Dune is a classic of science fiction - relying on character development and an intriguing plot instead of techno-magic to capture the reader. So the book is outstanding. The reading of the book is also very well done. The problem was in the production (as others have mentioned) - it switches between a traditional audio book (one person reading everything) and a dramatization (different actors reading different characters) without rhyme or reason. The Baron Harkonen is read most often by a talented, deep voiced actor, however sometimes in the next chapter or page the narrator takes over. It can be very confusing (especially if you never read the book). Unfortunately this problem continues on in Dune Messiah, the second book in the series. One really has to wonder: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
So the producers seem to have completely given up on the entire dramatization thing that they were doing in the first book of this series, Dune (see my review there). Simon Vance does a good job of narrating this story, but towards the end of the book it becomes very clear that he wasn't available to do some re-dos and missed text. So they end up getting some random guy to finish the project. Its actually the case that sometimes one word in a sentence is dubbed in by this other narrator. Bothersome.
The story in and of itself is good, not as good as Dune, but certainly worth listening to or reading. My only critique is that Herbert sometimes goes on far too long about relatively minor issues or expanding upon points that were made well enough earlier in the text.
The story, a noir-mystery, set in the San Francisco of the future is interesting for many of the techs it dreams up and puts into play. The noir style fits, but not perfectly. This is the first audio book that I've listened to (of about 20) where the technical aspects of the recording significantly detracted from the experience. The narrator is sub-average. Audio levels vary, mike noise pops in and out, they obviously had the narrator read all lines of a character in a row, then spliced them together - resulting in a really inconsistent audio stream.
The story is a departure from King's usual horror/suspense stuff. It is a fascinating characters study as well as an interesting take on a 'western'. Guidall's narration is thin at best - he doesn't have the right tone for the novel (captured PERFECTLY by the second narrator, Muller, in the series). Listening to Guidell is like listening to grandpa tell a bed-time story when it should be Clint Eastwood.
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