Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Read: Dune

If you came here this week looking for a post about The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiha then I'm very sorry, but an emergency reading project has arisen and delayed it for a week, instead you get this thing about one of the books I read during The Big Sleep, as I am now officially referring to the six months of my life more or less completely lost at the beginning of this year.

I don't know how exactly it was that I managed to get this far into life without reading such a staple of science-fiction as Frank Herbert's classic Dune, but however it occured, I have now rectified this grevious, grevious error, and the contents of my unread bookshelf mean that I'll soon be devouring other classics of the genre, too.

I'm more than a little bit daunted at the idea of reviewing Dune, not only because it's condsidered one of the absolute masterworks of SF, and not only because Frank Herbert was one bad-ass dude, but because of both of those combined with the knowledge that the cruel readership of this here blog will rip me apart if I dare to suggest that there's anything wrong with it.

Thus, I think it's very important to mention right off the bat that I really this book, it was a fun little story. But, I don't think that I missed anything by not reading it until now. The fact is that living in the world that I do, and the society of nerds (to put it generously) with whom I normally associate, I've had enough knowledge of Dune to get this joke, be able to enter into superficial conversations as if I'd read it. This is the problem with books that are so much part of society's psyche that you feel like you've already read them, you feel no need to actually read them. And the fans are kinda off-putting sometimes, too.

Page 123:
The Duke glanced down to the left at the broken landscape of the Shield Wall -- chasms of tortured rock, patches of yellow-brown crossed by black lines of fault shattering. It was as though someone had dropped this ground from space and left it where it smashed.
They crossed a shallow basin with the clear outline of gray sand spreading across it from a canyon opening to the south. The sand fingers ran out into the basin -- a dry delta outlined against darker rock.

Well, now I've read Dune, and even enjoyed it, it was everything that it cracked up to be. No longer being twelve years old like I was when I did a lot of my sci-fi reading (ok, let's admit it, it was mostly Star Wars books), I was able to appreciate the book for more than just its adventure story. The world and characters of Dune are as well-realised as any in fiction, the story is tight enough to maintain the tension but slow enough to allow some philosophising, which is a tough path to steer. The whole all-knowing protagonist with convenient blank spots thing seems like a bit of a cop-out, but it was a nice idea presented as well as I could imagine it being done, so A+ for effort.

If you haven't read it, I'd recommend picking it up. If you're in Adelaide (or frankly even if you're not, I've been looking for an excuse to use these snazzy new $2 stamps) I've got a copy you can borrow. Please give it back some time.

You didn't read this looking for an actual review, did you? Because if you did, that's not what we do here. I'm more into reviewing things that hardly anyone has hear of, thereby saving myself from the inevitable storm of abuse.

As for my penance for not getting around to Dune for so long, I'm going to read the rest of the series. All of it. No matter who wrote it. I will do the world and my pocket a favour by not buying those written by others, but borrowing them from the library instead. You'll know when my brain leaks out of my ears when I stop posting.

Reading List Progress:
Number of Books read: 4
Australian quotient: 1.045
Fantasy quotient: 2
Science Fiction quotient: 1
Biography quotient: 1
Next Up: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and This Earth of Mankind

No comments: