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Dune Audiobook

Dune

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: This full-cast recording of Dune succeeds in every way the now-infamous movie version failed. The alien landscapes emerge in your imagination, while the complex plot lines and complicated relationships gain clarity. Through the talents of a marvelous voice cast, which includes Scott Brick and Simon Vance, Dune sheds the daunting burden of its epic richness - and becomes a powerful story of personal conflict and heroism. Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Frank Herbert's death in 1986 was a tragic loss, yet the astounding legacy of his visionary fiction will live forever.

©1965 Frank Herbert; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Science Fiction, 2008

Nebula Award winner, Best Novel, 1965
Hugo Award winner, Best Novel, 1966

"Unique...I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings." (Arthur C. Clarke)
"One of the monuments of modern science fiction." (Chicago Tribune)
"Powerful, convincing, and most ingenious." (Robert A. Heinlein)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (19337 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ruy Wolfenbuettel, Germany 06-22-07
    Ruy Wolfenbuettel, Germany 06-22-07 Member Since 2012
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    "great work"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-06-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 11-06-10 Member Since 2016

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

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    "Great and yes inconsistent"

    This offering has been well reviewed and there is nothing I could add. I will confirm, however, in my own humble opinion, this is one great book. The characters are well developed and the story unique. I agree with what some have said that this book is the bar to which all other sci fi must be measured.

    As to the production? Well, it truly is inconsistent. There are parts, particularly in the beginning, where the actors are superb. The music and loops are always well placed and add tremendously to the ambience and telling of the story. However, things then change. The voices initially acted out by others become the single, strangled voice of the main reader himself for no rhyme or reason and with no obvious logic.

    Given the story and all that is positive about the offering is so incredible, I still have to give it 5 stars.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-05-16
    Sher from Provo Utah 07-05-16 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

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    "Not a Sci-Fi fan . . ."

    I'm not really a Sci-Fi fan but because Dune is on every "must read" list I ever saw, I put it on my "to read" list. I finally got around to it on Audible. I'm still a bit confused by it which is why I don't read Sci-Fi as a general rule. However, I have the physical book as well and, gratefully, it includes a kind of glossary of Herbert's terms which I used frequently. I can't say I came away amazed by the book, although I did enjoy it. I especially loved the analogies and symbolism within the story very much. I watched parts of the 1984 movie as I read which only made it more confusing since it is quite different from the book. For example, I kept waiting for the baron to fly around and act silly with big puss pockets all over his face like he did in the movie. What was up with that?

    Every narrator was excellent but my personal preference would have been to let Simon Vance, who is quite capable of all characterizations, read the whole thing, with the exception of the quotes from the princess that I found quite charmingly read by whoever it was.

    Although I'm glad I read/listened to it, I don't think I'll be getting the whole series but I'm really glad you Sci-Fi lovers have those to look forward to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 01-18-14
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 01-18-14 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "A Muhammad-like story on galactical scale"

    I remember reading ‘Dune’ the first time in secondary school when I borrowed a copy of the book from the local library. Though I don’t return to most novels once read or listened to, ‘Dune’ have been one of the exceptions. My second acquaintance was during my study of Hebrew and Classical Arabic during postgraduate studies at university.

    My third meeting with Frank Herbert’s Sci-Fi classic was when I listened to it in audio book format. While it initially was just a great story, and during my years of study a feudal-Arabic desert mixture, the religious aspect of the novel intrigued more this time. Though the quotes by the princess Irulan felt at times as if it took away some of the suspense in the book, it had the function of giving the story the feel of a memoir.

    Paul Arteides the son of the duke Leto Artreides becomes the Mohammad-type prophet of the desert planet Arrakis, filled with dunes and huge sandworms which rules its surface. The story plays out around his transition from a duke’s son to a prophet, religious leader, genetically engineered oddity (the Kwisatz Haderach of the Bene Gesserit) and political force against the evil Harkonnen house who have been extorting the local population of the planet. It is a story filled with treachery, slyness in which good and bad, right and wrong blurs. Herbert has the ability to drag the reader or listener into a story in such a way that you change with Paul Artreides and accept the idea of a jihad against even the Emperor Shaddam IV. I was trying to think of a close parallel to what the story is about and the best I can come up with is the idea that a European kingdom loses its rightful heir just to discover that he has not died but turned Muslim and yet it is open to accept him and swear absolute loyalty to him.

