Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dune by Frank Herbert

I’m just going to out myself here and say that, for me, Dune is definitely a multi-read book. I knew going in that a science fiction classic wasn’t going something with a half-dressed space lady on the cover, but I didn’t realize that it would have several appendices. That’s Tolkien-level intense.

Dune, the much-beloved masterpiece by Frank Herbert, is not something that you can slam down in a day. It’s not just about the son and concubine of a fallen duke going native on a desert planet and leading a rebellion. Instead, it explores themes of ecology, religion, politics, and force of will. Herbert has created a deep and teeming universe, one that requires post-scripts about history, the ecology of the planet Arrakis, and the establishment of religion by committee. It has to be a monumental task to create a universe so intense that it requires its own dictionary (which can also be found in the back of the book).

Herbert’s novel has left me so off balance that I’m not sure how to review it. It will take me a while—and perhaps a brief look at the Cliff Notes—to pick it back up again, much less move on to the sequels. I’ve directed my little brother, he of the engineering degree, to pick this one up so that we can have a discussion about it. Granted, I’ll have to sit through a lecture about stillsuits, but it will be worth it to hear a different take on a book that requires you to sit down and think.

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