Which is best, Foundation series or Dune series? Page 2

  • Deleted user 10 February 2008 23:14:28
    lucky_jim wrote:
    I used to love Asimov's books when I was younger (in my early-to-mid teens), and the Foundation series was a favourite. Never read Dune (although Dune II on the Amiga is one of my top 5 games), my sci-fi tastes nowadays are a bit different nowadays, I prefer writers like Philip K Dick and Kurt Vonnegut. Is it still worth me reading Dune? I have a vague feeling it wouldn't grab me.

    I randomly picked up Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination a few months back despite knowing next-to-nothing about it. One of the nicest surprises I've had, at least as far as books go!

    If you're willing to suspend disbelief then Dune is very good. It takes itself extremely seriously though so if you can't get over the impression that giant worms schlepping around the desert piloted by stoned royal princes is a bit, silly, you might not enjoy them much.

    I loved Foundation when I was a teen but tried to read one again recently and found it a very flimsy read. The characterisation is wafer thin and Asimovs plot twists were arbitrary to the point of fantasy.
  • BanjoMan 11 Feb 2008 16:15:40 13,692 posts
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    I like both, but I've only read the first books in each.

    I've just started the Thrawn trilogy of Star Wars books, they're pretty good. Apparently they're considered the 'official' third SW trilogy by uber-geek fanbois.

    Which is nice.
  • Adam_Bruce 23 Mar 2010 07:00:34 1 posts
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    I just saw this in passing and had to put in my two-cents. First of all, I am studying to be a physicist right now, and have been a sci-fi junkie for years. Foundation and Dune are both fabulous books; if you haven't read either the first of the Dune books, or the original trilogy of the foundation books, DO IT NOW!!! Trust me, if you like sci-fi, you're in for a blast! I wish some of the people on here would give them both a little more thought however:

    Oh plus no international Muslim terrorist organisation has named themselves after Dune yet.

    I regret to inform the author of that comment that Issac Asimov was an atheist by faith, Jewish by race, and American by nationality -not exactly the kind of person Al-Qaeda is looking to model themselves after. Also, organization is usually spelled with a "z."

    That being said, the Foundation series is the superior work for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious of these is that Asimov maintained the quality throughout the series, while it is a general consensus that Dune was the representative work of its series -to say it in a nice way. But this is trivial, Harry Potter was a fairly good series (for kids' stuff anyhow), but this does not mean that it's better than Cervantes' legendary Don Quixote, and to say so would just be foolish. It has been advocated here that foundation is merely a technological speculative work. This is terribly inaccurate. Although technology is more prominent in Foundation than in Dune (probably because Asimov was himself a scientist, while Herbert wasn't), it is not the whole, or even a large part of the story. The story itself is a dramatized version of the history of an entire civilization, its interaction with a galaxy consisting of millions of inhabited planets, and the ultimate struggle to built a Utopian society. It is like a novelization of Gibbons' Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, but of the fall of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the Foundation instead.

    The characters of Foundation, while they appear more briefly relative to those of Dune, are still compelling and personal. I read a comment that cited some of the characters of Dune, The Baron, Duncan Idaho etc (one should also mention Paul-Maud'Dib and Lady Jessica, the two protagonists). In Foundation, one encounters Hari Seldon, Hober Mallow, Salvor Hardin, The Mule, Bayta and Toran Darell, their daughter Arcady Darell. They are the equals in complexity and profundity of those in Dune without a doubt. In this respect Asimov is like Chekhov, who, in his short stories, could weave a complex plot with profound and compelling characters, all in under 20 pages. It is an art to do so, and in a literary work should be cited as a remarkable feature, rather than downplayed. Yet, even though the character development in foundation is of a similar mastery to that of Chekhov, the long term span and vast political scope of the story is staggering as well. The only work of literature which I can readily relate it to in this respect is War and Peace, which is the greatest novel ever. I will say that the incorporation of economic politics into the plot of Dune is not matched directly in Foundation. Although this too could be argued by even more adamant fans of Asimov than I, for there is an economic side to the growing power of the foundation throughout the series, which is exemplified in the final part of the first book, but it's nowhere near as vivid and comprehensive as in Dune with the spice melange.

    One also should mention that the three best known series by Asimov, the Robot series, the Empire series, and the Foundation series, while complete within themselves, form a much larger, truly epic story, or rather pseudohistory, comprising of a period of millennia. This is a feat which has never been duplicated in science fiction, or even all of western literature for that matter. It certainly deserves some consideration, since Foundation can either be seen to be self-contained, or just the final part of what could be called "Asimov's Galactic cycle."

