prequel, “Dune: House Corrino,” announces it is “The Triumphant Conclusion to the Blockbuster Trilogy That Made Science Fiction History!”) But the legend of “Dune” still wasn’t finished: while researching their books, Anderson and Herbert the younger say, they discovered a set of safe-deposit boxes containing printed notes and “two old-style computer disks,” on which their predecessor had left detailed plans for a seventh “Dune” novel that would begin where “Chapterhouse” left off. After determining that this newly unearthed material would, in fact, require two books to relate in its entirety (and perhaps filing the anecdote away for use in a future novel, “The Frank Herbert Code” ), the authors set to work on “Hunters of Dune” and the forthcoming “Sandworms of Dune.” Oh, and also a companion volume, “The Road to Dune.”

If it had been The Road to Dune and nothing else he would have done the Old Duke proud. It was a treasure beyond price to read missing chapters from Dune and Dune Messiah. Still, it could have been worse; let us thank the stars for Christopher Tolkien.

*Ironic giant sandworm death would be, like, perfect if such an event might be arranged imagined.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 26, 2006 06:44 AM