BY SEAN CLARK
[I’ve been making an effort to catch up on classic genre writing that I probably should have read as a kid, but for whatever reason didn’t. There’s not much use in writing reviews of years-old books mostly accepted as classics, so I’ll write them up under this column instead.]
If you listen to to our podcast, you might remember me talking about Dune almost a year ago. After putting it aside for a while, I picked it back up recently. With a little more time to sit down and become absorbed in the book, I finally finished Dune and loved it.
Dune‘s greatness (and even though this isn’t an official review, I’ve added it to our Great Reads section) lies in in how comprehensively detailed Herbert makes his universe. Many sci-fi books attempt to create a unique world, but only end up with a bunch of needless explaining of invented terminology and a story that could just as easily work in a different setting. This is not the case with Dune. Like any good sci-fi saga, the setting is as central to the story as the plot and characters.
Herbert seamlessly blends fantasy and sci-fi conventions in a way few franchises besides Star Wars have been successful at. Aristocrats playing politics, sword fights, space ships, and giant sandworm alien monsters punctuate a story that is full of rich lore rivaled only by books like the Lord of the Rings series and creative technology and terminology–but that story never insults the reader’s intelligence by spending the first third of the book pedantically explaining everything. Continue reading