Content warning spoilers, though, you know, it's a book older than me
I first read Dune when I was about 11 or 12, and I absolutely adored it. This year's movie was excellent, and it made me want to reread the book, albeit with trepidation from all the critiques I've heard as an adult.
Re-reading as an adult was kind of painful. The elements I liked were all still there, but there's so much about the book that is just horrible. A few:
- The intense homophobia, fatphobia and just outright fucking Puritan pleasure-negativity in the portrayal of Baron Harkonnen.
- The cartoonish evil of the Harkonnens, which seems intended to make the reader take the Atreides' side, but...
- The Atreides just being colonisers obsessed with their own position and legacy, but somehow the author wants us to see them as Teh Good Guyz because they're not the Harkonnens.
- Herbert's weird feudalism fixation while he's ostensibly writing about an amazing future.
- How deeply orientalist his portrayal of the Fremen is, when they're potentially his most interesting invention but he won't quite let them be.
I love the Fremen and the ideas about geoengineering the desert planet, but by the end they were just barely enough to keep me reading.
I don't think I've ever said this about any book before, but I strongly recommend just watching the movie and forgetting about the book.