Was Liet’s identity a surprise? who do you think he really works for?
I wasn’t terribly surprised, but I was amused. I thought while reading it that Liet works for Liet, and plays both sides to an extent. He seems to side more with the Fremen, but he’s a blend of two different cultures and a bridge between the two. He’s not quite a purely traditional Fremen, but at the same time, he seemed out of place at the dinner party in the first part of the novel, and not really a part of that world either.
What do you think of the Fremen culture? is this a culture you think you’d enjoy spending some time with?
I like the Fremen for one of the same reasons why I’m drawn to the Dothraki in “Game of Thrones.” The Fremen have a somewhat harsh culture, but they are honest about who they are and what they do. In Fremen society, you don’t need to worry about backstabbing, poison, plotting, and the other general moral ickiness found among the noble houses. If someone wants you dead, at least they’ll be direct about it. I’d love to spend some time with the Fremen, even though I’d miss air conditioning, the internet, and the ability to bathe.
What do you think of Count Fenring’s unusual verbal mannerisms?
They were hm-m-m-m-m-m one of the few things in this book that annoyed me. Not quite a stutter, just pure driveling. It made me wonder if Fenring was deliberately trying to piss off whomever he was talking to.
This is a far future empire with very little in the way of computerization. Information is often passed down orally, and schools (such as the Mentats and the Bene Gesserit) have formed to train young people in memorization and information processing. What are you thoughts on a scifi story that is very “low-tech”? Does that sound like a feasable future? a ridiculous one?
I’ll answer this in a minute, as it relates to the next question.
Dune was written in the 60’s. Does it feel dated to you? How does it compare, writing style-wise, to more contemporary science fiction you’ve read?
Using little actual technology other than space travel was what made this story not feel dated. When authors try to go heavy on the technology, it gets dated within a few years, even if the story is timeless. Look at Orwell’s “1984.” It’s still a fantastic novel, but since it’s 2011, it’s kind of amusing to look back on.
On the other hand, Herbert takes technology and sets up a world where humans tried to rely overly much on technology, resulting in a massive war and big explosions. People learned their lesson and switched back to letting humans to do the thinking. I think that the low-tech setting makes readers focus more on the characters themselves instead of being distracted by technology. Herbert makes technology secondary to the story itself, which is why it reminds me so much of epic fantasy.
One of the things not in the discussion questions that I found rather interesting was Jessica’s Reverend Mother ordeal. She probably should have told somebody she was pregnant first, since she just permanently altered the consciousness of her unborn daughter. Oopsies. Good going Jessica. Smart move.
Stay tuned for next week’s discussion of Part III! I’ll be asking the questions for next week, which will be sent out on Thursday.