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The actual review
After three question and answer sessions I’m not sure how many of you want to read more about Dune, but I want to gether my thoughts after all the back and forth between peoples. Well done to Carl for coming up with this, and all the questioners for their questions which prompted all those answers.
Dune is one of those books that most people have heard of, or they have heard of the film, it is one of the classics of science fiction. I had the impression that this was a great and sprawling book, full of overly complicated ideas and strange notions. It isn’t. Well, maybe it does have some strange notions, but many of them are cool. And it certainly isn’t overly complicated, in fact it is quite a straight-forward action/adventure story. Mixed with just a hint of coming-of-age, all stirred together in a heap of sci-fi-ness.
The final questions for the Dune group read are:
- What is your reaction to finally learning the identity of Princess Irulan? Do you think that her convention added to the story?
- Were you satisfied with the ending? For those reading for the first time, was it what you expected?
- On both Arrakis and Salusa Secundus, ecology plays a major role in shaping both characters and the story itself. Was this convincing? Do you think that Paul would have gone through with his threat to destroy the spice, knowing what it would mean for Arrakis?
- Both Leto and Paul made their decisions on marriage for political reasons. Do you agree with their choices?
- What was your favorite part in this section of the book?
- One of the things I noticed in the discussions last week was Herbert’s use of the word “jihad.” What do you think of Herbert’s message about religion and politics?
- Was Liet’s identity a surprise? who do you think he really works for?
- What do you think of the Fremen culture? is this a culture you think you’d enjoy spending some time with?
- What do you think of Count Fenring’s unusual verbal mannerisms?
- This is a far future empire with very little in the way of computerization. Information is often passed down orally, and schools (such as the Mentats and the Bene Gesserit) have formed to train young people in memorization and information processing. What are you thoughts on a scifi story that is very “low-tech”? Does that sound like a feasable future? a ridiculous one?
- If you found the beginning of the book tough to get into, do you find that you’re having an easier time with the middle portion, now that all the “set-up” is complete?
- The center portion of the book is still pretty dialog heavy, but what I’ve noticed is the subtlety of the dialog. Things left unsaid are often more important than things that are said. What do you think of that as a stylistic choice? does it make the dialog more interesting? less interesting?
- Dune was written in the 60’s. Does it feel dated to you? How does it compare, writing style-wise, to more contemporary science fiction you’ve read?
- If you’ve never read this book before, where do you think the storyline is headed?
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.
Embassytown is a human colony on the planet Areika, the inhaitants are known by the local humans as the Hosts, and they are unique among life-forms as they cannot lie. Their Language is so tied up with meaning that they physically cannot speak what is not true. Avice grows up on Areika, but she has the talent of immersing, which is a sort of navigation through space, and so goes off-world. but one of her platonic husbands is a linguist, and fascinated by Language, so they return to Areika. And just in time to witness the whole world go to hell with the arrival of a new Ambassador.