30 DoB Day 8: Most Overrated Book

Well, if the previous post was a “glass half-full” choice of a book that has been perhaps overlooked, the next installment in the 30 Days of Books inverts that view to the negative:

Day 08 – Most overrated book

Unlike Day 07, this one is easy for me: Dune by Frank Herbert

I know, I know.  It says it right there on the book cover : THE GREATEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL OF ALL TIME.  I’ll tell ya, it just didn’t grab me.  I know that it’s a Tolkien-esque level of universe building, but that’s not enough.  Tolkien created a rich incredible world full of wonderful characters that I felt like I knew personally.  Herbert created an entire universe full of people I didn’t give a damn about.  I have friends that want to take away any SF-fan cred I have because I don’t bow down for Dune.  Sorry, I gotta call ’em like I see ’em.

To me, not only is Dune not TGSFNOAT, I wouldn’t even recommend to anyone today for anything other than historical value.

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34 thoughts on “30 DoB Day 8: Most Overrated Book

  1. I agree. I made it through a portion of the series…lost interest and didn’t go back.

    Same with Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan. Even though someone is finishing the series since his death I don’t really have much interest in getting back into it.

    And the Thomas Covenant series….I enjoyed the first few, but finally all his moaning/complaining just turned me completely away.

    Lord of the Rings was not only a complete well-peopled world, it came full circle and finished the story. And in such a perfect way.

    Sometimes the ending is the hardest part.

    • Lauri — I really liked the first several books in Wheel of Time and then even read a few more hoping that they’d get back on track. I think I stopped after #8 and I ain’t going back. I loved the first Covenant and liked the second. I don’t want to touch anything that came after that!

  2. I remember reading that in High School (many years ago). I liked it, even read 2 more of the books after. I didn’t love it, just thought it was interesting and can totally understand how someone else would not be fond of it.

  3. I also would agree with this pick. And I think Science Fiction is particularly vulnerable to reevaluation as society and especially technology change. I will also say that as a female, I was pretty icked out by the role I would evidential be playing in the great new worlds. Gonna need a smaller hat a bigger bra!

    • IMF — when I read it in my teens, of course the misogynistic aspects were completely lost on me as my other literary interest at the time was trying to find my older brother’s girlie magazines… ;)

      • lol…understood. I get the fantasy aspect of it for a male reader!
        I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’! ; )

  4. No kidding on this one – it was a lot of trouble for not much entertainment. At least Sting got some work out of it though, huh? ;)

  5. I agree with you about Dune, and Children/Heretics of Dune were worse. However, I quite enjoyed Chapter House and God Emperor of Dune when I was in my early twenties, and read both of them more than once. I’ve been thinking of hunting those two down again to see how I feel about them a couple of decades later.

    • LOM — it’s interesting to go back to the books of our younger days (I won’t say “youth” since that suggests that I’m old). I still enjoyed LoTR, though I admit it lost something for me. I still loved Earthsea.

  6. I remember enjoying Dune when I read it, but don’t hold a lot of it in my brain after all these years. Sting, however, is burned into my brain forever!

  7. YES! I am so glad you said this, out loud and for public view. Maybe I’m biased because an ex-boyfriend in college loved “Dune” and I associate Frank Herbert with memories of my ex (all negative): but when he insisted I read this histrionic screed, I felt as if I was being forced to eat spice before being sucked down by a sandworm. Seriously, I wondered if Herbert had been taking acid while he wrote “Dune.” It was so insular, so bizarre, it had to have been a bad trip.

    Tolkien on the other hand was wonderful. If there was a literary universe I could actually enter, Middle Earth would be it.

    • HG — I always thought the giant sandworm was a fantastic (in both ways of the word, I suppose) image, but the book never realized the potential that offered.

    • I know, Budd. I know. You and Ross can badmouth me on google chat. I almost said “The Da Vinci Code” but I’ve seen that bashed enough places that I don’t think it’s held in such high esteem.

      I did like The Road, too.

      • I really did gasp when I read it. by the way. Scifi Media won an award, thanks for contributing. I am reading hunger games and was looking to be let down, but it good.

  8. I can see why you would feel that way about the book. It is dated (in both its ecology and its politics), it is tediously and needlessly long, and it frequently favors style over substance. And then there is the never-ending set of sequels, prequels, and side-quels that make you think they’ve got Orson Scott Card locked up in a back room somewhere.

    But if you read just the first three, they tell an interesting and compelling story of how revenge can destroy those who seek it. Herbert calls on the old Greek archetypes for his tale, though he dresses them in psuedo-Islamic clothing, and he uses them well, IMHO.

    So I liked the stories (well, the first triptych) – but I can understand and appreciate your viewpoint as well.

    • J – I wonder if I went back and read it now with a fresh eye whether I would like it more. I’d really have to work to compartmentalize my long-standing opinions though.

    • thursday — the movie from 1984 was really bad. There was a mini-series remake (I think with John Hurt) that seemed better, though I still lost interest in that!

  9. I guess when you compare it to the claim of TGSFNOAT, pretty much nothing’s going to measure up. I never really heard much of ANYTHING about Dune before I was first exposed to it (picked up a copy off my father’s bookshelf with no introduction whatsoever) so it’s pretty hard to have considered this overrated in any respect, for me.

    Personally, I really liked Dune, but I’ve avoided almost all the sequels/prequels/sidetracks as I think Dune stands well on its own and shouldn’t be judged by the publishing industry’s desire to squeeze every penny from the Dune universe that it possibly can. (Don’t worry, I am positive you’re going to disagree with me when it comes to my Day 8 entry, so no offense meant here on this comment!)

    • Ross — no worries with disagreements, I think they’re healthy! I know I’m probably in the minority of SF readers with a choice like this, but whatareyougonnado?

      I promise no flame-war when you make you’re incorrect Day-o8 choice! :)

  10. Dune stood out for me in two respects: first, the nature of Paul’s perspective (his ability to see and choose from short-term future paths) was fresh at the time and distinguished him from a lot of other fantasy protagonists and two, it spawned one of the funniest parody novels of my youth: “Doon.” Just the chapter intros on that book were worth my hard-earned paper route money!

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