Dune (Paperback, 1978, New English Library) 4 stars

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, …

Welp, I enjoyed the new movie a lot but it left me with a lot of questions about my recollections of this book that I probably read too young, at least 30 years ago. So it's time for a re-read.

Also, I have the edition pictured and I think it has some terrible careless typos in it. Or does the Reverend Mother really talk about the "Swisatz Haderach" in the first chapter? I suppose that's consistent with how much I don't like this edition's cover art, and how much better the Villeneuve film's visuals fit my recollection of the story and its atmosphere.

Bleargh. I remembered that the portrayal of Baron von Harkonnen was gross and fatphobic, but I'd forgotten that it extends to the whole House, and I don't think I'd quite processed the homophobia attached to it. There are so many interesting elements to this book, why did Herbert have to throw this one in?

The other issue with the Harkonnens is just that they're so purely, cartoonishly evil that their existence lets the Atreides off the hook for being white-knight colonisers who think they're so much purer than they are. A subtler villain would leave more space for considering that tension between the Atreides' self-concept and the colonialism inherent to how they found themselves on Arrakis in the first place.