I first read this book in 1980 in the back seat as my family did a two week camping road trip, and I loved this story. I must have read Dune over 20 times, it was that good to me. When I heard about the audio book I was a bit hesistant that they might ruin one of my favorite stories (like they did with the movie!!).
But the narration and characterization of the actors, were wonderful, giving the story a richness and fullness, a 3D immersive experience.
It made a great story that much better.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
If your only experience with Dune was the horrific movie, read on.
The mini-series was much better, but does not hold a candle to the original novel.
If you read and loved the original, you may be surprised how much you will enjoy this audible version.
Dune is more than great Sci-Fi, it is great fiction. I recently re-saw the mini-series and immediately wanted to experience the unabridged original again. The book was even better than I had remembered. The prose, the characters, and the story are all superior.
I was surprised there were quite a few subtle nuances in the story that I had not picked up on in my pervious several readings. I enjoyed this immensely as this is rare in all but the best of fiction.
Unfortunately the rest of this series does not live up to this powerful beginning, but not to worry, Dune stands alone. I strongly recommend this book even if you really disliked the movie. There are images and characters in this novel that have affected me strongly since my childhood and influenced me as a person. There are few works of fiction that I both enjoyed and appreciated as much as Dune.
I generally don’t like music or sound effects in an audio book, but here the sound-effect are light and don’t distract from the story. The narration, although not perfect, is quite good. This audio edition does the work justice.
The story is fantastic.
The only reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the structure of this audio book.
It is theatrical with many characters (many voices) and then it changes to the main narrator who will also do his own versions of the character's voices.
It would have been better if it was either narrated by one person or a theatrical presentation with many actors, but not both.
I hope that I made this review clear.
WOW!! The narration in this book is always good with segments that are GREAT. There were some complaints about the changing of accents or voices. I think of this in these terms. The normal narrator goes along telling you the story, and then at times there is an 'enhanced' scene, a scene where the voices are really acted out, usually with several different voice actors. I think of this as a picture in a book, this enhanced scene has a different set of voices because of the change in actors, but at these times you are also sucked into the story a bit more. Eventually the enhanced scene ends and the story is passed back to the standard narrator. As for the sound effects and the music, I think they all add to the richness of the story. I was never distracted from the story because of them. When I first heard the change between the 'enhanced' scenes and the standard narration, I was a little confused, but I quickly recognized the extra enjoyment I got from these enhanced scenes, and looked at them as a positive factor rather than seeing them as a negative. If I had known, going into the recording that it happened this way, I don't think I would have been confused at all. I think if you go into this thinking that the story was recorded with an excellent narrator, then the producers went back and 'enhanced' certain scenes for your enjoyment, you will be able to fully appreciate the wonderfulness of this recording.
Overall this was a great listen. However, I was somewhat annoyed how sometimes the voice of different characters were spoken by different actors, and sometimes they weren't. At one point even within one chapter they switched back and forth which mad it somewhat confusing. I did enjoy some of the sound effects though. Great listen!
I have listened to over 100 audiobooks on audible.com and can say, without reservation, that this performance of Dune is in my all-time Top Ten. If you have never read (or heard) Dune before, understand it as a masterpiece of future fiction. It is comparable to Lord of the Rings in its detailed other-worldliness and its steady hold on the reader. The book is of a sand world populated by evolved humans and replete with political intrigue, religious overtones, love, death and battle. This performance is rich and theater-like. Each character has a voice. It never sounds contrived or overdone. I know you will not regret purchasing this book.
Dune is difficult to grasp at first and requires patience, even for an avid sci-fi fan like myself. Here's the trick to stories like this one: don't try too hard. You won't understand everything at first, but that's ok. Just keep reading. Everything will become clear soon.
Dune is a superb story and rightfully deserves praise. The setting is brilliant: the planet and its inhabitants are intricate and arcane. You can feel the sand in your shoes and your lips cracked with thirst. The characters are well rounded and the spice (and its effect) is truly creative.
Dune does have a few flaws. For one, Herbert's writing is a bit unpolished. One of his bad habits is the lack of a consistent viewpoint. Within one section, we may jump from Paul's perspective, to Jessica, back to Paul, and then into third-person omniscient for a bit of narrative. It is awkward and amateurish. The plot is detailed and well-paced and my only quarrel with it is that Paul's over-confidence and detachment made the ending feel somewhat anti-climactic. It certainly seems set up for a sequel (and there are many).
A lot of reviewers have complained about the narration but don't let this deter you. Most of the the story is read solely by Simon Vance (who, by the way, is an excellent narrator). Yet, sometimes, and without any noticable pattern, the dialogue is read by a variety of narrators with Vance only doing the narrative. I have no idea why it was done this way and it is indeed inconsistent. Once you learn to expect this, it isn't that bad. It certainly isn't as terrible as some reviewers are claiming it to be. Regardless, all of the narrators are talented and they make easy work of the complex pronunciation and accents. Also, the background sounds and music were excellent and they really added great effect. I absolutely loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It is a unique and enjoyable production.
For this review I am going to mostly ignore the fact that this is an audiobook: the production is first rate and in this case that means one can concentrate on the novel, not the actors.
How do you review a massive novel such as Dune?
I will let the reputation of the book assure you of its quality and literary value.
Bear in mind that this is the best selling science fiction novel of all time.
What I would like to explain is my opinion of why this novel is important.
Frank Herbert with this novel was the first science fiction author to create a properly believable world entire.
The level of detail is astounding, from the carefully worked out machinations of the various political forces in the universe to the equally meticulous ecological cycle of the planet Arrakis.
With such dilligence and the use of devices such as quoting from highly convincing yet non-existent books Herbert fully pulls off the trick of making the reader (or listener) accept the milieu of the novel without question.
This unprecedented feat accomplished Herbert then uses this fully realised background to achieve his second great accomplishment; soft science fiction.
Up until this point (1965) nearly all science fiction had been about the technology. For example two of the great previous SF authors, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke had always felt the need to explain how their fantastical devices worked.
This is known as hard science fiction.
Herbert by contrast says "okay, you believe in my universe. Now heres the important bit: the people".
In short this novel brings the hitherto neglected literary facets of character and human interaction properly into science fiction and the genre would never be the same again.
This is a terrific book that I'd read many years ago. One of the best sci-fi novels ever, and a great novel even outside that genre. This production is quite good, and most of the voices are terrific.
Very strangely, however, this production sometimes uses two VERY different voices for the same character! For example, Duke Leto is voiced by an American-sounding actor in one scene and then a Brit in the next. Later, it will be back to the American!
The same with the Baron Harkonnen: two very different voices.
This is a very confusing state of affairs and I can't imagine why it was done. Oddly, the two actors voicing the same character don't even try to sound alike at all.
The book is so good, however, that it still gets 4 stars.
Unlike Issac Asimov's "Foundation", this production of "Dune" is Thoroughly Enjoyable Listening. The full cast production brings the pages of this book to life. The music track is subtle in the background and enhances rather than detracts.
I've been waiting for this for over 5 years and I look forward to the next 6 in this anthology.
If your a lover of "Dune", you won't be disappointed. If not, Try it, good chance you'll like it.