Round 4 Anathema…Explosion
Okay, evil dudes – you’re up.
You saw the picture of Baron Harkonnen from round 1. He is great. Harkonnen is the definition of dangerous. He will kill members of his own family. He will kill members of your family if he needs to. Do not let him near little boys. Absolutely do not do that. He’s also enormously gigantically fat so really he’s even a danger to himself right? He is such a despicable character, you are just begging for him to struggle with something or fail in any way, but he is too resilient and insanely smart for his own good. A feint within a feint within a feint.
When it comes to evil, Baron Harkonnen and the entire Harkonnen family rate about as high as they come on the vile-o-meter. And if you don’t have a vile-o-meter, rating high means you’re about as gigantic a dick as they come, which in HEP DEATHMATCH terms, means you’re hard to beat.
This is an interesting one. Conrad is committed to keeping Vegans from Earth. So much so that he is literally dismantling the major historic monuments to convince them there is nothing worth their while here. Committed. But they weren’t so much the immediate threat that the Harkonnen’s were for Paul. They were dangerous, not in terms of possibly doing violence to Conrad but that they might move to Earth and make humans into second-class citizens.
The other threat facing Conrad was even more mysterious. Conrad, though he suffered the Vegan’s presence that he was escorting, he was committed to keeping him safe on their tour of Earth. Someone in their group though was out to kill the Vegan, or maybe even Conrad. He couldn't know but it caused their entire trip to be the most unsettling journey ever. When he wasn’t battling mutants or robots he was playing detective and trying to figure out who was trying to kill him.
I guess what This Immortal lacked in single-source antagonism, it made up for in blanket mystery and planet wide threats. I guess if you can’t get more evil than Baron Harkonnen, your best bet is to expand your coverage, cast a wider net?
Round 5 Desert Thunder
This is kind of a strange category, but you have to admit that both of these books take place in deserts. I mean, you have to admit it. And given that fact, we must now force those two deserts to battle each other until someone’s brains are splattered on the wall.
Arrakis is such a crazy planet. It is both terrifying and deadly, but also extremely intriguing and inspires fierce loyalty. The worms, the giant worms are pretty awesome too. I think though that what is coolest about Arrakis is actually the adaptations that both the Fremen and the spice traders have developed. I’ve mentioned Stillsuits.
Hmm. I guess I thought Dune would put up more of a fight here but well, I don’t know what else to say. Reading about the desert planet is captivating and of all the desert planets it is probably the most popular. Maybe the only thing it has going for it is that it has holds this incredible transformative power. Not only does it physically, mentally and emotionally change a person when they go out there (if they survive), but it also holds deep within an opportunity to become a green, wet planet and that is something people will die for.
Okay, so I thought Dune was down and out but had something of a comeback. Was it enough though?
If you’ve ever seen The Hills Have Eyes you know exactly what to picture when you picture earth after The Three Days. Cobalt bombs have destroyed most everything that isn’t an island and maimed, disfigured and mutated anything that survived. The result was a landscape so treacherous and unpredictable that it was hard not to be on the edge of your seat.
Literally turning the corner from a perfectly safe area, you might find a Satyr or a group of mutants in a religious cult or maybe a sea-monster. You really don’t know what to expect other than some kind of grotesque monstrosity. Actually they weren’t always grotesque. Conrad’s immortality is reportedly the result of his mutation and his dog, Bortan, is a kick-ass mutant. But when you get out into the wild desert areas, the rules just don’t apply.
I really didn’t think it was possible that This Immortal would come close to Dune in this respect, but this is actually looking like a tight race for ruler of the universe’s desert power.
So that about wraps it up. I’m gonna take a day or two to deliberate and if you have any thoughts, now’s your time to contribute. I’m about the crown the winner for all time.