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Prequel Problems: Prelude to Dune

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#5
a whizzo scheme by Shaddam and the Tleilaxu to try to create a synthetic substitute for spice that will free them on dependence on control of Arrakis, then destroy other Houses’ stockpiles of spice. We know in advance this isn’t going to work so it feels a little bit time-wasting.
This does seem a big flaw, though to be fair should this be bigger than knowing this in advance for any story set in the past? I know the Germans won't win in every WW1 or WW2 story, after all. Is the problem that because these are entirely fictional 'histories', it doesn't read the same?
 

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
Patreon supporter
Pronouns
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#6
The one that annoyed me was that the third prelude ends with a vast confrontation between Leto and Shaddam in a way that clearly mirrors the standoff between Paul and the Emperor at the end of Dune.

It absolutely shifts Leto from 'major figure in the Landsraad, potential threat' to 'guy who made the throne of House Corrino tremble in front of the assembled galaxy.' That's really something someone would have brought up!
 

Thande

The Great and Powerful Wizard, Opnohop Moy
Published by SLP
#7
This does seem a big flaw, though to be fair should this be bigger than knowing this in advance for any story set in the past? I know the Germans won't win in every WW1 or WW2 story, after all. Is the problem that because these are entirely fictional 'histories', it doesn't read the same?
That's a reasonable point. It's a broader issue with prequel backstories where anything completely new the author introduces has to be self-contained. I suppose one could say it's not a foregone conclusion that the Amal project fails on its own, there could be tension that it would have succeeded (and changed history) without outside sabotage and intervention.

The one that annoyed me was that the third prelude ends with a vast confrontation between Leto and Shaddam in a way that clearly mirrors the standoff between Paul and the Emperor at the end of Dune.

It absolutely shifts Leto from 'major figure in the Landsraad, potential threat' to 'guy who made the throne of House Corrino tremble in front of the assembled galaxy.' That's really something someone would have brought up!
It feels clumsy in its cinematic-ness but in broad strokes I think it makes sense to explain why Shaddam was willing to put Sardaukar in Harkonnen uniforms to knock off the Atreides in the original novel, there must have been something that persuaded him to upset the usual balance of power and regard the Atreides as an existential threat (and that Leto has a hint of this at the start of the book, knowing Arrakis is a trap). The bigger problem to my mind is how there's necessarily such a time gap between that (and anything else at the end of the prequels) and the start of the original novel with Paul as a teenager.