I tend to dislike overly long books, even if they’re as good and wonderful as Frank Herbert‘s “Dune” (Dune 1; ISBN 0340839937; 604p.; Goodreads). For, simply, so much happens between the first page and the last, that it becomes as good as impossible to say one thing that would reflect it all.
Spice, melange, is the most wanted, and the most expensive substance in the cosmos, obtained in one planet alone, Arrakis, know to the open desert folk simply as Dune. It is said that it never tastes the same twice, that the spice adjusts to persons wants and needs, pandering to the desires, and soon creates an addiction. On top of it, it gives an almost supernatural insight, the Sight, without which navigators are as good as blind, unable to predict the dangers open space has in store for their ship.
The price of it lies not only in want and addiction, but the hardships of mining this substance. For Spice is closely guarded by giant creatures known as desert Worms, known to grow large enough to swallow mining factories, men, spice, and all – whole. The relation between the worms and the spice is too intertwined for anyone to risk killing more than one or two truly menacing ones, but no one, except maybe the free folk, truly know how it is with them.
I feel like I’ve just read an epic story, like Kalevala or whatever else. The book inside is split into three, so it’s not difficult to read, and the story is so well paced, and so well braided with treacheries within treacheries, that I ate page, after page. The way people live in the desert, how moisture is preserved, and how even tears are frowned upon as wasteful, how treacherous sand can be, how easy it is to get buried and never found again, and oh, how the spice changes the color of the eyes… And most of all, how scary the damned giant sand worms are, forcing people to adjust even their way of walking just to avoid attracting one. Politics are unbelievable too, real easy to follow, and real interesting to watch unravel. 5 out of 5, there can’t be a question here.