Hunters of Dune Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Book one in the classic conclusion to Frank Herbert's worldwide best-selling Dune Chronicles
Hunters of Dune and the concluding volume, Sandworms of Dune, bring together the great story lines and beloved characters in Frank Herbert's classic Dune universe, ranging from the time of the Butlerian Jihad to the original Dune series and beyond. Based directly on Frank Herbert's final outline, which lay hidden in a safe-deposit box for a decade, these two volumes will finally answer the urgent questions Dune fans have been debating for two decades.
At the end of Chapterhouse: Dune - Frank Herbert's final novel - a ship carrying the ghola of Duncan Idaho, Sheeana (a young woman who can control sandworms), and a crew of various refugees escapes into the uncharted galaxy, fleeing from the monstrous Honored Matres, dark counterparts to the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. The nearly invincible Honored Matres have swarmed into the known universe, driven from their home by a terrifying, mysterious Enemy.
As designed by the creative genius of Frank Herbert, the primary story of Hunters and Sandworms is the exotic odyssey of Duncan's no-ship as it is forced to elude the diabolical traps set by the ferocious, unknown Enemy. To strengthen their forces, the fugitives have used genetic technology from Scytale, the last Tleilaxu Master, to revive key figures from Dune's past - including Paul Muad'Dib and his beloved Chani, Lady Jessica, Stilgar, Thufir Hawat, and even Dr. Wellington Yueh. Each of these characters will use their special talents to meet the challenges thrown at them.
Failure is unthinkable - not only is their survival at stake, but they hold the fate of the entire human race in their hands.
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|Listening Length||20 hours and 22 minutes|
|Author||Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 11, 2006|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #8,799 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#248 in Space Opera Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#336 in Adventure Science Fiction
#629 in Space Operas
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Anyhow. My "history", so to speak, with Brian Herbert, is as long and storied as any other long-time Dune fan's. He is a creeping shadow; the slayer of the Dune Encyclopedia; the seizer of rights; the "finder of the notes"; the retcon rascal... There is plenty to criticize here—or at the very least raise your eyebrows at—but I suppose this isn't the place to do so; at least when it comes to the things that exist outside the text. At the end of the day, it's Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson who steer this ship now. And because the idea of more Dune has always had an undeniable appeal to me—and even more so because I have a slew of friends who have recently, lovingly, joined me in the fandom of this universe—I felt that it was finally time that I give Brian a chance. I made the attempt with as open a mind as I could bear, and I believe I was largely successful.
Now, there are some slightly spoilerish things that I want to say about Hunters of Dune, and those things consist largely of my main complaint about how this book ends, and the direction in which Brian and Kevin have taken the saga, so I think I'll leave that for the end. As for the rest of it...
The writing is, unfortunately, amateurish. It is a shadow of the mind-expanding prose that Frank wielded as a matter of course, and to any fan of the saga I think it's intensely noticeable. Brian holds the reader's hand; Frank never did. Brian talks down to the reader; Frank never did. It lacks the cerebral playgrounds that Frank seemed to access so easily. It lacks the introspection. There are near-constant issues when it comes to the "show don't tell" rule, and the book itself is very bloated. You can tell they split it into two books but didn't really have two books worth of material. The character work is poor. The dialogue is weak. Even previously-established strong characters feel flat here. Dune always felt vast, an enormous universe full of nuance and history. Brian somehow manages to make it feel small. And lastly, something that irked me specifically, there are certain things that don't need to be revealed. There is value to the unknown in a large series like this, which Frank understood. Brian seems to think that every hole must be filled; every question answered.
This does all feel a bit harsh, you know. Is it fair to compare Brian's work to Frank's? Probably not. Can I do otherwise? No! This is Dune! This is what he signed up for.
All of this aside... And it's a lot to put aside... But all of this aside, I cannot deny that it felt very exciting to continue the story of Dune. To jump back in after the events in Chapterhouse and continue this strange tale. So Brian can't measure up to his father, fine. Acceptance of that fact led to a relatively enjoyable reading experience. I mean, I finished the thing, and I'm going to read the next one. So there you go. And there's no denying that the return of legendary figures of Dune is, simply put, awesome. It's certainly something that Frank was, if not leading toward, at least hinting at in his last two books. Does it feel like fan service? Yes. Will I ever know if this is truly what Frank planned? No. And seeing as how that's an enormous can of worms in and of itself, I decided to just take it as it comes.
