Sara's Reviews > Dune

Dune by Frank Herbert
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's review
Aug 03, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 03, 2011 to March 17, 2012

Okay, so I like Dune. Well, I think I do. I like the STORY of Dune, the world created and the ideas and vistas of thought that Herbert dwells within philosophically. But GOD I hate Herbert's writing style. There are times when it's almost Lovecraftian. He pretends to get inside the heads of his characters but he really doesn't--he says crap like, "They were struck with fear" without actually illuminating the scene further. What in the bloody nine Hells does that MEAN!? Arrrrgggggh. I want to love this book because I love the IDEAS, but OHMYGOD do I want to slap Herbert upside the head for his style (or lack thereof).

So do I give this book four stars (or even five) for the thoughts and ideas or three for the fact that I wanted to throw it across the room because he wrote such flat characters, terribly stilted dialogue, and frustrating prose overall? I guess I'll stick with three--straight down the middle--because I'm sure I'll sucker myself into reading more Herbert when I find myself yearning to learn more about the political, religious and philosophical evolution of Arrakis and the universe that surrounds it. But I'll probably want to wring Herbert's neck through the entirety of those novels, too.

And Herbert has to have succeeded, at least to some degree, if he managed to get me invested in the world itself. I think I'd even recommend this book to others if I feel they'd be interested in the ideas Herbert presents, but my suggestion will probably always be presented with a caveat I wouldn't give when suggesting other idea-laden sci-fi or fantasy like The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, American Gods or Slaughterhouse Five. He's got a talent for imagining worlds; I just don't know if I can give him credit for imbuing those worlds with life as successfully as someone like J.R.R. Tolkien, who made me love not only the ideas but had me breathless and in tears at the end of the Fellowship.
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Reading Progress

08/11/2011 page 62
03/15/2012 page 457
75.0% 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by s.p (new) - rated it 4 stars

s.p Wow, wonderful review. So great ideas at the sacrifice of great writing? Shame sci fi has this issue often, I mean, there are a lot of great ones out there, but there could be so many more if the writing matched the ideas.

Sara Yeah, it's really too bad that it happens to be that way a lot of the time. Even the "classics" of sci fi, like this one, seem to have that problem sometimes. I think it's one thing that has kept lots of "genre" literature from being taken seriously by so many academics.

Oh, another well-written sci fi that I've been LOVING is The Martian Chronicles. Hubby and I started reading it out loud to one another last year. We're going to have to finish it, because it really manages to execute both in idea and style very nicely.

message 3: by s.p (new) - rated it 4 stars

s.p That is a shame. I still return to sci fi every so often because it really is a lot of fun, despite the few drawbacks. It gets a bad rap though even in film and such, but I will always love stuff like P.k. Dick and Dr. Who.

Nice, I've really been meaning to read more Bradbury, thanks for the recommendation, I suppose I will start with that!

Sara Bradbury is great, and he has a deliciously wicked sense of humor. Dick is fantastic, too, and I have a nice list of all the other amazing authors who transcend the genre label and write beautifully as well. I've been reading sci fi and fantasy since I was old enough to read, so I've been a lover of those genres pretty much always.

Sara Elizabeth wrote: "Yes! Did you repost the review when you changed the rating?"

Actually, I changed the rating yesterday and posted the review a few months ago. I was looking at some of my old reviews and decided that three stars was really too low for as well-imagined as the world was and the quality and mythology which the general narrative carried, in spite of the fact that the characterization was overall pretty crappy.

Sara Elizabeth wrote: "Opinions change over time. I certainly respect that. I've done it too."

And, ya know, I respect it in the way that I respect something like The Return of the Native. I don't entirely "like" it, but I have a great deal of respect for what it did to literature afterwards. And what, in some ways (especially where Hardy is concerned), writers who followed accomplished more effectively. So...ya know...props for that.

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