We all know the old saying “curiosity kills the cat”. For me though, curiosity can ether bring me joy and wisdom or pain and misery. And the subject being DUNE, it’s kind of in between.
Written by Frank Herbert and released in 1965, DUNE is considered by many to be a landmark of sci fi. Once cited as the best selling sci fi novel ever made, it spawned dozens of sequels, prequels, movies, TV miniseries and video games, Its safe to say DUNE has made quite an impact across the stars (pun in tended).
Lots of people love DUNE except for my dad. I remember him saying it was the “most overrated novel of the 20th century”. Its popularity and dad’s opinion convinced me to see it for myself. So I got DUNE on Christmas, read it, and after 1.000 years, I finished it.
‘How was it?’ you ask?
(Sigh) I’ll just say, I have a love/hate relationship with DUNE. And I won’t be surprised if I’m not the only one.
(Summary and good stuff)
Set in the far future, (and I do mean FAR) Mankind has migrated across the vastness of space under a feudal empire.
The most important substance in the universe is the spice, (I know it has name but let’s face it we all call it the spice)
which grants people extended lifespans, better awareness and even prescience…it’s very complicated. The spice can only be located on the planet Dune (I know it has a name but much like the spice we all call it dune)
A massive, hot, scalding desert with Kaiju sized sandworms and nomadic people called “fremen”. Our main character is Paul, a member of the noble family, “House Atreides”.
His father “Leto Atreides” is granted stewardship over Dune by the Emperor but is betrayed and killed by the evil, one dimensional Royal family Harkonnen.
Paul now join’s forces with fremen to fight the imperium, to take back dune, to complete his training and accept his fate as the Messiah of the fremen.
(OK I’ll start with the good parts first and deal with the bad parts later).
I am a person who loves a story with amazingly detailed worlds a story that makes you wish you were there. And DUNE is no exception. It’s what you call a dense book, it just sucks you into its beautiful world. And the history is tons of fun. Apparently in the Dune lore, the cliched, “war between man and machine,” happened thousands of years ago. And this came out before the matrix. The writing with few major exception is good. It’s the kind of writing I want to do one day. And the story as a concept is good.
A man in a far away Galaxy destined for greatness, fights an evil empire with swords and laser guns. This is awesome! And before you say Star Wars, keep in mind this novel came out first.
Now let’s see here, umm? The first three chapters were good, uhh…yeah that’s all I like about DUNE, everything else sucks.
( The bad and the cheesy.)
The story on paper is good, but as it plays out there’s a lot of things going completely wrong. Not only is it a painful long book, but there’s just major issues in it you can argue are plot holes. One example is Wellington Yueh. Yueh “betrays” House Atreides and is pretty much responsible for Leto’s death, even though he was imperial conditioning in the Suk school. Which is the highest level of mental, ethical and psychological training known to man, meaning he should be the most trustful and honorable man in the universe And then he betrays the people he vowed to serve.
His reasons… The Harkonnen are torturing his wife.
But it’s more then just plot holes, (which are debatable).
DUNE has an agenda.
Well, if you know a thing or two of Middle Eastern and Semitic languages you’ll find the fremen to be pretty much Arabs. There’s also the Bene Gesserit, who are the golden girls, if they travel back in time to make the Jesuits. (See what I did there?) Then there’s Choam.
The corporation that control’s all of the economy in the universe. The author Frank Herbert said flat out in a interview Choam is a analog of OPEC.
You still don’t see it? I’ll give you one last example, the Sardaukar are the Emperor’s elite bodyguards and they all have Jewish names.
Dune’s got an anti west, anti Israel pro Palestinian agenda! And this came out before the 7 Days War happened!
Yeah, it’s offensive, but for some reason it’s agenda doesn’t tick me off. Remember my “exceptions” with the writing? Yeah, they’re are the dialogue and characters.