Now, for my comments that I referenced above... I'm just not sure how I feel about an AI robot being the big-bad of the Dune Saga. Perhaps that was Frank's intention and Brian just takes the blame for it, but to me Dune has always stood out as being away from and beyond those kinds of science-fiction stories. Dune has always been a very human story. Superhuman at times, sure, but even then, at its heart, a very human story. It focused on the way that people falter, and on the way that the systems they create collapse. It showed the dangers of human capability; the horrors we are capable of, or the horrors we are incapable of avoiding. So this idea that the ultimate problem of Dune is a robot just doesn't really jive with me, and I don't think my feelings on this would be any different were it Frank, rather than Brian, behind the pen... Reverend Mother Mohiam says in the very beginning of Dune: "Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them." Other men. Humans were still the root problem. The base of the pillar, to me, was always the faults of humanity. That was what the Dune Saga set out to examine. And so unfortunately I have an inherent problem with the direction this story has gone, as it feels like they've lost sight of what made Dune Dune all along.
it's just that... this isn't really a Dune book. it's a book that has the terminology, has the charactes and settings, but somehow is a completely other product. if you're a fan of Heinlein and read his seminal work Starship Troopers, you can completely understand the sentiment. Starship troopers the movie had all the names right, even had some of the events right, but by and large it just took the elements of that book and just scrambled it into it's own concoction. But at least that entertained me.
and it's not that I didn't go in realizing that it wouldn't be up to FH's standards. I knew from the start that BH and KJA didn't have the chops or the style that characterizes the original Dune novels. I had a friend who loved Dune to death (due to a MUD if any of you older nerds are out there), but could not actually finish the book because the literary style was too much for him to handle (not saying he's a dumb guy, but Dune is definitely a contemplative subtle fare, as opposed to quick and spunky read). but when house atreides came out, he loved it, a lot. and that to me was one indication that the new novels just were not on the same level... that and creating prequels or intermediate books/films is a creative effort that is only slightly above just doing a remake. the story elements and framework are there, you just have to fill in the blanks to agree with canon events in the storyline. and it's not like I didn't read the dozens of bad reviews on hunters and sandworms. taking with a grain of salt the fact that some people will be somewhat fanatical about the original work, I was still prepared for a book that would very likely be far below my hopes and standards. but hey, it's dune 7, something I've dreamed of that would never happen. it's been a couple years since the publication, and my curiousity just happened to crest aftet my latest re-reading of books 1-6, so I figure, swallow your pride and expectations and buy the book, find out what happens.
now I don't care what happens. the reviews have given me enough about the ending to not care at all. and I don't want to have the words of this book in my brain filed under the heading dune. I'd rather live with my imaginings and speculation of what happened after that no-ship left chapterhouse then this heretical "canon" set by hunters and sandworms. so I'm just going to stop reading.
in all fairness, who could really create a dune novel that is on par with the old master? possibly no one. but at least one can try. in their forward the authors pretty much say, we can't do it, so we're not gonna do it. well if it's not worth doing right, it's just not worth doing. if you don't have the tools or the skills to do something right, why bother? and this isn't a matter of a piece of fan fic or video you create at home for yourself. there is an entire community of people who in some way own a piece of this mystique. Sure the Herbert family owns the rights to Dune, but like any book, the author gives a part of that world to his readership. and for a world like Dune that is no mean or small thing. so why sully this part of so many people's lives? why paint a picasso-esque painting if you can barely draw a stick figure? why attempt a re-arrangement of handel's messiah with a tone deaf choir and an orchestra of kazoos?
