Friday, July 15, 2011

Dune Group Read, Round 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had recently picked up Dune and was surprised and delighted to find a Dune Group Read ongoing.  I just finished the first part (about ten minutes ago), spent all day snatching reads in between duties; it's just that good.  Here are my responses to the questions for Round 1.

1. What, if any, preconceived ideas did you have before you started reading Dune and how has the first section measured up to those preconceptions? 
The only notion I had of Dune, was an image in my mind of the cover, which I shelved a few times some twenty years ago when I worked in a library.  I knew it was sandy and that there was a boy, because that was what I remembered from the cover.  Also, I knew it was supposed to be a sci fi classic, and was intimidated by it.  I was right about the sand, and the boy.  The fanatics are right about the quality.  I was immediately immersed in the culture and world and have been enchanted and addicted throughout the whole first section.

2. What did you think about the plot device of the early revelation that Yueh was to be the traitor?
I found it made the story line more intense, because I could actually see the misdeed as it happened. Herbert draws Yueh as a surprisingly round character; I liked him, I sympathized with him, I agonized for him. I never felt anger toward him and as the episode spiraled towards it's end, I wanted the plan to work--yes, at the Duke's expense--because he was that appealing a character to me. (But then, I've always rooted for the life-hardened hero-villain; just ask my husband about our years of argument over Snape, which culminated with me being right.)

3. What was your favorite part of this first section? Which character(s) do you find most interesting and why?
Oops, guess I jumped ahead there in the last question.  Yeuh was certainly the one I found most interesting.  His motives and his plan made him a very sympathetic character for me.  Kynes was also a favorite.  I look forward to finding out more about him, what he's hiding, what makes him tick.

My favorite part was watching how the prophecy fit around Paul and Lady Jessica.  I was convinced myself, until I was convinced otherwise, that the prophecy was true.  All the signs were there. . .  I really enjoyed how Herbert worked it all in so neatly.  Oh, and his quotes from the various religious texts and other works by Princess Irulan--loved those.  I felt like I was completely submerged in another world and I loved reading all these clues about it. 

4. Did the revelation about the Harkonnen surprise you?
It did, but probably not as much as it should have.  I was so caught up in all of Paul's revelations at that moment, feeling his angst, that it was just one more in the line of incredible things happening to him at that moment.  I do look forward to seeing how it works out, though.

5. Finally, please share some overall thoughts on this first section of the book. Are you finding it difficult to follow? Easy to understand? Engaging? Boring? Just share what you are thinking thus far.
I'm loving it.  I feel the same way I did when I first read the LOTR or the Gandalara Cycle--a total immersion in an amazing, living, breathing world and I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else. I'm so glad I decided to finally give it a try!  (I'm also finding it interesting to see how much Dune has influenced the sci fi/fantasy genre, Randall Garrett and WoW for starters, and I know I'll find more as I keep reading.)


  1. I think you will find that "Dune" becomes even better the more you read. I even enjoyed the later books. Some people don't care for the next book "Dune Messiah". I found it to be a fascinating follow up.
    Glad you are enjoying this group read.

  2. It sounds like our experiences with the book are very similar. I hadn't thought about Snape while reading about Yueh, but I also rooted for Snape!

  3. You're right Jim; I'm enjoying it even more as the story progresses! So glad I decided to read along with y'all!

    Shelley: it was Yeuh's dark, sallow looks that made me think of Snape first (the book Snape, not Alan Rickman; I prefer the true book version, myself) and from there it just kind of snowballed. That COULD have been the reason I felt so sorry for him. :P (I proposed the Snape/Lily thing to my husband WAY early in the series and he totally disregarded me; then I stayed true to Snape through the whole thing. Bryan and I read together, so when we got to that part in the last book, I literally yelled "I TOLD YOU SO!" at him. :P)

  4. You know, I never thought of comparing Yueh to Snape. I am intrigued.