Dune

Dune

This book was mistakenly published under ISBN13: 9780965017763.Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family...

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Title:Dune
Author:Frank Herbert
Rating:
ISBN:0340839937
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:604 pages

Dune Reviews

  • J.G. Keely
    Jun 01, 2007

    People often forget that this series is what innovated our modern concept of science fiction (up until Neuromancer and The Martix, at least). Dune took the Space Opera and asked if it might be more than spandex, dildo-shaped rockets, and scantily-clad green women. Herbert created a vast and complex system of ancient spatial politics and peoples, then set them at one another's throats over land, money, and drugs.

    Dune is often said to relate to Sci Fi in the same way that Tolkien relates to Fantas

    People often forget that this series is what innovated our modern concept of science fiction (up until Neuromancer and The Martix, at least). Dune took the Space Opera and asked if it might be more than spandex, dildo-shaped rockets, and scantily-clad green women. Herbert created a vast and complex system of ancient spatial politics and peoples, then set them at one another's throats over land, money, and drugs.

    Dune is often said to relate to Sci Fi in the same way that Tolkien relates to Fantasy. I'd say that, as far as paradigm shift, this is widely true. Both entered genres generally filled with the odd, childish, and ridiculous and injected a literary sensibility which affected all subsequent authors.

    Few will challenge the importance of Star Wars' effect on film and storytelling in general, but without Dune, there would be no Star Wars. Princess Alia, the desert planet, the Spice, the Bene Gesserit, and Leto II all have direct descendants in the movies. It is unfortunate that Lucas seems to have forgotten in these later years that his best genius was pilfered from Herbert, Campbell, and Kurosawa.

    Though I have heard that the later books do not capture the same eclectic energy as the first, Dune itself is simply one of the most original and unusual pieces of Sci Fi ever written. Read it, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, Neuromancer, and Snowcrash and you'll know everything you need to about Sci Fi: that you want more.

  • John Wiswell
    Jun 24, 2007

    No one should argue the importance

    . It laid the foundations for a great deal of the themes and constructs in modern science fiction. Frank Herbert was as important to the genre as Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. Unfortunately, just like them, he's quite dated, and his books can be a labor to read. One thing he maintained from old science fiction was prim and scientific dialogue that no one would ever actually speak. I've known many scientists, and they don't talk like this. You're not going

    No one should argue the importance

    . It laid the foundations for a great deal of the themes and constructs in modern science fiction. Frank Herbert was as important to the genre as Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. Unfortunately, just like them, he's quite dated, and his books can be a labor to read. One thing he maintained from old science fiction was prim and scientific dialogue that no one would ever actually speak. I've known many scientists, and they don't talk like this. You're not going to convince me a child does.

    The stuffy dialogue is inserted into even stuffier narrative, until it feels like nothing is organic about Herbert's prose. This is a terrible tragedy when you've got a world that he put so much effort into building - and it is an amazing feat of world-building, technically interplanetary building. But unlike J.R.R. Tolkien, who he is so frequently compared to, Herbert didn't make sure to include a great story in his world. Instead he included a story that frequently illustrated how clunky an artificial world can be, even if it's lovingly crafted. I struggled to attach or find interest in anyone, yet they're more archetypes than human beings, whose logic races past modern skepticism and whose dialogue is cloyingly artificial, the way people cared for the Hobbits, Dwarves and Rangers. In his world-building, Tolkien at least saved himself from being dated by antedating himself, and even with his illuminated prose, wrought more characteristics in just one protagonist than all of

    's cast.

    Even the political intrigue Herbert tries to fall back on was overdone in the Spy genre decades before he started this book. All fans of the "Genre" genres should appreciate Herbert's massive contributions, but they shouldn't pretend to enjoy the books if they don't, and they should be wary of certain pitfalls typical of science fiction that survived into his landmark work.

  • Matt
    Jun 02, 2008

    Like most of my five star books, I’ve read Dune multiple times. In fact, I’d say that what makes a book more than just enjoyable and instead truly amazing is that you want to read it more than once and are rewarded for doing so. I’ve probably read Dune six times, and I’ve never gotten tired of it but my understanding of the work has increased over time.

    To begin with, the first time I read Dune, I got about three pages into it, realized I didn’t understand a thing and that I was hopelessly confus

    Like most of my five star books, I’ve read Dune multiple times. In fact, I’d say that what makes a book more than just enjoyable and instead truly amazing is that you want to read it more than once and are rewarded for doing so. I’ve probably read Dune six times, and I’ve never gotten tired of it but my understanding of the work has increased over time.

