You Can’t Please Everyone – Dune

One star Amazon reviews of classic movies, music and literature. Today we take a look at Dune:

A hatful of people with unreadable alien names, and a central character called Paul. Vastly advanced civilisations who retain a totally monarchic society. Never have so many dreadful Science Fiction cliches been brought together in one book. Ghastly.

This book brought me near suicide. I was so depressed after reading this pie that I wanted to go eat a goat.

One of the worste books of all time, I feel.
Actually… I couldnt make it past page 50. I usually give all books 100 pages, but I just could not stand it. It is written with a slight yoda like way. I just could not stand it.
Though, the movies arent really all that bad though.

Prose that would make a Dungeons and Dragon novel blush, boring , narcassistic characters, plot goes nowhere…1 star

This is a chore. I don’t go for complex storylines and this book is the worst of the worst for those. I kept turning back to read over parts I had not taken in the first time, and in the end I gave up. I got to almost half-way, but I had lost interest way before then.

AN UTTERLY ABSURD AND INORDINATLY LONG BOOK THAT INEXPLICABLY SPAWNED NUMEROUS SEQUELS THAT RESIDE ON THE SAME LITERARY LEVEL AS THE ORIGINAL.BORDOM, POMPOSITY AND PRETENTOUSNESS DO NOT A GOOD BOOK MAKE AND THAT IS PERHAPS MORE EVIDENT HERE THAN IN ANY OTHER BOOK I HAVE EVER READ.THE PLOT IS BIZARRE AND STRONGLY AKIN TO THOSE OF THE 50’S B-MOVIES THAT WE ARE SO APT TO FORGET,THE DIALOGUE IS LEADEN AND THE STYLE IS HEAD GRINDINGLY BAD.

There are some good things in Dune. But the bad swamps the good. Clumsy writing, heavy-handed symbolism, self-righteousness, unbelievable dialogue, characters even a comic book would blush at. A book that insults the intelligence at every level.

Like many others, I picked up DUNE based on its broadly accepted status as a SF classic. I don’t read much SF, so I try to get to the Big Books (War of the Worlds, Ender’s Game, Fahrenheit 451, “The Year’s Best” anthologies, etc). This was not a good book. The dialogue is stilted, the characters are caricatures, and everyone’s always “hissing”, “glaring”, or “swallowing with a dry throat”. The plot is interesting enough, but not nearly as complex or Byzantine as I had expected: warring factions, religious fervor, double-crossing, nefarious rulers, ulterior motives – standard stuff, really. If anything, the plot seems complicated because we’re told so little about what the Guild, the Great Houses, and CHOAM really are. Anyway, as a non-SF connoisseur I realize that I don’t get to vote on which books are the classics. But from where I stand, DUNE is a poorly-written, lackluster, repetitive tale. It’s not the best SF I’ve ever read; it’s not even the best book I’ve read this month.

All the five star reviews make me wonder who really is writing in for these reviews. As a Sci-fi fanatic, I was disappointed in this book for a few reasons, the biggest being the boredom aspect. On page 229, I had to put the book down because I had no real desire to read on. The other bothersome aspect is that this book does not take you in on the same emotional level as a “Lord of the Rings.” You really pull for Tolkien’s characters, whereas Dune folk felt like automatons going through another Matrix-lite plot.

After 10 pages everybody could guess the end.I just hate predictable book the first part of this book is worth reading but if your not an hard core sci-fi fan drop it after.

A friend told me that DUNE was different from the run of the mill sci-fi endless spillage of adverbs and adjectives. After three chapters of the most tedious and unnecessary descriptions of the tiniest details I decided he didn’t know what he was talking about. Boring junk with a capital J!

Lot’s of hype, good substance/plot/characters, but no suspense. There is a lot to slog through and this book is slow reading. I did have to put it down after ^150 pages because after a while, I just wasn’t interested. Who are these Dune cultists? Living in a big city, I can’t say I’ve met one.