The characters and dialogue are weird. They’re weirdly written and weirdly thought out. I think Mr Herbert was trying to make it look like a period piece, but everything’s so unnatural. Nobody acts like a human being which is ironic because in the lore, the humans won against the machines. However, I get the feeling the machines won. Not even a two year old little girl acts normal! Yes, I know she was exposed to the water of life giving her amazing powers, but could she a least say one! Freaking One word of baby talk?!
They’re boring, uninteresting, almost every smart character gets fooled by average people, and it feels like the plot drags the characters instead of the characters driving the plot!
Paul is maybe the worst offender. He starts as a little side character doing very little, then in the second act he’s this whiny little brat you don’t care about, and in the third act he become this emotionless rock.
Jessica Paul’s mother is shockingly boring and at times is quite the idiot.
There’s a bunch of side characters and almost all of them are forgettable. The only character that actually didn’t suck for me is Stillgar, the leader of the fremen, but he’s not enough.
DUNE also has one of the worst villains I have seen, “the Harkonnen.” The Harkonnen are cartoons! No really- walking, talking, cartoons. You wanna know how evil they are?
They lie, they cheat, they’re corrupt, they kill, they torture, their gay, they’re Russians, they own slaves, they killed all of the puppies on their homeworld (yes, really!) and one of them is so fat he has to use technology in over for him to move!
Oh my! They’re so evil!
You know what the side dish is?
The dialogue in DUNE is chessetastic. Imagine some rookie writer was forced to write a sci fi remake of the Holy Bible. The problem is one, he has no experience; two, changing the time periods from ancient to future is really hard, and three you don’t have the influence of God so what you get is the most awkward thing since, uhh… North Korea? Yeah, sure, why not-
My point is! It’s bad.
It’s fifth grade, it’s weird, it’s uninteresting, and the book takes it way too seriously! So when I find funny moments like this one:
“Don’t forget the tooth my lord. THE TOOTH!!!” It’s taken very seriously, it loses its humor and becomes cheese.
So what happens when you mix inhuman characters and cheesy unrealistic dialogue? You get DUNE.
If I had to pick a moment that really got on my nerves it have to be THAT chapter near the end of the book.
Yeah I’m going give spoilers, but I don’t care anymore!
Paul begins his war against the Imperium. Violence happens. After the fighting Paul receives terrible news, his little sister has been kidnapped and his son has been killed.
Here’s some context:
Paul’s two year old son, who he loves more then anyone in the universe, has been killed by the empire. Now in most novels– HECK! REAL LIFE! Paul should have fallen to his knees, cried his eyes out, then gotten back up and continued his journey but with a new mission, hunt down those responsible for his son’s death. That’s what I would have done! That’s what my family would have done, that’s what everyone would have done! But what’s Paul’s reaction? (In a emotionless, stone face delivery) Oh…my son’s dead…I’m sad…the universe is cruel…moving on!
When I finished the chapter I was shouting, What?! After that Paul reunites with his wife and grieves for about a page and a half. And after that his son is never mentioned again. And from what I heard, he’s not even mentioned in the sequels.
You know what? That’s it! I’m sorry, my dad is right, this book is overrated. This is one of the most badly written chapters of any book I’ve ever read! This incident with Paul’s son was just mind boggling and unrealistic.
Normally I wouldn’t say this, but–
SCREW THIS BOOK!!!
I’m sorry. Now with all of this whining and complaining You might think that I hate DUNE, And to be perfectly honest…I don’t hate DUNE. I don’t like it, and I think it’s an overrated book, but remember there are things in DUNE that I like.
The world building is good, the world and concept is good, the first three chapters were good, The chapter when Paul meets the girl in his dreams for the first time I thought was cute and the chapter where Paul rides a sandworm was awesome. And I’ll go even further to say it influenced me very much as a writer.
But i just don’t get why it’s so popular?! I have come up with three theories for this.
Theory 1: it’s a product of its time.
This book came out in 1965. A time of great change and division in society, a time of war, environmentalism and great interest in Eastern spirituality. And let’s be honest, a time when most people in the West didn’t know a thing about the Middle East.