    To begin with, the first time I read Dune, I got about three pages into it, realized I didn’t understand a thing and that I was hopelessly confused. I had to go back and reread what I had read, and then go back again and reread the whole chapter. I would excuse myself by saying that I was 10, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that has had that experience. Don’t be dismayed if it happens to you - whether 10, 18, or 45. If you are confused at first, consider that Paul is also confused and finds so much that happens strange and new. Understanding will come in its proper time.

    At one time at least, there was a fairly famous website (at least among geeks) that humorously summarized books in thirty words or less. Maybe it still exists, but its name escapes me. The summary provided for Dune read something like this, “I’m Frank Herbert and I’m a lot smarter than you are.” When I was younger, this would have seemed a fair appraisal of the work. One of the most central aspects of ‘Dune’ is Herbert manages to write convincingly about people whose intelligence is supposed to vastly exceed that of the reader. More than anything, to create a believable Messianic story, the writer has to create a Messiah possessing believable Messianic wisdom and insight, and Herbert succeeds at this invention probably better than any other writer. We come to believe that the protagonists do have deep and profound insight into the question of ‘Life, the Universe, and Everything’ so that we do not immediately feel cheated and we are able to believe in the characters – even someone like Maud’Dib. As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to see that Herbert is not in fact possessed of superhuman intelligence, but that he creates the illusion of superhuman intelligence by a variety of clever devices. The appearance of a superhuman intelligence and wisdom is really a sham and the pool is really pretty shallow, but even this revelation does not reduce the esteem in which I hold the work. It’s not Herbert’s real job to be a prophet: he’s an artist. Herbert succeeds brilliantly in what he should be judged on – the ability to paint the illusion deftly and convincingly. If we acquire the sophistication to see through it, it shouldn’t reduce our appreciation of the artistic mastery used in creating it. I think now I would amend the summary of the work to be, “I’m Frank Herbert, and I’m a lot better writer than you are.”

    If all that could be said in Dune’s favor was that it had one of the most convincing invented prophets in literature, it would still be a worthwhile work. But Dune has abundant pleasures beyond the richly realized illusion of philosophical depth and even the deftly realized setting. Chief among these for me is the truly deep and intricate relationships Paul has with the other characters. There is a real depth of feeling here, and I love the way each of the complicated nuanced relationships is portrayed as we are introduced to the cast of Paul’s complicated life. Each character feels a deep mixture of feelings for Paul who is boy, man, friend, soldier, sovereign, and Messiah and much else. There is tenderness to this work. We sense that complexity and tenderness right from the start, when his mother allows him to be tortured and to face murder, and then immediately thereafter experiences profound hope and joy: “My son lives.” We feel Paul’s boyish love for his friends and companions, who are also his father’s henchmen and his teachers and who he is in turn their future Lord. We feel the more mature manly love that these companions have for their young charge and future ruler. Even Yueh loves the boy he must destroy. We feel the boyish admiration Paul has for his father as he strains to be worthy of him and to make his father proud, and we feel the returned pride and satisfaction that his father feels. We feel the aching love of a boy for this Mother when he has already lost everything else when Jessica is buried in sand, and we feel her returned love when she says, “I knew you would find me.”

    And though there love is only briefly on stage, still I find the love between Paul and Chani among the sweetest and most charming in literature. Who cannot thrill when scarcely knowing each other, but seeing their lives together stretching out before them both good and terrible, the young becoming but not yet lovers promise with tender vows nonetheless to be forever each other's comfort and joy and they feel their hitherto unseen future becoming a real solid now. Isn’t that how it is in some way for all of us when we meet the one who will be the one and we suddenly realize we want to and we will spend the rest of our lives together regardless of what will happen? And how often have we felt the total unabashed joy as Paul does when we know our lover is now near?

    “That could only mean Chani was near by—Chani, his soul, Chani his sihaya, sweet as the desert spring, Chani up from the palmaries of the deep south.”

    All that and ‘Dune’ is a wonderful exciting action adventure story filled with thrills and chases, fights and battles, and supersized edge of our imagination wonders. Worms.

    It’s no wonder that this is one of the best beloved books of all time. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, read it again.

