Review: Dune

Frank Herbert’s Dune was one of my favorite books growing up.  I recently took the opportunity to read it again, partially as an excuse to buy it on the Kindle.  It remains a great and unique space opera.

Dune is frequently praised as a skillful exercise in world-building – and it certainly is – but on rereading it I was struck by how few details outside those necessary for the advance of the story are there.  Despite spawning an enormous number of (impressively inferior) sequels, the novel does not read as first book in a series. Herbert has a beginning a middle and an end, all the thematic and plot arcs wrap up and if you never read a sequel you are left with a great story set in a believable world (or three).  It is a lean bit of storytelling.

I won’t recoup the plot, but Herbert makes the action large enough and the stakes high enough to hold a reader’s attention throughout, while brushing up against many interesting ideas about nature and nurture in becoming who we are, the limits of foresight and the size of events that can alter destiny, and other interesting stuff.  If that’s not of interest – and if not, why are you over in the science fiction section – there’s still a rollicking political and action thriller here.

Strongly Recommended.

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