I managed to read a good chuck of Frank Herbert’s Dune last night. What struck me about it was the length of time committed to character development.
I have a tendency when I write something to want to get to the end of the story and not fully flesh out all the detail that a reader might need to become engrossed. Call it lack of patience.
Dune is managing to show me so much of the character flaws, strengths, traits as I read. With each page the story is getting sharper, more solid, refined. Like going to the optometrist, when they test your eyes by slowly adding different lenses in front of you until everything is crystal clear.
A second observation is the overwhelming sense of paranoia and political sniping in the story. While the more exciting elements of sci-fi novels are there in abundance (weird technology, far away stars and planets, alien ecosystems) its intrigue lies more in the political struggles of the characters.
Surprising to me, but very fulfilling so far.