honestly this thing reads like a 4th grade paper, but instead of "what I did last summer" it's "here's what happens in Dune". there's no subtlety to this thing, whole chapters feel like just a listing of events. so this happened, then this happened, which caused this, then this and then the chapter ends. switch scene and character, repeat ad nauseum. the style is so heavy handed, even in the first hundred pages I have no idea how many times the word "whores" was used. every third page? every other page? and really there were two very easy ways to make this entire effort a decent piece of work. one is to use writers who have proven that they have the ability to handle the material and style. I think of the second Foundation trilogy, authorized to be written by the Asimov estate to Greg Bear, Gregory Benford and David Brin. each of these authors a master of science fiction in their own right. when you read these books you know that they are not Isaac's work, but you are reading something where you know the author has a respect and familiarity with the material, as well as a writing ability to give it the substance and style it deserves. the second method is to have good editors, not just the ones at the publisher checking for spelling and punctuation, but people who know and love the story. Countless author's turn to family and friends who have read their works over the years, knowing that when you create an entire universe, sometimes you forget things. Or take a note from Orson Scott Card, who in many books talks about and thanks the commmunity at his hatrack river website that have helped him keep the new Ender and Alvin books inline with the old. and sure there are still the occasional continuity errors, but they are neither frequent nor glaring. I don't doubt that if the Herbert estate tried to find a forum of Dune adherents to help proofread Dune 7, it could find thousands, tens of thousands of eager volunteers. I know I'd have jumped at the opportunity
but this thing makes no attempt to carry on a greater work. even though it may not be possible to match the groundbreaking original novels, that is no excuse to not try. I find the authors excuse that they had to write 6 books to bring people back into Dune peurile. I never left Dune! there is a following, you don't need to recreate it. George Lucas could have released star wars episode 1 with no trailers or advertising and you can bet that the fans would have flocked to see it. and then there's the line about how the later novels did not sell because they were too complicated. well that depth and density is a large part of why people love those novels and go back to read them again and again. some things are not meant for everyone because not everyone has the mindset or interests to truly appreciate them. by BH and KJA's logic the best pieces of writing belong to primetime television as the audience for any hit network tv show far surpasses the following for any given book. not everyone likes opera, either because they don't understand it or it's just not something that appeals to their psyche. that doesn't mean that you stop staging or writing operas, that means you keep on doing opera, sure you can put a new spin or innovation on it, but respecting and honoring the history and tradition of it. leave the pop music to someone else but keep don giovanni off the american idol albums! the supposed rationalizations of these two pretenders to the throne only further strengthens my suspicions that the money and not the legacy is their primary objective. after all they've done it, they've written the conclusion. but hey, we still got some in between books for you, c'mon paul of dune. you guys could have picked a more mysterious era, the gap between dune/dune messiah was not that great in time and the outline for the fremen jihad already exists. why not pick the period starting from leto's living still-suit through his slow evolution into the pre-worm?
I'm sorry but I have to go into my issues with the way the characters are used, even though I've only ready 100 pages. and I apologize as I know several of these points have been brought up before, but I have to vent my spleen
1) what is up with this oracle of time nonsense? in a hundred pages it's mentioned twice and I get that it's something silly they made up for the prequels. but it's not mentioned in any Dune book, and the original series firmly states that the navigators use their limited prescience to avoid the perils of folded space. there's nothing about this all encompassing entity that looks out for guild navigators making sure they don't drive into potholes. way to tie into your silly prequels, I think it's safe to say that the oracle of time didn't exist in FH's outline
2) how does no one know about teg's super speed? there were rumours all over gammu about it after he ran roughshod across ysai and he clearly demonstrates in front of a whole panel of BG observers(and talks to Duncan about it!) in chapterhouse. yet somehow everyone is ignorant and Duncan didn't remember that conversation.
3) they refer to the face dancer couple (I don't care what they write, they are a face dancer couple in my head now and forever) twice in the first 100 pages. for a subtle unknown power that has hidden itself for time unknown, they make themselves pretty blatantly obvious, as evidence in the conversation between the face dancers and the lost tleilaxu master
4) the bene gesserit are an organization concerned with the progress of human race, would rather function as the power behind the throne than sit on it, sees themselves as teachers of societies, use subtlety as a way of life, and have saying upon saying that nothing must be held as an absolute, even the sayings themselves. somehow they become this polarized power hungry organization that is about as subtle as a man whacking an electrical panel with a sledgehammer. and yeah I get that merging with the honored matres changes some things, but the whole idea was to be so subtle that the matres didn't realize that in victory they had lost.
5) the idea of torturing reverend mothers in the no ship was stupid. it's stated in heretics and chapterhouse that the BG bodily control allows them to pretty much die at will.
