Review of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune by Frank Herbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Follow my 2022 reading journey. I’ll try to write a review of what I’m reading throughout the year.

Dune is slow going at first, but richly rewarding if you stay with it. A blurb on the back of the edition I read commented that the only other work that does world building on this level is Lord of the Rings That’s not a bad comparison. You’ll find a lot of dense mythology,

Dune was first published in 1965, the year before I was born. I’ve never been much of a sci-fi fan, but I wanted to try this one after the movie came out this year. I was struck by how much its story arc has been imitated in other stories that have come since. Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, Avatar— all about outsiders with superior technology who learn the ways of the native people, become accepted by them, marry a local girl, rise as a leader, and then defeat the people they came from.

I don’t know if Dune did it first or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if Herbert was influenced by the real life story of Lawrence of Arabia. The idea of “desert power” certainly reminded me of the British hero of WW1, who fought alongside Arabs against the technological superiority of the Germans.

I do have an issue with the audiobook, though. Simon Vance is always excellent as a narrator, and I would have been fine with the entire book done by him. But there are some chapters that are dramatized— James Earl Jones as Baron Harkanen, Scott Brick (also one of my favorites) as Duke Leto, and later as Stillgar, I think. And that’s the problem. Either go all the way with one or the other. Or have some logical reason for switching to a dramatized version. And this isn’t Hamilton. Don’t have the same narrator reading multiple parts, unless he’s the only narrator you have. It was just so jarring going back and forth.

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