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Thread: Dune, by Frank Herbert

  1. #1 Dune, by Frank Herbert 
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    "Dune is the greatest SF novel ever written." Those are the generally the first words out of my mouth whenever someone asks me about this book. I know of some places on-line where I can find a few thousand people who will readily agree with me, but if I looked a bit harder, I'm sure that I could find millions. Dune is one of those very few SF books that has enormous appeal outside of the genre. Just look around at the book blogs on the internet; you will find hundreds of bloggers who say things like "I don't really read SF, but Dune was fantastic!" Dune has also garnered in its 40+ year history some serious critical praise as well. This big book has been deconstructed and analyzed by the best of them, so I'll just repeat briefly what we all know, and then get into my ideas about this book. It is the story of Paul Atreides, the unintended end-product of a genetic breeding program, as he became a man. It is the start of Herbert's rally cry against the appearance of charismatic leaders whom the masses always seem to embrace in times of trouble, although that particular theme does not get the attention it truly deserves until the next two books. , more so than Dune Messiah and Children of Dune is rooted more in the adventure-focused camp of tales, though it has an incredible amount of wisdom to impart on its reader. It is a story of political intrigue, in which an emperor and a royal House plot against a rival house, defeat it in a sneak attack the ferocity and size of which took the target completely off guard, and drove its scion and his mother out into the wilderness where they encountered a race of men who were waiting for their Messiah, which the boy pretends to be to great effect. It is the story of how Paul Atreides took advantage of his genetic heritage, became a superman who was viewed by most as a god, and created a future that changed the entire galaxy...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The strength of Dune lies, as does the strength of Lord of the Rings, in the detailed fashioning of an alternate reality. We speak of a willing suspension of disbelief when reading fiction. The richness of Dune's milieu commands us to suspend our disbelief.

    Many SF books since Dune have delivered a comparable attention to detail and the building of an alternate world. Dune stands supreme because it was the first.


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  4. #3  
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    This book bored the hell out of me...
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This book bored the hell out of me...
    I can see how it would. Did you get thru the whole book? His son's books about Dune are easier to read and a bit better, I think.

    Rich
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich584
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This book bored the hell out of me...
    I can see how it would. Did you get thru the whole book? His son's books about Dune are easier to read and a bit better, I think.

    Rich
    Where's that puking smiley?????
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    This book bored the hell out of me...
    Astounding!
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  8. #7  
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    Dune is great science-fiction to me, because it portrays a future that we are rapidly approaching. Forty years ago, no one was mapping the human genome. Herbert, like H.G. Wells, proposed a future where something extraordinary might become possible and what the consequences of that future might be. Humans had been altered genetically by spice to live longer, be better warriors, walking computers or interstellar navigators. Everyone was affected by spice, and spice affected everything. Will we be able to do any less with our DNA map?
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  9. #8  
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    I 'used to' be a big science fiction reader when I was a teen. Dune was one of my favorites. Science fiction is best when one suspends reality and isn't too critical.

    Since a teen, however, I prefer 'near' future sci-fi. Leaps of technology are fine as long as they are rooted in science and not gobblygook fudging over the physical properties of matter and energy.

    Arch: "Dune is great science-fiction to me, because it portrays a future that we are rapidly approaching. "

    Really? Great book but not based on science or any future reality. The novel itself resides in the realm of "soft science-fiction" and crosses into fantasy occasionally. The sciences are rarely explained and concepts of magic, strange creatures and myth are abundant.

    I give Dune an 8 out of 10. Save your cash and the planet by getting it out of the library or picking it up for a dollar at almost any used book store.
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  10. #9  
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    I don't know what it was about Dune, but I only got like halfway before losing interest. I was young when I started reading it, so that might have been a factor, although I started reading the Foundation series books by Asimov at around the same time and ended up devouring the whole series. Now that I have watched two screen versions of the book, I don't really have any desire to give it another try.
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    Raptordigits, what part of genetically engineered human superbeings do you consider a soft science. Most people thought that Jerne’s Nautilus and Well’s ideas about air power and a super bomb were fantasy. After the periodic table of the elements was discovered, chemistry really took off and millions of new compounds were invented. In the human genome, we now have the periodic table of humanity.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arch2008
    Raptordigits, what part of genetically engineered human superbeings do you consider a soft science. Most people thought that Jerne’s Nautilus and Well’s ideas about air power and a super bomb were fantasy. After the periodic table of the elements was discovered, chemistry really took off and millions of new compounds were invented. In the human genome, we now have the periodic table of humanity.
    Yes it is 'soft SF'. Using gobblygook to explain away details is not hard science fiction. Science is in details, not fantasy. Anyone can write about a superbomb or a jetpack or a 'cure' for cancer, etc.

    I will write a book in which the average longevity will be 100 years. You can have your grandkids post to this tread that I was a visionary because I foresaw that folks will live to be 100.

    All this '....author' predicted the future of science, etc. is hype...usually by folks not in the sciences.

    Here's one...I'll write a book in which implanting artificial hearts become a common medical procedure....that will make me as famous as Wells, Verne and Hebert in the realm of understanding of science in futuristic societies.
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    So Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001” is “soft SF” because he never gave a lot of hard details on how orbital space stations, lunar bases, interplanetary spaceships and talking computers were constructed, along with the part that he got the date for these wrong.
    For you to be a visionary, you would have to be the first to convincingly propose people living to be 100, or traveling under the seas in submarines, or that nations would use air power and super bombs to control the world…or that we would some day genetically engineer the whole human race. Until then, my grandchildren have better things to do.
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    Hard science fiction is rooted in known or supported theories about science, even though it frequently makes some use of impossible technology. Larry Niven's Ringworld is a great example. The central conceit in that book is a partial Dyson Sphere, which is something that getting lots of attention in the seventies when the book was written, but also relies on humanoid and non-humanoid aliens, FTL drives anti-gravity and teleportation.