6) dunno what this mysterious origins of the matres is going to be but it looks like something about tleilaxu women. it says flat out in chapterhouse that the matres had their origins in fish speakers allied with bene gesserits in extremis. but this book treats it like a big unknown, but murbella has other memory... and she's from an established matre world, so the chances that she had just one honored matre ancestor is pretty good, in case you are wondering just try taking the number 2 to the power of say a couple dozen generations and see how likely it seems. and with other memory, it only takes one
7) in that same vein, why would sheeana have to state that she has had ancestors that studied kaballah... um she had ancestors that were just flat out jewish since it's established that she's of fremen descent and there are numerous inferences in the original books that the jews were one of the precursors of the fremen.
8) why do they treat rebeccah's sharing with lucilla as a changing moment? sure it changed her and pushed the bene gesserit mindset strongly into her mental framework, but she had already experienced the spice agony prior to that and had other memories. you'd think that the idea of being more than herself started with the surviving the original agony. but they make it sound like she was meek and obedient until the horde of lampadas came along, I'm pretty sure that when you have other memories of history and ritual that the rabbi only learned the old fashion way, that you already know that your old mentor is not infallible
9) when did everyone become prescient? Duncan Idaho is now prescient and so is Sheeana... that ability isn't necessarily present in every Atreides, not to mention that genetically Idaho isn't all that Atreides (though chapterhouse implies that he has some gene markers of Siona, those cheeky tleilaxu). but nowhere in either heretics or chapterhouse does either indivdiual show any inkling of prescience. Sheeana has worm super powers and Duncan has mentat super powers plus altered vision based on combining mentat stuff with the merging of his serial lives.
10) since when was folding into another dimension a risk? nothing was ever mentioned of ships punching into another dimension. ah well, it's a great excuse to introduce that bastard child the oracle of time back into the mix
11) in the meeting with the guild representatives there is a reference about how there used to be multiple sources of melange. um there were two, rakis and the tleilaxu. maybe the authors should look up the definition of the word multiple
12) in the same confrontation they describe the rep's braid as resembling an electrical cord... stunning visual metaphor guys, truly. why not a hirsute snake? or overgrown follicular parasite? something with a little more punch than... it looks like a cable. better to have not mentioned it than to use such a weak reference
I shudder to think of how long this rant would have continued if I had actually finished the book, especially if the ghola bit is as horrific as so many people say. the only thing new Dune thing I want to read is the outline, so do the community a favor Brian and give it to the public
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If I was feeling charitable, I'd say that Brian Herbert has completely misunderstood his fathers work- I have to assume that he's actually read it. Unfortunately , as there are several prequels and side stories of equal incompetence , I'm forced to cynicism and the conclusion that a royalty cheque is the motivation.
Terrible prose, inept ideas, ludicrous plot holes. Keep your money. Hell, burn your money. It's better than encouraging more of this garbage .
I underwent a bit of soul searching before I read this book, the first of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson's two sequels to the original Dune Chronicles.
"Chapterhouse: Dune", the last of Frank Herbert's own 6 Dune novels does answer a lot of questions, but it was fairly clearly not meant to be the end to the series. Frank Herbert leaves several loose ends. At the end of the novel the latest Duncan Idaho, Miles Teg who is one of the finest new characters in the later novels, Sheeana and a host of BG dissidents take a giant no-ship from Chapterhouse and steal away into uncharted space. Amongst the ship's passengers is the last surviving Tleilaxu master, a ghola of Scytale from "Messiah". Unbeknownst to the crew, he has within his skin a nullentropy capsule containing cells from Muad D'ib, Kessica, Chani, Stilgar, Hawat, Leto II and other characters from the original novel. Throughout the book there have been constant hints about a great enemy that drove the Honoured Matres into the old empire, who are doubtless closing in upon it themselves. The ending of the book also introduces us to Daniel and Marty, two enigmatic figures, in the shape of an old man and woman who bear resemblance to Face Dancers from the Scattering. They possess knowledge and power beyond that of other characters, and they seek to capture the no ship bearing Duncan Idaho and the others.
