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Heretics Of Dune Paperback – February 1, 1985
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In short, "Heretics of Dune" is one of the less "important" episodes of the DUNE saga but make no mistake, this is still Science Fiction entertainment at its highest level; sometimes (rarely) equaled and so far not yet surpassed. If I were to rate my favorite SF sagas in order of importance, the absolute winner is Frank Herbert's original Dune titles, closely followed on second place by both The Saga Of Seven Suns by Kevin J Anderson and Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings; this in turn closely followed on third by Peter F. Hamilton's Void Trilogy as well as Night's Dawn Trilogy, heavens, don't even get me started on "Great North Road", and the whole Dan Simmons and David Brin lists of titles. Yes, well, you are a science fiction reader or you aren't, there is no half measure possible here.
I am planning on returning to all the works mentioned for another read some day, but I have to finish "Heretics Of Dune" first, and only after "Chapter House Dune" would it become a remote possibility; that is if I don't pick up DUNE once more, as that would only be the thirteenth time.
Jules Verne turned out to be a prophetic writer, his "Nautilus" announcing the era of submarines. Frank Herbert is prophesying on the topic of current "modern" religions and ecology; but you have to be able to read between the lines. Once you do, you might, just like I did, read the whole series of books he wrote to discover layer upon layer, upon layer...and here I am wondering if the tally will ever end. I'll keep you in the loop.
But in comparison with both the original Dune triad and the immediately proceeding God Emperor of Dune especially, it simply feels disjointed and below par. Part of this, of course, is the complete lack of any of the original characters; even the long-lived Leto II has been dead for millennia. Duncan Idaho is present, but so much younger, and so changed, as to be unrecognizable. The story as a consequence feels less like the next step in a saga and more like an entirely new series set in a (distantly) related setting.
Ultimately one reaches the conclusion in reading that Dune is best served when read as a tetralogy. Heretics, indeed.