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Dune by Frank Herbert - March 2014

  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. What did you think of the book?

    • 5/5 - I Loved it
    • 4/5 - I Really Liked it
    • 3/5 - I Enjoyed it
      0
    • 2/5 - It was OK
      0
    • 1/5 - I Hated it
      0


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Welcome to the  March 2014 Reading Circle for Dune by Frank Herbert

It is assumed that you have read the book before reading posts in this thread, as the discussion might give away crucial points, and the continuous use of spoiler tags might hinder fluent reading of posts.

 

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Questions for discussion (please answer as many or as few as you wish)

 

1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

 

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1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

It was ok but I found the main character to be very unsympathetic and a bit of a... He starts out as someone who is opposed to what the bad guys are doing but then ends up being just as bad as they ever were. I don't know how much I am slowed to say before it becomes a spoiler so I will leave it at that for the moment :)

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

The main character :D

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

The main character turning into a... LOL

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

I would if there was someone interested in Sci-fi.

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

 

Well I am willing to give them a try as I have been told that all is revealed in the other books :)

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1. Did you like the book? What was it that you enjoyed? If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

    I first read this book when I was 15 now 30 years later I have reread it quit often and as my knowledge grows so does my understanding of this huge book in scifi.

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

   I expected it to be about a desert planet and got a book about intrigue, eco-systems, cultures and religion. 

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

    Jessica for defying her destiny and future of mankind in exchange for love, and thus destroying a future that would have undoubtely would have been far worse.

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

   Most characters were well fleshed out and served a purpose.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

   Once they arrived on Dune the story picks up speed and depth of plot.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

   Read all six originals in sequence

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

   The religious bit, but learning more about religious history you see what Herbert tried to do.

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

   An excellent experience

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

   Anybody who likes intelligent books and can see through the scifi label

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

    Have read all Frank Herbert originals and all of the stuff written by his son & Kevin Anderson, whose output are hit and miss.

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I haven't re-read the book, since I read it in 2012 so it's not been too long ago (I also watched the TV / film adaptations in 2012).

 

1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

I liked the book, I quite enjoyed reading it. There are a lot of plot twists and good ideas in the book. I liked nearly all of the characters, they were quite well written. The only thing I perhaps didn't like was that sometimes the writing style was a little bit awkward and the politics not always easy to follow (this is due to me I think, since I'm not good with these things).

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

When I first read the book I was 15 and it was one of my first science-fiction books I read. I don't remember what I was expecting in those moments. In 2012 I bought and read the book again. I couldn't remember a whole lot from it, so I was mainly expecting a few things I remembered, choppers, sand, worms, the water planet, Paul's character. These expectations were correct but the book was much more than that. I felt I got more out of it as an older adult than I had as a teenager.

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

I quite liked Paul and Alia, though I liked most of the characters so it's hard to choose.

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

The Baron and Frey, because of their evil deeds.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

I think I quite liked the first part of the book, with descriptions of the water planet of the Atreides. I liked less the political bits, but overall I enjoyed reading all of the book really.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

When I first read this book, at 15, it was the first book I read in this genre and by this author. I would like to read more written by him, yes. 

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

I enjoyed the whole book as an adult, though as a teenager I found some bits more difficult to follow, particularly the political bits.

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes, it was! I think it's a great world Frank Herbert has created with lots of good concepts and plot ideas, and great characters too.

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

I would, to anyone who likes science-fiction type stories and who doesn't mind a bit of politics and religion in them.

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

I read two of the sequels from the library when I was a teenager but didn't understand much of them. Now that I'm older I'd like to try and reading them again (once I've found and bought them). I do find it an intruiging story.

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I last read this as a teenager, some 35-40 years ago. I rated it highly then, and, unusually and pleasantly, my view hasn't really changed. It may not have quite the impact it did then, but this was a book that I didn't want to put down, and read into the early hours on more than one occasion in the past week. I'm not an avid sci-fi reader either!

1. Did you like the book? What was it that you enjoyed? If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?
Loved it. It was a classic story, with a classic structure, with a highly unusual and captivating setting. I found the ecology of Planet Arrakis to be the real star of the book - the ideas were fascinating.

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?
Well, I had read it many years ago, and loved it then, so my main 'expectation' was one of curiosity - would it still live up to those memories. So often these things don't - we change so much - but on this occasion, my older self was pretty much in complete agreement with my younger self!  From my memories, I did expect the sandworms to feature more strongly, and I was thus obviously a bit surprised they didn't.

3. Who was your favourite character...?
As an actual character there were several I found fascinating, in particular the Lady Jessica and, almost a requirement if one is to enjoy the book, Paul himself. However, if pressed, I'd probably have to say Liet-Kynes, but that's because, for me, the real star was the planet itself.

However, I don't think the book was particularly strong on character, but then I don't think it was meant to be.

