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Dune timeline question


carriepalmer
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I know some people don't consider the books by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson canon-and I'm not going to get into a debate here. . . My question is this, the official time line says Shaddam died before Leto and Ghanima were born, so why is he alive in the most recent Winds of Dune?  Or does the date in the wiki refer to his reign periods?

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According to the Dune Appendix IV, the canonicity of which you will probably not doubt, Shaddam IV died in 10,202, 9 years after Paul Muad'Dib seized power. Leto and Ghanima were born 12 years after the start of the Jihad, according to Dune Messiah. Go figure.

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Let's see, it's 12 years between <i>Dune</i> and <i>Messiah</i> and nine years between <i>Messiah</i> and <i>Children</i>.

Shaddam is mentioned in <i>Messiah</i>:

    "Very good, m'Lord." Stilgar produced another folder, cleared his throat. "The Qizarate's report on Salusa Secundus. Irulan's father has been putting his legions through landing maneuvers."

So there is no way that he could have died in 10,202.

The appendices at the end of Dune are all <b>in-universe texts</b>. That leaves them open to authorial bias, typographical error, historical distortion, etc. The dates in the excerpt from <i>The Almanak en-Ashraf</i> (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses) (Appendix IV) are particularly suspect when it comes to Shaddam and Count Fenring.

Shaddam is alive in Messiah, but definitely dead by the time of Children:

People who served well in the corps of Farad'n, grandson of the late Shaddam IV, earned rich promotions.

So far there is no inconsistency in the <b>official fanfic</b>, at least AS FAR AS THE TIMELINE IS CONCERNED. Remember that <i>Winds of Dune</i> only covers a little over two months of the nine-year intra-Messiah-Children period. Since there is no mention of Shaddam dying within <i>Messiah</i>, we must assume that he dies sometime during these nine years.

(No doubt he will die, be killed, or executed in <i>Throne of Dune</i> during or after his attempt to retake the imperial throne using his ghola army. There are no canon references to any such attempt or any such army. There are your real inconsistencies, but of course you're probably not interested in discussing those, either.  ::) )

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The appendices at the end of Dune are all <b>in-universe texts</b>. That leaves them open to authorial bias, typographical error, historical distortion, etc. The dates in the excerpt from <i>The Almanak en-Ashraf</i> (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses) (Appendix IV) are particularly suspect when it comes to Shaddam and Count Fenring.

Hmm, I didn't think of that.

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  • 1 month later...

The new stuff put out is the next best thing, but not written by Frank himself, so it's all we get.

I can hardly agree with this point of view. How come KJA's writing can be the "next best thing"? I bet some of the fanfic are a lot better. Besides, the "next best thing" niche is already occupied by the Dune Encyclopedia, isn't it? (I understand BH and KJA would rather prefer Encyclopedia never existed :P)

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I didn't mean it in the sense that the books are good, just that:

Anything written by frank herbert > dune encyclopedia and any scholarly articles > Brian Herbert books.

After Frank Herberts writings, there isn't much content before the new novels. So it is the next "best" thing.

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Actually I fail to understand this entire canonicity controversy. It's a fictional universe we're talking about, how can there be a "true story" if none of that happened anyway?

If the new books subsequently diverge from the originals, then why not just say "This is how FH envisioned the story, and this is BH/KJA's take on it"?

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It's not a question of "true story", but of authorship.

Dune canon is what was written and published by Frank Herbert. Nothing else.

KJA and Byron Merritt and presumably Brian Herbert try to make out like canon is this vague, nebulous concept that is really difficult to apply, but it isn't, really. It's actually very simple.

And they know it, which is why they try to obfuscate it. :)

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It's not a question of "true story", but of authorship.

Certainly, but they keep pressing this "Dune was an in-universe text, here's what really happened" matter. And if they continue doing it, they'll end up in more mess than before. For example, if "Dune" is a fictional universe within another fictional universe, then what are the House prequels really prequels to? If they describe "what really happened", then how can they be "prequels" to a book that deals with fictional events? Same with PoD, it says "A direct sequel to Dune" on the cover, how can a story describing "real" events be a sequel to fiction?

This simply won't work, unless they have the courage to completely diverge FH's books and their own stuff, as I suggested above.

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The authorship "Dune" materials and the "Dune" universe is a genetic trust, between 2 generations of family members.