So here comes this book that not only touches on these popular topics, but has this vast knowledge of Middle Eastern languages a lot of people had heard of before. It came out before Star Wars and Star Trek and you can argue it helped create Star Wars and many great sci fi stories..
It was revolutionary…back then.
Theory 2: critics like its richness It’s a dense book that dives into many topic barely touched on in most books, like ecology that’s why it’s called a classic.
And if this theory is true, I can see why critics love Game of Thrones so much.
And theory number 3; people just like the book and I don’t
If you like DUNE and found it amazing, that’s fine. That’s your opinion and there’s nothing to be shamed of. For me I don’t like it. But that doesn’t mean I hate Frank Herbert’s Dune.
6 out of 10.
I read the book when I was 13 or 14. (Yes I know, I was a little young….but about once I hit 12 or 13….I started reading my parents books…I’ve always been an avid reader.)
Looking back on it today, I really don’t like the story and I find the characters, especially the female ones one dimensional and poorly written. I really love the world building and I adore the old Westwood studios game but the book? Forget it!I can find much better books out there with wonderful world building.
I’ve become much more critical of books since I started writing. I also recently stopped halfway through a trilogy by Anne McCaffrey that I remembered loving when I was 15. I found it utterly boring and the main female character to be a complete Mary Sue.
Be happy you stopped after the first one, because it’s nothing but down from there. The good stuff is done and gone, the bad just keeps getting worse.
Had the same experience, reading Dune for the first time in my late 30s. I literally gave up halfway through, watched the sci-fi miniseries and read the Wikipedia summaries instead.
I can APPRECIATE Dune in many ways. But I can’t enjoy it.
Amen. The characters, dialog and cartoon villains severely limit this book, and I never understood why it was so beloved. I assume Herbert would’ve been diagnosed as deep in the spectrum if he was born in the 90’s. His grasp of humanity is simply missing.
I think I read half the first one. Interesting to compare it to Game of Thrones because I read the first book of that, and determined not to read another one.
I had exactly the same reaction to the first book. Never read another Martin work again.
We have to fight now.
Pops popcorn. Sits back. “Let the games begin.”
Cry “havoc”! and don’t gyp the frogs of Thor!
Scream and leap!
No, no, wrong series.
May thy knife chip and shatter!
I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment that “Dune” is a titanically overrated unreadable mess.
And it is NOT ‘The Greatest Science Fiction Ever Written”!!!!
THAT Title belongs to the 1930 penned by Philosophy professor W. Olaf Stapledon
I agree with the comment that we have to fight now. Literature is a matter of individual taste, as are most things. I love the entire series and re-read it every few years.
I read it in Middle and High school. Never since.
Love the world, never bothered to come back to the story. The sequels made clear he had no idea where to go with this that was cool.
As far as best SF novel – I’d put “Mote in Gods Eye”
Clearly, however, the most over-rated novel of the 20th century was Ulysses, though.
Was Ulysses actually a novel?
Are you thinking of Finnegans Wake, maybe?
“To Kill a Mockingbird” – Harper Lee actually lived in Alabama of the 1930s, the novel’s setting, yet she still manages to create two-dimensional characters and stilted dialogue. It’s one thing to have such elements in “Dune”, a [i]bildungsroman[/i] set in a genre whose core demographic is teenage boys, but a book that we’re constantly assured is one of the most important books of the 20th century, as “Mockingbird” is? Unforgivable!
At least Frank Herbert can claim that he’s never been to Arrakis. And his invented setting of the Padasha Empire is the best element of “Dune.”
“Ulysses” is a masterwork when compared to “Mockingbird.” Although, one suspects that some of reputation enjoyed by the James Joyce work stems from the fact that explicit sex scenes in a serious novel were still kinda shocking in 1922.
Tried to read DUNE on two occasions. Got bored and put the book aside both times.
On the other hand, read his HELLSTROM’S HIVE when I was 14 and loved it.