    Once again, Dune is still a great book, and I am in no way making any claim against it. We must understand that in comparing Foundation to Dune, we measure the size of titans. I would say Foundation is the single greatest and most representative work of science fiction, but without a doubt Dune would be the second in line.
  • Deleted user 23 March 2010 07:13:45
    Yep, foundation for me too. Dune was a good book, but the rest of the series were claptrap.
  • otto Moderator 23 Mar 2010 07:30:54 49,322 posts
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    I reread the entire Foundation series recently for the first time since my teens and I wrote a long post about the experience, I wish I could find it.

    In short, my opinion of them fell sharply. The first trilogy has merit, but only the first book stands the test of time, and even that was not as good as I remember it being. Nice ideas, but not a very good read. The later books are shocking: a daft cocktail of mysticism and mumbo-jumbo which lose the plot entirely. Terrible characters, a total lack of internal consistency; Asimov himself practically admits in his foreword that he had no interest in the series and didn't know where to take it but was persuaded by his publishers to milk it for a bit more cash.

    Dune as a novel is a much, much better book. It's an absolute classic and I'll happily reread it as many times as I can. The series though also suffers from a sharp fall-off, like Foundation; in fact they're a huge waste of space and spoil the good impressions you take away from the first in the series.

    So in short, Dune & Foundation: two novels worth reading, but Dune's by far the better of the two. Both series though suck the cock of goats.
  • mo.mentum 16 Jun 2010 06:13:56 1 posts
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    Hmm i have to butt in..

    Foundation is too familiar because it's just a loose reinterpretation of actual historic events...the vision of the human future is too familiar again, the usual extension into the future of our current bland technological age. No consideration for subversive cults, prescience, and human evolution on a grand scale. forget saving knowledge. Dune is about Survival of the human race as a species.

    Yes Foundation is good, and spans a 500 year period. And struggles with ideas of Empire and downfall..

    However, the Dune chronicles as i like to call them, the first 6 books deal with events spanning several thousand years.. the whole point is to save mankind from stagnation, and push evolution further. Paul and Leto II saw the high reliance on spice, and their super specilization into Houses and guilds and all the various groups. Innovation and new technology wasn't being pushed. The genetic stock of the masses wasn't being stirred. Paul and Leto's were able to see all possible future paths, but they realized that all paths of doom and become extinct..except for the Golden Path...a single strand of all possible future without darkness, in which the human race doesn't go extinct. What people didn't realize is that Paul Atreides was trying to save humanity from being extinct but couldn't bring himself to make the necessary sacrifices and let go of his humanity..but Leto II did..and merged his body with the sand trouts in order to extend his life and control human affairs for 3500 years and more.

    The purpose of the Golden Path was to save humanity for ever, and ensure it's survival. The whole point of the God Emperor's oppression and restriction of spice is to 1) encourage the development of new techs by Ix, Tlelax and Gesserits. He also took over the breeding program of the Gesserits in order to breed a "nogene", making those who have it invisible to prescience..so that no matter what comes to hunt mankind in the far future, cannot find every human..even if they had prescience...his 3500 year long Golden Path was to teach mankind a lesson they will never forget..to never rely on a single oracle, a single authority..he intended to be the worst dictator/predator ever known to ingrain in mankind the urge to spread through the universe...hence the Great Scattering..

    A few centuries later.. humans starts rushing back into the Old Empire from the Great Scattering..destroying much on their path, are they running from something...but why...I can go on and on about the next couple of books and how the whole thing comes together and what the horribles possible futures Paul and Leto were trying to avoid..but seriously prescience showed them all future paths leading to mankind's extinction and doom at the hands of a far off and unknown ennemy.

    It doesn't get more classic than that.. new movie in 2012 should be fun!
  • Deleted user 16 June 2010 08:45:33
    I gave up on the Dune series by the end of God Emperor of Dune. Never felt the urge to return. Impressed I stuck it out that long :)
  • Drpwnage 16 Jun 2010 10:21:57 687 posts
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    Strangely, I just fetched the second two Foundation books off the shelf this morning as I have yet to read them, and I was also reminded that I haven't seen the original Dune sequence through books 5 & 6, even though I first read them 15 years ago.

