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Paul of Dune review


Andrew
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By the way, Paul of Dune has now officially dropped off the bestsellers lists of the following:

New York Times (no longer on top 35 list as of 11/2 edition)

USA Today (gone from Top 150 list since 10/2)

Publishers Weekly (not mentioned since 9/28)

Other than the "We like books period!" virtual shills at Library Journal, NO reputable critic has reviewed the book that I know of.

The argument that the previous books "really were good no matter what you say!" because they sold well is about to break down. Looks like even having "DUNE" prominently on the cover isn't enough to save this stinker.

I am very pleased. ;D

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(A perfect example is the "Young Paul" sections of this new book in which Paul journeys to Ecaz and Grumman. <i>Dune</i> has Paul and his father talking about how the upcoming move to Arrakis will be Paul's first time off-world, his first trip away from Caladan. How can they do that if only three or four years previously he was galavanting all over hell and back? It's just bad storytelling. Compounded by bad writing.)

Uhh... Another one. How many more are they going to make? It's either malicious intent, or they don't look into the original books at all anymore, using a probably very sketchy "compendium" Brian is supposed to have written. Which is understandable, because who would know Frank's writings better than his own son, as some people have pointed out to me ::)

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Yeah, that one never gets old, does it?

It's a bit depressing to see the minds of people who like these books fall into and follow the same deeply-worn ruts in the paths of "reasoning".

Byron, admin over on the DN BBS, played the Grandson Card in an argument today/yesterday.

It's a low time for Dune, I'm afraid. :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

(A perfect example is the "Young Paul" sections of this new book in which Paul journeys to Ecaz and Grumman. <i>Dune</i> has Paul and his father talking about how the upcoming move to Arrakis will be Paul's first time off-world, his first trip away from Caladan. How can they do that if only three or four years previously he was galavanting all over hell and back? It's just bad storytelling. Compounded by bad writing.)

Hey, I just read the e-mail from you to KJA and back about this in your blog. I didn't imagine he really threatened you with writing new books as long as they can ;D Also Kevin seems to be very aggressive - very uncouth for a writer! :P But you have probably annoyed him with your complaints about the books not being good enough for quite some time, haven't you? ;) That's the burden of publicity, Kevin, get used to it! ;D

BTW SandChigger, I didn't know you're a linguist :) (I'm a linguist, too)

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You don't say? Small world, ain't it?! :D What flavor are you? I'm anti-Chomskian tutti-frutti. ;)

Yep, it's always easy to tell when you've irritated Kevin. It's too bad it's not in person, because I imagine he gets really prissy, quite the teen girl, with his voice taking on a high pitch and getting all nasal. :P

I was surprised that he actually replied. The speed with which he did makes me think he's been prepared and ready with a reply on that particular point; he knows what he's now doing is going to be the most controversial problem yet. (Once more people catch on and start thinking about it.)

Of course, the hack should have known I'd immediately put any reply on my blog and the boards. He probably won't make <b>that</b> mistake again. :D

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What flavor are you?

I'm a post-grad student at the Faculty of Philology of the Moscow State University (Russian Language Department), and currently I'm trying to do some decent semantics research based on the cognitive metaphor theory developed by Lakoff & Johnson. Unfortunately, many allegedly cognitive studies I've seen in Russian linguistics tend to have a strong inclination for cultural research at best (when something called "worldview" is supposedly reconstructed based on text analysis), or, worse, actually have nothing to do with human cognition at all. Generally, cognitive theories like the embodied mind thesis (my personal favourite) aren't very popular (or well known) here, and also there's a lack of interdisciplinary studies (especially those that would actively involve linguistics), although a cross-department cognitive seminar is available. Besides my attempts at cognitive research, I'm also interested in comparative linguistics, diachronic studies and the history of languages in general.

I'm pretty much indifferent towards Chomsky (we've got a separate Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics where adorers of generative grammar are usually found), but I had a very good laugh when I learned about the Chomskybot from your webpage ;D

Back to Kevin, I must say that this "Irulan wrote it" explanation is simply preposterous. Even though I've always had the impression Frank Herbert somehow sympathized with this particular character, I find it impossible to accept Kevin's proposed remedy for those discrepancies between the books as a sound, relevant argument (well, it doesn't make enough sense for a sick, crazy argument as well :D - it's probably just the lamest, most inconsistent excuse I've ever heard of).

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With Chomsky as with KJA, indifference is satisfactory if you can't work yourself up to actual hate. ;) I just wish the old fook would hurry up and die already.

I wasted the opportunity of getting more out of Kevin with my last message. I should have asked him what passage or passages in the original books they are basing their reading of ALL of them as in-universe texts on. (Not, of course, that they really have to be basing it on anything at all.) I'm sure that he is (intentionally?) misinterpreting something on a colossal scale and I would kind-of like to know what it is.

I never had the impression while reading Frank Herbert's books that he intended anything other than the epigraph, appendices, and a few other sections of his books (like the "minority report" in <i>God Emperor</i>) to be taken as in-universe texts; that he meant for us to understand that the "narrative voice" of his books was actually an inhabitant of the Duniverse.

It's a clever move, but don't mistake that for praise: I mean "clever" in the way of swindlers and con men and other criminals.

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  • 2 weeks later...
With Chomsky as with KJA' date=' indifference is satisfactory if you can't work yourself up to actual hate.  I just wish the old fook would hurry up and die already.[/quote']

Dang, Chig, are you wishin' death on ol' Noam ?

