Dune by Frank Herbert – audiobook review

"Dune" by Frank Herbert - audiobook cover.
“Dune” by Frank Herbert – audiobook cover.
I first read Dune back in the 1980s sometime, around 20 years after it was originally released. I really enjoyed it, and spent a lot of time in that world reading the other books in the series. This one has remained my favorite, however.

Set 10,000 years or so in the future, the young Paul Atreides goes with his family to the planet of Arrakis as his father assumes control over the planet at the command of the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. Arrakis is the source of melange (or “spice”), a substance that allows the far-flung humanity to travel the stars. Control of the planet was taken from the Baron Harkonnen, and they are not happy about it.

Reading (or rather, listening) to Dune again after so long was great fun. I had forgotten how different it was from the film and the television series. The book has a richness and depth that was hard to find back then, and it still stands out as one of the best science fiction novels of all time. Despite the vast differences between the cultures in the book and cultures now, Herbert made the characters accessible and interesting.

The quality of the recording was wonderful, and the sound effects were used well. The main narrator (Scott Brick) has an easy voice that draws you into the story of Dune. The remaining cast (Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton, Simon Vance, and Ilyana Kadushin), along with Brick, each voiced a variety of characters and made them each unique. Occasionally, the voice of one character would bleed over into another, but these occurrences were rare. This recording won an Audie Award in 2008, and it deserved it.

The only problems I had with Dune were those occasional mix-up in voices. With the various people contributing to the narration (not quite a full cast), the narrators would sometimes read lines that belonged to characters being voiced by a different narrator, which made things occasionally confusing. This didn’t happen all that often, but it was often enough to reduce my enjoyment somewhat.

Overall, however, this is one of my favorite audiobooks. The audio quality was consistent throughout, and the narrators—even when accidentally swapping characters—made the experience highly enjoyable. I plan to listen to the rest of the books in this series mainly because I enjoyed this Dune recording so much. I highly recommend it.

Original Release Date: August 1, 1965 (USA)
ISBNs: 0801950775 (9780801950773)
Original Publisher: Chilton Books
Audiobook Release Date: August 1, 1965 (USA)
Audiobook Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point five stars
Family Friendliness: 98%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (frequent use of spice, use of other drugs and alcohol mentioned regularly)
Language: 1 (infrequent, mild, deity)
Sexuality: 1 (brief references, innuendo)
Violence: 2 (some fight scenes, nothing graphic, a lot of death)

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