Dune by Frank HerbertDune by Frank Herbert
Narrator: Simon Vance, Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Ilyana Kadushin
Series: Dune Chronicles #1, Dune Saga #10
Published by Macmillan Audio on May 29, 2007
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 21 hrs 2 mins
Pages: 512
Format: Audiobook
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Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for....

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will 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.

I tried to read Dune a couple of years ago and got about 1/3 through before sitting it aside. It’s long and the copy my daughter has has small print. But the new movie’s coming out later this year and one of our friends picked up the re-issued board game, so I decided it was definitely time to finally read it. I had heard good things about the audiobook, so I decided to give it a try this time around. I don’t know if the timing for me was just better or the audio was the way to go, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, right from the beginning.

Dune is a classic. There is little I can say about it that hasn’t already been said. The world-building is monumental, and Herbert weaves the geopolitics, religion, and philosophy into that setting seamlessly. In the distant future, humanity is ruled by an intergalactic feudal Empire. Duke Leto Atreides accepts control of a desert planet called Arrakis which also happened to be the only source of the spice, melange. Arrakis used to be a stronghold and the major source of wealth of the Duke’s enemy Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. The whole handing the Arrakis over to House Atreids is really a set-up so that the Harkonnens can defeat the Duke once and for all, and the Emperor is clearly in on it. Thankfully, Paul and his mother survive the betrayal and are taken in by the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis. Paul becomes the sometimes reluctant Chosen One, the Messiah figure who has both religious and political power; he’s also determined to have revenge for his father and take his position as Duke of a ruling House.

I listened to the full cast audio. I actually prefer single narrators but this worked well enough once I got used to it. It’s just an engrossing story and it’s over 21 hours long, which means you become immersed in the world, in these characters’ struggles. There are people to love and others to hate. There are surprises and questions. I don’t know that I’m ready to jump right into Dune Messiah, but maybe soon.

We’ll see if the movie can even remotely live up to the book- hopefully. I really want to be able to go back to movie theaters. Watching movies on the tv is just not the same.

About Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert  (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Though he became famous for his novels, he also wrote short stories and worked as a newspaper journalist, photographer, book reviewer, ecological consultant, and lecturer.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classics in the field of science fiction.

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