Now granted (and I'm sure I'll get alengthy explanation) I don't know much

about his liguistical theories; seems like I read a book of his in the early

70s maybe, about how babies acquire language, but I'm pretty sure I didn't under

stand it. But as far as a radical thinker and all-around rabble-rouser, Chomsky's

one of my heroes.

And what's all the Paul of Dune stuff ?  Is that the new Star Wars video game

my ungrateful grankids been screamin' about ?

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Like I said, I'm not familar with Chomsky as a linguist,

just as one of my favourite subversives.  I've seen some

videos of him just sitting around talking to students,

incredible ideas dripping from his tongue.  So I just

assumed his "real" work was credible, too.  I know you,

Chig, you've got be in agreement with some of his radical

political stances.

And since I am a mere "sand flea" and unfamilar with the

moderation style of this board, I shall now post something

"on-topic":

I did not actually read the novel Paul of Dune,

however, I did read the Topps Trading Cards that were

passed out at the signings (along with the GummiWorms of

Dune), which I've been told is the same thing.

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What;s he big thing with Noam Chomsky's linguistics? (any URL maybe?)

He (Noam) big thing be he mouth. Or he ego. Probably he ego. ;)

Let's see...what's wrong with Chomsky's linguistics....

It's not <b>science</b>.

It cherry-picks its data.

It undergoes a major change in structure every ten years or so...or whenever Holy Noam has a particularly revelatory vowel movement. ("Aah...oh...aaaaah! ... Carol? Carol! We're out of paper in here again!")

You can do it all by yourself, sitting nekkid in a chair in front of your computer or TV.

(Chomskians don't even have a theory that they're working on anymore. They have a <b>program</b> aimed at someday creating a theory. Personally, I feel this is The Great Scheisster's greatest piece of sh...um, work to date, because it protects all of the Chomskians' diddling around (with themselves) from criticisms on theoretical (and theory-building) grounds.)

I'm sure I can come up with some more later.

One of my favorite of Ole Noam's recent gambits is his citing of some whacked out French or Polish historian of ideas (name starts with a 'K') who claims that Galileo never actually did any physical experiments, he only did thought experiments. Since there's nothing Noam seems to hate more than actual data and its collection (unless maybe it's being a Jew), he has jumped right on it and now calls his flavor of armchair research "Galilean style" science.

I call it lazy old has-been fook what needs putting out to pasture.

(And, no, 'Rider, I have even less interest in his political ideas. He's a hypocritical, fact-twisting bastard who has slagged off the United States [not that it hasn't deserved a lot of it] for years, all the while sucking off the teat of government-funded grants. F*ck 'im. I long to dance and piss on his grave.)

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Worse syntactic theories than Chomsky's generative grammar? ... What exactly did you have in mind? ;)

No particular favorites at the moment, actually. I've had my share of dalliances over the years ... the old generative stuff, Montague Grammar, HPSG, Functional Grammar, etc. I was head over heels for Lexicase for the longest time, and most recently I enjoyed a brief infatuation with Jackendoff and Culicover's "Simpler Syntax", but alas, it was not meant to be.... (Haven't looked at much cognitive stuff, unfortunately. ;) )

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Worse syntactic theories than Chomsky's generative grammar? ... What exactly did you have in mind? ;)

Well, take, for example, Natalia Shvedova's "structural schemas" of (Russian) sentences, which are supposed to reflect the "structural minimum" of any sentence. For example,

N1Vf

is a structural schema for the fairly common noun-verb sentences. The tricky part is, that if Vf is a transitive verb, the direct object is, for a reason that totally eludes me, not included in the "structural minimum", making it grammatically incomplete. To remedy this, the notion of an "enhanced structural schema" was later introduced. The enhanced schema includes all components that need to be added to the minimal structural schema to transform it into a grammatically correct sentence. There are no formally described procedures of doing this though, so you gotta rely on your knowledge of the Russian language alone to construct anything grammatically correct from those schemas altogether.

For example, the minimal structural schema above will fit the following sentences (or, more strictly, their Russian equivalents, since this theory is not supposed to work for anything else than Russian):

(1) Peter walks.

(2a) Peter is reading.

(2b) Peter is reading a book.

(3a) Peter loves Lois.

(3b) Peter hates to stay up late.

There are about a dozen more of those structural schemas that supposedly cover all imaginable types of Russian sentences.

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Never heard of her. (No doubt significant in itself. ;) )

I'm not sure I see the point of a theory of syntax that handles only one language.

Ah well.

(Do you know if Chomsky speaks or reads anything besides English. ;) )

How do you say the last one in colloquial Russian? Google Translate gives

(3b) Питер ненавидит оставаться деятельность покойного.

Is that close?

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I'm not sure I see the point of a theory of syntax that handles only one language.

Me neither. But it's what they teach at the Moscow State University. I've been lucky enough to skim the exam when I was a 3rd grade student (the lecturer gave me a "B" "automatically"), but had to remember the horrors recently when the qualifying examination for the candidate degree was upon me.

How do you say the last one in colloquial Russian? Google Translate gives

(3b) Питер ненавидит оставаться деятельность покойного.

Is that close?

Nope. A literal translation back to English would be something like

*Peter hates to remain the activity of the deceased.

This Russian "translation" is also grammatically incorrect because оставаться is a reflexive verb, hence no direct object should be present.

I think "Питер [we'd use Петя in Russian] терпеть не может [or "очень не любит" - "ненавидит" would probably be inappropriately strong in this context] засиживаться допоздна." or "Петя терпеть не может поздно ложиться. (lit. "Peter hates to go to bed late")" would be fine.

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