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.
Frank Herbert, I OWE you. I owe you a LOT. This was one of the very first books that truly stirred my love for science fiction. You SPOILED me. You made me demand better writing from the authors I followed, and better development, as well. From this book on, I became harder on myself, to read works that challenged me, that made me ponder well after finishing the novel. I hungered for better writing that combined story, action, flow, cadence and for God's sake, CREATIVITY. Thanks, Frank.
THAT'S what good writing demands of us, and if the author excels at his or her craft, this book is the perfect example of what can happen.
In Dune, you get galaxy-sweeping politics, messianic jihads, genetically-enhanced warriors and spacefarers, pirates hiding ruling classes, clones that psychically destroy their victims, fantastic ecologies and creatures, religions that manipulate families and bloodlines, and countless castes intertwined with ruling houses that all depend upon a drug found only on one desolate planet - A planet with its own secret and massive agenda, hidden within the howling desert plains covering its surface. And wait, it's followed by yet ADDITIONAL novels in the series, some better than others, and then yet ANOTHER series by the author's SON, done decades later, that provides tremendous PREQUELS, based on his father's notes? Finally, throw in excellent male and female narrators that fit the characters they portray, and individualize each character.
Come on. Do you really need another great review to buy this audiobook?
I first read Dune the regular way in 1979, watched the 1984 movies and the SyFy minis 2000/2003. I started reading it again in 2006. I found this audio version even better than the reading and watching.
The actors/readers lend dimension to the scenes and characters that for me are missing from my personal reading of the book, the two versions of the 1984 movie and the various SyFy mini series.
The epigraphs by Princess Irulan are great as is the music that is featured at cetain times throughout the work.
Both my understanding and imagination are much better now making the listening a much better experience. I listen on two diff PMDs and a docking appliance with good speakers - a must in my opinion if you're not on the road.
Dune is a great story to be told and in the case of this version the story is told in a great way!
It is simply excellent - again.
Say something about yourself!
As someone who has read Dune numerous times, I found it a bit like seeing a movie of a favorite book--some things just aren't like you envisioned them. I had a problem with some of the voices because they were so different from anything I imagined from reading the book. The worst voice was that of Gurney--he sounded like a California surfer. I kept expecting him to say, "Dude!". It was really bad. The second worst, although it did improved over the course of the book, was with Stilgar. He sounded like Count Dracula at first. And there were inconsistencies in the voices because sometimes the narrator would just voice the character instead of the reader who was originally voicing him. Those complaints aside, I really love the book, and thought it was very well done. I am anxiously awaiting Book Two.
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.
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.
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.
This has to be the most well-produced audiobooks ever created. We all know the Dune story, and this is a perfect rendering. Well worth the price. You wont be disappointed.
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.