Frank Herbert died before writing what he had started to refer to as Dune 7. This is where his son Brian Herbert, and writing partner Kevin J. Anderson come in. Over a period of years beginning in 1999 they wrote a trilogy of novels based on events leading up to the events covered in the first book, collectively titled Prelude to Dune, and another entitled Legends of Dune in 2002. I can't comment on these prequels, never having read them. Then in the early Noughties they announced that while searching Frank Herbert's papers they had found his notes for Dune 7, some thirty pages of them, and that they were going to write the novel themselves. This actually became two novels, and this is where we finally get to "Hunters of Dune", the first of them.
Over the last couple of months I've read all 6 original books again consecutively. Before even ordering myself a copy of "Hunters" I read a large number of reviews of this, and the final novel "Sandworms of Dune" , and the vast majority have been extremely negative. Now, the best, in fact only valid reason for writing a bad review of a novel is that you genuinely didn't like the book and didn't think it was well written. However this is a sequel to one of the best loved series of novels ever written in the genre, and when people have the extreme devotion to a set of books that many of the fans have to the chronicles of Dune, then they don't always think rationally or consider the new work on its own merits in a fair and reasonable fashion. With this in mind I promised myself that if I was going to read "Hunters" I was going to judge it fairly, and try to judge it by a few simple criteria, namely : -
Did it pick up the loose ends from "Chapterhouse" in a way that seems at all consistent with what has gone before?
Did it develop in ways that seem plausible with the overall direction of the previous novels?
Was the prose style readable or not?
Did it make me want to read "Sandworms" or not?
Now that I've read "Hunters" I have to say that in all honesty I think that a lot of the criticism of the book in the reviews that I've read is unfair, and some of it, grossly unfair. I've read a lot of criticism of the creation of the gholas of Paul, Chani , Thufir, Leto et al upon the no-ship Ithaca. Personally I thought that this was an interesting plot device, and it's difficult to argue that if Frank Herbert had not at least been thinking about the possibility of this, then he wouldn't have introduced Scytale's nullentropy capsule full of cells in "Chapterhouse". Likewise, if Scytale had such a capsule, then it's not unreasonable to suggest that other capsules might have been made by the Tleilaxu, and one of these falling into Honored Matre hands on Tleilax is perfectly plausible.
The majority of reviewers I've read were disappointed at the revelation of the true identities of Daniel and Marty, the great Enemy. They turn out to be Omnium and Erasmus, thinking machines exiled to the edges of the Universe following the Butlerian Jihad. Now, in a way I can understand the disappointment. If there's one thing that the Dune novels aren't really about, it's technology, which when you come to think about it is quite unusual for Science Fiction. But reading Heretics and especially Chapterhouse I can't say that this wasn't what Frank Herbert was hinting. It does make some kind of sense that the greatest threat to the organic universe comes from the inorganic. The Butlerian Jihad has been there in the background since the first great novel that started it all. So while it wasn't what I expected - I don't know what I expected - I can't say that it wasn't right. Yes, the machines Omnium and Erasmus were created in the authors' own prequel novels, but so what? Maybe it wasn't what Frank Herbert intended, but then unfortunately he isn't around any more to tell us exactly what he did intend. Which incidentally leads us to an interesting digression.
Conspiracy theorists point to the lapse in time between Frank Herbert's death, and the discovery of his Dune 7 notes. Shades of Leto II's hoard at Dar es Balat! All I can say about the theory is that if this was a fabrication designed to gain acceptance for "Hunters" and "Sandworms" , then it didn't work very well. But Kevin Anderson has gone on record to say that the original notes were shown to their publishers, and I'll be honest, you don't bring more people in on the secret if you're trying to preserve a lie, especially if it's a lie you didn't need to make in the first place. Besides, the question mark over the existence of the Dune 7 notes is, at best, an irrelevance. If the novel is plausible and enjoyable then it makes little difference whether it was based on notes by Frank Herbert or not. Likewise, if it's a turkey, then it's still a turkey whatever its origin.
So much for the loose ends from Chapterhouse. I can't agree with criticisms of Herbert Jr.'s and Anderson's prose as `turgid' either. Granted that their style is not as rich nor quite as compelling as Frank Herbert's, but neither does it demand quite as much of the reader. It's certainly more than adequate for the task in hand, and if it is, therefore, a slightly easier read than some of the original 5 sequels then that's not necessarily a drawback. If there are times when the novel seems to be taking a long time to get where it's going, it's not the fault of the prose style.