    While Simon Vance reads the story, his reading is enriched with various voice actors that acts out important characters and scenes. These are also complemented with certain background sounds. Although some reviewers complained that some of the interpretative reading didn’t sound natural and sounded forced I there was nothing that hindered me. If there is something that I would change in the way the novel is read, it would be Vance’s pronunciation of certain words like “Lisan al-Gaib” to sound more Arabic. Then again there is nothing that says it must be pronounced the way I would like it to be pronounced.

    This 1965 Nebula and Hugo Award winning book is still a worthwhile and intriguing book to read. In some ways the story is straightforward, yet it has its surprises and it is a worthwhile Sci-Fi classic to listen to.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 07-20-13
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 07-20-13 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

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    "Classic science-fiction/high fantasy hybrid"

    Dune is one of those books that shaped my life as a reader. My parents gave it to me a gift when I was a kid in the 1980s, after I got excited about the forthcoming David Lynch film (which turned out to be a mess). At that age, I didn't entirely get what the book was about, but I found the universe fascinating. Mind control powers, sandworms, dukes, barons, spice harvesters, stillsuits, Fremen, weird religious stuff -- it was way more far-out than Star Wars (my template for science fiction at the time).

    I later read Dune again in high school or college, but coming back now as a much more worldly adult, it's a whole new experience. Now I can admire how brilliant and original Herbert's world construction is. Set tens of thousands of years in the future, Dune's universe retains only a few traces of Earth history, the bits that still linger within now-ancient "new" religions and societies. Also, computer technology and robotics have been rejected at a cultural level because of a past war involving them, and societies now rely on humans that have been specially bred and trained to perform advanced thinking. This is really high fantasy in science fiction clothing.

    It's probably not necessary for me to recount the plot in much detail. The noble Atreides family, one house within a feudal galactic empire, takes over administration of the desert planet Arrakis from its enemy house, the Harkonnens. With this post, the Atreides also gain control of the production of a drug crucial to the affairs (and politics) of the galaxy. However, the situation turns out to be an elaborate trap, and the young Paul Atreides and his mother Jessica must flee to the tough, tribal people of the desert, the Fremen. From there, Paul begins to discover a destiny that lies in his genes, in the religious lore of the Bene Gesserit, and in the planet Arrakis itself.

    More than just escapism, Dune is a work of literature with many layers and intermixed issues. It could be, depending on how you read it, a complex drama about human politics; a complex drama about religion, prophecies, and messiahs; or a complex drama about the dangerous intersection of politics and religion, as the young Paul goes from being someone to be admired to someone more and more to be feared. There are some ideas about ecological stewardship, when humans live on the margins of survival. There are some ideas about how being able to see the future might affect human choices. Nearly all science fiction or fantasy novels that explore any of these themes, especially any that feature someone “going native” among barbaric people, can’t escape the shadow of Frank Herbert’s towering vision.

    No, Dune isn’t by any means a perfect novel. As with certain other classics that awed me as a kid (e.g. Lord of the Rings), maturity makes it somewhat less mind-blowing. Now I recognize the more derivative plot elements and character types, not to mention the more tedious parts of the story, where Herbert has made his point and we're just waiting for him to get on with it. His desire to impress readers with the Fremen gets a little tiresome, too; after a while, I found myself wishing the enemy forces could have gotten it together and won a few battles, just to show those know-it-alls.

    But, never mind. If you like science fiction or fantasy at all, this is undeniably one of the reference works you should read at some point, because it set such a high bar for rich world construction and thematic complexity. It's not hard to see the debt owed to Herbert by all subsequent space opera -- watch popular movies like Star Wars or Avatar, then see if you recognize the crude imitation.