Yes, Hellstrom’s Hive was good. But like with Dune… Evocative setting, blah execution.
I think Dune got so big because Herbert flogged it for ten years straight at college lectures back when that really worked. National Lampoon’s Doone is more fun to reread.
It still annoys me that nobody uses Imperial Planetographer Keynes more. Maynard Keynes was the best numerate polemic writer of the twentieth century. Steal his lines, file the economics serial numbers off, stamp ecology on them, how hard is that?
Ummm the Saudakar all have Jewish names? Really?
Also pretty sure Harkonnen is more of a Finnish name than a Russian one.
Since the Fremen were Arabs and the Atreides were Greeks, I kind of equate the Harkonnens with the Franks. This might be partially inspired because they had blondish red hair in the movie.
OPEC…isn’t the West. Although I may be confusing the role the corporation plays. I read Dune about 15 years ago and bounced off of it. I’ve been meaning to pick it back up for a re-read though.
In the 60’s the Palestinians saw OPEC as supporting the West for profit and viewed the OPEC nation leaders as controlled by Britain and the US
Heresy. Triple heresy.
Burn them all and throw the ashes to the Shai-Hulud.
When I first read Dune in 1965 I was 15 years old. And I did understand it was about the fall of the Roman Empire, just like The Foundation Trilogy, but better written. I also noticed it was published by a car repair manual publisher, as I was growing up to be a mechanic.
There’s a re-read going on over at Tor.com. We’re right about at the chapter you really really didn’t like.
I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
Read it years ago at school. From what I remember it wasn’t a bad book, but it didn’t really seem worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. When you consider how many other, better books have been forgotten… oh right. Yeah. Knew there was a reason for the pulp revolution 😉 …
Meh, it’s my favorite SciFi novel behind Hyperion. But it’s not for everyone. The anti west reading in this piece is rather off mark, the fremen are just pawns.
Aren’t the Palestinians literally just pawns? Not sure that Herbert should be credited with foresight for that, but just sayin’.
I’m personally fine with the interpretation that Herbert just used a real-world geo-political setting and features as framework, just as others have done repeatedly in SF, without necessarily having an agenda to push. Since I don’t think there was a real moral point pushed through. It’s not like the Palestinians control any oil. Nor do the Bedouins.
Another point to consider is, back then, is the editorial gatekeeper controlled most everything. Hunting On Kunderer surely wasn’t the best SF novel published in 1973, nor even the best book I could have written. But it was the best book I could sell to a publisher (Fred Pohl at Ace) .
Gatekeeper? This was published by Chilton because nobody else would touch it. If you’re going with that argument, then this is incredibly awesome because he shopped it around like crazy, and when nobody would buy it, the car repair manual company did.
I mentioned that in my earlier post, but there are nuances to the Chilton thing people can read up on if they feel like. My point was, the gatekeepers were the beginning and end, next step the Anais Nin solution. In 1965, you either wrote for the editors, or for the trunk.
Frank Herbert was good friends with Jack Vance back in the day. Herbert gave Vance the Dune manuscript to read, expecting to really impress his friend, Vance told him, truthfully, that he didn’t really think much of it. It went on to sell more than all of Vance’s work combined. There is no justice.
It’s interesting to see the perspective of a younger person reading this for the first time. I can understand why it wouldn’t have the impact on you now that it did on me in the 1970s.
It’s kind of like when I finally saw “The Godfather”, fairly late in life, and thought to myself, this is okay, but what’s the big deal?
The big deal, of course, was that when “The Godfather” came out there was nothing else like it. By the time I saw the original, I had seen so many other films that had lifted the themes, styles, and sometimes complete sequences from it that it felt like I was seeing a remake.
“Dune” hit me with the depth of Herbert’s vision at a time when Science Fiction was increasingly defined as High Budget Toy Commercials (c.f. “The Empire Blows Up”.)
I’ll admit that the characters tend to be one-dimensional and much of the dialogue is pretty awkward. Paul, in particular, shifts back and forth between annoying self-pity and annoying self-importance.
