Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Plans, with in Plans, with in Plans

Frank Herbert's Dune is a Sci-Fi classic, bar none. A masterpiece of writing, regardless of genre, first published in 1965--and winner of that year's Nebula Award. The Hugo arrived the following year. And, as I write this, I've just finished my third reading (in a fashion) of this wonderful work. When it was first released, IIRC, I was in sixth grade. I knew nothing, nor cared, about books--except those forced upon me by my school teachers, that is. My love of books and reading wouldn't bloom till after I left the cauldron of high school, some years later. And to my mother, I will always be beholden for that quiet seed she planted so gently, done purely by example.

I guess, I find it strange recalling my mother this evening after finishing Herbert's grand book that spawned an enthralling series. It captivated (and still does) a congregation of loyal readers. But, for my mother, books were her world (outside of her sons, that is). She collected and read all sorts of literature and popular written works. Dad, on the other hand, just collected women--there's a reason he was married three times, and divorced twice. Though, I'm sure he read all sorts of phone numbers on the back of matchbooks. But, I digress... Even through the rough times, and they could get quite difficult for single parent burdened with child raising responsibilities and what would be twenty years of RA, the quiet, intense joy I'd see in my mother's eyes as turned book page after book page, left an impression with her oldest.

No, I don't think I see the book's character of Lady Jessica in mom, for those Psych majors reading this. But, I think she'd be flattered. The scope and scale in this book is only augmented by Herbert's prose as he creates such a detailed universe in an unimaginable future. The first in the Dune series has just about everything in it: intrigue, action, religion, myth and pure creative power. Having finally picked it up and first read in the early eighties, I've only grasped more with each turn with it. The second was after I discovered audiobooks (after the turn of the century)--the now hard to find unabridged version by Recorded Books. George Guidall performed this wonderfully, mind you. But, it is surpassed with the 2007 release, by Renaissance Audio. This version, read by Simon Vance, Scott Brick, and a host of others was simply enthralling. And, that RA--not the bad one that my mom suffered with, is bringing the entire Frank Herbert original series to new digital audio by re-releasing it with this cast of readers. It will culminate with Chapterhouse Dune in early 2009. The original unabridged cassette audiobooks of this series are now quite rare, and do not offer the production values of more recent audiobook publishers. All I can say is, Thank You, Mother, For Bringing Books Into My Life.


  1. "Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel with a wheel..."

    Very nice review, beautifully articulated.

  2. Thanks, Corey, for the kind words.

  3. Pop Culture NerdJune 6, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    Haha! Hilarious digression about your dad's reading material!

    Your mother sounds super cool. I thank her, too, because if she hadn't instilled this love in you, you wouldn't have had any reason to visit my blog (Crais who? Winslow? Who cares?) and we wouldn't be friends. Noooooooooo!

  4. Very kind of you to say. Yep, I owe mom a lot. A love of books and reading to be sure, and for the friends that pair has given rise to. Thank you very much, Elyse.