4. ...and your least favourite?
None. There were a few who were simply figureheads, and I would like some to have been more strongly developed in their complexity, but, other than the expected dislike of the villains, there were none that I'd describe as least favourite.

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?
The early stages of Paul's exile in the desert, where the culture and ecology are more extensively revealed. The battle scene had huge potential, but it was over rather quickly.  The scene with the makers could have been made so much of!

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?
Not the first in the genre, but I've not read many, no more than half a dozen over the past 3-4 decades. It's the only book of Frank Herbert's I've read. I'm toying with the idea of reading one or more of the sequels, but there's a completeness about the book I've been happy to accept in the past and may well do again.

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?
No!

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?
Very much so!  I see no reason to downgrade it from the maxium 6-star rating.

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?
Yes. Whilst it's a classic 'sci-fi' story, I think it's one of those that transcens that sort of boundary: It's just a really enjoyable 'adventure' story. In actual fact, I think there's a far stronger mystical/religious element to it, rather than sci-fi.

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?
Answered above.

Edited by willoyd

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1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

I did like the book, loved the rich and vast culture and enjoyed how it wasn't simply told but shown to you gradually.

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

I knew it wouldn't be the easiest book to read and that it would get you thinking which it certainly did.

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

Jessica, easily the most interesting and relate-able character.

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

None I didn't enjoy.

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

I think it picked up more towards the end, it started a bit slow but I wasn't put off.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

First by Herbert, not my first SF.

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

It was a bit slow at times which meant it wasn't the most thrilling, but it was still good.

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

Yeah it was good, and clear to see why it is a classic of the genre.

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

I would recommend to people with some SF experience, maybe not the best as an introduction to the genre.

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

 

Probably, at some point.

 

 

I have written a more comprehensive review here.

Edited by Timstar

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It's taken 3 weeks but I've finally finished reading it! I rated it 4/5, but feel I may have enjoyed it more had my reading not been limited to half-hour stints on the train.  :blush2:

 

1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

I did like it, though not as much as I'd hoped. I kept waiting for it to turn into something spectacular, and for some reason I never felt it really delivered everything it could have done. I didn't engage with many of the characters, and felt that some of their motives could have been shown/explained a bit more - scenes such as those with Baronn Harkonnen and Feyd-Rautha felt a bit random and irrelevant, as they were sort of dotted in here and there and never really explored much.

 

I did enjoy the settings, however. The author paints a very vivid picture of the desert planet - although I did sometimes feel like he didn't stress enough about how hot and uncomfortable it must be! - and I liked the whole idea of how the population wanted to change the ecosystem and create a better planet. I liked that there wasn't too much science in it (I know, I know, it's SF, but still) - I never really felt like it was going over my head. I liked the concept of them having to wear stillsuits in the desert - it's a very practical rather than romantic view of the Fremen, and made it a bit more realistic. I also loved the sandworms, although I think I preferred them at the beginning when they were scary, rather than later when they were just used as glorified donkeys.

 

2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?

 

I suppose I expected it to be more fantasy-esque - even though it's SF - and was a bit disappointed, I think because I didn't like the whole 'destiny' thing. There wasn't as much action as I'd expected, and the action that happened wasn't always described in a very exciting way. The fantasy elements I expected and liked were the sandworms and the knife-fighting, and I wish there'd been more of both!

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

Probably Jessica, although I did like Gurney Halleck (although his songs and quotations quickly got annoying!) and would like to know more about his story. Alia is very interesting too, and I thought Chani was a good strong female figure since she is independent and fierce, and is a nice balance of warrior and mother/wife.

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

I didn't dislike Paul as much as others did, but I did find his sections became quite boring, probably because of all the ramblings about his 'prescience' and the fact that he never seemed to feel any emotion. 

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

I actually really enjoyed the beginning, when the Atreides had just arrived on Arrakis and were unfamiliar with it. I think my favourite scene is the one where Leto flies over the spice factory and rescues the workers, and sees a sandworm attack for the first time. Awesome. :D

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

Not really, just the vague philosophical musings, about the past/future and the Bene Gesserit, probably because I didn't really understand them! I kept getting the feeling I'd missed something . . .

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

Yes, though occasionally it felt like a chore. I think it would have benefited from longer periods of reading - it's definitely not suited to train reading!

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

 

I might read the next in the series just to see what it's like - I was really disappointed when I reached the end and nothing happened! I thought there were still a few chapters left, but it was just the appendices. I was like, 'is that it??'  :giggle2:

 

Those who have read the sequels: how would you rate each one? Is the second one worth picking up? :)

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I've got a sort of plan to read the sci-fi mw's. I found the trilogy for 4.34, but it will probably arrive from the 21st onwards

 

22nd - 30th

 

1. Did you like the book? What was it that you enjoyed? If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?

 

I enjoyed the book overall, the middle section lacked pace, but it picked up by the end. I enjoyed the Politics and plots betweennthe different houses.