I must admit I heard a lot about the book prior to reading it: 1. One of the top ten 2. Question antisemitism 3. A little boring at times. Honestly, I can only agree to 1 and 3. I don’t think it is in the class of the Lord of the Rings, but it is certainly noteworthy science fiction if you can slog through some of the more longwinded passages. Herbert’s GRAMMAR skills are in question at certain points. Finally, except for it’s small cult fan base, no one talks about this book….at all. No one buys Dune calendars, plays Dune games, etc. Thus, the emotional bond that Tolkien established in the Lord of the Rings is obviously absent here. Tolkien influenced generations with his story, and clearly Herbert has not.

I had great expectations when I picked this book up from the store last month. This book is okay, but certainly not “the best” as many claim. My suspicion is that people on this review site tend to be a small but determined bunch of supporters. The biggest flaw is that the book is boring. It truly is difficult to keep turning the page. After being 1/2-way through, I just had to toss the book out. If you scroll through the “real” reviews, you will find this is a common lament. Also, it doesn’t have the same emotional life as “The Lord of the Rings” and does not draw one in. Dune is certainly not in the same league as Tolkien’s works.

I don’t understand exactly why this is a highly praised book. I do however agree with those who say its very imaginative but thats about as far as it goes. I have learned a few things when looking for a good sci-fi book, dont believe the hype and surrounds books like this. most sci-fi books that are hailed as great works of art are often boring,superfluous, and overrated. I derived no pleasure from reading this book and often found it almost a chore to sift and dig through the fluff to understand what was going on.

Thank goodness it takes only eight thousand years for a little political instability to worm its way in. Dune is crap. It’s a bunch of pseudo-science hoodoo. I tried reading this book as a child and I was enchanted for awhile, the idea is so lovely it practically throbs. But really, for some reason, I just couldn’t finish it. Now as an adult I tried again to read it and it’s just more than silly. I guess Proust is right, you can’t go home again. Or whatever. Maybe there was a time to read it and it passed. Of course, the idea is nice. If there was a book on the idea of Dune I’d probably read it. Even the idea of Frank Herbert. Just a book about some cat with a big prophet beard and a penchant for writing crackpot books of science fiction/philosophy. That would be nice. That would compel. Even if he veered at times dangerously close to fascism, which he does, and so does that Nazi Heinlein. It would be hilariously funny to read about some chubby floodge who wrote silly books of facsistic science fiction but never had the heart to get them published (there’s a spin on things), and whose rantings were restricted–safely–to the confines of his kitchen. Funny. Sabbath’s Science Fictional Theater. Yeah. But Dune is, sadly, really sadly, poorly written and should have been better. Sorry.

Clearly, you have to be a fan of the robot genre to remotely even come close to liking this book. The first chapter gets off to a very slow start, the storyline becomes boring rapidly, and after a while, the book is unreadable. I would imagine that those disappointed with this highly overrated book would turn to other science fiction. Lord of the Rings puts this book to shame. J.R.R. Tolkien makes this author look unimaginative to say the least. If you want real science fiction, start with The Hobbit and go onto the LORD OF THE RINGS. Put this book where it belongs: in the GARBAGE bin.

26 Comments

  1. I wonder how much they would like the Kevin Anderson versions?

    I started reading all the Dune books when I was bout 12 or 13 – it was a hard slog. But he wrote with the purpose of making a person more intelligent for having read his work! The multiple comments of “boring boring boring” really kind of annoy me to no end – are you actually comprehending what you’re reading?

    The pleasure I get out of reading his work is how my comprehension deepens and awakens in me each time I read what he wrote. It was the cake and the icing. Reading the new stuff by Anderson is like having a vague sniff at the cake. You get the plot but not the richness of Frank’s writing. I’m glad to find out what Frank planned for his epic but the magic was gone.

