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.
The story itself is fantastic. Deservedly hailed as one of the greatest stories ever told, sci-fi or otherwise. A fully realized and richly detailed alternate universe filled with science, religion and political intrigue. A must read.
Unfortunately, the audio recording does not fulfill expectations. While far better than the original single reader audiobook (be glad you didn't spend 25 hours listening to THAT) the 2007 version is marred by the bizarre decision to have each reader read a chapter or section rather than have each reader read a character's part throughout the book. In other words, the voices for each character change throughout the book!!! Why? Baron Harkkonen's voice suffers the most. At one point it sounds like Michael Clark Duncan is voicing him and others it sounds like a sleepy Orson Welles.
It's a shame that one of the greatest books ever written has never received a proper translation into another medium. David Lynch's movie was stylistically and visually fulfilling, but the story edited and changed dramatically. The Sci-Fi channel's 3 part miniseries held more closely to the original plot, but the budget and casting left alot to be desired. The original 1997 audiobook was read in a horrible monotone and finally the 2007 version's inconsistent readers. Hopefully someday Dune will receive a treatment that it deserves.
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.
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 one of the greatest science fiction novels I have ever read. I would say it was THE greatest but for Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. That said, this book is undoubtedly a true literary masterpiece, both of science fiction and fiction as a whole. The universe that Herbert has created is so beautiful, so terrible, and so vast that it defies belief.
The production quality on this edition is excellent but suffers in its lack of consistency. The production alternates between a single narrator performing the voices of all the characters to a full cast production where each character is performed by a different voice actor. By themselves, either version would rate 5 stars in my opinion. Together they create a schizophrenic production that I could never settle into as comfortably as I would have liked. I would find myself getting into rhythm with the flow of the theatrical production only to have the book shift back to the single narrator at the beginning of the next chapter.
That being said, I still highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who values the art of great storytelling in the epic tradition. The universe of Dune is vast and all encompassing. The political intrigue played out between the Atreides, Harkonnens and the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV could easily have been plucked from the pages of Medieval European History (if the Valois and Plantagenats had traveled through fold space and expanded their minds with geriatric spice). Power, politics, religion, love, and war--Herbert wrestles with these themes that have marked great literature since the time of Homer. And the rich depths with which these concepts are dealt is truly remarkable. Buy this book. You will not regret it...I promise.
Not sure why they decided to have both a narrator reading lengthy sections, then inserting actors speaking parts in odd places. I would have preferred they had stuck to one or the other, the switching was distracting, but not enough to make me stop listening. Otherwise it enjoyable, a good recording and the main narrator that you hear the bulk of the time was good. I kept wishing Scott Brick had done the whole thing though, instead of just Stilgar's voice here and there. Love the book, I've read it at least a dozen times, it was fun as always to hear it performed. I always catch something I missed when reading.
I'm a big Heinlein fan and the was my first Herbert "read", definitly won't be my last!. My throat is still dry after experiencing the world he creates. I don't usually care for "produced" stories with sound effects, background music, and multiple actors reading. Your mind's vision and interpretation of the characters and scenes changes to that of the director. Dune, however, pulled it off nicely. Like a well acted movie, these voices became the characters. Be warned though, the book switches back and forth between multiple actors and a single reader, I liken this to watching a movie where the main actor changes with every scene, very hard to grasp at first and I'm not sure why they did it. Should have been one reader or multiple readers, but not combined.
I am a great admirer of Frank Herbert's work, and I got this book without hesitation. The audio is a high quality dramatization, and I enjoyed it very much, but there were some details that a production as well devised as this should have taken care of, such as speakers switching the role they had previously, so, suddenly the baron Vladimir Harkonnen has the voice of Thufir Hawat, which I found unsettling. Besides minor points like this, it is a great work.
Children's book illustrator & toy designer living in Los Angeles. Addicted to audio books.
Starts out great but then the narrations begins to vary, sometimes it sounds like a full cast performing, then it switches to a single narrator doing voices, then that narrator is switched with another who sounds totaly different. Then it goes back to the full cast w/ many voices. The changes are jarring and happen without warning often in the middle of a chapter so you are constantly confused as to who is speaking and what is going on. There is no consitency in the narration of voices- all very random and sporadic. A headache of a listen and considering the level of detail and involved plot elements this makes for a very confusing experience.
Not well executed.
I liked the book and would recommend it if you like more politics and ideals driven books but the main thing I wanted to address was the audio. Alot of people seem to have issues with it and I will admit that the voices may be a little over dramatic but in general its pretty straight forward. One person narrates the quotes at the beginning of each chapter and then the main narrator, Simon Vance covers most of the rest except for things specifically in quotations which are divided by character and voiced by different narrators. Since this does not include internal thoughts that the characters aren't represented as actually saying and Vance does imbue some character related "voicing" to the thoughts as would normally be done in a single reader rendition it does somewhat seem to lead to some of the main characters having 2 sometimes distict "voices" but it does make sense and it really isn't that difficult to follow. I doubt I would have noticed it if I hadn't read the reviews of everyone complaining about it. I guess basically my point is not to let the complaints scare you away from a good book.