Dune by Frank Herbert
A brief history of my experience with Dune: I saw one of the Dune miniseries last summer, which was my first introduction into the monumentally important science fiction series. I rather enjoyed it so I watched another one and the (much older) film. This did mean that I knew how the story was going to go when I started reading but I heard, from a guy working at Chapters, that “Dune is to science fiction what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy” so I figured I’d give it a shot.
I also started reading it in January after my father said exasperatedly “don’t you ever read adult books?” but while I was in school I just never got around to recreational reading somehow.
Dune is a science fiction novel, the science fiction novel according to the guy in Chapters that combines some truly spectacular world building with something like a coming of age story. Sort of. The protagonist, Paul Atreides starts out as a boy but by the end of the novel is a kind of superhuman, almost god like, ruler of the galaxy man.
Frank Herbert clearly devoted a great deal of his time (making him some kind of supreme nerd) to creating a fantastically complex universe filled with different groups, each one with a different agenda and motivation that almost makes the book a political thriller as well as a science fiction. Of course, there is always the danger with incredible complex world creation of letting the prose get a little slow and bogged down in details (see J.R.R. Tolkien, who I adore) but for the most part, Herbert avoids this.
I suppose its a little bit late to reveal that I’m a huge nerd (or is it a geek?), since I just finished Dune but I enjoyed the politics of the story probably more than the fight scenes. The motivations of each character are made incredible clear, partly because the reader switches perspectives almost constantly and that makes most of the characters sympathetic, at least for a moment.
Overall its a pretty epic story, with many, many characters (writing a list might have helped me out a little) in a fantastically complicated world where power is always held by whoever controls the spice. Maybe I just think to much about this kind of thing, but that was really interesting to me, how resources can be controlled for political means. I’m not saying that any countries or politicians are doing it right now, I’m just saying, I don’t know, maybe they could. Maybe.
Okay, so this isn’t coming along as coherently as I’d have liked it to ’cause it’s been years since I wrote a book report. The thing I remember most clearly looks something like this:
My favourite characters: Jessica, Chani and Irulan (although she’s hardly in it at all). The reason? Probably because these three women are all motivated by love (for their children, their lovers, their family, in Irulan’s case possibly power) to do incredibly difficult, but also uniquely feminine things. Chani in particular fights with the other Fremen but in the end her greatest sacrifice is not killing or fighting but ….SPOILER. Jessica and Irulan are both driven by politics, but make decisions that will cost them their personal happiness to ensure that what they love is safe.
Okay, so I’m going to have to work on getting my thoughts a little more ordered the next time I try this.
Most recent movie I watched: Avatar I think? But only part of it. I saw it in theatres though so I knew how it ended. That was also when I discovered 3D makes me motion sick. Anyway, pretty movie, that’s probably my only real thought.
Most recent show: Vampire Diaries. Which is a little embarrassing. Good episode though, lots of Damon and Stefan bonding (makes me wish my sister liked me that much). Once again, the big bad evil turns out to be kind of an ally against the newer, even bigger bad evil.
Okay then. Time to go outside or something.