I also thought the World building was good.

 

 

3. Who was your favourite character...?

 

Paul

 

 

4. ...and your least favourite?

 

 

 

5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?

 

The First part Dune is better, the Mua'd Dib part lacks pace for me. The Prophet was as good as Dune.

 

6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

This is the first frank Herbert book I've read. I'm on a general kick to read more sci-fi this year. It hasn't discouraged me.

 

 

 

7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

No

 

 

 

8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

Yes,

 

9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?

 

 

 

 

 

10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?

 

I've bought the dune trilogy, so I plan to read the 2 sequels, but I'll have to wait and see.

Edited by dex

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One thing that fascinated me when I re-read it a couple of years back was how relevant the book seems to have become again, what with global warming, all the troubles in the Middle East, the religious uprising, and the whole reason for the battle for Arrakis - control of the spice, which might as well be oil.  I'm not suggesting Herbert foresaw all of that but, bearing in mind it was written nearly fifty years ago, I think it's pretty remarkable.

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One thing that fascinated me when I re-read it a couple of years back was how relevant the book seems to have become again, what with global warming, all the troubles in the Middle East, the religious uprising, and the whole reason for the battle for Arrakis - control of the spice, which might as well be oil.  I'm not suggesting Herbert foresaw all of that but, bearing in mind it was written nearly fifty years ago, I think it's pretty remarkable.

spice is a drug, and the war in Afghanistan is over opium, seeing %75 of the nation's revenue at one point (within the last few years) was from the drug. The Taliban declared jihad to convert the radical religious youth to their side of the drug war, taking advantage of the population. And holy war was declared against the US because we put boots on the ground, which would interfere with their drug trade. So, in line with the book, it's clearly a drug war, like in Afghanistan. (and oil was not the reason for war in Iraq, that was a rumor made to vilify the US government, and deface our attempts to fight for freedom around the globe... oil is always an issue in war for its needed to fuel the war machine, and that's why it became an issue, because Iraq had plenty of it)

Edited by Stiggy

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Heya new member, loved this book, forgive me if I ignore the questions as they are far too much like a book review and not a discussion.

 

I am a long long standing and avid classic sci-fi fan - the new stuff has tended to largely leave me a bit stone cold. Frank Herbert is one of the classic writers along with Asimov, Heinlein etc. An almost 'must read' in other words.

 

I think one of the first things to understand about the novel is that is that people, and philosophy of the Fremen is based on the people and philosophy / beliefs of the Middle East. Even the words for many things are based on Arabic.

 

For an excellent word study on the Arabic (and other words) in Dune:

 

http://baheyeldin.com/literature/arabic-and-islamic-themes-in-frank-herberts-dune.html

 

 

There are also clear references to many Greek mythological tropes - Atreides for example ... and these Greek myths are further explored in the novels by Frank Herbert's son expanding on the family histories.  The Atreides claim descent from Agammenon - of Iliad fame yes. While with the House Harkonnen Herbert turns to other great empires - Russia with them claiming descent from the Romanov's, more specifically the tsar of Russia, through a common ancestor with the Corrino's = Lisia Pozzo de Borgo a name which bears more than a passing similarity to Lucrezia Borgia, a family history that entirely fits the behaviour of the Harkonnens. There are many more classical references slipped in to the novels here and there. 

 

The parallel with spice (needed for all transportation) and oil is so obvious it is painful, however just as it is in our world - he who controls the oil controls the world, so it is in Dune that he who controls the spice controls the universe, and it is this dependence that Paul Atreides attempts to destroy. This fact is not obvious nor clearly spelled out in Dune, but it is in subsequent novels. 

 

The book is written like a grand opera with a very broad backdrop of a well thought out universe and this is one of the things that I love about it. The level of detail of world forming for not just one planet but many is incredible. Entire eco-systems are thought out and created and they are all different. The technology is also well written - there is just enough information that you believe there is a vast and advance science behind it, but not so much detail that it loses credibility. A fine line to walk which many fail to do well.

 

For all that however the thing I loved the most about the book is the philosophical approach to many things. Although I don't agree with some (or many) of the sentiments there are some that I do agree with and this book was one of many that I read that have formed a basis of much of my thinking / beliefs. Not that I believe in the fictional philosophies, but that the ideas of them, as written, contain truths that these books sparked an interest in exploring further. 

 

I love reading books that require me to stretch - and these books are part of a list of books that will forever remain favourites because of that.

