Dune – Frank Herbert

Thanks to those of you who voted for my next read.  As it was a three way tie, I decided I’d go through the books in alphabetical order.

Dune by Frank Herbert was published way back in 1965 and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards at the time.  It is the first novel in the Dune saga.  Another five books follow this one.

The setting is a feudal / commercial future in a universe ruled by the Emperor Shaddam IV.  It is a story of political intrigue, machinations and general nastiness among the ruling class of the universe.  The main setting is the desert planet, Arrakis and the main characters are the members of the House of Atreides and the Baron Harkonnen.  The Emperor is pivotal in the plot, but is only brought forward at the end of the novel.

I enjoyed reading Dune, and at certain points in the story found myself unable to put the book down.  For the most part it is well paced and does a good job of holding your attention.  Surprisingly I did not find it showing its age.  It has been written in a manner that will probably see it stand the test of even more time.
While I did enjoy reading it, I cannot say that it caught my imagination.  I would be happy to read more about the characters – Paul Atreides, Chani, Jessica and Gurney Halleck – which is lucky as I believe I may have at least one or two more in the series buried in the Bedside Pile, but unlike the Foundation series it just didn’t leave an imprint on me when I had finished it.

I thought the creation of the culture of Arrakis was very well done, right down to the idea of the stillsuits and the unspecified action of reclaiming people’s water for the tribe.  The characters were well written and it only really became formulaic towards the very end.  But then that formula also allows the series to continue.  It will be interesting to see how the author moves the characters and their universe on in the next installment.

If you like science fiction as a rule, then you will probably enjoy this.  If you’re a sci fi nut then you’ve probably already read the entire series.  I would give it a 3 out of 5.

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