I was willing to forgive that, though, because he was doing things that had never been done before. The Butlerian Jihad and the rise of the Mentat class, for example, was a drastic departure from the idea that of course computers would keep getting better and smarter. The Fremen were exotic and new to someone whose sole exposure to Arab culture was Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The Spacer Guild and the idea that faster than light travel was a philosophical concept rather than just another big machine. The Bene Gesserit undertaking a millennia-long breeding project and weaponizing subliminal psychology–these were all mind-blowing concepts in 1976 or so when I first read it.
Now, like the original film “Halloween”, it seems tame and overdone–too many people have taken those concepts and run with them. It’s not going to have the same impact today.
Mr. Stump could not be more wrong. Dune is the greatest SF novel ever written. No question.
It’s better than anything Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, or Van Vogt ever wrote.
It stands alone.
Damming with faint praise.
Of course its better than anything Clarke wrote. My grocery list is better than that.
Better than Starship Troopers? Hardly. I’ve read Troopers all the way thru, and picked it up numerous times since. Dune, I couldn’t finish.
If Dune has peers, they are The Caves of Steel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Sands of Mars, and possibly The House That Stood Still.
Despite its flaws — some of which are more apparent than real, IMO — I must agree. I reread it a year ago and it still holds up.
I wonder where Mr. Stump places FOUNDATION in relation to DUNE. That would clarify things a little for me.
I recently reread Dune. I found that some of the things I remember loving most about the characters and story came from the Lynch film. My biggest gripe is that Paul’s messianic mission was completely calculated and political in the book and the spirituality is non existent. In the movie Paul is made out to be more of a man of destiny than in the book. I find that journey much more interesting than political machinations, especially in the follow on books where his maneuvering paints himself into a corner when he could just easily say “I’m God Emperor and I will do what I want”
“I find that journey much more interesting than political machinations,” but this is what adults do. all calculating and money based.
“when he could just easily say “I’m God Emperor and I will do what I want””
that’s would be a boring book and people would stop reading.
This review was written by a teen? Man, the future of sci-fi just keeps looking brighter and brighter.
“There’s also the Bene Gesserit, who are the golden girls, if they travel back in time to make the Jesuits. (See what I did there?)”
Not really. Not at all.
I read Dune when I was a young teen and then again for a HS class on SF and again for one in college, so I think I’ve read it at least 3 times. I did enjoy the first movie, especially the production design. The most recent attempt at re-reading the book arose from an argument on a writer’s forum about the narrative style and my attempt to re-read fell flat. I just couldn’t muster enough interest in it to have another go. Like a lot of books from this time, it’s become dated, not in terms of the “science” but in terms of presentation (omni narration, author voice, etc.) For example, the style of storytelling where you could front load your world-building (cetacean biology in a few introductory chapters in Moby Dick) is gone. I think a lot of these “classic” works suffer from the same type of dating, and audiences now prefer newer narrative styles such as multiple third person subjective.
It’s been a lot of years since I read it. I had 2 major problems no-one had mentioned.
1. Lots of internal dialog of people wondering about other people’s plots, but no significant internal dialog by anyone about what they might be.
2. For a people with a feel for ecology, the fact that it was somewhere in the 2nd book that the Fremen realized that it they changed the ecology of the planet, the ecology would change was Really Irritating.
Dune has always been middle of the road for me. I suspect most of it has to do with personal taste.
I think one of the greatest wastes of a side character was Duncan Idaho (also, that has to be in the top 10 best sci-fi names of all time). What was done with his character in the sequels was a damn tragedy.
I agree that more should’ve been done with Duncan. He and Gurney were both cool. That said, try to find one character — underused or not — half as cool in the entire corpus of Asimov’s works.
Read it first time in 7th grade and several times since. My son just read it (6th grade–also loves The Martian and LotR) and thought it terrific.
I think the reviewer misses several key bits in his review.
