Monday, December 2, 2013

Dune - My Favorite Science Fiction novel?

Occasionally, I'm asked what my favorite science fiction novel is. I think that's a silly question since there are so many great ones out there, and honestly, it all depends on my mood at the time I'm asked the question.

The closest I can get to answering that question is by answering which novel I've reread the most - "Dune" by Frank Herbert.

When I first encountered the novel in my early teens I wasn't the least bit interested in reading it. Afterall, a bunch of people running around on a sandy planet wasn't my idea of a fun science fiction read. But a few years later, I finally read it. I can remember that summer well, and look back with fond memories now of my first reading. I can even remember my second reading of it during one of the worst droughts southern Illinois had experienced in decades (how ironic, eh?)

TimeLife Books was offered leather-bound editions of classical works of science fiction, including Dune and Arthur C. Clarke's "2001" through a really terrible television commercial (this was years before the internet). At one point during the commercial, it showed an older man reading a copy of Dune to his grandson - as if a child that young would be able to comprehend this novel. I so wanted a copy, but my parents wouldn't buy it for me - they couldn't understand why I'd want a second copy of a book I already owned.

I've lost track of how many times I've read it, but I would guess at least five times. And I've read Dune Messiah and Children of Dune probably the same number of times. But after that, each novel removed from the original, I've read less. In fact, some of the newer ones by his son, Brian Herbert, co-authored with sci-fi veteran Kevin J. Anderson, I've never read at all. I own then, just never read them. The reason? Probably because when I'm in the mood for the Dune universe, I return to that original novel I fell in love with.

Inexplicably, my family seems to think that Tolkien's work is my favorite. And while I love Tolkien just as much as the next science fiction and fantasy fan, I can't say he is my favorite.

When it comes to favorite authors, I still can't say that Herbert is one. He makes mistakes that authors aren't supposed to make, but for whatever reason, I forgive him. I have friends and author friends who can't stand Herbert, who think he is over-rated, and I can't necessarily argue that point with them. I always reply to their criticism, "You may be right, but I keep reading his books anyway."

So Until Next Time...
Sandily Yours,

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