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  1. #16
    nah, I'd totally disagree with that. There's a different approach to the science based around breeding and drugs to replace computation. The training systems alluded to are martial and rigorous rather than mystical and ephemeral. There's the whole thread running through where the spice combined with the mentat ability allows access to future branches of a causal decision tree, but when you look at that in terms of recent publications around psi and the potential arbitrary direction of the time vector, and everyone kinda holding their breath 'till we know more... it starts to look prescient.

    The 'jihad' back in ancient earth time diaspora history against technology over a certain level is a hell of a move in terms of making the book as timeless as it became.
    Last edited by pox; January 9th, 2011 at 07:32 AM.

  2. #17
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I agree that there is an explanation of Paul's mental powers, through selective breeding and mental discipline. I do, though, think that that explanation falls flat when it comes to Paul having dreams of people he will meet later and places he will be in later before he even gets to the planet on which those dreams are set. "They will call me Muad'dib." Again, seems a little like a stretch to so completely understand what a people will do before even knowing them.

    I'd never thought of this similarity before, but I'd be surprised if no one else out there has talked about it -- the similarities between Paul and Kellhus. I wonder if there's a piece out there on it.

  3. #18
    yeah, it certainly pushes its luck in that regard wedging it in early, but it's all wrapped into the effective prescience which he demonstrates later through 'stuff'.

    For it's time I'd still defend it as science fiction over fantasy without hesitation though.

  4. #19
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    I'd never thought of this similarity before, but I'd be surprised if no one else out there has talked about it -- the similarities between Paul and Kellhus. I wonder if there's a piece out there on it.
    I'd shoot my own knee-cap if the similarity isn't intentional. Although I'd say that Kellhus is more of a Bene Geserit (spelling?) witch than Paul...

  5. #20
    Though of course that's the whole thing, that Paul IS a bene gesserit witch...

    knowing nothing of Kellhus.... I have nothing to contribute here really...
    Last edited by pox; January 9th, 2011 at 02:41 PM.

  6. #21
    w/ ScienceFiction.com scifiJerald's Avatar
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    I have just recently re-read Dune. Like others, I struggled with this book (and the series) when I first read it as a kid. On my second read, though, I found it much more engaging.

    I love the political intrigue, which includes everything from tribal to galactic politics. Herbert does a marvelous job defining his main characters and creating a reason for you to care about them.

    I love the universe that Herbert paints- particularly the aspects he only hints at- and I really want to learn more.

    I think it has held up very well over the years.

    Dune has moved up in my list of favorites.

  7. #22
    That was exactly what I found yes well put. Not an early reader. No.

  8. #23
    Well, I feel like I am one of the few people who haven't read this book yet. It is kind of strange, I was planning on starting this book, and I look on my favorite science fiction and fantasy site sffworld.com and here it is, Dune book of the month.

    So, I'm excited to read this book, I really don't know what to expect out of it (I think I've been living in a vacuum). However I hope I enjoy it.

  9. #24
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    As soon as I find a copy Im going to start reading it. My local shops are full of the sequels, but noone has the original.

  10. #25
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livens View Post
    As soon as I find a copy Im going to start reading it. My local shops are full of the sequels, but noone has the original.
    Fate? My local used bookstore just got in a copy of "The Illustrated Dune" in trade paperback, $3.98

    It seems to be the original text, with a dozen or so of the pages displaying artwork by John Schoenherr.

  11. #26
    Registered User oasis seeker's Avatar
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    So: is Dune worth its reputation, 47 years on?

    I first read Dune when I was very young (probably around 13 or so.) I loved it then and have read it a few times since and still enjoyed it. In my opinion – yes, it’s still worth its reputation.

    Is it still worth a read?

    Personally, I think it’s still worth a read and has definitely earned its reputation. I think the story’s still enjoyable after all these years and, unlike many SF stories from that time, the writing style and the created world aren’t dated.

    What is its enduring popularity?

    I think one reason for its enduring popularity is cuz the story doesn’t hinge so much on technology, but on human nature – which never changes. It’s a very human story.

    I think it’s still popular for the same reason soap operas are still popular. Lots of emotion and conflict amongst people you come to know. Set against a backdrop of a fascinating world/galaxy unlike many created at that time.