In saying that I think some of the criticism made of the novel is unfair, I'm not saying that there are not criticisms to be made. The structure of the book becomes rather predictable. It is organized in sections that take place three years after the escape from Chapterhouse, then the next five years, and so on. Within each section there's a bit on the ship, Ithaca, probably with Duncan and Miles combining just in time to get the ship to jump in space and escape Daniel's and Marty's tachyon net. Then there's a bit on Chapterhouse with Murbella organizing another raid against another renegade Honored Matres stronghold, or carrying it out. Then there's a bit with the renegade Honored Matres and their axolotl tank projects on Tleilax. Then another bit on the Ithaca, then back to Murbella, and so on and so forth. It leads one to come to the conclusion that a fair amount of the novel is padding. You could probably cut the book to two thirds of its current length, and it wouldn't be any the worse for it. But, and this is a crucial point to consider, you can say that about some of Frank Herbert's own sequels - "God Emperor" comes irresistibly to mind.
While I'm making my own criticisms I did find that the chapter heading quotations didn't ring true for me in this novel. Maybe Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson just don't have the level of philosophical understanding to deliver on this level. I can't say that this greatly reduced my enjoyment of the book, though.
Did "Hunters of Dune" make me want to read "Sandworms of Dune", then? Yes, it did, and it's already on order. I don't say that "Hunters" is necessarily quite as good as the two novels that it immediately follows, "Heretics" and Chapterhouse". It lacks a little in characterization compared with those, although I have to say that I found the captured Lost Tleilaxu Master Uxtal interesting, and the Harkonnen ghola was drawn with some verve and wit. However, and this is important, I don't see that it is hugely inferior in quality when compared with Herbert's last two Dune sequels. All of which begs the question - why has it earned such opprobrium from legions of the series' fans?
Well, this is just my opinion, and by all means feel free to disagree. When a novel, or a series of novels or films acquires this kind of cult following, then the fans come to feel a strange kind of ownership of the works in question. They cannot be rational and dispassionate about it. They feel that the legacy of the work is to be jealously guarded. The words `cult following' are appropriate, since they conjure up images of religion, and the way that I read a lot of the criticism of "Hunters" is that many of the reviewers seem to regard it as `sacrilege'. Not that many of them use that word to describe it. The original author is allowed - sometimes grudgingly - to take the work in directions that the acolyte reader would not have imagined, expected or wanted, but nobody else is. Thus we see Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson being treated as true heretics of Dune, since few acknowledge that a lot of the plot elements they dislike so much in "Hunters" are at least alluded to in "Heretics" and/or "Chapterhouse", and in fact in a number of cases it goes beyond mere allusion. I respectfully suggest that many of those who so actively disliked "Hunters" maybe didn't really like the two predecessors either, but to admit that, even to themselves, really would be sacrilege.
So we come to the crux. If you didn't like "Heretics of Dune" and "Chapterhouse: Dune" then do not read "Hunters of Dune" because you won't like it either. If you did enjoy these last two original sequels, then by all means read "Hunters of Dune", but do it as a reader, not a disciple. Try to forget the received wisdom that says,
a) each sequel in a series is inferior to the book that preceded it
b) any sequel by someone other than the original writer is vastly inferior to the work of the original writer,
and give it a fair trial. You never know, you might find that you rather enjoy it.
Are there far too many Deus ex Machina moments in the plot, for the rest of the writing to survive unscathed? Yes.
Finishing off the storyline, no matter how much original draft material they had discovered, was always going to be a thankless task. They tried. They really tried. I think they truly loved and respected the original books. But this is merely okay, nothing more.
But too much ammo was fired at the target. Some of it was due to the regurgitated characters from the original book, who mainly performed one significant plot function before becoming background noise again. Of the rest, there were protagonists and situations inspired, possibly, by Gregory Benford's 'Galactic Centre' books and/or the Matrix films (the disappointing sequels, mainly).
I'm actually glad someone had a crack at the job of finishing this long long saga, but the very existence of this particular Vol.7 & Vol.8 does make it unlikely that another (and quite possibly better) attempt will ever be written.