  • Manny
    Nov 20, 2008

    There's a characteristically witty essay by Borges about a man who rewrites

    , many centuries after Cervantes. He publishes a novel with the same title, containing the same words in the same order. But, as Borges shows you, the different cultural context means it's a completely new book! What was once trite and commonplace is now daring and new, and vice versa. It just happens to

    like Cervantes's masterpiece.

    Similarly, imagine the man who was brave or stupid enough to rewrite

    There's a characteristically witty essay by Borges about a man who rewrites

    , many centuries after Cervantes. He publishes a novel with the same title, containing the same words in the same order. But, as Borges shows you, the different cultural context means it's a completely new book! What was once trite and commonplace is now daring and new, and vice versa. It just happens to

    like Cervantes's masterpiece.

    Similarly, imagine the man who was brave or stupid enough to rewrite

    in the early 21st century. Like many people who grew up in the 60s and 70s, I read the book in my early teens. What an amazing story! Those kick-ass Fremen! All those cool, weird-sounding names and expressions they use! (They even have a useful glossary in the back). The disgusting, corrupt, slimy Harkonnens - don't you just love to hate them! When former-aristo-turned-desert-guerilla-fighter Paul Muad'Dib rides in on a sandworm at the end to fight the evil Baron and his vicious, cruel nephew, of course you're cheering for him. Who the hell wouldn't be?

    So that was the

    we know and love, but the man who rewrote it now would get a rather different reception. Oh my God! These Fremen, who obviously speak

    , live on a desert planet which supplies the Universe with melange, a commodity essential to the Galactic economy, and in particular to transport.

    a very subtle way to say "oil"! They are tough, uncompromising fighters, who are quite happy to use suicide bombing as a tactic. They're led by a charismatic former rich kid (OK, we get who you mean), who inspires them to rise up against the corrupt, degenerate... um, does he mean Westerners? Or only the US? And who

    Baron Harkonnen intended to be? I'm racking my brains... Dubya doesn't quite seem to fit, but surely he means

    ? Unless, of course, he's just a generic stereotype who stands for the immoral, sexually obsessed West. This is frightening. What did we do to make Frank al-Herbert hate us so much? You'd have people, not even necessarily right-wingers, appearing on TV to say that the book was dangerous, and should be banned: at the very least, it incites racial hatred, and openly encourages terrorism. But translations would sell brilliantly in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and a bad movie version would soon be made in Turkey.

    I honestly don't think Herbert meant any of that; but today, it's almost impossible not to wonder. If anyone reading this review is planning to rewrite

    , you'd better make sure you get your timing right. Who knows how it will be interpreted five years from now?

  • Rajat Ubhaykar
    Mar 22, 2011

    In my head, the purpose of this review is very clear. It is to convince

    to read this book. Yes, you! Waste time no more. Go grab a copy.

    Machiavellian intrigue, mythology, religion, politics, imperialism, environmentalism, the nature of power. All this set in a mind-boggling, frighteningly original world which Herbert ominously terms as an "effort at prediction". Dune had me hooked!

    The very first stirring I felt upon opening the yellowed pages of Dune was that of stumbling upo

    In my head, the purpose of this review is very clear. It is to convince

    to read this book. Yes, you! Waste time no more. Go grab a copy.

    Machiavellian intrigue, mythology, religion, politics, imperialism, environmentalism, the nature of power. All this set in a mind-boggling, frighteningly original world which Herbert ominously terms as an "effort at prediction". Dune had me hooked!

    The very first stirring I felt upon opening the yellowed pages of Dune was that of stumbling upon an English translation of an ancient

    manuscript of undeniable power and potence which had an epic story to narrate. The tone was umistakably sombre and I realized Herbert was not here to merely entertain me, he was here to make me part of the legend of

    . It was intriguing and challenging and heck, since I live for challenges I decided to take this one up too, gladly. The challenge was the complexity and depth of the plot, which left me perplexed, in the beginning. I knew there were dialogues which meant much more than their superficial meaning and was unable to grasp at it. I felt a yawning chasm between Herbert's vision and my limited understanding of it. However, of course, I plodded on and could feel the gap closing in with every page much to my joy and relief.

    "To the people whose labours go beyond ideas into the realm of 'real materials'- to the dry-land ecologists, wherever they may be, in whatever time they work, this

    is dedicated in humility and admiration."

    The foreword makes it pretty clear that Frank Herbert isn't kidding around. This is a serious effort at predicting how our world is going to look two thousand years from now and by God, it's a bloody good and detailed prediction. However, the real merit in this effort lies in the commentary on our lives in the present.

