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Month: April 2024



Dune is a difficult book to adequately assess in my opinion. There are so many different points in time that you could have read this book and properly and wildly different understandings and mental visualizations. For example you might have read Dune back when it was first released prior to any adaptation or you could have read it after having seen the 1984 adaptation. You could have also read it relatively recently, but before the 2021 adaptation. For me personally I read the first book after having watched the 2021 adaptation and then read Dune Messiah after the 2024 adaptation of part 2. That being said I tried my best to read it with a completely clean mental slate as to try and not visualize anything as it was depicted in the 2021 adaptation. It’s impossible to not be influenced at least some degree, but I think I have these two universes separated in my mind.

To me Dune is far closer to the genre of fantasy than even Star Wars which I believe to be equal parts fantasy and science fiction. It clearly takes place in a world with extremely advanced technology including interstellar space travel, but the story seems to intentionally not elaborate on any of it. Instead it focuses heavily on what is essentially magic and mysticism. It’s possible that later books elaborate on the science in more depth, but if they at all follow the style of the first two books then I have my doubts.

There are many things I do not like about Dune and very few things I do like about it. I am not a fan of the concept of blood lines being important or holding any kind of significance. This is an extremely prevalent plot point throughout these books and occasionally mentions eugenics in order to guide specific traits in offspring to create a kind of savior. Which brings me to the idea of a singular savior. This is typical of a hero’s journey type story although Dune mostly subverts this expectation by the end, but Paul is still clearly one the most significant individuals in the book and the story couldn’t possibly occur without him and his special genetics and plot armor. The worst part of this book for me is the way the characters all speak in riddles and double speak where if they simply told each other what they meant the outcome for everybody would have been in their favor. It adds contrivances for the sake of intentional misunderstandings to drive the plot forward for what I suspect is to make things sound more mystical. While the prose is very fanciful and poetic I wish it were more explicit at times instead of almost solely relying on imagination to fill in so much of the gaps.

The world building in Dune is one aspect that I find enjoyable. One of my favorite things in a book is its ability to put vivid scenes in my mind and Dune does this very well. It makes me wish that more of the story took place on worlds other than the complete desert planet of Arrakis, however there is decent amount of diversity of locations on Arrakis as well as other worlds such as the Atreides homeworld Caladan, the Harkkonen homeworld Geidi Prime and even the Guild ships.

I will finish reading the other 4 books at some point in the future out of curiosity of how the story continues. It doesn’t provide the same feeling of imagination and wonder that I enjoy from a more science fiction oriented book. I don’t know exactly what the difference between fantasy and science fiction are as it is more of a spectrum rather than any hard dividing line. I suspect that on average a science fiction book will attempt to explain the inner workings of things which I find the most enjoyable to think about.