1. The Dune universe is a full-featured world along the scale of Tolkien’s. Tolkien digs more into language & culture, whereas Herbert delves deeper into just how all this would fit together economically, socially and politically. Much better than most any other sci-fi, future-oriented fiction.
2. Omniscience’s effect on the human psyche. Wandering about not sure if one’s “now” is actually now or in the future–and seeing a multitude of probabilistic paths forward–is bound to have an impact on how one processes information.
3. Sardukar are stand-ins for Jews? Huh? Two of them are named “Garon.” That is French. “Torynn” is supposed to be an Irish girl’s name. Try this n for size: “blond, chisel-featured caste” is Herbert’s description of the Sardukar officer corps. Hardly typical Jewish physiognomy.
I could go on, but I gotto roll.
“Garon” is a Hebrew word and surname of a prominent Jewish family from France….
Jews certainly think the Bene Gesserit are Jewish:
That doesn’t count actual Jews in the later Dune books by Herbert.
So, let me get this straight: there are the blonde, clean-cut “Jewish” Sardaukar, the “Jewish” Bene Gesserit — which I can kinda see — and ACTUAL JEWS in the Dune novels written by Herbert. That’s a lot of Jews.
The Fremen were a persecuted sect who settled Arrakis to find a safe haven/NEW HOMELAND on that inhospitable planet that they then transformed through the course of the series. Their religion was given to them by the “Jewish” Bene Gesserit. Wow, you could say the Fremen are “Jewish”, too! So many “Jews” swirling around in Herbert’s books, especially considering there were ACTUAL JEWS in the books anyway.
They’re so vain, they probably think this song is about them.
“So, let me get this straight: there are the blonde, clean-cut “Jewish” Sardaukar…”
You think there are no blond Jews> You think there are no clean-cut Jews?!
I’m not sure if you’re racist or just provincial.
‘There are actual Jews in later books’.
Maybe you should look up ‘symbolism’ before you continue reading books….
I am not sure…who has the worst Jew-fever:
* Dune reviewers
I am not sure…if you are serious or just a parody.
Who were the Arabs fighting? The corrupt, oppressive, decadent Ottoman Turkish Empire. The ruler of that empire had the title — amongst many — of “Padishah”. Were the Roman emperors called “Padishah”? I don’t recall that. Was Yasser Arafat referred to as “Padishah”? I don’t recall that either.
For the kids on the short bus, the Turks aren’t Arabs. They speak a completely different language and are from a completely different ethnic group. Jews and Arabs are far more closely related. Anybody who thinks that the parallels in DUNE are only with the Roman Empire or the Palestinian conflict don’t know history and/or haven’t read the book.
Padishah is also a title used by Hindu and Arab rulers. Here’s something that (unlike your drivel) makes sense.
The Padishah Emperor mixes Eastern and Western titles – obviously stands of the British Empire (which still existed when the book was written) which rules East and West.
The Sardaukar, who use the ben prefix to many surnames and use the surnames of prominent European Jewish families and Hebrew first names, are the Israelis – fierce, nigh-unbeatable warriors from the desert . They are allied withe the Brits (a feeling common among Arabs in the 1930’s – 1970’s because of the Palestinian Mandate and such).
CHOAM is obvious OPEC, a cabal that controls the commodity necessary for travel, and it drains the wealth of the desert to distant lands.
The Harkonnens are British Petroleum and the handoff of Arrakis to the Atreides and the resultant violence are a clear allusion to Operation Ajax and how the British Crown used money to fund the CIA to attack the elected head of Iran for the cash benefit of the Anglo-Iranian Oil COmpany (a precursor/element of BP) after which the common man has oppressed.
The Fremen are obviously the Palestinians – their history begins with them being forced out of the homeland by outsiders; they are adherents to Mahdi eschatology; they use the phrase ‘Never forgive! Never forget!’, a chant of the Palestinians after the Israeli War of Independence that was adopted by the earliest elements of the PLO; they speak Arabic and have Arabic customs.
It really is amazing the parallels obvious to someone who remembers the book and knows Middle Eastern history, isn’t it?
