36 Books In 2018 #31: God Emperor Of Dune by Frank Herbert

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the all consuming desire to chuck a book I was reading across a room. Maybe since A Clash Of Kings and I thought that Arya had been killed in the aftermath of the Red Wedding.

But God Emperor Of Dune did it. Wow is this book brilliant, weird and goddamned frustrating. 

We’re now several thousand years removed from the ending of Children Of Dune which bummed me out, since I really like Ghani, and this mean she was very dead, and Leto has now been largely consumed by the body of a sandworm. Also he keeps getting Duncan clones, holds the galaxy in thrall as  if he were a god (he is not) and decides to marry a pretty girl, who of course, his current Duncan clone is in  love with.

Look, I admire the way that Herbert plays with the stories of maidens and dragons here, and the rambly philosophical weirdness of Leto’s lonely existence is great, but this one was a tough go, especially after Children, which I totally adored. And I’m gonna finish this series. (Or at least the Frank Herbert books, I’ve heard that Brian Herbert’s further investigation into his father’s work are skippable. Thoughts?)

But wow, I had trouble with this particular entry in the series. Part of it was how alien and different from the rest of the books it felt, the millenia induced time jump was disorienting and the fact that Dune is no longer Dune but the ecologically balanced Arakis envisioned in the first book makes everything weird.

Also, the feminist in me is a little bit frustrated that there’s an “all the ladies wanna bone Duncan Idaho” strain in these books. It’s eye rollingly annoying, even if he’s the Lancelot to Leto’s Arthur here, which is a sort of interesting part for the sword master to play.

The other theme that Herbert plays with here, is the danger of nostalgia which feels really important right now, but that doesn’t emerge until the end which is unfortunate. But still, there’s some good stuff here, and I’ll pick up Heretics soon-ish.

Up next is Infinite Jest which I am about 100 pages into and both deeply admire and kind of hate. So, we’ll see how that goes.

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