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Presented by State Library Victoria

DUNE REVIEW (YUP IT'S THAT DUNE)

This book was great.

When I say great I mean large… Sprawling… Grandiose. Pretty much any adjective you would use to describe some old piece of architecture that can be appreciated for it’s history but to the modern viewer appears slightly flawed and crumbling with age.

*BLURB INTERJECTION*

“Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.”

This blurb does not hope to convey the expansiveness of the world Herbert has created. In order to even have the slightest hope of understanding the various technologies, intergalactic politics and institutions, there is a glossary that must be flipped to every few sentences. I’m sure there are readers who are much better at picking up context clues (and also have a better memory than me), so my take on that is probably a personal view. Also for this reason, I feel as though this book is one that gets better every reread, as the reader isn’t distracted by fleeting thoughts of things like “what in the world is the Butlerian Jihad”

Setting this aside, I just had… one tiny problem. Just a teensy one, that probably has no effect whatsoever on the reading of this book.

The characters – or rather – certain skills and talents wrapped into a neat package of human skin and given a label – I mean… name.

For me, a setting functions in a way that expresses a mood, an atmosphere that the reader shapes their imagination around and that in turn, leaves an impression on the reader. However, settings are not sentient, and (for me at least) the beating heart of a story always lies within the characters. (Even if you don’t agree with me, at least you can agree with human anatomy)

I am not denying the importance or significance of this book, however, I always had the underlying impression that there were only two things of import in this book; plot and setting.

Character? Pfft… Just another tool to advance the plot.

Emotion? Who cares? Stuff it under layers of Bene Gesserit training and complicated subterfuge and ascendancy plot. What is the point of even creating emotional arcs when Chosen One plot armour is in play?

I don’t read epic fantasy/sci-fi very often, so maybe it is just too difficult for a cast of sympathetic and developed characters to coexist peacefully with complex world and intricate storyline.

But… oh well… There’s a movie coming out!

(some expression between a cheer and a grimace)

★★★ (3.4 stars)

4 comments

inky State Library Victoria

I've read a few issues critiquing the film since the trailer came out so I'm not sure if I want to see it or not! (Not that we can actually go to the movies right now anyway)

8th Oct, 20
guppy

Yup... I think it would be interesting to see how the movie handles all the intricacies of the book though!

8th Oct, 20
inky State Library Victoria

A very well written review guppy...you certain have a gift for writing and clearly know what makes a novel move its reader...thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

8th Oct, 20
guppy

Thanks inky!

8th Oct, 20