So I finally finished Dune – the sci-fi classic which has clearly influenced the likes of Game Of Thrones and most other popular sci-fi stories since. I had two final thoughts on why it is so impressive and resilient to this day as a gripping sci-fi story.
First – The characters are super, but the world in which they inhabit is the real star of the show. A character on its own merit, Arrakis dominates any event in the book. Just as ‘winter is coming’ in GOT, the extreme weather and awesome beauty of the desert planet is what the main characters have to come to terms with to fulfill their destiny. Though it is a completely different sort of novel, I am seeing a similar strong focus on setting and location in the book i am currently reading: “The Knowledge” By Steven Pressfield.
The impressive depth of the cultures, languages and religions created by the author in Dune are second to only Lord of The Rings in my experience. I marvel at the time this and dedication this must have taken from Frank Herbert. It gives the story authenticity and reflects back to the reader our own clan like behaviour and superstitions here on earth.
Dune is magnificent. Well worth the read and the reputation it has gathered.
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.
Over the weekend I have been away on plane flights and had evenings alone in bed and breakfasts which has given me time to get further into Dune.
What a book!
The flaws in the father’s character are becoming apparent, and the interactions with the local Fremen are adding an extra dimension to the tale.
It is such an engaging book, I think of it like a microscope which is gradually zooming in closer and closer to the inevitable war and dangers on the planet of Arrakis. Detail and nuance is getting more and more….well detailed! and Nuanced!
There is no turning back for any of the characters, only forward into the desert.
I managed to read a hefty chunk of Dune today (I have read 17% of the book). It is wonderful in its focus on just the right details.
Often when I write I become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of limitless possibility in fiction. The options are endless. The trick is getting the right boundaries in place to make believe.
Dune does this so well. The author is very precise and clear in their characters, images, its fictional folklore and worlds. Also, the pace at which the story is building is excellent too. A sense of tension and impending doom for some characters is mixed with excitement at retribution and glory for others.
Needless to say, I am completely hooked.
I have started to read Dune.
I am 10% of the way in (according to kindle!) and it is fantastic so far. Like a fine painting, the author is adding layer upon layer to his characters. I can already see the influence it has had on other work such as Game Of Thrones.
My plan is to work through all these books, taking as long as it takes – because this is enjoyable to me. No deadline, no cutoff. Just a bunch of excellent books to read. Without doubt this will have an influence on my own writing. For that I am also excited.