This is at least the fourth time I have read Dune. I have a strong love/hate relationship with the book. I r...moreThis was the SFDG book for August 14 2008.
This is at least the fourth time I have read Dune. I have a strong love/hate relationship with the book. I really don't know how to rate it.
Influence on SF? Obvious 10 out of 10. Cleverness of the Butlerian Jihad and Navigation issues? 10 out of 10. Prose style? Starts about 7 out of 10 and reaches 9 (or even 10) out of 10 by the end. Cleverness of the "politics" (in which every faction praises itself for subtlety): 3 out of 10. Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan would have these guys for breakfast. Ethicality of the book's stance on (ecological) conservation? 3 out of 10. Verisimilitude (or surface plausibility) of all the elements that make up the book: 10 out of 10 Plausibility of all the elements that make up the book if you stop and think about them: 4 out of 10. Annoyance factor of all the "unbreakable 'laws'" that are broken without any consequence in the book: 10 out of 10.
I enjoyed Dune more this time through than any other time I've read it. The politics still seems clumsy, but we in the United States have shown ourselves to be at least this clumsy so far this century. I also think that spending lots of time (with my wife) watching recent, large-cast-of-characters TV shows (on iTunes or DVD! I hate broadcast!) has greatly improved my skills at keeping track of many characters. (As a kid, I'd confuse the Mentats, and had trouble keeping Gurney and Duncan apart. I was also surprised to see depths to Count Fenring and his wife.)
Other things that surprised me this time through: How little we see Duncan, given his tremendous importance in Herbert's sequels; it makes me wonder if he was Herbert's Mary Sue. Also, Dune is praised for its early and strong ecological themes; I was shocked to see how blithely our "heroes" dream of completely destroying the ecology of Arrakis. (My friend Gregory pointed out that I should not mistake "ecology" for "conservation".)
Okay, so this is probably my least coherent review--but that's an accurate reflection of how conflicted I am about this book.
(Finished rereading for at least the 4th time 2008-08-14 around 18:00EDT. Did *not* reread all the appendices.)(less)
Why I read this: I enjoyed rereading Dune for the SFDG.
This is at least the second time I've read this; possibly more. I'd remembered this as my fav...moreWhy I read this: I enjoyed rereading Dune for the SFDG.
This is at least the second time I've read this; possibly more. I'd remembered this as my favorite of the Dune books, and probably my favorite of all the Frank Herbert books I've read. I remembered it as being tightly edited; as packing the virtues of the other Dune books into one-half (one-third?) of the pages. This time through, I can see why others might not like it so much--with less space, there's noticeably less room for characterization or digressions or just wallowing in the story, although the epigrams gives taste of that. Overall: I very much enjoyed it, and appreciated its concision. Will I continue to Children of Dune? Very possibly, though I'm in no huge hurry.