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GEoD Audio Book Review at Scifidimensions

Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 13:12

http://www.scifidimensions.com/main/200 ... r-of-dune/

The fourth installment in Frank Herbert’s monumental Dune saga is a complex rumination on the nature of violence, politics, religion, and the human condition.

Review by John C. Snider © 2009

Readers who have not read the late Frank Herbert’s first three Dune novels (Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune) approach the 1981 novel God Emperor of Dune at their own peril. A sufficient summary of What Has Gone Before is nearly impossible; nonetheless: the original trilogy told the tale of Paul Atreides, a superman who is the end product of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood’s secretive breeding program. Paul leads a rebellion that overthrows the Emperor of the known universe, and establishes his headquarters on the planet Arrakis, a desert planet that is the only source of the miraculous, life-extending, mind-expanding drug called Spice, or melange. After Paul’s death, his son Leto II, ”pre-born” with the memories of all his ancestors and possessed of near-omnipotent prescient abilities, attains virtual immortality by entering into symbiosis with a school of ”sandtrout,” which are the adolescent form of the Sandworms (kilometer-long monsters that dominate Arrakis and secrete the raw form of Spice). As is oft-repeated in the Dune-iverse, “He who controls the Spice controls the universe.”

As God Emperor opens, more than 3,000 years have passed since the events of the previous novels (which are themselves set roughly 8,000 years in our future). Arrakis has been transformed into a green world with limited deserts; the great Sandworms - save for the sandtrout embedded in Leto’s body - are extinct, and Spice is a carefully guarded, ever-dwindling commodity. Leto II is now Lord Leto, morphed into the inhuman God Emperor. Half-man, half-Sandworm, Leto is a ruthless dictator who guides society along the “Golden Path,” the one possible future, according to his prescient vision, in which humanity can avoid extinction. Exactly what the Golden Path is, and how it can be achieved, is a mystery even to Leto’s closest confidantes, which can make many of his thoughts and actions seem petty or capricious. Why, for example, would the God Emperor tolerate rebellion, especially when that rebellion has discovered his Achilles heel?

Leto II is a character nearly unique in the annals of science fiction, with a cast of supporting characters that are both peculiar and realistic. There’s Leto’s longsuffering major domo Moneo, part of an Atreides breeding program that has supplanted the now-forbidden Bene Gesserit schemes; Hwi Noree, a young woman genetically engineered to be irresistible to the God Emperor; and finally, Duncan Idaho, the latest ”ghola” reincarnation - more than just a clone - of Paul’s original swordmaster who died during the events of Dune. Despite the rebellious streak inherent in Duncan’s personality, the God Emperor has ordered one ghola after another to lead his vast army of female “Fish Speakers.”

God Emperor of Dune is, among the six Dune novels that Frank Herbert wrote, second in quality only to the original Dune. It achieves a complexity and literary richness far in excess of nearly any science fiction novel you care to name. Like its predecessor volumes, God Emperor is deeply philosophical, ruminating on the nature of violence, political power, and religion. While there’s court intrigue aplenty, God Emperor is not without its hair-raising action: the novel opens as a pack of specially trained wolves pick off a fleeing band of rebels one-by-one; the God Emperor himself cruises into a terrorist streetfight, plowing his high-tech Royal Cart hovercraft into the jumble of combatants; and the climax is a literal cliffhanger that is also the stuff of Greek tragedy.

This book is also part of Macmillan Audio’s ongoing project to publish new, unabridged audiobook productions of the entire Dune series. God Emperor of Dune (Jun 2008, 13 CDs, $49.95) features the excellent reader Simon Vance, with support from Scott Brick and Katherine Kellgren. Vance imbues each character with a distinctive voice: his Duncan is a truculent Clive Owen sound-alike, while his Leto (suitably) has the stentorian tones of a self-absorbed Shakespearean actor.

I highly recommend God Emperor of Dune for any audiobook library; or, if dead trees are more your style, it’s available in a brand new Ace hardcover edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
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Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 14:15

...symbiosis with a school of ”sandtrout,” which are the adolescent form of the Sandworms (kilometer-long monsters that dominate Arrakis and secrete the raw form of Spice). As is oft-repeated in the Dune-iverse, “He who controls the Spice controls the universe.

As God Emperor opens, more than 3,000 years have passed since the events of the previous novels (which are themselves set roughly 8,000 years in our future).

:roll:

Is it so hard to get the little details right?


[Edit: Put that annoying period inside the quote tags :P ]
Last edited by SandChigger on 28 Jan 2009 01:51, edited 1 time in total.
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 14:20

SandChigger wrote:
...symbiosis with a school of ”sandtrout,” which are the adolescent form of the Sandworms (kilometer-long monsters that dominate Arrakis and secrete the raw form of Spice). As is oft-repeated in the Dune-iverse, “He who controls the Spice controls the universe.

