Saturday, July 9, 2011
Dune Readalong: Part One
These questions are a part of the Dune readalong hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. As part of a readalong, this post will very likely contain spoilers.
If I were a Mentat, I would not have to reread Dune. I would remember all of the plot elements and be able to move seamlessly on to Dune Messiah even though it's been about ten years since I've read it. But the reality is that my memory is about as reliable as the water supply on Arrakis...
Thus, a reread. Here are this week's questions:
1. (Question for those who have read it before) Did you see anything in this first section of the book that either you hadn't seen before or that you had forgotten about, anything that stood out to you?
It's easier for me to understand this time, now that I'm more familiar with all of the titles, customs, and other random vocabulary Herbert throws at you. Is it just me, or is there a lot? And the first time I didn't realize there was a glossary at the end. That's always a little scary when a fiction book has a glossary. But then, my copy of this does look rather like a textbook. >>
2. What did you think about the plot device of the early revelation that Yueh was to be the traitor?
It created a lot of other tension in place of trying to figure out if there was a traitor or who it was. Wondering if the plot would be uncovered before it's too late, or if Yueh would really go through with it (because of course the Baron is a big fat liar (literally) and most likely won't hold up his end of the bargain.) It allows us to see his struggle, and feel more satisfaction when he does what he can to help out Jessica and Paul.
3. What was your favorite part of this first section? Which character(s) do you find most interesting and why?
I liked the end of this part when Paul kind of freaks out and can't mourn for his father as his mind is flooded with his new understanding and sharp awareness of everything about him. Our view of Jessica takes on a new dimension, as well, and I loved the change of setting--I was ready to leave the great house and all of its intrigues behind.
I found Yueh most interesting because of the choice he had to make and that his love for his wife allowed him to overcome his "conditioning." Yeah, I guess I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.
4. Did the revelation about the Harkonnen surprise you? Why or why not? Thoughts.
It was kind of sudden the way we found out. You knew something would come up about Jessica's parentage, but not so soon or so suddenly. But I don't recall any other specific foreshadowing, but maybe there was just so much other stuff going on, I didn't notice it.
5. Finally, please share some overall thoughts on this first section of the book. Are you finding it difficult to follow? Easy to understand? Engaging? Boring? Just share what you are thinking thus far.
I get the idea that Herbert was a really, really smart dude. He seems to have a handle on politics, ecology, psychology, sociology, religion, etc., and incorporates them into a richly complex story that really gets under your skin. Sometimes it is hard for me to understand, even having read it before, but I find a certain satisfaction in having to work at comprehending new worlds. I try not to think too much about how the stillsuits work...