Very rarely do I finish a book and go questing after the TV miniseries adaptation of it, hoping it will be better, but that is what happened here. I haven’t yet sat down and watched the miniseries, but only because it’s super hard to find. I think my local video store might have a copy. I’m certainly not buying the DVD from Amazon for $46. But anyway, my point is that though I remain fascinated by the overall story, and it engages me intellectually, and I especially find it fascinating to think and read about after the fact, the actual experience of reading both this book and the second one (and the fourth, which I just finished) was akin to having my teeth slowly pulled without anesthesia. It’s just Herbert’s style, that for some reason after the first book (which I flew through!) doesn’t engage me.
In this one, we’ve got Paul and Chani’s twins, Leto II and Ghanima, who are like their aunt Alia, in possession of memories from all previous generations, and so have been adults since they were in the womb, no matter the age of their bodies. It’s freaky as shit. People in the book are freaked by it, too, particularly since sometime in between the end of books two and three, Alia has succumbed to “the abomination,” which basically means she has allowed one of her ancestors whose memories she possesses to take over her body. The Baron Harkonnen is essentially possessing her like a ghost. Also running around the deserts of Arrakis is a Prophet, who may or may not be the not-dead Paul, and the heirs of the former Emperor are plotting to depose the Atreides line. There’s a lot going on.
I’ve just made it sound way more engaging than it actually was. The dialogue is stultifying. And most of the important stuff is under the surface of the writing. It’s exhausting.
The first three Dune books make up their own sub-trilogy in the larger series, so I really should have stopped after this one, but I continued on. SHRUG. I think I am going to take a break after four. I’ve made it this far and I’ve only got two more.