    The setting of the book is arid futuristic. the plot is driven by political mindgames reminiscent of The Game of Thrones. The issues he tackles are as modern as the colour television. Herbert's genius manifests itself in his ability to combine the past, the present and the future in one sweeping elegant move called Dune.

    Dune is set in a futuristic technologically advanced world which after the

    (the bloody war between Man and Machines) has eliminated all computers and passed a decree declaring

    . Since there are no computers, the essential working of the galaxy is still

    and

    with heavy reliance on men and their dallying around. Lots of thriller potential right there. Men with superhuman analytical abilities called

    have taken the place of Computers. On the other hand, we have the

    , an ancient school of mental and physical training for female students (it gives them superhuman intuitive powers) who follow a selective breeding program which makes them feared and mistrusted through the Imperium. Their desired end product of this breeding program is the

    , a superman who’ll be able to glimpse into the future. How he’ll be able to do this is rooted in Herbert’s idea of determinism: given that one can observe everything and analyze everything, one can effectively glimpse the future in probabilistic terms. Quantum physics anyone? The

    is the proposed solution to the male-female dichotomy, between the analytical and intuitive.

    The plot of Dune is almost wholly set on the desert planet of

    (also referred to as Dune), an arid wasteland where water is so scarce that men have to wear stillsuits which recycle human moisture for further consumption. The source of the galaxy’s interest in the planet is

    , a spice which bestows upon one longevity and prescient powers. Everything on the planet is permeated with the spice, the air, the sand, the food. Everybody on the planet is hopelessly addicted to the spice, their only hope for survival being their continued intake of the spice. The

    , the economic and trading monopolistic arm of the Galaxy badly needs the spice for interstellar transport. This is because their frigates travel faster than the speed of light and hence travel backward in time. The spice is the only way they can look into the future and see their way ahead. How cool is that! All the powers on the Galaxy are out to mine the spice, braving the sandworms, their name merely an euphemism, for they are gigantic 200 metre long creatures which always come digging through the sand whenever spice mining is undertook.

    . There’s also another little glitch. There exist on the planet, the kickass native desert tribal

    , whom the foreign powers look down with suspicion and disdain. The

    ethos is one of survival and scarcity, driven by tribalism and egalitarianism. Okay, I’ll stop right there. No more spoilers about this. Except that they value water to the extent that spitting on a person is the highest honour they can bestow upon him.

    Our protagonists are the

    family, consisting of the Duke, his Bene Gesserit concubine Jessica and their son Paul, who have been entrusted the stewardship of Arrakis. We discover the alien planet of Arrakis along with them, firstly with fear, suspicion and wonder and ultimately, love and respect.

    , however is no ordinary prince. There’s a teeny weeny chance he might be the

    , something which troubles him constantly and gives us our conflicted hero. The poor chap

    over the spice and has visions of black hordes pillaging and murdering around town bearing his flag and sees his dead body multiple times.

    My favourite character, however has to be the

    , the most evil character I’ve ever come across in my literary excursions. He is ruddy ruthlessness, he is virile villainy, he is truculent treachery. He executes the inept chess players in his employ which says oodles about his badassery and his fondness for cold-blooded logic. He sees everything in simplistic

    terms. What is my best move? What is my opponent’s best move? Is there anything I can do to completely squash his move? Is there a tactic which leads to mate in three?

    In this setting, Herbert does so much, it’s unbelievable. Religion, politics, the dynamic nature of power, the effects of colonialism, our blatant destruction of our environment are themes which run parallel to the intensely exciting and labyrinthine plot. He shows the paramount importance of myth making and religion for power to sustain over long periods of time.

    Now these are my thoughts about what Herbert could have meant to be Arrakis-

    It makes perfect sense. Herbert draws heavy inspiration for the religious ideology of Muad’Dib from Islam. He says “When religion and politics ride in the same cart and that cart is driven by a living Holy man, nothing can stand in the path of such a people.” which is the philosphy of the politics of Islam. Islamism in a nutshell.

    The spice, much desired by everyone, is the oil. Baron Vladmir Harkonnen is symblomatic of the wily Russians. The Desert foxes Fremen are representative of the native Saudi desert-dwelling Bedouin tribe who have a strongly tribe-oriented culture and undoubtedly value water in equal measure. And the ultimate loser is the environment.

