Monday, April 27, 2015

Dune Readalong: First Discussion Post

Jenni has been trying to convince us all to read Dune, one of her favorite books, for the longest time. Thus, the Dune Readalong was born.

Truth be told, I didn't finish Book 1. I read about a quarter of it before I went for a plot summary on sparknotes. But here are my thoughts on Jenni's discussion questions. Link up at her blog if you want to play along.

Have you ever read a high sci-fi book before?
Nope. I didn't even realize that was a category. 

Is this your first time reading Dune?
Yes. I'd never heard of it before Jenni talked about it.

If this is your first time reading Dune, is the book anything like you expected it to be? If this isn’t your first time reading it, have you noticed anything different this time around?
Not at all. In my head sci-fi is about regular people with cool technology. This book feels more like high fantasy to me. (Anything with the word fief in it has to be fantasy, right?) I wasn't expecting it to be so big, either. 

Were you surprised that you knew who the traitor was before everything went down at the end of this book? Did it help prepare you? Or, were you bugged by it?
I always like when I know about something as a reader that the characters don't.  I was more surprised that the Duke knew he was going into a trap but ultimately couldn't do anything about it. I kind of liked him so that was a bummer.
I wish there were a little more mystery, though. I felt like I knew what every character thought about everything through all the internal monologues. It'd be nice to have to guess their motives or feelings more often.

What do you think of the idea of recycling the water from your body to survive in such an arid climate?
That's cool. (Is that the thing that makes this book sci-fi instead of fantasy?)

What was your favorite part of this section? Why?
From what I read it was the quote about "Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place." It's an idea I like to think about. (I think I mostly agree, although I'm pretty sentimental about some places) I like feeling like I can connect with ideas from the story.

Which character(s) do you find the most interesting? Why?
I didn't connect with anyone. I know, that's terrible. Besides the super detailed writing, I think it's one of the reasons I'm having a hard time with the story. I guess Paul is the main guy, so I hope I'll get more of a feel for his personality as I go on.

Are there any revelations in this section that surprised you?
I actually accidentally spoiled myself on this. I read one of the appendices in the back of my book when Jenni mentioned them and saw who Jessica's dad was. I thought I'd just not caught it when she was introduced, but it turns out that's the big reveal at the end of book 1. Oops.

What do you think of Dune so far? Are you having a hard time following what’s going on? It is engaging? Boring?
I feel like it's very dense and detailed. I liked reading the summary for the part I did read because it helped me better understand the book. But I hated that it was nearly 80 pages of reading that got summarized in a few paragraphs. This is not an efficient book.  I think the writing will bother me throughout but I'm hoping I can get into the plot.

Do you have any predictions about what’s going to happen in the next section?
Action? Maybe a spice-induced trippy part? I hear there are worms that people ride on, so I'm looking forward to that.