Here's a 'Novel' idea, don't destroy daddy's legacy for a quick buck


When you have a child, I imagine it would be quite natural to have a sense of pride if your offspring was interested in your chosen profession. All those jobs that seem glamorous and exciting to children like Policeman, Fireman, Accountant etc. All well and good. Sometimes you might be an actor and have a son, daughter or a Jamie Lee Curtis who would like to follow in your footsteps. Marvellous. Unfortunately, charges of nepotism become unavoidable, especially if you are not very good, and are deemed to only be in the profession because you have family in the business (see Cage, Nicolas)

But that's fine, too. Annoying, but fine. No-one is under any illusion that someone like Peaches Geldof is not a dough-faced, slack-jawed imbecile but she is basically harmless. She has also helped 'like' become the fifth-most uttered word in Britain, so at least she's achieved something. Claudia Winkleman may be essentially useless, and needs her hand held by a more able presenter on Film '11 but she is still preferable to Jonathan Woss. Nigel Clough may not have set the world on fire as a footballer but no-one begrudged him due to the effort he put in, and eventually he has become a respected manager, despite living in the shadow of the most northern football manager ever.

See how tolerant I can be? The mere thought of nepotism used to have me bridling with anger. But the pills put paid to that. But there is one area where I will not tolerate perceived interference by future offspring, and that is the art of writing novels. Dune by Frank Herbert is widely accepted as the Science Fiction equivalent of The Lord of the Rings - A novel of unprecented depth and richness of themes, including environmental awareness, feudalism, immortality and the cost of it, amongst many others. I urge you to read it. Not everyone who has read it is a twat like me. Frank Herbert died shortly after completing the sixth Dune novel, which hinted that there was still more of the story to be told.

Dune has spawned a plethora of media, including a miniseries on the SciFi channel, an absurdly bonkers movie adaptation by David Lynch, a line of toys and figures from said movie and several videogames. Rumours of new movies continue to surface every couple of years. You could assume that Frank Herbert's estate sport pretty deep pockets, bulging to contain all the cash accrued from syndication and merchandise alone. But for some reason, this wealth and the the protection of a very talented writer's legacy were deemed but a trifle when Frank Herbert's detestable sprog decided to 'expand' (capitalise) on the universe which his father so richly painted.

It started innocently enough. Brian Herbert, enlisting the help of longtime Starwars pulp novelist Kevin J Anderson released a couple of books here and there, expanding on some of the backstories of some of the factions while largely preserving the canon of what went before it. Then came more and more books, relentlessly wringing every last drop of creativity from Frank Herbert's cadaver. There were manuscripts being found in lofts everywhere. Apparently they were inexplicably missed on the inevitable first sweep when Herbert unexpectedly died decades ago. These 'ideas' were documents created by Frank Herbert and not at all dreadful plot devices dreamt up by 2 talentless hacks which were quickly turned into pulp novel after pulp novel, with each one being worse than the last.

In the same way that we all like to take a gander at the victims of a nice fresh car accident, I morbidly read some of the books. I borrowed them, mind. I will not grace Brian and Kevin's hairy palms with any of my silver, thankyou. There were several events and people alluded to in the original novels which were not explicitly explained. One of which was an event called the Butlerian Jihad, in which mankind decides to do away with any machinery which exhibits artificial intelligence, on account of mankind becoming lazy and stupid (sound familiar?) This event was turned into an action-packed swashbuckling trilogy, where, (inspired by the matrix no doubt) mankind must rise up against the machines and destroy them who are oppressing them and shit! With an explosion on every other page, it is the book that Michael Bay would write is he were able to grasp a pen.

There is a race of desert people called the Fremen, whose origin is shrouded in mystery. This mystery is resolved in the aforementioned trilogy when a bunch of escaped slaves proclaim that they will become the FREE MEN! of the desert. What amazing writing. Seriously. That's a stretch isn't it. How did they get from A to B on that one? I'm imagining a meeting. Kevin and Brian are in Starbucks with their macs, scratching their monobrows when the eureka moment hits them LIKE A FREAKIN' GIANT SPACESHIP ON FIRE WITH ROBOTS ON IT. I'm so glad that I can finally sleep now that every piece of mystery and intrigue has been removed from one of the best novels of all time. Thanks Brian and Kevin!

The ultimate insult was that they proclaimed they would finish the original 6 novels off, with one final 7th novel. This is akin to having Christopher Nolan directing the Batman films and then suddenly dying half-way through the last one. The studio then hires Michael Bay, who has just lost half of his brain in a shooting accident. To all the fans of Michael Bay's work, sorry I keep picking on him. Actually I'm not, the man is a hack. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You must be super dim to have to watch every action sequence in super slow motion from a thousand angles. Your tiny brains obviously cannot cope with sequences played at normal speed. It's like reading a children's book in large print at 25. You wouldn't sit on the train at 25 reading a child's book would you?*

So, novel 7 eventually becomes novel 7 and 8. Where's the sense in 1 book when you can tell the same story with more padding in 2? So release 2 more books they did. They capped off my favourite 6 novels with what I can only assume are abortions since I will never, ever read them. Given the choice, I like to think that most sane people would rather have a Bugatti Veyron with the front bumper missing, than one that has had a Fiat Multipla bumper badly welded to it, and then some git has gone and defecated in the engine bay. That's what Brain Herbert has done to his dad's legacy, he has defecated all over it, with his tawdry, childish and clumsy sequels and prequels. What a shit.

Apparently this is now happing to Stieg Larsson's books too, but I don't care since he was shit anyway.

*I forgot about Harry Potter. I despair, I really do.

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