    I almost forget this is a science fiction novel, it’s that real. It is also scary and prophetic. It is a reading experience that will leave you dreaming of the grave emptiness of Arrakis and make you wish you were there to brave it all in the privileged company of the noble Fremen. Frank Herbert achieves the pinnacle of what a sci-fi author aspires to rise to; authentic world building.

  • Lyn
    Jul 18, 2011

    Dune.

    No other single syllable means as much to the science fiction genre, a single word that conjures images of sandworms, spice wars, great battles between rival dynastic families and a massively detailed and intricately crafted universe. No wonder this is widely regarded as not just a Science Fiction masterpiece, but a literary achievement as well.

    Like a study of Shakespeare, the reader finds that this is an archetype upon which many influences and imitators have based their works. The comple

    Dune.

    No other single syllable means as much to the science fiction genre, a single word that conjures images of sandworms, spice wars, great battles between rival dynastic families and a massively detailed and intricately crafted universe. No wonder this is widely regarded as not just a Science Fiction masterpiece, but a literary achievement as well.

    Like a study of Shakespeare, the reader finds that this is an archetype upon which many influences and imitators have based their works. The complexity and depth of the creation is staggering and I am continually astounded at the discipline with which Herbert must have focused his imagination.

    This is the book upon which Herbert would base his greatest series and one that would outlive him as his son has continued to expand and add detail to the vast, immaculate tapestry woven by a true master of the genre. Encapsulating political, economic, sociological, biological, cultural and dynastic themes, Frank Herbert has set a high standard for later practitioners.

    Brilliant.

    ***2015 reread - Read years later, this has lost none of its narrative power, if anything I can better appreciate the virtuoso attention to detail Herbert exhibited in his epic creation. From the perspective of having read his later 5 Dune sequels, I am astounded at the rich tapestry he has woven. Most impressive was his close omnipresence, analyzing the thoughts and minute actions and subtle nuances of his complicated dynamic interplay of characters. The exhaustive training of the Bene Gesserit and the intricate relations of the Houses and the Guild would stand as a monumental benchmark for speculative fiction ever since.

    This time around I found myself looking more closely at the Harkonnens and will likely read some of Brian Herbert's additions to his fathers great work

  • Matthew Quann
    Jan 04, 2017

    I’ve been sitting at this keyboard for longer than I care to admit trying to coalesce my thoughts about

    into something coherent. You already know it’s fantastic though, right?

    is one of those novels that is spoken of in reverential tones by seasoned reader and relative newbie alike. It’s considered by many to be

    best sci-fi novel of all time and Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert, rightfully calls it sci-fi’s equivalent to

    for inspiring all that came after its publicati

    I’ve been sitting at this keyboard for longer than I care to admit trying to coalesce my thoughts about

    into something coherent. You already know it’s fantastic though, right?

    is one of those novels that is spoken of in reverential tones by seasoned reader and relative newbie alike. It’s considered by many to be

    best sci-fi novel of all time and Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert, rightfully calls it sci-fi’s equivalent to

    for inspiring all that came after its publication.

    So, I mean, what in the name of Shai-Hulud am I supposed to add to that?

    Well, I’ll begin with the story of how I came to read

    . I’m sure that there have been ample opportunities to read the book. I can remember seeing the black-spine amidst a forest of other spines on my cousin’s bookshelf, of which I had free reign. Yet something always kept me from picking it up. It could have been my obsession with fantasy novels at that time with only the briefest allowances for sci-fi. Whatever the reason, the book continued to pop up. Its sliver of desert on a black background called to me from piles at used bookstores, the shelves of friends and relatives, and even on public transportation. All the same, I never got around to it.

    Two factors finally made the difference. The first, my well-read friend (Josh Bragg in real life, but he’s on Goodreads too!) always brought it up as one of the best books he’s ever read. He also took the opportunity to remind me to read it whenever book recommendations went flying between us and, foolishly, I kept putting him off. But I’m a sucked for a great looking book and these Penguin Galaxy sci-fi collections sealed the deal for me. Their elegant cover designs, the intros by Neil Gaiman, a selection of books I’d always been meaning to read, AND

    was on it? I was absolutely delighted to find the book under the tree on Christmas morning and tore into it in earnest.

    Though it took near 200 pages to really pick up speed, the novel had me hooked from its immersive opening. Here was a world that was familiar and strange at the same time. There are elements of fantasy and religion coupled with interplanetary travel and space empires. The characters touted titles that were inscrutable at the beginning, but became part of my vocabulary before the novel’s end. The novel refused to tell me everything I needed to understand, secreting mysteries without ever outright stating them. How could I not want to know what Kwisatz Haderach meant? How could I not want to know the secrets of Arrakis?

