A week or so ago a blog post from Carl about a Dune group read popped up in my reader And I thought to myself, Dune, hmmm, that’s one of those classic sf books I’ve never read. Full Disclaimer I have however memories of the film. I don’t mean that I watched it, but I did somehow manage to buy the film’s picture book yoke, so I know vaguely what the story is. So, I decided that what the hell, I was going to give the group read a go. So round one’s questions are below.
- What, if any, preconceived ideas did you have before you started reading Dune and how has the first section measured up to those preconceptions?
(Alternate Question for those who’ve read the book: Did you see anything in this first section of the book that either you hadn’t seen before or that you had forgotten about, anything that stood out to you?
Hmm, preconcieved notions, I guess I thought it was a big messy book. But I think that is because the film was a mess, or at least condensing the film into a much, much shorter picture book made whatever storyline there was a mess. So far it hasn’t been messy at all. Big, perhaps, but everything makes sense and although the world/universe is huge the plot doesn’t concern itself with too many characters to keep track of.
- What did you think about the plot device of the early revelation that Yueh was to be the traitor?
I quite liked that. It allowed us to see that the Duke was correct to trust Jessica, and yet also see why others would distrust her. It meant that I, as a reader, wasn’t distracted by whodunnits and could instead focus on the story of how Paul, Jessica, and the Duke all interacted. And it made their betrayal all the worse because as a reader we knew who it was, and could see all those signs that the characters picked up on but never put together.
- What was your favorite part of this first section? Which character(s) do you find most interesting and why?
I have to say that I really enjoyed the scene where the sandworms make their attack on the spice harvester. I think it really showed what sort of a man the Duke was, to put people ahead of profit. And also showing how dangerous the worms are.
As for characters, I’m a bit ambivalent about Paul himself. I know that all his life he has been “in training” but somehow it still seems a bit forced that at only 15 he is so mature and wise. I like Jessica a lot, and the interaction between her and the Duke. Although I dislike the fact that he “bought” her, and all that implies.
- Did the revelation about the Harkonnen surprise you?
Well, it did and it didn’t. It made literary sense, in that all through the book so far we had been hearing how the Duke and his family were enemies of the Harkonnens, so it made sense to subvert that by having the enemy within, and not actually the enemy at all.
- 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 have to say that I’m enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. Somehow I had an idea that it was a difficult book, but I don’t find it that at all. It is easy enough to follow, but not too easy that your mind might wander :)
I’m not too fond of the role of women as its been portrayed so far. And the “absolute” badness and evilness of the Baron is a little OTT. I do tend to prefer a less black & white version of the world. But we’ll see how things go.
Other answers to the questions can be found on the following blogs:
Beauty is a sleeping cat – Little Red Reviewer – TBM – Shelley – Kailana – Jim Black – Shaz – Grace – Reed Porter – Wilson – page 247 – And of course, Stainless Steel Droppings