    Unfortunately, the most recent audiobook production is unevenly put together. A cast of voice actors performs the dialogue of different characters, which would have been great if this had been done consistently, but much of the dialogue is also handled by the main narrator. Thus, Paul sometimes sounds like the teenager he is, and sometimes like the middle-aged man he isn't. Likewise, the Baron Harkonnen is much more in character when his deep baritone is in effect, which makes its absence distracting. Someone told me that the production was expanded from an abridged version, which would certainly explain things. However, the musical vignettes that accompany certain passages and Princess Irulan's interludes work quite well.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen west pymble, Australia 11-10-11
    Stephen west pymble, Australia 11-10-11 Member Since 2016
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    "What an epic tale"

    I must admit I am a Science fiction person, so was always going to like the story... having read the book when younger and watched the TV show. However the Audio book was just amazing, it has been produced in an epic manner and it is impossible not to get dragged into the story.
    I used it to pass time on two very long trips and it made them fly past, the first leg of 13 hours I was almost disappointed to arrived as it meant I had to put a hold to listening to the book

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Denton, TX, USA 07-07-10
    Mary Denton, TX, USA 07-07-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Satisfying Adaptation of a Sci-Fi Classic!"

    I first read my now well-worn paperback copy of Dune in middle school and became a lifetime Frank Herbert fan. I've seen the movie and mini-series adaptations as well. This first book in his now classic series is still my favorite, and I found this multi-reader adaptation satisfying. While there were places in the narrative that I might have wished were interpreted differently, overall the characters were presented as individuals, the cultures of Caladan, Geidi Prime, and Arrakis were explicated, the rivalry between the Atriedes and the Harkonnens was developed, and the climax on Arrakis was appropriately intense. If you like Frank Herbert and love "Dune," I think you will enjoy this audio book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toyz etc 06-04-10
    Toyz etc 06-04-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Absolutely Wonderful Version - WELL DONE!!"

    Being a big fan of the book, the movie and sci-fi in general I had high hopes for this audio book and it didn't let me down one bit. Many of the words and names in the book are tongue twisters and the readers (actors) did a splendid job in voicing tham. This was closer to a radio play than an audio book. This is the best audio book I have listened to and can't wait to listen to the rest of the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Pitts Farmington, AR USA 04-25-10
    Mike Pitts Farmington, AR USA 04-25-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Fantastic, Period"

    Dune easily stands as one of the great works in Sci-Fi, with good reason. Frank Herbert had a unique ability to tell stories, and an even more unique view into the human psyche.

    Much to my surprise, I saw that many reviews complained about the audio. My experience was just the opposite - I have found this recording to be one of the best on Audible. With a full cast of characters I though the voice work was all very well done. The one valid complaint that I have seen is that character voices are sometimes read by the narrator rather than the actor who has been portraying the character - this is somewhat jarring at first, but I ultimately found it forgivable.

    As for the story itself, many dozens of reviews and reviewers have done a far better job than I ever could of explaining why Dune is such a classic. If you've never experienced Dune (and no, none of the movies or mini-series even get close), do yourself a favor and get this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John APO, AE, USA 07-29-08
    John APO, AE, USA 07-29-08 Member Since 2008
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    "A Pleasant Surprise"

    This is the kind of shock I like. Instead of being disappointed that a story doesn't live up to the impossibly high standard that has been set for it, I was drawn in by this book so much that I hated every time I had to stop without finishing. I didn't really expect to like this book at all but it was great.

    Makes you wonder about a place like Mars which has little or no water. What would it take to live there? This book makes an interesting case of what such a life might be like (sans the absence of oxygen), especially in the context of how we take water for granted.

    Probably one of the most original and creative stories I've ever read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Annette
    Nouméa, New Caledonia
    2/4/09
    Overall
    "Loved it"

    This is part one of three and it is excellent.
    I have already read the book and found this an absolutely brilliantly read book. The characters are played with charisma while the narrator does a fantastic job. The book is read in a calm unhurried fashion and is very easy on the ear.
    This one I will definitely listen to again

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr David Newton
    2/15/08
    Overall
    "What a great experience"

    This reading drew me in to the story in a compelling way. Each character in this complex story was clearly dlineated in both the main reading and the full cast areas.
    The story had changes of pace and intensity which allowed the listener time to take in the full sweep of htis marvellous story.
    i look forward to the sequel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Melanie
    EdinburghUnited Kingdom
    1/6/08
    Overall
    "A timeless classic read well"