    I was swept away by this novel that mixes sci-fi concepts of higher dimensions with political intrigue. Environmental change mixed with an unlimited cast of enthralling characters, and a drop of religious philosophy.

    is a novel of the highest order: it combines entertainment with brilliant questions that pull from an incredible number of disciplines. Of course, if you just want to read a compelling tale of political plotting, murder, adventure, and discovery, you can totally do that too.

    In the afterword, Brian Herbert notes a conversation he had with his father about the writing and structure of

    . Frank Herbert constructed

    so that it would be immensely dense. Herbert wanted to create a tale that could be enjoyed on the level of the central conflict: a boy becoming a man trying to reclaim his heritage against astounding odds in a world beyond imagining. Here’s an excerpt from that afterword about the layers.

    The fact that the novel can be enjoyed from any number of different readings alone makes it a novel of huge significance.

    doesn’t force you into thinking, but it invites the interested to partake in its rich metaphor and multifaceted meaning. What’s more, Herbert makes statements about his concepts, but rarely does he offer them as the only solution (barring, perhaps, an ecological viewpoint that bemoans industrialization). I dove into different fields of thought between and during readings. I contemplated elegant ideas Herbert proposes and marveled at the structure of the plot and the boundless ideas of this world.

    What a world it is! The world building here could fill a university course as Herbert establishes a world unlike any other, but totally believable. When I read about the stillsuit I was astonished by its creativity, but also how it imparted valuable information about the world of Arrakis. Though the sandworms scream for attention throughout the novel, equal care is given to the hierarchy of the Empire, the mystical Bene Gesserit religion, and the curiosities of culture. Herbert also seems to have invented a group of hallucinogenic compounds that are in equal parts trippy, interesting, and betray an interesting look at 1960s culture.

    Of course, when the ride does end, it is immensely satisfying.

    ends leaving unanswered questions in a fashion that made me feel like I knew enough to be entirely contented. Which, of course, begs the question: will I read the other

    novels?

    Welllllllllllllllll, maybe.

    It’s highly daunting to look at the entire

    and think that I would tackle that. Especially when

    ends in a way that makes me so happy, and especially when the subsequent novels purportedly deliver diminishing returns. For now, I’m too overjoyed and impressed by

    to consider returning to the world anytime soon other than to re-read the novel.

    Obviously, I can’t recommend

    enough. That’s also not a recommendation that goes to the sci-fi crowd alone. Oh no, this is a book that has great appeal to a wide variety of people. You like

    ? Perfect: you’ll love the backstabbing, the plots-within-plots, the combat, the story. You don’t read sci-fi? No worries: there’s a wealth of important themes upon which to reflect. You like sci-fi, your friends continuously recommend you read

    , and you keep putting it off?

    Goodreadians, I think you know what you need to do!

  • Bookworm Sean
    May 02, 2015

    I could never give Dune five stars because I really struggled to get into the novel in the beginning. It has taken me almost two months to read. This, for me, is a very long time to spend on a book. It took me so long to read because I found the writing style incredibly frustrating. I had to read whole chapters again so I could get the gist of the plot. This was more so in the beginning, which I found particularly hard to read because of the author’s way of shifting between the thoughts of multi

    I could never give Dune five stars because I really struggled to get into the novel in the beginning. It has taken me almost two months to read. This, for me, is a very long time to spend on a book. It took me so long to read because I found the writing style incredibly frustrating. I had to read whole chapters again so I could get the gist of the plot. This was more so in the beginning, which I found particularly hard to read because of the author’s way of shifting between the thoughts of multiple characters. I found this very annoying; however, I persevered over my initial despondency towards the writing, and plodded on through the book. I’m glad I did so because in the end I did come to really enjoy it. Indeed, the story is fantastic, but the writing will always remain unbearable for me.

    is to science fiction what

    is to high fantasy; it is the novel that officially, and unarguably, defines the genre. The story begins with the house of Atreides accepting the Dukedom of the planet Dune. The former Baron has been ousted by the Emperor, and is no longer of consequence. Well, that is how it initially appears. Very early on it revealed that the whole thing is a political ploy to bring the house of Atreides to its knees. The Baron lies in wait, and is ready to strike against the new, and benevolent, approach the Duke uses on the Fremen.