    Nice summary from mo.mentum, as someone who enjoys big ideas in Sci-fi the revelation of the Golden Path and the series meta-narrative is why God Emperor remains my favourite of the Dune (so far!) sequence. God Emperor does drag, but it feels intentional with Leto reigning as a despot for 3,500 years and much of the novel written in first person.
  • Deleted user 25 November 2010 10:48:57
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  • amartyakundu 31 Jan 2012 10:01:38 1 posts
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    Foundation is superior by far!. The central idea is much grander and unique than anything in Dune. Also the Dune series seems to be following in Foundations footsteps. The robot stories of Asimov are even better.
  • Deleted user 31 January 2012 10:15:43
    amartyakundu wrote:
    Foundation is superior by far!. The central idea is much grander and unique than anything in Dune. Also the Dune series seems to be following in Foundations footsteps. The robot stories of Asimov are even better.

    You are Isaac Asimov*, I claim my 5...

    *Or an offspring who holds the current rights. Cant see any other reason to come to a Gaming site and register just so you could dig up a thread that is over a year old about books... ;)
  • Dizzy 31 Jan 2012 13:01:25 3,715 posts
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    Foundation series by a big margin IMHO.
  • disusedgenius 31 Jan 2012 13:02:35 10,668 posts
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    Dizzy wrote:
    Foundation series by a big margin IMHO.
    This. Dune is terrible imo, if it wasn't such a classic it'd make the list of 'books I wish I hadn't read'.
  • Gibroon 31 Jan 2012 15:25:59 2,549 posts
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    Foundation is quality.

    I don't really understand the idea it is a tech heavy series. If anything it is more about philosophy and about the boundaries of the human mind than about gadgets and big space battles, although they do exist in the series.
  • Deleted user 31 January 2012 15:28:32
    Regarding the thread, I'd also say Foundation. I was able to read it all the way through the series and enjoy it. After the first book, the Dune series got more and more... crap.
  • Deleted user 5 March 2012 10:58:58
    Thought this thread was worth a bump to promote the free distribution of the radio dramatization of the Foundation Trilogy - 8 1-hour BBC episodes from the early 70s
  • Fendless 24 Dec 2016 07:49:57 1 posts
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    The Foundation series has the cooler premise. While the main character of Dune has somewhat an interesting premise being a prophet, I do think Foundation has a cooler premise and more to offer in terms of ambition for science fiction.
  • THFourteen 24 Dec 2016 09:09:21 54,520 posts
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    Odd spam.

    As it's been bumped, I tried to read Asimov once utter load of boring waffle.
  • frightlever 24 Dec 2016 09:52:22 1,522 posts
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    I enjoy Asimov, possibly his Black Widowers stories more than the SF, but I found Foundation to have a very convenient plot. Dune, which I haven't re-read in the last 35 years, still sticks with me and feels fresh in my mind. The sequels ranged from okay to terrible. Actually, I wasn't much of a fan of Herbert's novels apart from Dune.
  • PazJohnMitch 24 Dec 2016 09:56:40 16,919 posts
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    I am reading the Dune series at the moment. I thought the first book was excellent but not enjoying the second anywhere near as much.

    Looks like I will need to track down Foundation.
  • simpleexplodingmaybe 24 Dec 2016 11:32:49 17,514 posts
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    I prefer Dune but it's decreasing returns as the series goes on
  • One_Vurfed_Gwrx 24 Dec 2016 12:53:07 4,283 posts
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    I enjoyed the main Dune series, although some were a little longwinded IIRC but I only read the first couple of post-death follow ups. Do I need to read all of them before reading their (split) version of book 7? Assuming of course that the books 7 are worth reading at all. It has been a long timesince I read any of them though.
  • Mekanik 24 Dec 2016 12:57:19 4,728 posts
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    Both series are great.

    Although you can slowly see Herbert go insane as he continues writing the Dune stuff. Gets thoroughly weird by the end. :)
  • Deleted user 24 December 2016 13:16:26
    monkeypuzzle wrote:
    yes, I did find this element of foundation somewhat daft, that someone worked the future out on a calculator!
    I dunno, doesn't seem that far-fetched to me, with sophisticated enough modelling and such like.
  • neems 24 Dec 2016 13:27:43 5,388 posts
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    Dune as an individual novel, but The Foundation Trilogy as a series. I refuse to accept any other Foundation novels.
  • opalw00t 24 Dec 2016 16:12:28 12,836 posts
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    Reread Foundation series again recently.

    It has not aged well, at all.
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