    A little off topic but the list you had for “Catcher in the Rye” actually got me to go out and get a copy – and I loved it! It is scary how true it rings today. Talk to any EMO kid and you’ll get the same stuff. You can see the torture of teetering between child and adult – and I think we are all still suffering that lack of full transition well into our 40’s! (I know I am!)

    You’re getting me to explore stuff I never really looked into before – keep it up!

  2. I have only ever read the first book of the series, but it’s something I return to over and over. The characters are brilliantly developed, the middle east allegory is apt, and it also happens to be a rare find: a science fiction novel with strong female characters. It is, all around, excellent. Anyone looking for brainless dorks-in-space pulp junk should steer clear.

  3. I have to wonder if you like any books you’ve read. It seems to me that a majority of your reviews are negative. Post a positive one, please? I’d love to see what you really like. Thanks!

  4. I really enjoyed the first Dune book (and thought SciFi do a great job with their version of it). What I liked most was the very well developed universe the events are taking place in. You really get a feel for what institutions and social forces drive the characters to make thier decisions as well as the implications those decisions have on the rest of the universe.

  5. I read every book of the series when i was 14, I couldn’t stop. Really great concepts and characters.
    Anyone bitching about Sci-Fi cliches is just dumb, or ignorant. OMG ITS IN TEH FUTURE JUST LIKE ALL OTHER SYFY!!

  6. I have noticed that many of these ‘reviewers’ complain about cliches. Many of these books, Dune included, are the source of cliches so influential were they.

  7. as a 12 year-old, I found DUNE was infinitely more interesting than the bible, yet I saw countless similarities, and it dawned on me that the stuff my parents told me was “real” (walking on water, oceans parting, ad nauseum) was as believable as giant sand worms and spaceships. Thank you, Frank Herbert (though you are dead and likely don’t have a PC) for helping to free my mind. Oh, and Paul Atreides looked nothing like Kyle McLaughlan.

  8. Additionally, Chris, I think HereticChic is onto something. How about some glowing reviews of crappy art, music, books, etc.? What’s that…get my own blog? I would, but I would compare it to yours and feel inadequate. Between my small penis and my 401k, I don’t think my ego could take it…

  9. dune is awsome, read the entire series including prequels and sequels by brian herbert/kevin anderson.

    i read all the prequels before i read the original, everyone says they are bad, but thats what got me into dune in the first place.

  10. Dune is quite possibly the most creative, detailed piece of fiction ever written. If you have difficulty understanding it, you are probably stupid.

  11. You must understand that these short comments about the Dune books aren’t particular representable nor intelligent. But it’s good fun, though.

    I have only played the Dune computer game, and I must admit that I was fascinated back then. I know that Command and Conquer (Red Alert) was based on Dune II. Red Alert is popular today. Actually, our current prime minister loved to play Red Alert.

  12. I really enojyed dune, I thought it was a “great read” very entertaining and imaginative. But, I can understand where some of the 1-star people are coming from, its is quite a silly book and I wouldnt judge it in the same category as (what i call) “proper” science fiction like earthlight by arthur c clarke or the mars trilogy by kim stanley robinson or something like that.

  13. Geez, I realized I have never read or seen a majority of the classics in the YCPE column.

    If only people wouldn’t call them “classic”. It’s the word chosen by the early finders and critics to spoil the joy for all coming generations.

  14. All these idiotic comments show the result of the public education system and the brain-dead worker bees they church out. Today’s youth have only the attention span for TV and video games.

  15. I loved the Dune series; except Heretics of Dune which was so so and without a proper sequel will remain that way. I cant stand the new drivel from Anderson and company. Compared to Frank Herbert’s wonderfully written works they are amateurish in feel; like one too many Star Wars novel following the Original Trilogy conventions way too often.

    Anyway, I seriously doubt the nay sayers of this book gave it as much time as they say they did. Reading only 50 pages or even 100 of the first novel isn’t enough. Its like going to school through 3 month of second grade and saying school is useless.

    Hopefully they will enjoy reading the Archies.

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