Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Golden Path

10 days along and I am 325 pages into my Dune marathon.

I don’t believe that I’ve mentioned it in my (infrequent) blog entries, but I am something of a Dune freak. By that, I mean that I have read the original Dune books, multiple times. By multiple times, I mean the first three have been read five or six times, and the last three have been read three or four times. I have also read most of the newly written books.

I first read the first three Dune books (Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune) while in high school. I enjoyed them, but I must admit that I didn’t get everything out of them. I was just a bit too young to really see all of the layers. I read them again at around 20 years old and finished the whole set of six.

That was when I saw the power of these novels. Frank Herbert did an unprecedented job of weaving all aspects of human life into an epic that spans millennia. Not an easy task to do! His methods of playing government and military off of religion and superstition to form an empire that had risen in rebellion against robotic rule 12,000 years prior to the first Dune novel was so intricate and fascinating that I could not help but read them all again…and again…

And I have continued to do so for a good decade and a half since then. I will frequently cause my friends’ eyes to roll when I announce “I’m reading Dune again”. I actually read them repeatedly enough that I had to force myself into a hiatus. About two years ago, I established that I needed to expose myself to more than the sci-fi books that I was reading, and specifically avoid the Dune series for a good bit of time. It was good, and necessary.

But it is time again.

Now, I will never claim to be a fast reader. That has never been my goal in reading any book, never mind this particular series that I prefer to nibble on and savor. But the series has grown. Frank’s son Brian found a number of Frank’s notes, and he has taken up the mantel. He first wrote three books that immediately preceded the original series (I read those three). He then wrote three more books that outline the robotic oppression and human rebellion that took place over 12,000 years prior to the original Dune novels (I read the first, but not the second two). Then he wrote two more books that follow Franks outline for what was to be the conclusion of the original Dune novels (I have read the first of those two). In September, he has the final book coming out that actually takes place in the small span of time between his first three, and Frank’s original books.

You will notice that the writing of the books is very scattered in the chronological sense. But the book slated for September is supposed to be the last one written, and that inspired me to get back in to the fold.

This time, however, I want to be sure I read ALL of them. And will be following the timeline in order. That will be 15 books that span over 20,000 years.

Eight thousand one hundred sixty three pages.

Yes. 8,163 pages.

10 days along and I am 325 pages into my Dune marathon.

That comes out to 241 days left…


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