Aug 29, 2005


I don't know. This must be the 10th time I've read Dune by Frank Herbert. I tend to drift back to it when I'm completely upset with the last few books I've read (as is the case right now). It's such an utterly satisfying read. He's not the best writer in the world. One can only take so many reiterations of the phrase "plans within plans within plans" (replace with 'treachery' and 'tricks' as needed). The universe he creates while exemplary compared to other scifi is still full of holes and errors. And finally (at least with this book) the story does paint the primary players (Harkonnens and Atriedes) a little too black and white.

But for all its faults, I love this book. First off there are no throwaway characters and none of them are idiots. When everyone is smart as a whip it creates a tension in the storyline. Dumb people are predictable. Second it doesn't care about science fiction unless it is needed to further the story. The whole point of science fiction is to give freedom to the environment the story is told in not to serve as a crutch to the story. In fact there is frighteningly little technology present in the story. Lastly and most importantly it covers the gamut of topics - politics, economics, ecology, mysticism, religion, linguistics, mythology, anthropology, etc. I can't think of another book that even comes close to building such robust themes in such a short space. I've always felt books like Tolkien's Ring Trilogy and other highly ranked scifi/fantasy books just pale compared to this one. The remaining 5 books are next on my list.

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