Thankfully, I saw the movie long ago enough that I wasn’t too confused by the vast differences. “Dune,” by Frank Herbert, is one of the classics that helped define sci-fi as a genre. It’s set in a foreign solar system, but with such deep explorations of setting, culture, politics, and religion, it feels as real as another country on Earth.
I listened to the dramatized version from Audible, which helped cut out a lot of “he said,” “she said”s, and brought unique voices to the characters. Except, some particular chapters were the straight narration, which told me just how frequently (and annoying) the “he/she said”s were. As interesting as the voices were, the breaks in narration and taglines have me suggest a different format.
Dune’s strongest point is its setting. It thoroughly explores the cultures, societies, and philosophies of a desert planet, contrasting the perspectives of natives verses colonizers. I was highly intrigued by the Bene Gesserit teachings of super analyzing and controlling expressions and body language. The part that lost me was the magic/religious system of the prophesy. The influences of religion bounced between unavoidable and supernatural to non-consequential and merely political.
Though the religion can be a drastic influence on the characters/plot, the conflict is largely about a struggle for colony control. With the unique setting comes unique weaponry and modes of fighting. “Dune” has a nice variety of fight scenes, including assassinations, escapes, one-on-one combat, and group battles. They’re detailed, clever, and (most importantly) realistic.
My rating: ****4.4 stars**** This is one I could see myself reading again, though I’m satisfied enough with this first book not to dive into the enlarged world of the Dune Universe. My mind has enough to wrap around with the Cosmere Universe. 😛