Hello everyone and, I guess, welcome back!
First of all, I’d like to make a hearty apology to everyone for being absent for so long. Since August I’ve had quite a few things happen, and it’s prevented me from actually working on this here blog. What is it, you ask? Well I picked up a job in October and have been working most of my days away, spending my free time working on Dreamstealer and spending time with family and friends.
The Christmas period was especially chaotic, and I didn’t end up with any books. BUT, that’s okay, because I have an ever-growing mountain of them to get through. I will, however, be picking up an HP Lovecraft compendium, complete with annotations and whatnot which I’m looking rather forward to.
As for what I’ve been reading lately. I’ve been doing some beta reading and editing work for friends of mine, as well as reading my way through the first book of Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild Chronicles, The Dragon Keeper. This one’s taking me quite a while to get through, and I only started reading it after finishing Frank Herbert’s Dune. Yes, I finally finished it. It was a good read, but very long and arduous and in some ways reminded me of Tolkien’s verbosity. With more science, of course. And political messes which needed to be solved. I do have the rest of the series, but I think I may get through the rest of the books I have on loan before getting back to those.
Dune as a novel is considered one of sci-fi’s classic pieces. In and of itself, it’s a complex work exploring planteary ecological systems and the abuse of power through financial gain and notoriety. It also explores the idea of treachery and misinformation, and how those things can change a whole planet if left unchecked. Classism and the uprising of a rebel state is also a strong factor in this piece, as is the raising of what seems to be a perfectly normal person to a god-like, messiah status, a memorable event for Paul Atreides and one which goes on to shape the rest of his life.
The creativity present in the worldbuilding of Dune is astounding. Every passage tells you something new about the world, whether it’s the sandstorms, the ravaged desert surface, the sand worms, so many tiny details make up the world of Arrakis that it seems almost as detailed as a proper scientific report might be. It’s like you expect to hear about the planet in the news the next morning. Credit goes to Herbert for the extensive real-world research which fuelled the development of Dune, it really shows.
Other notable points include the sheer length of time which Herbert took to write the first Dune book, and how after so many publishers telling him he was writing it wrong, he eventually found a publisher in a car manual company and made it so big he won a Nebula award. There aren’t many people who can say they have one of those, and its a true testament to the benefits of hard work and sticking it out with an idea you believe in.
Negatives in Dune were few and far between. One thing I did find a little tedious was the constant repetition of the messiah theme. Whether or not this was intended to resemble Paul’s early irritation and lack of understanding on the subject I have no idea, but it certainly bugged me and got under my skin for the entire novel. To have power thrust upon you does not necessarily mean you are ready for it, as was seen with Paul, who received his ‘destiny’ at a very young age.
Either way, Dune is definitely a book I would reread and will continue on with the rest of the series. Not only is it a sci-fi classic, but it’s also a perfect example of how perseverance can sometimes really pay off.
That’s it from me for now, so don’t stop reading and I’ll hopefully be back soon with another review!