Highopp1

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High-Opp (2012) is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert after The Dragon in the Sea (1955) but prior to Dune (1965). The novel was never published in his lifetime, although many elements of the story were used in the novel The Dosadi Experiment, sometimes word-for-word. It contains a forward by Kevin J. Anderson who co-authored many books in the Duniverse with Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert.

The novel is set on Earth following a period of warfare in the Twenty-first Century that resulted in a unified world government controlled by an ongoing series of polls registering the opinion of a sample of the population. Senior Liaitor Daniel Movius loses his government job and all the privileges associated with that position in one such poll and is demoted back to the Labor Pool, where he soon finds his very life is in danger. The negotiating skills that originally allowed Movius to work his way from the Labor Pool to the upper ranks without the benefit of nepotism serve him well as he becomes the natural leader of a revolution by the previously disorganized Seps, or Seperatists, fed by the discontent of the populace as they learn the Demopol has been manipulated.

  • To aid the poll-taking functions, a set of bureaus developed, such as the Bureau of Opinions (Bu-Opp), the Bureau of Control (Bu-Con), and the Bureau of Psychology (Bu-Psych). This idea blossomed as the Bureau of Sabotage (Bu-Sab) in Whipping Star
  • Public opinion was manipulated to make research into space flight forbidden by law, similar to the proscription against thinking machines in the Duniverse following the Butlerian Jihad. This has the effect of turning the population inward, where boredom is increased by the mandatory standardization of nearly everything, echoed by Leto's Peace in God Emperor of Dune.
  • The Senior Liaitor job of Daniel Movius is eliminated by polling, in a scene almost precisely duplicated in The Dosadi Experiment, with the exception that Keila Jedrik manipulates a flaw in the Dosadi Demopol to eliminate her own job. Even the long serial number of the opinion in both novels are nearly the same. In both books, co-workers quickly learn what has happened and the protagonist thinks, Avert your faces, you clogs. In both books, the apartments of the elite are "fluting inverted stalagmites" built upon the "silvered layers of the Council Hills." Quilliam Gar, a human in Broey's inner council on Dosadi, shares the same first name with Quilliam London, a professor of semantics in Nathan O'Brien's inner council in High-Opp, and both characters have a daughter who is also a major character.

But is the book any good? In a word, no. There's a reason it wasn't published when it was written, sometime between 1955 and 1965. The characters are one-dimensional, the unrealistic human interactions make a soap opera look like Shakespeare, and even the protagonist is unlike-able. He never truly suffers. The things that were taken away from him were things he never wanted anyway. By the time he decides to forego his revenge, events have moved beyond his control. The deep philosophical issues that make Herbert so interesting are completely absent in this book. The only redeeming feature is that it's a peek at a proto-Dosadi before the concept of a people conditioned by a harsh environment (such as the Fremen) were read back into the story, allowing the fan of Herbert to see how the author's ideas were shaped. For hard-core students of Herbert only.

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