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.
I haven't finished yet, but I know that this will stand as one of the best recorded books I have ever listened to. I've been a member for years and have hundreds of titles. The different voices and the production quality make it easy and compelling to listen to.
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.
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 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.
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.