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June 30, 2004

I Read DUNE While Traveling In Europe.

If you're around my age, when you think of Dune, an image like this comes to mind:

And you just know of it as David Lynch's film that failed massively, was supposedly incomprehensible, and features Sting in leather. Which means you can't really take it seriously.

Well, I hadn't given Dune much thought until two recent occurrences:
- Living with a woman who went very far out of her way to find the fifth Dune book, because she loves the series so much
- The Believer Issue June 2003 featured an essay which not only took the series seriously, but felt it illuminated some aspects of contemporary life.

So, I found a used copy, and read it on the trip.

It's pretty good. It's most impressive as a history -- the world that Herbert creates is remarkably rich and textured. It has a real presence. It's less impressive as a narrative/story -- the plot is pretty hackneyed (Christ figure story, very melodramatic good vs evil, some awkward devices to keep the story moving). But those shortcomings didn't prevent me from enjoying the book. And recommending it to you, dear reader.

Posted by peterme at June 30, 2004 05:44 PM

Comments

Maybe I'm just a bit older than you, or just a geekier sci-fi fan-child, but Dune was something I read many times before the film came out. I went through the series a number of times, but always came back to the first one. Every time I read it, it was about something else.

I tried one or two of the prequels that came out in the last few years, but they were barely tolerable reading. I won't be finishing that series.

The National Lampoon "Doon" parody struck me as pretty damn funny when I was young, too.

But really - the fact that I found something new as a theme each time has ensured the book a place in my personal faves.

Posted by: Steve Portigal at June 30, 2004 06:19 PM

Man, you have a greater attention span than I. I have TRIED to read the book 3 or 4 times and have even tried to listen to the book on tape but could never get past about the 3rd extremely boring chapter. Its supposed to get get somewhere along the line -- I know a few people who loved it, but everyone seems to agree that the beginning is pretty slow. How long before it starts to move or become stimulating?

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