Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert, Who is Greater?

BAYLOR

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Herbert was a two trick pony. I didn't care for Dune, but Dragon in the Sea was great.

Asimov was better.

I cannot agree with assessment of Frank Herbert. He a number of very good science fiction novels.
 

JimC

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I'm not knocking him. Dragon more than made up for the Dune stuff. He was a good writer, though I wouldn't put him in the same league with Anderson, Schmitz, Brackett, or Piper.
 

Foxbat

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Whilst I like both, I'd say Herbert's ideas were more 'organic'. When it comes to Foundation and Dune, both writers created fabulous universes for their stories to exist in. I feel Herbert's tales were stronger on character and he had a much greater emphasis on ecology rather than technology. Take The Green Brain, or Helstrom's Hive as examples. It's not so much about technology but of the impact we humans have on the environment. I always felt Asimov was the opposite in that, he was more about the impact technology has on us.
 

Justin Swanton

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As regards influence Asimov seems to be in the pantheon of great SF writers along with Wells, Clarke, et al. whilst Frank Herbert doesn't quite make the cut - he's more upper-middle level. But I find Herbert's worldbuilding more in depth and more convincing, and Herbert deals with themes that are more real than those of Asimov. Self-aware robots is not a thing, whereas unstable three way power structures certainly has been a thing (cf the Roman and the Soviet triumvirates). Dune draws on the riches and nuances of human political history in a way that Foundation doesn't, and the deus ex machina magic used in Dune is more convincing than Seldon's psychohistory.

Having said that I'm not a devoted fan of either. I prefer SF that is more grounded in reality, though I accept that the SF genre is by and large just another way of using magic in stories in the way the fantasy genre uses it. It's not a coincidence that this forum is devoted to Science Fiction and Fantasy.
 

Parson

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I feel Herbert's tales were stronger on character and he had a much greater emphasis on ecology rather than technology.

That's it in a nutshell for me. I love technology based novels, hence Asimov for me.
 

Don

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Whilst I like both, I'd say Herbert's ideas were more 'organic'. When it comes to Foundation and Dune, both writers created fabulous universes for their stories to exist in. I feel Herbert's tales were stronger on character and he had a much greater emphasis on ecology rather than technology. Take The Green Brain, or Helstrom's Hive as examples. It's not so much about technology but of the impact we humans have on the environment. I always felt Asimov was the opposite in that, he was more about the impact technology has on us.
Asimov plays it sort of shiny and straight. Sometimes Herbert cracks open the fourth wall a little to slip in a pun for the lulz. For instance, in The Eyes of Heisenberg:
'He has no arms,' Harvey said.

They all noticed it then. From the shoulders down where Glisson's arms had been now dangled only the empty linkages for Cyborg prosthetic attachments.

'They have sealed us in here,' Glisson said. Again, that singsong twang as though something about him had been broken. 'As you can see, I am disarmed. Do you not think that amusing?
 

BigBadBob141

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Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke agreed that Arthur was the best fiction writer while Isaac was the best non-fiction writer, I tend to agree with this.
 

Ogma

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A different version of the truce between Asimov and Clarke is outlined here.

While Dune is one of my favorite books, I must admit Asimov is the greater influence. I wonder would Dune have been written/published without Foundation?
 

BAYLOR

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It interesting that we're going be getting film and television adaptations of both these mens works major works almost at the same time .:cool:(y)
 

Guttersnipe

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I tried reading Dune and just couldn't get into it. But I'll give him props for originality. Asimov took a common sci-fi trope and built a whole mythology around it. I've read I, Robot and The Naked Sun without suffering any bouts of boredom. I'd go with Asimov.
 

telpereon

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I don't think you can truly compare them (imo). They both have a great influence and a style that they owned as individuals. They were speaking to their "truths" and ideas they were trying to get across as much as any speech making is...and I think a novel, short story, or whatever...drabble....is a speech. I value the speech in terms of the parts that touch me and what they invoke in me. I think everyone has an opinion and that opinion is right when talking about what they like and don't like.... :giggle:

I don't think Herbert was a two trick pony to be specific...take a look at Green Brain or some of his other short stories if you have not @JimC ...one of my favorites is "Seed Stock", a short story...touching in an understated way.

Bene Gesserit "Voice" was the ability to hit on word combinations, keyword associations, and inflections that triggered action prior to consciousness analyzing them and acting. It is an understanding of the general to a level that allows the specific...very wild.

The Mule (and Second Foundation) could read and alert the patterns of what was seen in a person's mind (the same thing but with the modification ability that R. Daneel had) to bring them more into alignment with what he wanted and he seemed to do it almost reflexively (the altering part). Also remember, he did not alter the lady whose name I can not remember in the story because he saw she genuinely liked him and wanted him to be treated better...seeing the brain processing is way out there to think about too.

Those abilities are very different from each other and while I do think telepathy is very difficult to include in a story...I give credit where credit is due. Asimov did a great job at bringing it into his story and not making it an overwhelming story element....while Herbert did a great job bringing is something that could be contrived as telepathy (if looked at shallowly) but was based on human understanding carried to the Nth level...millennia of knowledge used to achieve an end...

Anyhow that is my thought reading the last few posts...
 

AE35Unit

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I've only tried to read one Herbert book, Dune. Stopped after a couple of chapters because to me it read like fantasy and I was into hard SF at the time. I would like to try again in the future though...

Asimov, well I've read quite a few of his and while the Foundation books were, at the time, mindnumbingly dull, his robot books were brilliant. So I'd have to vote Asimov.
 

BAYLOR

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I've only tried to read one Herbert book, Dune. Stopped after a couple of chapters because to me it read like fantasy and I was into hard SF at the time. I would like to try again in the future though...

Asimov, well I've read quite a few of his and while the Foundation books were, at the time, mindnumbingly dull, his robot books were brilliant. So I'd have to vote Asimov.

Dune's a great book . It does a take a bit of getting into but , its worth it.
 

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