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Heya new member

 

Welcome :smile: 

 

 

 

The book is written like a grand opera with a very broad backdrop of a well thought out universe and this is one of the things that I love about it. The level of detail of world forming for not just one planet but many is incredible. Entire eco-systems are thought out and created and they are all different. The technology is also well written - there is just enough information that you believe there is a vast and advance science behind it, but not so much detail that it loses credibility. A fine line to walk which many fail to do well.

 

Couldn't agree with this more.  The world-building is phenomenal and so immersive.  I remember getting completely lost in its world on both occasions that I've read it.  There was nothing in it to break the spell and kick me out of the experience, which is quite rare.

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It is indeed rare that you have a world that is so comprehensively thought out and described. The research Herbert did must have been extensive. In fact I believe his notes on the universe were so extensive that his son used them to write the prequels. 

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Hey CuriousGeorgette, welcome to forum and many thanks for your input. It certainly does make you think, so I can see why it would be amongst your favourites.

 

I did get the feeling as I was reading that there was so much left unexplained, but I also felt that it wasn't essential that I know it. That's why I'm not too bothered about the prequels.

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I would highly recommend the prequels. Not just because they round out the universe but are cracking good books in their own right. In fact I think you could read them as stand alone novels without any reference to Dune. 

 

As for the 'unexplained' feeling to Dune - I think that is because it was always meant to be part of a series. It is the same as LOTR - the first book ends on a cliffhanger and you can't read any of the volumes separately from the others. Although the original Dune series is more complete within each book they do continue the story throughout the series - thus many of things Paul alluded to and the path he set his feet on in choosing to find another future for mankind in Dune are developed as a continuous story line through the series. In fact some of the things you don't even get a clear explanation and understanding of until the very end of the series at which point you go 'ohhhhh so that is what he was doing' and some of the things along the way that seemed ... well ... read the books. :)

 

 

thanks for the welcome. 

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1. Did you like the book?   What was it that you enjoyed?  If you didn't like the book, what were your reasons for disliking it?


I enjoyed the book very much & became totally absorbed in the story. I was most interested in the Atreides family & wether they would survive & regain power.


 


2. Did you have any expectations about the book before you started reading it, and if so, were they correct?


I wasn't sure if i'd enjoy the book as Science Fiction is not a genre that i feel particularly drawn to so i was worried that the book would feel like a bit of a slog so i was pleasantly surprised to enjoy it so much. Which just goes to show that it's good to get out of your comfort zone.


3. Who was your favourite character...?


I would say that Jessica was my favourite character, strong, intelligent & wise i think she would have made a much better ruler of Arrakis than any of the men. I also liked Kynes because of his vision for the planet i thought he was a good man who was not just in it for his own interests.


 


4. ...and your least favourite?


Oh.... that would have to be Harkonnens they were definitely the baddies of the story, greedy, untrustworthy & self serving, they deserved to come to a bad end.....Boo hiss!!!


5. Was there a particular part you enjoyed more than the rest?


I can't say there's one particular part that stands out more than the rest but i did enjoy reading about how they survived in the desert & i thought the sandworms were fabulous.


6. Was this the first book you've read in this genre / by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?


Not quite the first book as previous to this i read The Martian  Andy Weir but definitely the most enjoyable. I don't think i'm likely to become an ardent SF fan after reading Dune but i would be open to reading more SF especially if someone was to recommend a book to me rather than me just picking pout something myself.


 


7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?


In the beginning it was the silly names for things, Gom Jabbar for example that i found off putting & some of the dialogue made me cringe but once i got into the story i got used to it. 


 


8. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?


Yes very much so  :smile: 


 


9. Would you recommend the book and if so to whom?


Yes i would recommend it to someone like me who hasn't read a lot of SF but would like to dip their toe in the water


10. Will you read the sequels/prequels?


Yes i will probably get round to reading the sequels if they are as good as Dune


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7. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

In the beginning it was the silly names for things, Gom Jabbar for example that i found off putting & some of the dialogue made me cringe but once i got into the story i got used to it. 

 

It is a silly name isn't it? :lol: For some reason it was 'Bene Gesserit' that annoyed me. :unsure:

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It is a silly name isn't it? :lol: For some reason it was 'Bene Gesserit' that annoyed me. :unsure:

 

K'Chain Che'Malle?? Tiste Andii??? :P  :giggle2:

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K'Chain Che'Malle?? Tiste Andii??? :P  :giggle2:

 

K'Chain Che'Malle are T-Rexes with swords instead of arms: awesome. Tiste Andii are kick-a$$ warriors who live forever and can turn into dragons: awesome. Bene Gesserit are . . . erm, random old women in charge of a vague kind of selective breeding programme with unclear motives? Not awesome.

 

:giggle2: 

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The Bene Gesserit can kill you in  a thousand ways before you take the next breath. You won't see them move, they won't break a sweat or blink an eye and they will be calmly sipping a cup of tea on the other side of the room before you hit the floor. Definitely awesome.

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