Definitely, Expanded Dune should be considered part of the "Dune" universe, but is it...Canon?

Could there be such a term as "High Canon" to explain Frank Herbert's works?

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What's a "genetic trust"?

Yeah, that's awfully wonky to me too.

I have a story to tell, though.

There were once two men.  One was named Frank and the other Willis.  They were bestest buddies.  Frank was a famous writer who had written a famous book series and Willis had made an encycleopedea about the famous book series.  One day Frank and Willis got together and Frank said "You know what would be a neat idea?  How about we write the next book the series together!  It will be about The Butlerean Jihad, will only be one book, and we'll base it off your encyclopedea!"  Willis liked that idea a lot so they got down to it.  They finished outlining the story from the encyclopeadea and Willis drafted the frist two chapters.  He brought them to Frank for Frank to redo, but Frank was sick.  Very, very sick.  So sick, in fact, that he passed away.  Saddened, Willis gave the eulogy at his friends funeral and put his book away.

Years later Willis decided that he should finish the book, and who better to finish it with than Frank's own son?  So he sent the outline and drafter chapters to the son and asked the son to finish the book with him.  But the son had no interest in writing more books in his fathers series.

A short time later the son and another man said they had found a safe deposit box full of Franks notes about what books he was going to write next.  And they also found boxes and boxes of notes about these books in the attic.  And they had wrtten there own encyclopeadea based on these notes that they were not releasing.  Willis was a little surprised.  He hadn't known of any safety deposit box and he knew for a fact that the next book Frank was going to write was on The Butlerian Jihad, because he and Frank were writing it!  But he let it go.  Eventually the son did write a whole trilogy of books on the Butlerian jihad with the other author, but never contacted Willis about it and never used the outline that Willis had made with Frank (based on Willis' encyclopeadea) or the first two chapters that had been written.  These Butlerian Jihad books were nothing at all like the Encyclopedea or the novel Frank and Willis had started to write.  Willis himself then passed on, never having released the outline and first two chapters of the book he and Frank had started to write.  He talked about them, but he never released them, because no one ever offered him enough money to do so.  It's the same reason you can't find his encyclopedea anywhere.

I always thought that was an interesting story.  Makes one wonder about this whole "canon" and "in-universe text" issue.

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The authorship "Dune" materials and the "Dune" universe is a genetic trust, between 2 generations of family members.

Sorry, do you have some legal source or site you can cite on this concept? Like Flibble & Mahdi's Ghost, I've never heard of such a thing. Of course, IANAL. Are you? :)

Frank Herbert never announced to the world that he had entrusted his Dune series to Brian, did he? Did I miss that? We have only Brian's word. And frankly, I wouldn't trust him on anything at this point.

Definitely, Expanded Dune should be considered part of the "Dune" universe, but is it...Canon?

No, it's not canon. Even if it incorporates passages actually written by Frank Herbert, as House Harkonnen supposedly does.

Dune isn't Star Wars; there's no need for some ridiculous "Expanded" or "Extended Universe".

Could there be such a term as "High Canon" to explain Frank Herbert's works?

Unnecessary. Canon is canon and everything else is notes, drafts and sketches or fan fiction if by a different author.

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I have a story to tell.... I always thought that was an interesting story.  Makes one wonder about this whole "canon" and "in-universe text" issue.

It's a GREAT story. The only trouble is, again, that we have only McNelly's version of it. But all things considered, I would trust him more than I would BH. (Especially with BH in thrall to KJA.)

There's a problem, too, with describing what McNelly and his contributors created as "an encyclopedia of the Dune books", given that it was written as an in-universe text (a fiction in its own right) and incorporates material not included in the Dune books and not created by Frank Herbert. There's some question as to how much input McNelly et al. had from FH (they did receive an advance copy of GEoD and FH & WMcN were good friends)

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I've often wondered what happened to McNelly's Butlerian Jihad outline and sample chapters, if his widow still has them (is she even still alive?) or if any provision was made for publishing them at some point in the future, or if the HLP managed to destroy any chance of that.

I have the email address of his son if you want it.

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"Genetic Trust"

A belief that we must hold that the son cares deeply about the father's legacy, and that the ability to write and author on a particular subject is likely handed down from the elder to the younger.

Sandchigger, you know it's hard for me to take you seriously, with your quote from "Boston Legal". 

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