Dune by Frank Herbert is considered by many to be one of the greatest science fiction series in existence today. I admit that it took me two tries to finish this book. During the first, I found the book to be extremely slow and while it did capture my interest, I didn’t have the inner desire to see it through for some odd reason. I decided to revisit Dune a couple months later and really try to take my time with it. There must be a reason why this book and series is so famous among science fiction fans! Suffice it to say, I have managed to complete the book and can say that it was a blast to read through. However, the book requires a lot of patience and the reader must be able to really use their imagination because trust me, that is the only way you’ll get the most out of this book. And even if you are able to do just that, there will still be parts where you’ll just do a double-take. It’s awesome in its own way although it can be a bit frustrating to readers who are not hardcore science fiction readers such as myself.
Dune is about betrayal, loyalties, politics and survival on a planet that is covered in nothing but sand. Naturally, water is one of the most precious commodity and whoever holds water also holds wealth. Not surprisingly, a strange spice called melange which can only be harvested in the desert areas on the planet of Arrakis, also provides a ton of wealth to whomever controls it. It is here we enter in the lives of the Atreides family. We follow young Paul and his family as they move from their home planet of Caladan to the desert planet of Arrakis where Paul will become a legend over time among the Fremen people.
I feel that Dune obviously is a very good science fiction book. However, there were just some parts during the middle of the story that took way to long to develop with not much interesting things happening. The best parts of the book were during the encounters with the sand worms in the desert. These massive guardians of the desert makes farming for melange that much more difficult but necessary nonetheless. The Fremen people of the desert, which you’ll read much about, also holds a mysterious aura that makes them very unique and fun to read at times. Their hardened lifestyle is meant for survival in the harsh desert lands of Arrakis and is very much different from what Paul is use to.
There are also a lot of technology being infused into the Dune world such as flying ‘thopters’, cruiser ships, laser beam weapons, laser shields, rocket launchers and of course, stillsuits. However, don’t expect Dune to be a book heavy on action. It is definitely anything but that. Everything is slow going but most novels of this magnitude is often like this. Characters for the most part are fleshed out enough to give you a sense of their worth and personality. I did wish the author spent just a tad bit more time on developing other characters. The Baron, Reyd, the Sardaukar’s, Count Fenring and the likes are all very interesting but not much time was spent fleshing them out. Luckily, the story itself isn’t spoiled by this so no harm is done.
Dune obviously is a fantastic read. The movies and TV shows that spawned from this series is a testament of this. Whenever I think of what a science fiction novel should be like, Dune comes into mind because it has a bit of everything ranging from strange planets, strange people inhabiting them, space travel, different ruling factions and family houses that secretly scheme for more power, assassins, weird species of animals and of course, special technology that are light years ahead of what we currently have in the present. Reading Dune can be exhausting at times but I’m glad I stuck with it.