DUNE and I have a long relationship. I grew up on the 1984 film. My father was a fan of the original trilogy so I am one of those people who will always associate DUNE with Sting (if you don’t know what I’m talking about click here….you’re welcome). This story, environment, the characters, worms and all have alway been part of my consciousness.
As an adult I kept a copy of it on my shelf out of nostalgia more than anything and I moved it with me from place to place. A few years ago my husband became interested in the DUNE world and started purchasing ALL of the audio books. (It’s a lot of books people, but who am I to talk about purchasing books…so the DUNE franchise it was). It wasn’t until reading “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown that I decided to give the book another try. I am 100% sure I read it in high school or collage, long before I kept track of such things but I didn’t remember much and in “Emergent Strategy” adrienne maree brown tells the reader to set her book down and go read DUNE if you haven’t and I took her advice. I took it three years ago and I took again this month when I started rereading “Emergent Strategy” for Book Club & Cocktails.
Three years ago, I didn’t get it. I really didn’t and I was upset about how much I didn’t get DUNE or what was so great about it. I watched the 2021 film hoping it would help explain it to me. It didn’t. I asked a few neighbors and fans of the book, usually men a little younger than me who love this book, why it was so formative for them and no one made it through my thick skull.
So this month I decided to try it again, one more time. This is CLASSIC sci-fi and I just felt like I was missing something vital in not being able to connect to this book. This time around I decided I was going to listen to the audio version and folks, let me tell you, if you think the medium doesn’t matter, I beg to differ. This book, these characters, this story has FINALLY come to life for me. Okay, it took at least two readings, two movies and adrienne maree brown’s endorsement, but as I am listening to the book I find myself absorbed in the story and the values being played out in the various schools of thought and practices. My brain cannot stop considering the thought experiment Herbert is participating in around what it means to be in relationship to nature and the causes and effects of climate change. I feel like the dam broke and the beautiful complexity of this story, characters and world are finally opening up for me.
What this is, is me acknowledging my hubris and being willing to humble myself, at times, to another point of view even if at first it doesn’t make sense.
What this isn’t, is an endorsement of DUNE or of this type of literary engagement. If you don’t like a book, that is fine. You don’t have to read it three times, watch all the movies and try to get what the hoopla is all about.
Books serve a variety of purposes and DUNE has been an irritating piece of sand in my jaw (pun TOTALLY intended) for years and I wanted to “get it.” I think I finally am. At the same time, this will never be my favorite book, but one that will hold a special place in my reading history because it didn’t get away ;).