Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert, Who is Greater?

tinkerdan

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I'm not sure this is a fair question.
I love Asimov and yet for years I've hated some of his writing.
I found the early Foundation books to be interesting with fascinating ideas; but often felt the presentation was disappointing.(Sometimes difficult to slog through to get to the point.)
However I found the later foundation books so fascinating and well written that I had to reread the first three to see if it was just me and all the years between that had changed.

No the more recent work was much better written.

Frank Herbert's Dune really struck a cord with his strange ideas and fascinating world and his interesting way of presenting it all that made the reading compelling.
The subsequent works after were mostly disappointing to me.

Overall I'd have to say Asimov is the one that has both had the greatest impact and managed to continue to improve his writing in the later years.

That said; I don't think I'd have appreciated Dune if Asimov had written it back in 1965-so, there is that.
 

BAYLOR

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I'm not sure this is a fair question.
I love Asimov and yet for years I've hated some of his writing.
I found the early Foundation books to be interesting with fascinating ideas; but often felt the presentation was disappointing.(Sometimes difficult to slog through to get to the point.)
However I found the later foundation books so fascinating and well written that I had to reread the first three to see if it was just me and all the years between that had changed.

No the more recent work was much better written.

Frank Herbert's Dune really struck a cord with his strange ideas and fascinating world and his interesting way of presenting it all that made the reading compelling.
The subsequent works after were mostly disappointing to me.

Overall I'd have to say Asimov is the one that has both had the greatest impact and managed to continue to improve his writing in the later years.

That said; I don't think I'd have appreciated Dune if Asimov had written it back in 1965-so, there is that.

But is has gotten a pretty good discussion of these two great writers going.:)
 

BAYLOR

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Lots versus not many.

Asimov had the biggest influence and 'footprint' in the genre, by a country mile.
Herbert wrote the best individual book, but if you remove Dune, there's not even a conversation to be had.

I would also argue Asimov was the better writer. I know the general view is that he wrote very simply and directly, with limited artistic flair. But try writing as beautifully in such a simple style, and make it seem as effortless and uncluttered as Asimov did, and see how well you do. For his 'style' I'd say he was almost without peer.

Ive seen 3 new age book edition for Asimov's Galatic Empire novels

The Stars Like Dust
The Currents of Space
Pebble in the Sky
 

Capricorn42

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I'd pick Asimov, simply because the Foundation series, plus his robot stories, were a delight to read, whereas Dune was a hard slog. I read Dune soon after reading LoTR and it was very much denser and slower than Tolkein's epic, and lacked (as far as i could see) any semblance of wit.
 

Bick

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I'd pick Asimov, simply because the Foundation series, plus his robot stories, were a delight to read, whereas Dune was a hard slog. I read Dune soon after reading LoTR and it was very much denser and slower than Tolkein's epic, and lacked (as far as i could see) any semblance of wit.
I re-read Dune recently and it was an enjoyable easy read, and I wouldn’t agree it was slower than LotR (which is an unusual comparator). I’m also not sure a book needs to have wit to be great. I could name myriad examples, but you get the point.
 

BAYLOR

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I read Dune over 30 years ago . Perhaps a re-read might be in order. :)
 

JimC

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If I remember correctly, I first read the magazine versions of the Foundation stories in Astounding Science Fiction. I particularly liked 'Now You See It' and 'And Now You Don't'. Do I remember the titles correctly?
 

BAYLOR

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If I remember correctly, I first read the magazine versions of the Foundation stories in Astounding Science Fiction. I particularly liked 'Now You See It' and 'And Now You Don't'. Do I remember the titles correctly?

You read Foundation before it was book form ? Cool. :cool:
 

JimC

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No, the books were already out - I just read the magazine version first. I have a complete collection of the Campbell years of Astounding/Analog.
 

BAYLOR

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There's also a new edition of Asimov's The End of Eternity .

Then there's a raft of new editions of Herbert Dune books and the Dune Prequels by Bran Herbert and Kevin J Anderson . In anticipation for the new Dune film perhaps?
 

BAYLOR

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This is 100% true. I just finished Foundation again and it's incredible how much information Asimov packed in with so few words. The stories full of tension and excitement, rolling along at a fast pace without wasting a single word. Wonderful stuff.

This one is one re read list.:)
 

Toby Frost

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I think that, taken as a work of literature and not some hard-science attempt to predict coming tech, Dune is a much better novel than anything Asimov ever wrote. The characters, the society, the ecological aspect and the philosophical elements all combine to make a great book. However, Asimov was a consistently more reliable writer of a colder style of SF, often based around rather flat characters solving a single scientific problem in a slightly-altered version of Asimov's present day. Also, I think that the two sequels to Dune that I read were much less interesting than the first book.

For what it's worth, I don't really think comparing authors like this really helps either author (or me). It's like asking whether ham is better than cheese.
 

JJewel

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Arent they both very much of a time now? neither were paticularly strong on character development, Herbert was more capable but ignored science completely (take this drugs and you can travel through space? ... I remember incidents like that when I was a teenager :) ).

Asimov was very logical and factual and wrote in the style of the time, Herbert I never really got into, I always felt his books were bad soap operas.
 

BAYLOR

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Arent they both very much of a time now? neither were paticularly strong on character development, Herbert was more capable but ignored science completely (take this drugs and you can travel through space? ... I remember incidents like that when I was a teenager :) ).

Asimov was very logical and factual and wrote in the style of the time, Herbert I never really got into, I always felt his books were bad soap operas.

The substance was called Melange( The Spice) and it derived from the sand worms on Arrakis . The whole empire In Dune revolved around it, depended on it and couldn't do without it for alot of reasons.
 

JJewel

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I know, I remember :) I just felt it was a silly premise was all, first you turn into a giant fish and then you warp space.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas anyone? :)
 

JJewel

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@BAYLOR I know you say that you dont write but your knowledge base for these subjects are huge, you should write a guide to Sci-fi / Fantasy if nothing else, I would imagine factual writing is easier than imaginative?... but dont quote me on that :)
 

Toby Frost

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Arent they both very much of a time now?

Both have definitely aged, but I don't think Dune has aged as badly (even though the tech is utterly bizarre), partly because the characters are much more developed, and because the setting is less like the 1950s with spaceships. Dune reminds me of Gormenghast: utterly weird people in a very strange setting, all of which feels convincing in its own way. Dune is perhaps harder to like and find convincing, I think, and probably more niche than Asimov.
 

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