  12. #27
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    What I liked about Dune was that first off, he used the idea of the spice trade to create this complicated multi-world society. The whole thing with the houses and the priestesses and the ships had their analogy in Earth's history. The idea of vast trade across the galaxy is something that was the hope of that era in regards to science fiction and Herbert was pretty good at rendering how humans tend to expand by trade and complex, backstabbing alliances and build on their history. The other thing was the ecology of the dune world -- this is where Herbert gets his science on. People had used big worms, even sandworms before, and desertscapes and cultures, but Herbert used his research to create a delicate and really, even with the mysticism, very believable system involving the entire planet. The worms were really my favorite thing. I liked reading about them and found the humans less interesting.

    The mysticism does bother SF purists, though I don't know why, since lots of SF writers threw it in right and left back then. Herbert definitely made the spice a little too multi-purpose, but this again was not that unusual for the era. The ideas he was using with it -- that the brain could develop psi abilities through rewiring, drug enhancement, training; that human brains could be developed to operate at computer levels, that human life could be prolonged through some sort of drug; quantum mechanics and folding space/time that might be accessed in some way; that humans might be able to perceive quantum phenomena and that this might allow them to see past and future events; and humans merging with technology to travel through space/time (The Ship Who Sang and many, many SF stories; ) the idea that humans might be able to predict the future (psychohistory from Asimov, etc.) -- these were all things floating around as speculation, related to science research that was going on in the real world. So while Herbert definitely stretched it, he didn't John Carter on Mars stretch it. He used it as a device for a thought experiment and the mysticism of the characters is a mysticism of science, of turning science into ritual and prophecy, which Herbert wanted people to be disturbed by and think about, and which was also appropriate for the future world he'd built.

    Herbert's style is florid and pretentious, no getting around it. But the formalized richness of it worked well for the idea of a bunch of houses sneering like Errol Flynn in a costume drama. And he did wonderfully well at the weird, striking image, at coming up with strange things and describing them effectively. I would say that this is actually one of the reasons the book remains popular and one of the reasons that Dune is studied in academia, that and the themes of the story regarding heroism, power, etc.

    What I didn't like about the book was some of the dialogue and especially the stuff on the desert planet. It got a bit too slow for me, a little too much H.G. Wells' Time Machine like. Some of the characterizations are weak. The women characters are very interesting and intelligent, but they are subservient and handmaidens (of course again, 1960's, that was usually the case.) And ultimately, I didn't really care about Paul - he was a character always at a distance -- which was part of the point Herbert was making about the constructed and elevated figure of a messiah. And so I have not read any of the further Dune books. But I did like Dune and I can understand why it's remained a classic -- it's a funky but successful epic about change in the face of stagnation.

    Herbert had a hard time getting the book published, despite serializing it in Analog, the big kahuna of SF magazines, and this surprises me, because again, it was very much in line with work being done at that time. But then it won the Hugo and the Nebula and met a pretty strong reception. I think the book does hold up, while still being very much of the 1960's, and that it's an unusual example of the kind of things that science fiction can make both very alien and familiar at the same time.

  13. #28
    Registered User MattNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livens View Post
    As soon as I find a copy Im going to start reading it. My local shops are full of the sequels, but noone has the original.
    Unbelievable. I can't go to a bookstore, even small locally run shops that have ridiculously small scifi/fantasy sections, that doesn't have a new copy of Dune on its shelves.

    At least you found a cool, used copy after all of your searching.

  14. #29
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    Since we're talking about Dune proper, the Dune I think of as a standalone book because what came afterward was a procession of overindulgent follow-ups that never again captured my imagination, I can say there's never been another sf book that so enveloped me as did Dune.


    KatG- Herbert's style is florid and pretentious, no getting around it.
    As you said it works for Dune, but becomes unconstricted and heavy-handed in the later books.
    Also, the mysticism is tolerable in Dune as most of it can be explained away, but is becomes unwieldy and almost silly as the story evolves.
    Last edited by Sparrow; January 18th, 2011 at 11:32 AM.

  15. #30
    Damn fool idealist DailyRich's Avatar
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    I remember reading Dune in junior high and enjoying it as space opera while realizing there was something deeper going on that I didn't quite have the chops to get yet. Reading it years later and able to fully appreciate what Herbert was doing, it really is a standout work.

    And I have to say I enjoyed God Emperor, although that's as far as I ever got with Herbert's books. I did -- for reasons yet to be given any sane explanation in my mind -- slog through the two prequel trilogies Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson wrote, which were typical prequel tripe in the classic Star Trek/Star Wars vein, where every main character from the original work somehow not only had a family tree full of relatives who were staggeringly important in the past, but they somehow all knew each other yet seemed to forget that in time for the original story.

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