    The Fremen are the natives of the dessert planet; thus, they know how to survive its harshness above all others. They do this through their frugal approach to water. They value it above all else, and will never waste a drop in earnest. The Baron Harkonnen, as a chide against the natives, squanders water in the cruellest ways. He, and his dinner guests, throw cups of water on the floor of the dinner hall; it was his tradition. The wasted water was soaked up with towels, which the Baron allowed the Fremen to suck the water out of. When the Duke enters he rejects this custom, and is more respectful to the Fremen way of life. He and his son and heir Paul, who is the protagonist of this novel, go as far as to try the Fremen’s grossly effective water saving suits. These Stillsuits, quite literally, recycle all the water the body wastes and feeds it back to its wearer.

    This early familiarity, with the Fremen technology, no doubt helps to keep Paul’s mind open when he is later forced to live amongst the Fremen. Paul is somewhat of a marvel; he is prophecy’s chosen one. When he eventually gains the trust of the Fremen they allow him to choose a Fermen name. He calls himself after their most revered prophet: Muad'Dib. They accept this and follow him as their leader. His inherited title of Duke dictates that he is their lord, but their religion determines their real loyalty. He has to, quite literally, fight for every ounce of their trust. Indeed, it does not come cheap, and will only be given to one who is a member of their people.

    Thus, Paul becomes their saviour. Consequently, he receives heaps of character development through this book. He goes form boy to the revered leader of a nation. The Fremen, like Paul, want the evil Baron Harkonnen gone from their planet. They do no want a cruel oppressor who is ignorant to their ways: they want Paul. I think the imagination behind the Fremen culture really is wonderful. They have efficiently adapted to survive their harsh planet. To emphasise this point you need only look at the fact that off-world humans live in fear of the giant Sandworms that infect the planet whereas the Fremen ride them as a coming of age ritual. Indeed, Paul has to ride a worm if the Fremen are to follow him.

    The result of this is a very complex, and intriguing plot. I found the first third of this book to be very perplexing initially. This is a world we are told about rather than shown at the start. We hear about the Fremen but do not truly understand them till the very end. I was very overwhelmed at the beginning, and in all honesty I do think this novel merits a re-read to further establish my understanding of it. This did affect my rating because it inhibited by enjoyment of the book.

    Indeed, aside from Paul there is a whole host of dynamic, and well rounded, characters. His mother is to be the new revered mother of the Fremen people, which for someone of her age is quite remarkable. There is also the captain of Duke Leto’s household guard who is a very deep and honourable individual. As much as I came to like these characters I was still frustrated with the writing of them in the beginning. I found it difficult to read scenes in which up to four characters internal thoughts are portrayed alongside their dialogue. It wasn’t always clear who was thinking. I much prefer a narrative that is focalised through one person. Well, at least one person per chapter.

    Overall, I thought the idea behind this novel was utterly fantastic. However, my personal reaction to the writing style limited my overall enjoyment of the book. I do intend to read some of the sequels. However, I do not have any intention of doing so in the near future. Maybe, in a couple of years I will return to the brilliant, and annoyingly written, world of Dune.

    I thought |I’d show of some more pictures of my beautiful folio society edition of Dune. Also, all of the pictures (except the first) in my review are from the artwork in this edition. Enjoy!

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    Jun 02, 2015

    I was so worried that I wouldn't understand a thing in this book. I will admit there are some things that went over my head but for the most part I figured it out.

    I remember a billion and 65 years ago I watched the movie and was like what the? Basically all I remember is Sting and sandworms. I would love to watch it again and see if I understand it more after reading the book.

    I'm still not sure what all the spices were about on Arrakis. I keep thinking it's like their farming like we would far

    I was so worried that I wouldn't understand a thing in this book. I will admit there are some things that went over my head but for the most part I figured it out.

    I remember a billion and 65 years ago I watched the movie and was like what the? Basically all I remember is Sting and sandworms. I would love to watch it again and see if I understand it more after reading the book.

    I'm still not sure what all the spices were about on Arrakis. I keep thinking it's like their farming like we would farm corn or tobacco, etc. I could be wrong and I didn't get the connection between the spice and the sandworms. Is it like a drug to them? I did read in the back of the book that is was like a drug when taken in small quantities and really addictive when taken in large quantities and that Muad'Did felt his prophesies were because of the spice.

    I liked Duke Leto and I hated that he was betrayed not long after they got to Arrakis. There is always some twat out there causing trouble.

