How can I call myself a fan of SF without having read this, the book that regularly tops polls and lists of the best SF? Why have I, only now, come to read it? And now that I have, do I think it lives up to its reputation?
The reason I have put off for so long reading this largely stems from my distant memories of being confused and frustrated by the film adaptation many years ago, and my memories of the only other book by Frank Herbert I've read (some fifteen years ago): [b:The Dosadi Experiment|1937507|The Dosadi Experiment|Frank Herbert|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1224557227s/1937507.jpg|6983472] (that also left be confused and frustrated). However, being of such high regard, featuring in the SF Masterworks series
and also featuring in the NPR: Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy
list for which I had committed to a reading challenge, it seemed I could put it off no longer.
And to be honest, I'm glad I did. It was much better than I thought it would be. I was ready to hate it but was pleasantly surprised. It didn't take me long to get into it and I found it engaging and interesting throughout, although it felt a little slow in the middle.
One thing I've noticed about Herbert's style is that he likes intrigue and dialogue layered with multiple levels of meaning. Where I found this a little too overbearing and intense in the "Dosadi Experiment", I found it pitched just right in this book. Perhaps it was helped by the way the characters thought processes behind the dialogue were often revealed, not leaving the reader to do all the work.
One thing I noticed is that this is every bit a work of fantasy as it is SF. Not that that bothers me. Just thought I'd point that out. I'm sure readers of fantasy will get a lot of enjoyment from this, even if they don't normally read SF.
Anyway, despite the somewhat abrupt ending, I'm not sure yet whether I'll read any of the sequels. But I'll certainly consider Frank Herbert again rather than dismissing him as an author I don't like.