Why should you read Dune?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/17/why-should-you-read-dune.html



Because it’s a pretty damn good SF novel even today. :slight_smile:


To quote the mansplaining blowhard sitting next to me in a restaurant the other night, because Herbert is “almost Tolkeinesque”!



…and this is one of the dryest, and least inspiring condensation of the story I have ever seen.

If I saw this synopsis without having ever read the book, I probably wouldn’t…

People should take the time to read Dune because it is some of the best world building I have ever read.

Because at the time, the spice was an allegory for oil, the Saudis, and our world’s dependence on it and whoever controls the oil, controls governments.

Because it was one of the rare books of the time (1965) that blended politics, science, mysticism, space travel, feudalism, RELIGION, and did it really well in a wonderfully gripping, complicated, yet still accessable way.

It is STILL relevant and like most great science fiction, it takes tropes from current events and rearranges them to make interesting points.

I truly wish the animation and writing in the video was NOT just another somewhat pretty rehash of the plot of the first book.


The trouble is that the first thing people always ask is, “what’s it about?” For most people “about” means “what happens”. If we were honest, we’d say, “things happen, people think about them, misapprehend them, react to them, and then metacognize about their understanding and reactions. Oh, and the scope is ‘epic’.” Makes it a hard sell.


Could be worse, they could go with the old standard of “It’s Laurence of Arabia IIIIINNNN SPAAAaaaaAACEEEE!”


…because you will be fifteen next year - and it’s time for you to face the perils of being bored to death by neverending space operas.




Ugh, can you imagine? Actually liking space operas? As an adult?

Anywhoo, I’m terribly excited about Osmo Vänskä’s upcoming dates with the London Philharmonic, and I’m worried that it won’t leave much time to fully appreciate the Mudu exhibit at the Met, but I’ll simply die if I don’t make it to the Sodankylä film festival this year–I hear they’ve premiering several experimental works on Bosnian oil painting during the civil war. Plus, I’ve got this surgery coming up to try and remove the rod from my ass, but honestly who has the time?


Just gonna use this thread as an excuse to post Dune memes.


Everyone should read Dune, but a great piece of advice given to me is it is never too late to stop reading Dune sequels. Even I think that goes for the mini-serieses as well. I got about 5/6 through the God Emperor of Dune or one of those and put it down, and have never read another Dune novel. I watched about 1.5 episodes of the one with William Hurt and fell asleep; never bothered to finish. And I think I’m better for it.


I say, you can wax at length about metaphors and world-building and creativity and so on. But in the end that applies just as much to such tiresome, ponderous award-winners as The Left Hand of Darkness, Red Mars, and Cyteen, and heck forbid that someone start with one of those and be turned off sci-fi forever. Dune, at least, is readable.

'Course, I’d also say it’s still not quite as appealing as Hyperion, Ender’s Game, or Gateway, but then those don’t have quite the same scope.


If you don’t read Dune, only Fat Boy Slim will teach you to walk without rhythm.




I’m glad I read Dune when I was young. And I’m glad that I recently re-read it, now that I’m older. But I won’t be reading any of the sequels. Herbert’s world-building is impressive, but the rest of the book was not for me. Based on my conversations with lovers of the books, I’m sure it’s because of my lack of intelligence or imagination. Or both.


Agreed. Dune was good. The sequels began fair and went downhill rapidly.
“Tolkeinesque” is not a eulogistic adjective, IMO.
“It’s a good thing we’re not all mad the one way” — Brendan Behan



I wouldn’t consider Dune to a space opera, anyway. That’s a type of SF that involves clear heroes and villains and was inspired by traditional “white hat/black hat” Westerns (which were nicknamed “horse operas”). Star Wars is a space opera. Dune is a bit more nuanced. Yes, some of the noble houses are more sympathetic than others, but nobody is 100% good.


a few years back, i decided to revisit not only the original trilogy, but to read ALL the Dune books. i think there were 19 of them at the time (there may be more now, not sure). it took me exactly 19 months, and i have to say that they weren’t all great by any stretch, but in retrospect i am happy i did it, and i love the whole freaking gigantic arc of time they cover. it was fun.

(the original trilogy is all you really NEED to read, though… maybe the first 6 if you really get into it.)