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The Road to Dune Hardcover – August 11, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This companion volume to Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction classic collects manuscript material, correspondence and cut chapters related to Dune as well as previously published Dune-related short stories coauthored by his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. Particularly interesting are texts related to Dune's publication, including letters, reviews and press releases that acknowledge the dizzying scope of the ambitious novel. Its length meant that Herbert had a hard time placing it, and he ended up selling it to automotive-guide publisher Chilton, but its publication-and the awards it won-ushered in a new era for science fiction publishing. The sheer novelty of Dune stands in contrast to B. Herbert and Anderson's Spice Planet, an alternate Dune novelette constructed from Herbert's original notes and a by-the-numbers action-adventure of interest only in contrast to the book Herbert ultimately wrote. Three of B. Herbert and Anderson's short stories bridge some of the events in their coauthored novel prequels; the fourth takes place during one of the battles in Dune and provides an interesting point-of-view switch. Although this miscellany of material fails to cohere, the glimpse it provides into Herbert's thoughts and the difficulty of writing and publishing illuminate one of the most important SF novels ever published.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This collection of essays, stories, and selections from Herbert's papers will certainly be high-priority reading for Dune fans. It includes two versions of Spice Planet, an unpublished novel containing many elements that later appeared in Dune, but that is a separate story. Of particular interest are the communications between Herbert, John Campbell, and others during and after the release of Dune and unpublished sequences from Dune and Dune Messiah. The collection also includes four short stories laid in the Butlerian Jihad era. Dune was a social and publishing phenomenon; it moved sf into general publishing (and marketing) awareness and spurred a wide public awareness of ecological balance. This account of its genesis should interest fans and students of popular culture. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Dune
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765312956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765312952
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 124 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My main excuse for buying Road to Dune was the roughly 150 pages of deleted scenes, from Dune and Dune Messiah. The cut chapters were interesting, but they were frequently incosistent with the canon material--the original Dune trilogy, and the prequels by Brian and Kevin. Examples:

-Road to Dune has it that the spice was found by men working for Dr. Kynes' father. But, in Dune: House Atreides, Pardot Kynes leaves for Arrakis AFTER spice has already been found and is being spread by merchants througout the galaxy.

-Road to Dune puts Paul's age at his departure to Arrakis at "almost twelve", even though in the first few sentences of the final publication of Dune is age is set as fifteen.

-IRULAN DIES....this is a very unclear chapter, complete with an odd final note by Frank Herbert.

There are other problems, too, which might be confusing, but that's why these scenes weren't published with the original novel. Still, this portion of the book is worth reading, and sheds a small amount of light on the Duneiverse as well (why Paul was inspired by the desert mouse, why the Guild controls the stars without competition). But, it isn't enough to justify spending 25 dollars.

The short stories, written by Brian and Kevin, are adventuresome and worth a look. The first story is set during Dune, but the three that follow are set in the Legends of Dune era. "Hunting Harkonenns" is set before The Butlerian Jihad; "Whipping Mek" is set before The Machine Crusade; and "Faces of a Martyr" is set before The Battle of Corrin.

But, there's a flaw here too. "Whisper of Caladan Seas" has appeared in two other places, and get this: YOU CAN READ THE LEGENDS OF DUNE SHORT STORIES FOR FREE ON DUNENOVELS.COM. No need to spend money on free material.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hunt on May 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Road to Dune contains some fascinating material, but it fell well below my expectations and hopes. Sadly, only about half the book contains primary source material written by Frank Herbert himself.

The book starts with a moving Foreward by Bill Ransom, who co-authored the excellent Pandora novels with Herbert. Anderson and Brian Herbert then introduce what follows, describing the boxes of draft material, letters, outlines and notes that they had to draw upon. My heart rate doubled and my spirit soared as I read this section, thrilled at the prospect of seeing how the Dune series evolved in Herbert's mind, and of gaining greater insight into his fascinating characters and events.

This promise was not to be fulfilled, however. The first section contains "Spice Planet", a novella written by Brian and Kevin based on Frank Herbert's original concept for Dune. As a ahort advemture story, it's quite enjoyable, and there are moments of real tension. However, any traces of Frank Herbert's original work are all but smothered by his chroniclers' writing style and ham-fisted characterization. Even an incomplete collection of outlines, notes and draft chapters would have been preferable to this disappointment.

The next section contains the true Dune source material: Frank Herbert's letters, and unpublished chapters from Dune and Dune Messiah. This section is fascinating as both a study of Herbert's alternative ideas for Dune, and as a historical account of how Dune came to be published. The unpublished chapters' inconsistencies with the published work only makes them more fascinating. This section is only 150 pages long, but it's the pearl in this oyster. If the whole book had consisted of this kind of content, I would have given it five stars.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jerry N. VINE VOICE on November 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As one who has read Dune (and its sequels) over and over for 35+years, and rejected the recent prequels becasue of their lack of literary quality and ideas other than formulistic writing, this book is different, and harks back to the real original (or prequel if you prefer). I'm glad the authors used real notes, stories and scenarios in an intelligent and a logical manner. This work offsets the prequels. The original Duneworld presented here had all the outlines of the later book and from what is missing and what is there, one can trace the mental progression and increase in bilogical and related knowledge advances by Mister Herbert as he progressed from Duneworld to Dune. Even for the points that did not show in Duneworld,I felt there were clear hints of the Fremen, the real brutal viciousness of Harkonnens before it was smoothed out to thinking brutishness and a host of other real and almost real subplots. The stories also included later in the book were all Dune, in feel, tone, style, manner and approach. Whether they were Mr. Hebert's or the authors (or some combination thereof as I did not pay attention to whom wrote which), all were clear Dune in feel and approach. Thank you for returning to Dune's roots and given us something else than the made up and generally poor recent prequels. -- A much better job.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Troutman on February 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In looking at the other reviews, it is clear that everyone who reads this comes to the book with a set of prejudices that completely color their take on this book. So let me begin with that. When I was in fifth grade, I fell madly in love with Arrakis. I've always been much more ambivalent about _Dune_ and its sequels. The world itself is so rich that it feels just as real as the moon in the sky. The characters, however, are all cut from the same power-hungry cloth. They might be good or evil (rarely in between) but they're always striving and scheming. It seems like such a narrow take on the human experience. It was all the more shocking to read Herbert's moving description of the end of his wife's life that follows _Chapterhouse_. The short essay left me with a sense that we readers had been robbed of so much of what _Dune_ could have been.

The narrowness of the characterization turned, in my view, into self-parody in the second generation novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. They're credible pulp fiction but at the end of the day they're nothing more than light adventure stories and as you get older that loses its hold over you. I stopped reading them when I got tired of the homophobia and the machismo.

I found _The Road to Dune_ remaindered, so I bought it on impulse. It's a mixed bag. It contains four separate parts.

The first is an early attempt at the original _Dune_ novel. As an example of campy pulp fun, it's not bad. It has a glaring plot hole that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in the classic version of _Dune_ (but would have to reread to double check). In seeing the evolution of the novel, it also makes sense of some of the less explicable parts of what was ultimately published.
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