    I really enjoyed Paul's character and his mother Jessica. They seemed like really strong people and adapted very well in everything they were put through. I didn't really pay too much attention to the other characters or I guess I should say I didn't have many thoughts about them. With the exception of the ones that betrayed them.

    I really enjoyed when Paul and Jessica had to travel to get away from the evil Baron Harkonnen before they were killed too. I don't know why, but I enjoyed their little journey. I think they were both great in their roles when they were found by the Freman and showed they were a force to be reckoned with. Now maybe I'm getting this all wrong but I'm trying to tell it through the way I saw it in my mind.

    I don't understand how Paul's sister, Alia, was an abomination. That one must have went over my head too. It might have had something to do with the poison Jessica took to become the Reverend Mother. I'm not sure but I know some of my goodreads friends that read this will get me sorted out =)

    Other than the sandworms and traitorous people on Arrakis, I was most freaked out by the thought of the water issue! I would NOT was to live somewhere there was a water shortage. And the part where they were talking about selling foot water, I can't even. Which basically means your stinky foot sweat!

    Overall I really liked the book. I enjoyed traipsing through this desert with Paul and his mother. Only in book form though, not in real life!

    Since they are doing re-makes of about a million different movies, I wish they would re-make this one because I think it would be really awesome! I would like to see this land come to life in today's time!

    I don't know if I'm going to continue with the series as I have heard this is the best one and the others get confusing. But I would like to see how Paul is as a ruler and what all happens to them, or maybe not depending on what all happens.

    If anyone can answer any of the things I was confused with that would be helpful =)

    Also, I have seen some pictures on here of this really cool Dune book with art in it. Does anyone have a link of where to get that book or is it still available? Thank you :-)

    MY BLOG:

  • Carol.
    Oct 03, 2015

    I blame the movie.

    I was an avid but novice fantasy and sci-fi reader in 1984 when David Lynch’s

    rolled out as a big-budget adaptation of the 1965 classic book. It was an artistic and box-office failure with Roger Ebert calling it “a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion.” Numerous references were made to its excessive length, particularly a tv edition that was over 3 hours long. I never did pick up the classic sci-fi book, assuming the commentary heard abou

    I blame the movie.

    I was an avid but novice fantasy and sci-fi reader in 1984 when David Lynch’s

    rolled out as a big-budget adaptation of the 1965 classic book. It was an artistic and box-office failure with Roger Ebert calling it “a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion.” Numerous references were made to its excessive length, particularly a tv edition that was over 3 hours long. I never did pick up the classic sci-fi book, assuming the commentary heard about the movie applied to the book. All that changed when I broke my finger and found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands (groan).

    Besides,

    Dune has a lot of ingredients that don’t fit into my preferred stories, yet the gestalt was not only tolerable, but engrossing.

    It begins with the Atreides family preparing to shift their holding from their current home to the planet of Arrakis. The Emperor has given the Atreides the territory and trade on the planet of Arrakis, formerly under control of their enemies, the Harkonnen. The planet Arrakis is hot, arid and generally hostile to life. There is, however, a small population of native, fierce Freman who have managed to build an existence in the desert.

    Paul Atreides is the young heir of the family, and mystical testing reveals he might be the one prophesied.

    Paul undergroes a rapid growth curve, facilitated by his teacher Dr. Yeuh and his father’s advisors.

    But it is in the desert that Paul will discover his strength as well as his new people.

    Seriously, now.

    Honestly, I have to wonder how much of this

    is generational. If Sanderson or Rothfuss wrote this book, two chapters in Dune would have made a whole book, and while detail may have been added, it likely would have made for a book as slow as the movie. I liked the scope of Dune, and that there is a resolution to the initial conflict. It is also interesting that despite the volume of concepts packed in here, with political maneuvers, terraforming, technology, cultural assimilation, and mysticism all playing roles that I didn’t find it overwhelming, perhaps because so much is genre-familiar.

    On the downside, it could have perhaps used a bit more transitions, particularly near the end when months at a time are skipped. Writing was solid; nothing really stood out, but it told the story well. There’s some vague mysticism that might irritate those who like explanations. It was a bit of an eye-roller to have the chief villain be a fat, gay, sadistic pedophile, but Herbert really isn’t thinking outside the trope character box much (it’s not enough that he sentences people to death but he has to be physically abhorrent? And gay?). World-building is fun, but standard desert.

    Overall, I’m glad that I finally took the time to read it and put those old assumptions to rest. I love a good hero.