Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune Dune by Frank Herbert

My review

What can you say about Dune, really? A classic of science fiction literature; a book that many consider to be the best of the genre. I last read it probably 20 years ago in high school — I remembered a lot of sand, I remembered enjoying it, and then I have some sort of weird memory of a movie with Sting in it, but that was pretty much the extent of things.

Then the other day a friend of mine tweeting about the acquisition of Sun by Oracle as another one getting gobbled up by House Harkonnen, which triggered me to reread it.

This time around, I understood a lot more of what the book is about, of course, and enjoyed it just as much. It’s a great book, for sure — although my memory of the rest of the sequels is still good enough that I’m not going to ruin the original by re-reading those.

I think the pacing is a little on the slow side — not really contemporary speed, anyway — but the idea, and the bigness of the setting are of course amazing, as is the range that Herbert shows, going from huge imperial family intrigue & wars to personal mysticism.

Anyway, definitely worth reading again.

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  1. I still recommend “Dune Messiah” to people. I was hanging out with science fiction author David Williams on Saturday and we discussed it briefly. It stands well.

    I must admit that I never read anything after “God Emperor of Dune” and I barely got through that though.

  2. Amen, Mr. Billings! After the third book I could hardly stay focused on the sand worms, etc. Still, Dune is one of the more memorable novels that I’ve read. Check out
    my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal? This exciting tale is a romantic action adventure in space and is more about the characters than the technology.

  3. David Lynch has great stories of the emotional breakdown he had with Dino Delaurentis on a spiritual level when DeLaurentis cut out half of his film version. I think he literally went into psychiatric observation because the book had so influenced him. DeLaurentis of course was looking at the per screen /daily viewing ratios but who knows now that you bring it up…you know looking at David’s other films it may have been the mix of his already contemplative pacing and the notion of a book without a contemporary speed of storytelling.

  4. I guess I’ll be the one to stand up for the last three books, although I’ll be the first to admit that God Emperor is sloooooooow. Since stagnation is one of the main themes, though, it’s a worthy meditation if you know what you’re getting into. Heretics is fast-paced for Herbert with action throughout instead of primarily focused in the last ten percent of the book. Chapterhouse is definitely worth a second read as well. In fact, I find myself rereading the last three books even more than Dune itself, and certainly a lot more than Children and Messiah.