No argument here. Not at all.
I have to admit, one of my most memorable reading experiences was picking up Nine Princes in Amber, shortly after it was released, knowing absolutely nothing about it except it was written by the author of one of my all time favorite novels (Lord of Light). Of course I was a teen at that time and the book just blew me away. There is an adaptation in the works for TV by Robert Kirkman. I am cautiously optimistic.
Haven’t read it yet, but Andre Norton’s Time Traders is free on Amazon right now. (There’s a second book in the series, so maybe they’re hoping people will buy that one afterwards?)
Let the spice flow! Dune is available at amazon and B&N for $2.
Perfect. I’ve never read Dune, and everyone tells me I need to, so yay!
Oh man, yeah. It deserves its classic status. Not just a great story with interesting characters but full of ideas, like the best science fiction is.
I read it first in the mid-90s, then re-read the series in 99. God Emperor of Dune (Book 4) was my favorite for the philosophy it explored. Book 5 was my favorite for being an action adventure, basically. That’s something you can’t really say about the rest of the series. But when I re-read it in 99, I was also amazed at just how good the original trilogy was. I might remember books 4,5 and 6 the most, but the original trilogy really established an amazing world.
Dune + Dune Messiah is the best science fiction novel ever written.
(They’re really the one story split into two books. I highly recommend treating them thus.)
Hm, I read Dune about a decade ago, and liked it enough to immediately buy the next few in the series… and never got around to actually reading them. This could be a good impetus to do so, especially with everyone extolling them.
Dune is a fantastic Science Fiction themed Fantasy. I need to re-read it again.
I don’t like to be that guy who pisses all over a series everyone loves. So I won’t. But I will say that I experienced big time diminishing returns on each Dune sequel, but that’s probably just because the first book is so amazingly awesome. The second, third and fourth books aren’t bad really, they just suffer by comparison, and they do tell a complete story that’s worth experiencing.
Yeah that’s par for the course for the series and I say that loving the first…maybe second book.
Whatever you do, don’t ever read the prequels his son published with Kevin J. Anderson after his death. They start from notes Herbert had set down, so there are some neat ideas, but the writing is absolutely godawful.
I jumped on the Dune offer. I haven’t read it since high school. I know I read the sequel and didn’t like it as much. I may have stopped there or perhaps midway through the third. I agree that the series seemed to run downhill.
I’ve tried to read Kevin Anderson before. I don’t like his writing. I read somewhere that he likes to hike and compose by dictation, and I think he’s one of those writers who follows Heinlein’s rules of never rewriting, which I always thought was a bit absurd.
To be fair to the books that followed Dune… it was a tough act to follow. Dune is one of those rare novels that is just about perfect. It simply set the bar ridiculously high.
No way is Dune fantasy. The Mentats, bene gesserit and spice guild and social constructs are all based around the history of runaway AI/computers and what it means to be human, the world of Dune is driven by ecology, etc.
The only similarity to fantasy is that Paul’s journey is fairly classic Hero’s Journey stuff which tends to be a trope mostly utilized in heroic fantasy, but by no means is exclusive to it.
Yeah I always thought of Dune as fairly hard SF, though a pretty good entry-level one. I had to look up what a coriolis effect was while reading Dune.
Dune (the book) had a real problem with scale. It’s kind of Macbeth level political drama set over the entire galaxy and across worlds, but each house has like 500 soldiers and a mule. It’s not at all interested in the details of numbers, figures or fleshing out the nitty gritty details of logistics. The Harkonnen sneak attack kind of just happens off-screen, so to speak. I think the film does a better job of visualizing the scale of things, and then only just barely.
It’s also pretty clear the Kwisatz Haderach is supposed to be a combination of the “male” (Mentats are always male) and “female” (Bene Gesserits are always female) as Paul explicitly receives Bene Gesserit and Mentat training, something the film kind of blurs over. IE, the intuitive female combined with the analytical male. The whole Fremen prophecy thing is also specifically seeded by the Bene Gesserits centuries ago to “direct” the path of the Fremen along lines they predetermined, which makes everything feel much more deterministic. There are also “pseudo” Kwisatz Haderachs around, guys that almost-kindof reached that point but didn’t quite make it; there is a strange character at the end of the novel that stands there and acts by not acting, whom you never saw before and never see again that’s one of these.
There’s definitely a lot of mysticism. Aside from the obvious parallels to Islam (the story of) and lots of vague religiosity (which it never directly confronts one way or the other) the Bene Gesserit are “powered” by genetic memory, which is at best Jungian and at worst complete nonsense. Guild Navigators imagine their way through space, and the Mentat can compute figures as well as a computer. It’s kind of cool to think about directed evolution but, again, the book doesn’t really flesh this stuff out. There’s also a definite hippy undercurrent of “drugs open the mind, man” vibe to everything.
In other words, i was surprised that the film did some things better than the novel, imo, and that the novel wasn’t the perfect gem of SF i had expected it to be.
The fact that Herbert’s ideas come across as hard sci-fi is a testament to his writing ability and his elegance at crafting a story. I love Dune, but when you take a step back from the work it really is quasi-religious mumbo-jumbo second world fantasy…albeit an excellent entry there.