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I just recently read this book. I haven't read any of the others yet, but I really like the first one! I have just been recently been getting into the science fiction genre; I am usually more of a fantasy week. I only just recently watched Star Wars (I know, sad!) but I enjoyed Star Trek as a kid.
Having just finished this fabulous title, the infamous "Dune" by Frank Herbert, I just wanted to know what others' thoughts are on it. I love book discussion!
This book is called "'The Lord of the Rings' of science fiction." For those of you who have read Lord of the Rings, what do you think? Or even those who haven't, do you think this book deserves its famous reputation?
I myself was at first a little disappointed. The beginning grabbed me, but the politics did not attract me. Nevertheless, even from the start, I admired Herbert's world building skills, the level of depth he created in his planet, Dune, and the various cultures of peoples. I am usually not a big action stickler, but...there was a lagging point where I was not super eager to read on. But I did remain curious. Kynes made me read more eagerly; in fact, I would Kynes as the deciding factor of changing my curiousity to eagerness. Between Paul's sidestepping assassination, and Kynes, was a bit dragging for me.
Once the betrayal was truly under way, with Duke Leto dead and Paul and Jessica hurrying to escape, then I was totally taken in, and for the rest of the book I was fascinated. I was "on the edge of my chair." The intelligence, the amount of research put into this book, really made me smile, as I am a writer myself. I also really enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter/section.
The movie of Dune is one of my brother's favorite movie; he hasn't read the book though, and I've heard book-lovers hate the 1984 "Dune." Did you know there is another one coming out in 2012? I admit I'm curious, and now that I have finished the book "Dune," I am eager to see the 1984 film and judge it for myself.
Even when the plotty part of "Dune" wasn't grabbing me, I found Herbert's writing of his characters drew me in. Paul is of course the most fascinating.
Anyway, I would say more but I need to think...I literally just finished the book and came on here to order the second in the series, "Dune Messiah."
Any thoughts welcome!
Just be aware, the rest of the series, by Frank, is a lot drier and less exciting than "Dune". The prequels and sequels by Herbert and Anderson are on a whole nother level [and it isn't a higher level], I really enjoyed them, just more of action/drama than the Epic'ness of "Dune". At least you don't have to wait 20+ years for the ending of the Dune saga [whatever you think of that ending]
I am sorry to hear that the rest of the series doesn't live up to its fantastic beginning. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with a lot of series...it is hard to hold things up to the same level, book after book.
The film was...well, if I think too much about the film in comparison to the book, argh! then I see the film as bad. There is so much they skipped, and a film just cannot get the depth of Dune. I think they tried to make it more depthful and to get so much across - they had dialogue straight from the book, they even had voiceovers with characters' thoughts but...it fell short.
When I think of the film in and of itself, I enjoyed some of the visuals, such as the spaceships going through that mirror/frame thing when they were crossing from Caladan to Dune, and I think that of the DUNE films/tv series there have been, Kyle McLachlan's Paul Atreides at least looked like Paul and felt more like Paul, to me, than other actors' Pauls did.
I enjoyed the ending of "DUNE." I was surprised that it ended right there, with that quote. I turned the page and thought, "What? It's done?"
It sounds like Herbert's remaining 5 of the series lean more towards the political/government aspect? Oh dear...I shall see for myself...
As for Brian Herbert's DUNE unofficial prequels/sequels...from what I've heard, they are too different, and readers who very much like Frank Herbert's original series don't enjoy them. Soo...I doubt I will ever pick them up. Especially since it sounds like Brian Herbert added too much, so much so that he actually changed the canonical facts of DUNE's characters, etc., in his prequel/sequel writings. I don't like that. I think if a writer is finishing what another writer started, and it wasn't intended to be a collaborative work, the writer should stick to the known facts of the story and try to stick with the spirit of the original book/draft/notes.
I have read some of Christopher Tolkien's finishing of his father's books/notes; I enjoyed "Children of Hurin". It felt like something J.R.R. Tolkien wrote.
I think the politics and religion are an integral part of the overall Dune story, which I've always viewed as a sort of allegorical essay on modern civilzation. I can understand why those aspects make the story dry, but since I find those subjects fascinating in their own right, it works out quite well for me lol. Frank Herbert was aware that many people lost interest after reading the sequels, and blamed this in part of a natural aversion to his use of the archetypal Hero. He had always intended to make his stories an indictment of the concept of the Hero, echoed in a line attributed to Pardot Kynes, father of Liet: "No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.". The point was to show the decline of the Hero, the mistakes that he felt were inherent to the Hero's character, yet often if not entirely ignored in other literature. Again, I can understand why this puts people off, but I've found that, for those of us whose interest wasn't diminished by these factors, the sequels proved to be insightful and inspirational in regards to the potentials and pitfalls of human nature, and to a certain degree a bit enlightening in regards to the various forms and functions of politics/religion, shown as essentially two sides to the same authoritarian coin. All in all, reading the Dune series has been a bit of a milestone in my life as a reader, one I repeat every so many years to remind myself of all the various ideas it contains and inspires :)
p.s. everyone knows the film was a horrible translation from page to celluloid, but on its own, I think it's a total classic!
James L, thank you for your thought-provoking post. I have not read anything more but Dune yet, but your words make me hope that the sequels will be as good as the first book is. I was not attracted by the politics and government, but what you say about the hero archetype does pique my interest. So hopefully the later books will be enjoyable to me. I am glad to hear that they were so attractive to you. I hope that they are to me, too. We shall see!
When you say Hero what pops off the top of my head is a perfect, glorious character, someone who is too good to be true. And the idea of a writer's shredding down this Hero-as-perfect idea is quite magnificent, to me; he is creating new ideas in his reader's minds, he is exploring the archetype, he is stretching the limits of the definition of a "Hero"...it is all very creative, and really, that's how writing should be, I think. It shouldn't be about limits.
I also like the explorations of human nature...I definitely see that in "Dune."
Apologies if I make no sense. I am tired.
I am so happy to hear that you have introduced yourself to the Dune series. I have read them all, and then read them all again over 3 times each. I love Dune, but find Messiah and Children to just be filler. The first time I read God Emperor, I hated it. Then I started the series again, and found that God Emperor is now my favorite of all 5 books. The following ones I also enjoyed immensely. I was so sad when they ended.
For me, I can always pick up one of these books and find myself once again in the world of Dune, spice, worms, and the politics of the entire universe Herbert created. I have also read all of Herbert's other books and he is just one of my favorite writers. Because of that, I cannot bring myself to read those by his son based on his father's prior work.
Also, I am a female and when reading up on Herbert, the man he had such respect for his wife and you can see how that influenced and is reflected in his strong female characters. All and all, I recommend that you stick with it and read the entire series. I enjoyed reading them over because I find I miss so much the first time around. Each time I read them, I always find stuff I missed before.Try to get to God Emperor as it helps clarify and answer so much of the truth behind teh Jihad and the reationship of the spice to the politics of the univere, not just the Dune planet.
Hope this helps and I do hope you make it through the entire series. It's funny that I just read this message as just the other day I was over at SFBC(Sci-Fi Book Club) and was going to order the whole set!
Best to you...