February, 2018: Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’. An Introduction.

February is a wintry month. Here, in south Scotland, spring is beginning to show through shards of bright sunlight and heavy downfalls of rain. It’s a treacherous time for book-lovers. I am wrapping my books up carefully in a plastic bags before placing them in my backpack. I’d hate to be caught in a particularly aggressive shower, and return home to find water-damaged pages, crumpled corners, and torn covers.

But there is sunlight, at long last! I can read outside (albeit, with gloves on). The months of darkness have passed, and here we are, at the edge of something new.

On that subject, this months text is Frank Herbert‘s Dune. I believe I rescued this copy whilst employed at a large second-hand book company. It’s been sitting on my shelf for years – likely due to my concerns that Dune would be one of those sci-fi epics. Hard science fiction. The gadget sci-fi, the kind of sci-fi where the characters speak like conceptual robots.

I actually plucked it off the shelf in mistake. I was aiming for LeGuin‘s Earthsea (what with her having passed recently, and my love of The Dispossessed, it seemed a good time to engage with her other texts – her passing was sad news indeed), but in the half-darkness of the morning my fingers found Dune instead. I opened the book with a mixture of anticipation and fear. I was wrong to be fearful. The book is fantastic thus far.

I am reading the first book, but will not read them one after another. Next month I will be reading something else, but I admit that the idea of reading the whole trilogy in one go is tempting. I can see myself getting pulled into this world, as I did with Liu Cixin‘s Remembrance of Earth’s Past. I will resist that temptation, however.

Finishing this text in a short month is going to be tough – my copy has over 500 pages! So, I’m having to be strict with my daily reading. No more leaving the book at work or elsewhere. It helps that this text is a small book. It’s snug, it’s not going to take up too much room in my bag.

So here goes…

  • Frank Herbert’s Dune, published by Ace Books (1987)

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