Stephen King, Frank Herbert, and the Force

“You cannot sweep someone else away by the force of your writing, unless it’s been done to you.” ~Stephen King from “On Writing” 

I have this ambitious goal to write the next great science fiction saga.  I wanted to write a series worthy of being an inheritor of Dune, Foundation Series, The Vorkosigan Saga, and tar Wars. 
Yes, I know, it’s extremely ambitous…so what.
For the first time after many tries I finally finished the book Dune by Frank Herbert.  I read it because Dune has nearly everything that I want to write.
Frank spins a tale of the four-fold nature of humanity–our physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental natures and how they add to the complexity of life around us.
But I found his writing dry, hard to follow at times.
The only thing that kept me reading was that this was one of the great masterpieces of literary fiction in the last 100 years.   At first I thought it was a bad book because it did not move me–captivate me as I’ve been by the prequels written by Brian Herbert [Frank’s son] and Kevin J. Anderson.   
If it weren’t for the mastery of spinning such a complex tale I would have put the book down long ago.
As I read it, I could not help but remember the quote above by Stephen King.
I like being swept away in a story.  It’s what makes reading a 100,000+ word story possible.
Every story that has been seared into my mind as been one that swept me away.
I was not swept away by Dune. 
Now I need to find out why.




Filed under BookWorm on Books, BookWorm On Writing

4 responses to “Stephen King, Frank Herbert, and the Force

  1. Such a great quotation. I love being swept away by a story. I spent the afternoon yesterday reading a book that DIDN’T sweep. It was a long, long afternoon. I was stuck on a sandy dune of an island as my husband had kite surfing lessons. I wish I’d had a different book, but I wanted to read it and know the info in it. 1 chapter left to go.

  2. Don’t you hate when that happens? More than once I’ve picked up a novel that is supposed to be one of the pillars of sci-fi/fantasy only to discover that it cannot even hold my attention, let alone captivate or impress me. My take is that many such works are heralded not for the impression they make on readers but for how they’ve affected and informed other writers’ work. We see the same in music — for example, the average person hasn’t heard of the Velvet Underground and isn’t much intrigued by the band’s music. But most musicians have indeed heard them and been inspired by them. The VU is considered a “musician’s band,” so maybe Dune is a “writer’s novel.”

  3. Yeah, I think that’s why people read fiction books, to be captivated by the story. I kept escaping from Dune.

  4. Yeah…I kinda felt bad cause it took me so long to read Dune and it’s one of the few books that I liked the movie version better than the novel.

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