    Soft science fiction is everything else, but in the flurry of stories that do not qualify as hard SF that really means nothing. I would describe stories like Silverberg's A Time of Changes as soft SF because it relies primarily on drug addiction and psychology to get the story across. Psychology (no offense to those of you out there who practice it) is a soft science. Physics is not.

    Dune is something different. Dune was a 1960's extrapolation of pulp era 1930's motifs (evil emperor, scion of a murdered royal cast into the wilderness, laser rays, monsters, etc) and is thus best described as "science/fantasy." Now, it could have been hard SF if genetics were the science behind it (actually the science there was breeding, and the effect on DNA was not applied in a scientific manner at all). It was based on some notes that Herbert took when writing an article on preserving sand dunes in Oregon, but it left all pretense of scientific speculation behind when it became the mythic, fantastic thing that Herbert conceived.
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    Dune is one of the best sci-fi book and series ever written. It creates a universe full of wonder. A struggle for control of a world and its spice. The characters such as Paul, Duncan, the sisters they are all so interesting and different.




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    I initially found Dune to be a hard read but after I read it the first time my mind would wonder back to the tale. When I read it the second time I found it much easier and much more entertaining. Soon I became a Herbert junkie and read everything I could lay my hands on. The Dune series really has "wheels within wheels".

    To my great sadness my Dune books were left behind when I went to University and subsequently "borrowed" for good by a relative. I scan the used bookstores in vain these days looking for copies. I will get my wife to search E-bay for my next birthday, perhaps.

    The only fault I can find with any Herbert story is the lack displayed passion that drives so many of the characters to the extreme.



    As for the movie? How can you expect to present so much in so few hours...impossible!
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetstove View Post
    I initially found Dune to be a hard read but after I read it the first time my mind would wonder back to the tale. When I read it the second time I found it much easier and much more entertaining. Soon I became a Herbert junkie and read everything I could lay my hands on. The Dune series really has "wheels within wheels".

    To my great sadness my Dune books were left behind when I went to University and subsequently "borrowed" for good by a relative. I scan the used bookstores in vain these days looking for copies. I will get my wife to search E-bay for my next birthday, perhaps.

    The only fault I can find with any Herbert story is the lack displayed passion that drives so many of the characters to the extreme.



    As for the movie? How can you expect to present so much in so few hours...impossible!
    I loved the movie when it came out, and it's aged well compared to other early 80's sci-fi. As for the the book well, I prefer real space opera. Saga of Seven Suns is pretty good space opera.
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    I did like the first book and the movie. I have to be really awake when watching the movie however, otherwise I doze off after the initial attack on Arrakis... Baron Harkonnen's heart plug scene gives me the willies though
    The world is almost better than the actual story, which might be the case with Game of thrones since I love the TV serie and find the book draggy.
    I can almost say the same about Lord of the Ring, travelling to a volcano overcoming obstacles along the way isnt the richest plot in the world yet the story ends up interesting anyway.
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    I love Dune but yes it's a tedious read unless you're wide awake and fully paying attention. His kids books are kind of superficial, but at least it fleshes out lots of details.
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    "Dune is the greatest SF novel ever written." Those are the generally the first words out of my mouth whenever someone asks me about this book.
    Call me a heretic, but I disagree. Some of the scientific, ecological and social concepts described are fascinating, but somehow the book is a real struggle to read. And yes, I did finish it.
    And this from a fan of Sci-Fi.
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    I write scifi and I have to say that Dune needed a better editor. Interesting but it does drag.
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  22. #21  
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    It was an enjoyable read but it was more fantasy than Science Fiction. What made it work was grand scale, engaging characters, vivid imagery and story line that carried me along without time to think too deeply about it. There was no workable ecology of Arrakis, no significant technologies that I thought might someday become real. Breeding and practices to develop superior human abilities offered some interesting possibilities but the Kwisatz Haderach powers to see the future and access ancestral memories IMO took it out of SF territory and into fantasy. That's okay but it doesn't leave me thinking it rates as one of the greatest SF novels.
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    I liked Dune and the next book. The rest of the series was predictable, tiresome fantasy dreck. (Hated the film.)
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  24. #23  
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    Absolutely loved the first three books, the series became drivel after that. The film stank. I've read Dune maybe ten times in my life, always found it very easy reading.
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    Not only did the film, as released, stink (IMO the "miniseries, with William Hurt 1 was more than acceptable however) the film as planned was worse. One of the monthly science-fiction magazines did a running update during production/ planning - it put me off anything by Alejandro Jodorowsky for life.


    1 Apart from the pronunciation of Dr Yueh's name. As a Brit I always expected someone to follow up with a comment about porcelain telephones...
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  26. #25  
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    I had a friend who insisted on pronouncing Bene Gesserit as 'Bean Gesserit'. Always bought a smile to my face.
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    I loved the first book. I've read it maybe three times over the past 50 years. I tried to read the second but couldn't finish. It's been many years -- I need to read it again.

    I thought the movie was so-so.
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