Friday, May 29, 2009

Despite the Unbecoming Attitude, Our Heroine Could Not Do Better

Y'all, have you ever found yourself sucked into a story, even though there are things about it that are unbelievably annoying? Like, you are reading this story, and you are shaking your head and grumbling, "sweetfancymoses" but you have to know how it ends (even though you can already basically guess how it ends). Y'all, that is Dune to me right now.

I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO PAUL ATREIDES!!!! (even though I am 100% certain I know what's going to happen to Paul Atreides)

I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO ARRAKIS!!!! (even though I am 100% certain I know what's going to happen to Arrakis)

But while I am staying up, into the wee hours, trying to get to the end so I can just find out what happens to *&%$# Paul Atreides and %@!*^ Arrakis, I am so annoyed at how coy Frank Herbert is being with me about certain things, particularly the Bene Gesserit and the Mentats. DEAR SIR, PLEASE JUST TELL ME STRAIGHT OUT WHAT THESE THINGS ARE ALREADY. STOP TEASING ME WITH HALF-HINTS. (I only yell because I love).

Ugh! I finally had to go look them up on Wikipedia, because I knew Dune nerds would have already written serious treatments of these subjects, and I was not disappointed. But here is a tip for authors everywhere: I should not need Wikipedia in order to understand your stupid (and simultaneously awesome) book.

Also, I want to write something more in-depth about this eventually, but I always have issues with books in which a complex imaginary political situation is described, and then the hero or villain explains how he is going to exploit the situation thusly: "If I do X, then because of this complicated treaty + complicated history + psychology , I will get Y outcome." And then he does get Y outcome. Because invariably, when that happens, I always think that based on what he's explained so far about the compicated treaty and the complicated history, psychology dictates a totally different outcome, or several possible outcomes. In that I basically think I would not behave the way the villain or hero KNOWS people will behave in those same circumstances. But then, when the other characters DO behave exactly the way the hero or villain predicted they would behave, I get annoyed because it makes it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief if I am ACTUALLY WATCHING YOU manipulate the scene.

Heavens! Aren't I just a grouchy Heroine this morning? Really, the book is totally entertaining, and I am obviously obsessing over it, which I wouldn't unless it was special, so I think it's time for me to pipe-down and have some tea.