    I have read this book in paperback form, watched the tv series and the rather flawed movie but was anxious to try out the audiobook and see how it compared. Well it is by far the best way to experience Frank Herberts Dune. The voices are fantastic and fit the characters very well as does the narrator. I loved this book have read, watched and listened to this book many times and can honestly say it stands the test of time. If you like epic scifi then you will love this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dr
    12/8/07
    Overall
    "A wonderful listen"

    I intially thought that I had made a mistake in trying this sci-fi genre,the unusual names and places would surely be impossible to overcome. However, with a wonderful narrator, sound-effects and added voices, I was soon transported to the terrain and culture of Dune, absorbed by the politics, intruiges, ambitions and dangers encountered by the characters. I was dissappointed when I came to the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beverley
    Stevenage, United Kingdom
    10/9/07
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    Brilliant story and great recording. This is one of the best downloads I have had from Audible. What a pity I can only give it 5 stars!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    PrestatynUnited Kingdom
    9/20/07
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    Absolutely worthy of the other excellent reviews, the reading by Vance is perfectly pitched and the other characters voiced either by him or other actors are wonderfully realised. The 'sound effects' (often really intrusive in American productions) add to rather than detract from the atmosphere, and the music is also good but not over-used. It has taken me three weeks to listen to all of it, but it is well worth the time and is a completely enjoyable experience for fans of either the book or even the TV mini-series. Excellent stuff!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jme
    Hove, East Sussex, United Kingdom
    4/13/10
    Overall
    "Brilliant Epic SciFi"

    Only one word to describe this book - Fantastic!
    Highly recommended if you like SciFi/Fantasy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    LiverpoolUnited Kingdom
    10/29/09
    Overall
    "An engrosing plot and high quality production"

    The Dune story is one of the original classic sci-fi stories, so it's unlikely you'd be picking this up without some knowledge of it already as the story has been retold in film, tv, and games a number of times. Because of that, there isn't that much to say about the story, it didn't become so popular by accident, mixing politics, religion, genetics and science fiction into a well balanced plot that moves at a very fast pace even with the rich amount of detail it includes.

    The production it's self is very well put together and clearly read, taking advantage of some brilliant voice acting for the characters, and some incidental music is used to very good effect normally around the start and end of chapters which build the mood and become very engrossing.

    As other reviews have mentioned, for some chapters they don't use the full compliment of voice actors, and have their lines read by the narrator (I think) which makes it a little inconsistent, and a very odd choice which I can only imagine was done to save costs on their part. Which is a shame, I'd have knocked them half a point for that if there was the point, but it's still an amazing audiobook and I'll be getting the next Dune book right away without hesitation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Keith Peter
    BilbaoSpain
    4/10/09
    Overall
    "Excellent story beautifully told"

    I'll start by saying that I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The story itself is engaging and it's full of detailed descriptions and rich character development. The narration is excellent and very entertaining, with the use at times of actors for certain characters. I must say it reminded me of a sci-fi Hamlet at times, as if written by a futuristic Shakespeare. My only negative comment would be that the story seemed to wain in the second half and that it wasn't as interesting as the first. Taking everything into account, it's an excellent audiobook and it's length means that you'll enjoy it for days if not weeks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    stafford, staffs, United Kingdom
    5/12/08
    Overall
    "Fear is the mind killer"

    It's difficult to not give 5 stars to this as it's such a classic sc-fi read, George Lucas later pinched the basic plot for his Star Wars saga. There's a great cast of characters to meet, all well represented vocally, this is one book to totally immerse yourself in. Is it as good as it's hyped up to be? Well, not entirely for me, Herbert does like to think himself as something of a sage a bit too often for my liking, it's almost his 'bible' at times and can get a bit pious in a zen-like way. If I'd read it as a teenager, I'd probably have thought it the best thing ever, but as an adult I take it all with a small pinch of salt, but go with the swing of it and you'll enjoy it. A story most people will get something out of, sci-fi fans or not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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