Calling Dune overrated is about the same as calling the Beatles overrated.
Both statements are true, but they will cause some people to blow a very big gasket. Also, neither Dune nor the Beatles are utter crap, they’re merely over-rated.
And oddly beloved by Boomers.
As a newly minted teen way back when, I loved Dune. But when I picked it up last year, I decided to leave off after 30 pages and content myself with the memory of its greatness.
Sounds like this idiot got stumped. Clear from his opinion (which he managed to prove, can actually be wrong!) that Dune and the works of Frank Herbert are simply too far over his head.
“bad dialog and plot holes exist because the reader is stupid”
Communications major, are you?
I don’t believe that your sentiment about the book being anti-west is accurate. Let me be more specific: I believe that it is literally true, but I don’t believe that anti-west sentiments were the author’s intentions. I believe he was simply trying to capture the spirit of a people, namely, nomadic Arabs.
Herbert was a journalist, and in the course of chasing down a story in the middle east, he became side-tracked by the cultures of nomadic Arabs. He then became obsessed with it and would devour story after story about them. It was this that originally spawned his desire to write a story centered in that world.
So, my argument is that what he intended is to accurately capture the entire ethos of a people and set it in a fictional context. One of the necessary results of this endeavor was that the Arabs sentiments about the West would be expressed in the story.
I agree with you Jeffro on the Internet. It’s popularity is exactly what you say ‘mono culture westerners who think the world was created in 1776’ think this is a good book.
Oh, and you’ll love the fact it is being made into a movie in 2020, again!
I have not read Dune,although I’ve tried. Boring. The sci-fi I like is sci-fi where that story could only happen in that world or in that person’s mind (See PKD). Dune seemed like the standard D&D story about saving people and “my lord” and merchants and heroes, battles and…
Not exactly “Ubik,” and nowhere near a real classic like 1984. Never had any interest in George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones for the same reason, and the series sounds despicable with the emphasis on exploitation and rape. I like speculative fiction with quirks, not “action movies” written as sci-fi that depend on battles in space or on other planets. Bores me. Maybe ‘cos I’m a girl.
Anyway, my comment is to remark on the “dated” thing I see constantly misused (see Amazons reviews.)
“Dated” is a word meant to describe non-fiction — as in, a science book written in 1900 saying no one has been to the moon because that fact is now “dated.” It is NOT used for sci-fi — It’s like people sayingy something like 1984 is dated (not this book; talking generically) as we passed 1984, and there was no Big Brother. They’re using the word wrong! It’s not used for fiction, which is not a real world, and therefore, cannot be dated
Only books with facts can be dated. Also, I see it for older books. A good book is a good book. It does not matter. If your attention span has been ruined by video games, that does not mean a classic piece of literature is no longer classic or no longer good. It means you don’t have the attention span to appreciate it.
One more — people ask “Is this a must-read” or “is this worth reading”? No one can answer that. Reviews that say “Don’t waste your time” are not reviewing a book; they’re giving orders to people they’ve never met and might cause others to miss out on something they’d really enjoy. Same with “must-read.” No book is a “must-read.” It’s such a cliche, too.
Okay, sorry to be bossy, but I taught English for years; my background’s in English,journalism, and education, and I get crabby reading reviews that are cliched and silly, which these were not, BTW. Good reading.
I didn’t get it either. I thought it might be because I didn’t read it until I was 40-ish; I might have enjoyed it more when I was 16. The world is very interesting, but the first book doesn’t really get into the world itself that much. It’s about the characters, and none of the characters really engaged me. It’s funny that you mentioned Game of Thrones, because much like in that book, the character I found most interesting at the beginning is killed off to make way for less interesting ones.
Then there’s the Baron — I’m just so tired of seeing homosexuals in everything, that even when it’s the bad guy and he’s not being used to push their agenda, I don’t want to read about it. That’s probably unfair, since this book came out before the homo-infestation, but it reduced my enjoyment considerably.