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This is more a review of Amazon UK than of the novel Dune, or as I had endeavoured to buy in good faith, a translation of impressive work of science fiction, by Frank Herbert, American Titan of the genre (or Jupiter perhaps) in French. Unfortuneately I was sent an old copy of the novel written in English.
One thing I notice about the cover illustrations on the 1960's versions is that they resemble something more like an amateurish scene from the Middle East. I also have a copy of Children of Dune, which I'm guessing is by the same artist. In contrast to the books recently marketed I have to say that these picture are unattractive. Whoever created the visual concepts on the David Lynch film, knew a good deal more about both embellishment and sleak minimalism. I prefer to think about what I'm reading with the film's visual concepts in mind. You cannot fault its contrasts of the earthy pristine against the mechanised grotesque, which also echo the portrayal of a humane liberty, starkly at odds with the threat of relentless persecution by the Harkonnens.
Since childhood I have been interested in the film by David Lynch, which is largely abridged compared to the novel, but lacks a number effects which you can only create through film. One of these is imagined horror, such as in the initial scene with Baron Harkonnen i.e. the turning away of the camera during a probably gruesome scene (think Reservoir Dogs). In a macabre sort of way, or zany, the Baron is also quite funny and not just the more coldly sinister and calculating character which the novel portrays. You also get both a different version of lines that were said in the film with the book's dialogue.
Another pleasing effect of the film is the frequent first person interior monologue. That, if you are unaware (and a friend had to tell me)is when you can hear the ththoughts of the character out loud, instead of them being spoken.
What does the book have? A useful glossary at the back, which may help to fathom the 'language' of Dune which was never explained to cinema goers in 1983. It has an earlier and compelling gladiatorial battle involving Fade Rutha, who in the film was played by Sting. It gives information about some of the technology of the world of Dune. For example, woe betide anyone who fires a lasgun at a suspensor field.
It gives the impression of a far more vulnerable and harsh world, perhaps closer to our own than that portrayed in the film, or in many stories; not because evil is greater, but because the human is a flawed being. This is true even for a man as great as Paul Atreides, or Usul and Mordib as he bacame known in Fremen society. There is a Shakespearean scale of morality about this saga. One to go back to.Read more ›