Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Frank Herbert - Dune

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family--and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Comment: Months ago I was browsing the shelves at a bookstore and saw this book. I already had an idea about its importance to science fiction but I confess I never thought about reading it with any seriousness. Still, the edition I got was at an accessible price and brought it home, planning to read it at a later date and I picked November because I knew it would be my vacation month. Therefore, I planned to pick it to be the first book of the month.

In this classic, we have a very basic story: young Paul Atreides must get revenge on his father's death and for that he transforms himself into the messiah awaited in the planet his family went to as a request of the emperor.
The beauty of this novel is not only the path Paul needs to take but how one can read between the lines and infer if what Paul does is actually necessary for his desired outcome...

I had a certain expectation about this book after hearing so many interesting opinions about it here and there. I was aware this would be a strong and solid story and quite rich in details and that made me imagine a certain idea, despite also knowing this was first published in 1965, but aren't classics timeless? I had full confidence this would be amazing, especially since it's a story set in the future.

I won't go into any plot description because the book is famous enough if someone is curious and, besides, the plot is pretty basic. This is a book about revenge.
However, the book certainly shows how dated it is and I just couldn't get past the fact the style, the descriptions, the actions all felt so... predictable, so obvious in a way and I can't say it's only because so many things way after were loosely based on this book.

Should I say the author had very basic writing skills? I guess, even if still validating his immense talent for creation and imagining things not everyone would. He has great ideas, just not a good way to put them in evidence. I found particularly annoying how the reader spends so much time knowing something bad is going happen, knowing what is going to be and tat feeling is more irritation than surprise, in the sense that I thought often "get on with it already".

However, among all the lengthy descriptions of what characters thought, of why they would behave a certain way, they still managed to talk and think in riddles, as if the reader couldn't be bothered to know some of their motivations...but knowing their thoughts was an absolute necessity. I mean, this tactic felt pointless! In relation to Paul's actions, things are even weirder because he is young and despite all his training he still behaved as a know-it-all.... I often would think that if these people were so smart, so amazing, why do we even have a story? The problems could have been anticipated and solved way sooner!

This book is divided into three sections but I got to a point everything was repetitive, sometimes silly and was looking for to finally finish.
The characters certainly played their parts but I must say they didn't really step out of what expected of them so in this aspect there was no surprise, the reader always knows what each character is supposed to mean and to do.

I suppose I can say I didn't go into this with the best mind frame or I just expected too many different things but apart from the author's tremendous eye for detail and imagining scenarios not everyone would, this story was a little bit of a let down. I can accept its importance and why others like it but for me it was not such an amazing experience to read it. At least, it saves me from the idea of having to read the other books...
Grade: 6/10

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