It seems that at last I’m slowly recovering my reading rhythm… I hope that the degree project doesn’t prevents me again from doing it.
Original title: Dune. Spanish title: Dune. Author: Frank Herbert (USA, 1920 - USA 1986). Year: 1965. Genre: Sci-Fi. Language: English. Read in: English. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton LTD. Pages: 604. Size: - ISBN: 9780450011849.
Plot outline Duke Leto Atreides, head of the Great House Atreides, and natural from Caladan, a paradisiac planet, has been chosen by the Emperor Shaddam IV to rule Arrakis, a desert planet (Dune is its colloquial name) that is the only source of a spice called melange, the most valuable substance in universe. To that planet he will move with his family, friends, army and servants, always aware of possible threats made by the Harkonnens, a Great House rival of the Atreides.
Comment without Spoilers This is one of the most complete sci-fi books I’ve read lately, as it has almost everything you can look for in a novel, that is: a high sci-fi load, twisted plots, action, adventure, mysticism and religion, prescience, drugs, politics, romance, treason and treachery, environmental awareness… almost everything you can name, makes its appearance in the novel.
The rhythm of the narrative has a perfect timing, without being too slow nor too fast to follow, and most of the time taking its proper time to create a solid story that doesn’t leaves any loose detail. However, there’s one part that disappoints me, and it’s the end, for in that part everything happens in a rush towards the end of the novel, as if Herbert suddenly decided that he was tired of writing and just wanted to set a fast final. I’m not saying that I don’t like the ending (because I like it), only that I think that it comes too sudden compared with the rest of the novel, as if he didn’t wanted to dedicate much time to it. This is the only reason why I rated the book with a 4 instead of a 4.5.
The characters are very well depicted, giving us a detailed view of the inner thoughts and motivations of the main personages, so we can see the different stages to which evolves each one of them. Also they’re very charismatic, and it’s very easy to become sympathy for them.
The background of the novel is as solid as the rest of the story, so we can say that Herbert made a great work with this feature. Everything has its purpose for appearing in Dune, and every fact that could misguide the reader is sufficiently explained.
The edition published by Hooder (and that doesn’t corresponds to the image I put in this post, but I don’t have an scanner to upload the correct one) is good. The book is robust, the pages are clear and with a proper thickness, and the printing, aside from being very clear, uses an easy to read font.
As you can already tell by now, I loved this book, and it really trapped me from almost the very beginning. Now I know why it became the first sci-fi bestselling novel ever, and it’s because it’s definitely a “must read”.
Now I’m thinking if I should read any of the original sequels, as they seem to be quite different from this one. Until I make a decision, I think I’ll watch both the Dune movie (yes, I know it’s not very good) and the Dune TV miniseries. Soon you’ll see here my comments about them, probably.
One of the things in which I think that Frank Herbert slightly failed in this novel, is when he was trying to hide the connection between the melange and the sandworms, but I think that, almost since the characters arrive to Arrakis, it’s clear that they have a very strong connection. And the reader doesn’t need any Bene Gesserit training (nor the clue dropped by Paul during the dinner) to know that.
End of SPOILERS
mrithail.com: Dune (Novel).
mrithail.com: Dune Extended Edition (Film).
mrithail.com: Frank Herbert’s Dune (Miniseries).