Gibson Gone Soft? DUNE Response Mixed? Too Many Girls? -

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Gibson Gone Soft? DUNE Response Mixed? Too Many Girls?

CINESCAPE'S weekly book column answers reader's questions and comments

By Chris Wyatt     March 24, 2003

Welcome to another edition of Book Notes. You sent in some really, really good questions...unfortunately, they were also really, really hard we don't have the answers quite yet... (Special thanks to Kathy R...I'm going to be hunting for a while on that one.) But keep sending questions to us at: and we'll keep researching. In the meantime, let's get to your comments...

The new DUNE series

We asked you guys to write in your thoughts on the new DUNE books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson. We received a good mix of opinions.

On the positive side: Clint Stone wrote in to say "As far as the new DUNE books are concerned I found them enjoyable. Personally I preferred the HOUSE ATRIEDES, HOUSE HARKONEN books. I'm very interested in the so-called seventh DUNE book. I've read that Brian Herbert intends to write it now that the other books are completed. Supposedly an alien force from deep space comes into play and threatens the Imperium. So I'm hoping that we can get back to the denser more fantastical material that the original DUNE books employed."

Matthew McConnel also enjoys the new DUNE books, but perhaps that's partially due to the fact that he has some criticisms of the originals. He writes, "I firmly believe Herbert needed to stop after the third book. Ok, I also am inclined to think that he could have stopped after DUNE itself, but the following two books do wrap up some dangling strands... Perhaps the other books will seem better in light of the seventh theoretical book, but considering that Herbert's work seemed to go downhill with time, I am not too optimistic. I have however, greatly enjoyed Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's work in the Dune universe, and look forward to their next one."

However, we also had some comments solidly on the con side, like this one: "Frank Herbert would be rolling in his grave," says Jason Vanderbeek. "These books are complex, the way the originals are, but I get the feeling that they are complex for the sake of complexity rather than having it actually mean something to the story. The newer books have childish, pointless plots, and the only reason they were written is to cash in on Frank Herbert's genius. It's shameful. Readers would be much better off sticking with the original novels; the new ones aren't worth the paper on which they're printed."

OUCH! Why don't you tell us what you really think, Jason?

Send comments about the DUNE books or anything else to:

William Gibson gone soft?

Alright, while we're on the topic of "not the way it used to be", let's move to what I expect will be a very controversial topic, brought up by Lester Paltrow.

"Have you read PATTERN RECOGNITION?" Paltro asks. "It wasn't as bad as VIRTUAL LIGHT, but it was just soft...This author [NEUROMANCER'S William Gibson] has lost his voice! He used to be so cutting-edged, so hard and quick. Now it's like a different man is writing his books. It's like another, worse writer has taken over."

Well, I can't say that CINESCAPE necessarily shares this sentiment, but we do want to hear what you think about the new Gibson stuff. Has the inventor of cyberspace lost his vision, or is he still moving in new directions? Let us know at:

Complaints and Suggestions.

This week we had tons of great reading suggestions. Jason Douglas echoes the sentiments expressed last week about Robin Hob and R.A. Salvatore, but adds, "My own suggestion: Glen Cook. If you haven't read Glen Cook's BLACK COMPANY series or his GARRETT PI novels, you're missing out."

(Incidentally, Jason also writes, "I love reading a column about SFF books! Keep it up!"...Well, thanks Jason... you're making us blush!)

Some more suggestions come from Eryk who says, "I think the original DRAGONLANCE series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman dwarf all other fantasy books. Also, I re-read my first reading of any fantasy novel, THE GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME: THE SLEEPING DRAGON by Joel Rosenberg. Check it out too."

And we'll close with Eileen Hall who has a few axes to grind. "When is Peter David going to get that sequel to BEING HUMAN out? It's been, what, two years? To leave such a cliffhanger is unfair to readers. However, I did wait 10 years for the next outstanding sequel to the Liaden Universe series. Waaaay to long, but the end result was phenomenal."

She continues, "Could we get a few more male-oriented novels out there? I'm so tired of smart/cool/outcast/wounded girls who can always kick someone's ass!"

Does anyone else feel like Eileen? Is there an overabundance of female orientation in SF? And what else you reading these days? What have you liked and want to share? What have you hated? Spill the beans to:

Until next week, Happy reading!

Book Notes is our weekly Books column.


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