Nebula Award Winning Novel in 1965
I have mixed feelings about this book. I have often heard that Dune is the best sci-fi book ever written. That’s a tall order to live up to over 40 years after it was written. I think I went into it expecting something else and that might be part of the problem. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, because I did. I loved it. I just don’t think it is the best sci-fi book ever written. I don’t think I can comfortably give it that title.
Is it worth reading? Yes.
Will you like it if you don’t like sci-fi? Maybe.
Is it one of the best sci-fi I’ve ever read? Yes. But, there are still things about it I didn’t like.
1. The plot focuses on a made up religion. I felt like there were things that weren’t explained enough for me to believe the religion was as important or world changing as it was meant to be.
2. The group called the Bene Gesserit. I didn’t quite understand their end game. They are one of the many groups of individuals that are plotting to control the reigning members of the worlds of Dune. The general idea is that they are striving to preserve certain blood lines. Even after reading the whole book, I couldn’t figure out why they would want to do this. It didn’t seem clear to me.
3. The made up words are very distracting at first. When I first picked up this book, I spent more time looking things up in the glossary at the back than actually reading it. Herbert makes up more than just a religion. He created words that only have meaning in the context of this book and at first I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. To be honest, I felt like some of the made up words were unnecessary.
In the end, those are very small things that I didn’t like about Dune. And I don’t often find a book that I love 100%.
You might be wondering, what did she like about this book? The answer: everything else.
As I said, I wouldn’t feel right saying this was the best sci-fi book of all time. But I would definitely put it in the top ten must read sci-fi books for fans of the genre. I would also say that this is a book that even those who aren’t fans might actually want to read. Fiction that is written for a specific genre or that gets labeled that way after its written doesn’t often fall into what I call the Literature with a capital L category. For me, Dune does cross into that category. There is something more to this book than just space battles and fictional tech.
1. Dune is a story about politics, religion, freedom, ecology, all thrown together by an overwhelming amount of subterfuge.
2. I love that the main character, Paul, is like a nexus with all the forces at work in the novel either working through him or against him.
3. Dune is smart sci-fi. It’s thought provoking and well written. It’s not just a means for laser guns and space craft.
In the end, I would say read it if you love sci-fi because it is considered one of the most significant sci-fi novels ever written. I would also say read it if you are looking for a great story involving an entire planet finding freedom via the help of a mere boy.