When someone asks me what my favorite book is, I have a hard time answering. I like a lot of books.
A couple of days ago I was coming home from the World Science Fiction Convention with my writing group pals. We talked about all sorts of serious topics... Ha! More like Tony and I drove the girls mad with our juvenile humor. Bad jokes aside, we did have some nice conversations. Late Sunday night, somewhere between Elko and Salt Lake, we started talking about favorite heroes or villains. That led to favorite books, antagonists, characters, series, etc. It was fun to talk with friends as passionate about stories as me.
Anyway, point is, the conversation made me think a lot about favorites. I wish I could remember exactly what I said so I could just repost the wisdom I'm sure spewed forth from my mouth, at the end of a mind-numbingly long car ride, but I can't. So I have to think about it some more. I did want to list some favorites, though, and then maybe go into greater detail about them on later posts. (mostly i'm listing these for myself since nobody reads this thing yet!)
This brings me to Dune.
Frank Herbert was one of the greatest genre authors to publish in the last century. (The evidence is that Dune is the highest-selling sci fi book of all time, Lord of the Rings being the highest for fantasy). I read Dune for the first time in junior high. Found it in the school library. I had read Ender's Game before, and a few other sci fi books that I can't remember, but it wasn't until Dune that I fell in love with speculative fiction. I can't even describe the sense of wonder that I felt imagining giant sandworms, a planet covered in sand, tribes of men surviving in a harsh climate by drinking recycled pee. And the spice! Herbert made a good case for drug use, I'll tell ya. (Kidding. But he did write Dune while on speed--learned that from Dave Wolverton).
I've reread Dune every couple of years since. I'm pretty sure I read my first sex scenes in the later books in the series--Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. I took my time reading those naughty bits. What fourteen-year-old boy wouldn't? Since then, I've come to understand that Frank Herbert, rather than being some old pervert, was a man who thought deeply about important issues affecting humanity. He wrote about the power of love and the emptiness in one's soul living life without it, the disastrous effects of addiction, the dangers of ecological tampering. Also, the consequences of fanaticism. These things went way over my head when I read Dune for the first time. They are things I ponder now, every time I listen to, or flip through Dune's pages.
If you're looking for a good old adventure story, Dune's a great read for that too. It hits on so many different levels of enjoyment. When I was young, I loved reading about Paul Atreides. Now that I've grown up (a bit, anyway) I find that I'm more interested in Duncan Idaho. Both are among the most memorable characters in science fiction. Paul for his plight to become a duke and avenge his murdered father, and Duncan for his unadulterated loyalty to a family who gave him a place of honor among them. I can only dream of writing characters like these.
So there's one of my favorites. I've got plenty more. It'd be fun to have a dialogue with others about theirs. But I don't have any friends. Aww... (That read this dumb blog, that is).
Maybe one day.