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 12:00 AM, 09-AUGUST-06
New Dune Books Resume Story

Best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson told SCI FI Wire that he and Brian Herbert based the sequel novels Hunters of Dune and the forthcoming Sandworms of Dune on notes for Dune 7 written by Brian's father, Dune creator Frank Herbert, prior to his 1986 death. "We saw that Dune 7 would have been an epic that we didn't think we could tell in under 1,400 pages, so we broke it into two 700-page volumes," Anderson said in an interview. "In the last eight months I've been writing a blog on, describing the progress of the two volumes. We've been getting 1.7 million hits per month, so the excitement among the fans worldwide is really building."

Unlike the previous Anderson/Herbert collaborations, which were all prequels to Dune, Hunters of Dune picks up where the last Frank Herbert Dune novel left off. "In Chapterhouse Dune, the galaxy is being overrun by a group of evil, destructive women called the Honored Matres, sort of the dark counterparts of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood," Anderson said. "They are enslaving populations, destroying planets, and at the end of the book we learn that the Honored Matres are actually on the run from an unidentified outside 'Enemy' that's even worse. Our main characters steal a ship as large as a city, destroy their navigation system and fly off into uncharted territory with the mysterious Enemy searching for them. That's where the book ends, and that's where fans were left for many years."

Anderson added: "In Hunters (and the subsequent volume, Sandworms), we follow Duncan Idaho and his comrades aboard the giant fleeing ship, trying to keep away from the Enemy, because they know that something or someone aboard the ship holds the key to ending the great coming war and changing the universe. Meanwhile, the surviving Bene Gesserits try to rally the rest of humanity to make their final stand against a force that intends to exterminate them."

Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. "But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things," he said. "Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand, now that we had Frank's original six novels and our six prequels to wrap up."

Although Hunters and Sandworms will conclude the original series as envisioned by Frank Herbert, Anderson and Brian Herbert plan to continue exploring the Dune universe. "We have already sold the first volume in the Paul of Dune trilogy, which will tell the story of Paul's younger years, his friendship with Duncan and Gurney and Duke Leto's War of Assassins against Grumman," Anderson said. "And it will also fill in the story between Dune and Dune Messiah, Paul's great Jihad, Princess Irulan's task of building the legend of Muad'Dib, Shaddam's bid for a return to power: Certainly there's enough to fill a couple of books!" —John Joseph Adams


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Comcast cable has added a special video of Gotham Tonight, a faux election news special linked to the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight, in its "On Demand" section including, featuring newscaster "Mike Engel" (Anthony Michael Hall); The Dark Knight opens July 18.

New trailers have gone live for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Punisher: War Zone, which have been linked through SCI FI Wire's Trailers page.

DC Comics will offer a prequel comic to J.J. Abrams' fall TV series Fringe, USA Today reported. The comic is due for release on Aug. 27.


Ghost Whisperer 3.8
Lost 3.6
Reaper 1.6
Smallville 1.5
Supernatural 1.2

Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 5/19/08 - 5/25/08. Fewer than 10 listings appear because fewer than 10 different SF&F original series aired on broadcast networks this week.