Sands of Dune: A Collection by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Tor Books ISBN: 978-1250805676 (June 28, 2022)
Review by Warner Holme: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson Sands of Dune: A Collection puts together four short novellas in Frank Herbert’s famous universe.
There is a nice introduction in which the storytelling origin for each of these little pieces is explained. Interesting in its own right from a writing point of view, this is a greater peek into the process for tie-in fiction than one is often given.
“The Edge of a Crysknife” follows decades of action by one woman, Mapes, as she works with the fremen to expel the various Imperial overlords from the planet Dune. It is an interesting little slice of history from the world, and a look at the lives and losses of those involved in a resistance movement. There is a brief claim that the lead is the first woman to qualify as her type of resistance fighter, which raises questions given how long the movement supposedly has existed.
Overall this is a very nice little story, one which does run right up to the novels proper. Ironically in a small way bringing that Shadow so close hurts the story, as rather than merely making the struggle seem difficult or impossible, instead it reads like a carefully manipulated march towards a certain result without foreshadowing. The results are entertaining, but feel like they just slightly fail to move beyond.
“The Waters of Kanly” featuring a subtitle “From the Lost Years of Gurney Halleck” contrasts as more of a prequel to the Frank Herbert work. Starring the titular character, this is a revenge heist story. Specifically, the character in question decides to get some of his revenge by using a group of smugglers and very carefully gathered allies to hijack a shipment of off-world water intended for use by the Harkonnens.
The structure and the style of storytelling in this piece will be familiar to anyone who regularly takes in heist tales. This is not a bad thing, and it is an excellent way to keep readers’ attention. The ensuing twists of what could go wrong or right about such an event will entertain almost any reader.
Both of these stories focus heavily on revenge in terms of themes. While this can be seen as true of the original Dune and many related stories, that is if anything a benefit in making these feel connected to the greater work.
When it comes to work set in a long and established universe, a question of how well the new pieces fit cannot help but enter some readers’ minds. This has become a particular point of contention with works following Frank Herbert’s Dune. While many of the novels published after the death Frank Herbert have created a great deal of contradiction or consternation amongst various fans, that is much less of a concern with this volume. The stories are short and, while interacting with the world of that setting, seem to be as much appreciation of it as additions.
Sands of Dune is if anything an improvement on previous doing works by this creative team. While not a long volume, each short little story is tantalizing and enjoyable. Not every reader will love the pages inside, but like good tribute fiction it should be appreciated by those who seek it out. It was curious reader it is well worth picking up for a curious reader, and even for many of those who disliked previous follow-ups to the work of Frank Herbert.
Whenever I see books like this following up Dune, I am reminded of a review, possibly in Playboy in the 1970s, where the reviewer commented, “when Mr. Herbert finishes the series, possibly sometime around 1995 with Imperial Morticians of Dune…”
And mark says Whenever I see books like this following up Dune, I am reminded of a review, possibly in Playboy in the 1970s, where the reviewer commented, “when Mr. Herbert finishes the series, possibly sometime around 1995 with Imperial Morticians of Dune…”
I only read the series through Dune Messiah though I read several chapters of the next novel when it came out and thought that Herbert had decided to write fan fiction in his own universe.
Oh and if you decide to listen, the BBC version is most splendid provided you accept everyone in that universe has a strong British accent. Sort of like Farscape in that way.