As God Emperor opens, more than 3,000 years have passed since the events of the previous novels (which are themselves set roughly 8,000 years in our future)
.
:roll:

Is it so hard to get the little details right?


I commented on the 8,000 year bit, I figured the rest was a lost cause. He did say it was almost impossible to sum up though.
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Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 14:42

:lol:

I just finished commenting, too. Basically recapping what I posted above. (But without the bitchiness.)

I didn't see your comment. I guess we're both in "moderation" purgatory. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 14:45

I hope it's as good as the portions of the Dune audiobook I have heard. I'd like to get them all eventually.
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Postby SandChigger » 22 Jan 2009 14:50

I may look into used copies. ;)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 14:53

SandChigger wrote:I may look into used copies. ;)


That reminds me, I need to make a "Back-up Copy" of my Dune audiobook.

:wink:
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~Pink Snowman

Sole Man

on Human minds

Postby Sole Man » 22 Jan 2009 17:06

the human condition


I hate that fucking thing.

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Re: on Human minds

Postby Freakzilla » 22 Jan 2009 17:18

Sole Man wrote:
the human condition


I hate that fucking thing.


It's a teenage thing, you'll get over it, I promise.
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Re: on Human minds

Postby halcyo » 28 Jan 2009 01:11

Freakzilla wrote:
Sole Man wrote:
the human condition


I hate that fucking thing.


It's a teenage thing, you'll get over it, I promise.


I'm 25 and I'm still not over it yet..... :shock:

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Postby SandChigger » 28 Jan 2009 01:58

And I'm nearly twice that and... ;)


Hey, Freak! Did you notice he put through our comments? :)

With this note:

On January 22nd, 2009 at 5:21 pm, admin wrote:Gents,

Thanks for your clarifications - I will take your word for it on these details. If I flubbed it was in a) trying to conjure the specifics of the earlier books from memory and b) giving my best shot at summarizing the story without going into insufferable detail. But really, what’s 10,000 years among friends? And why can’t sandtrout “school”? Pod of dolphins; flock of seagulls; school of fish; whatever! In the end, none of these “off” details changes anything about the main thrust of the series. Nonetheless, you are probably correct, and as Richard Dawkins would say, “I humbly accept the rebuke.”

(Hey, Eternal Thang, think I should go back and tell him "'Cose a sandtroot's nate noo feesh!"? :P )
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Postby SandRider » 28 Jan 2009 02:28

I think you should go back and thank him for accepting correction
and not being an asshole. Rare fucking commodity these days...
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Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jan 2009 08:48

I'm comin' to join ya Elizabeth! It's the big one!
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Postby halcyo » 28 Jan 2009 10:47

SandRider wrote:I think you should go back and thank him for accepting correction
and not being an asshole. Rare fucking commodity these days...


TOO true!

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Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jan 2009 11:02

I have thanked him for taking our criticism kindly.
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Postby halcyo » 28 Jan 2009 11:12

Good. I suppose we are rough fuckin' crowd around here. We're known to wanna choke a muthafucka for getting his facts twisted...



:wink: :D

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 28 Jan 2009 13:59

SandChigger wrote:And I'm nearly twice that and... ;)


Hey, Freak! Did you notice he put through our comments? :)

With this note:

On January 22nd, 2009 at 5:21 pm, admin wrote:Gents,

Thanks for your clarifications - I will take your word for it on these details. If I flubbed it was in a) trying to conjure the specifics of the earlier books from memory and b) giving my best shot at summarizing the story without going into insufferable detail. But really, what’s 10,000 years among friends? And why can’t sandtrout “school”? Pod of dolphins; flock of seagulls; school of fish; whatever! In the end, none of these “off” details changes anything about the main thrust of the series. Nonetheless, you are probably correct, and as Richard Dawkins would say, “I humbly accept the rebuke.”

(Hey, Eternal Thang, think I should go back and tell him "'Cose a sandtroot's nate noo feesh!"? :P )


Yarr, I'll get my Black Panther buddies to tell him. :P
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Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jan 2009 14:10

halcyo wrote:Good. I suppose we are rough fuckin' crowd around here. We're known to wanna choke a muthafucka for getting his facts twisted...



:wink: :D


I told him why too:

Freakzilla Says:

January 28th, 2009 at 8:40 am
Thank you for kindly taking our criticism! We’re used to being banned from the official Dune forum and being called “talifans” by Kevin J. Anderson for wanting consistancy and offering criticism.

I’d like to add that I have the Dune audiobook and it’s wonderfull. I plan to buy the rest of the series (FH’s books only).
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Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman


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