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Calling Cote and anybody else interested. I finished, 'Dune' btw.

(67 Posts)

The final eighth or so was okay. I was really, really bored by the rest of it, mostly because I thought that Jessica was snooty and dull and Paul was dull and a prig. All of Jessica's internal dialogues just made me hate her more and more with every one. I was most interested in the, 'servants' like Duncan and Guerney and co, but they were hardly in it.

Doubt I'll bother with any more in the series.

Now, does anybody want to tell me what greatness I've failed to recognise in it?

The characters need to be multi-dimensional and believable and have humanity in the sense that they have human needs/emotions (they don't have to be human for this btw - see Marvin the Paranoid Android!) and can connect with others or through the reader through the portrayal of their inner dialogue. In order to be meaningful, they must be able to learn and change and make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. That is why Elizabeth and Darcy, for example, have such long-time appeal.

The main characters in, 'Dune' are one dimensional and remain exactly the same throughout imho, and are all the weaker for it.

Mini - I've read most of Atwood's but other than, 'The Handmaid's Tale, I find her a bit wearisome. I will try another Ursula le Guin.

CoteDAzur Sat 10-Aug-13 22:33:25

Remus - I think we just read different types of books. I agree that you would expect characters to make mistakes & change in a coming of age book, for example, or where the book is about the psychology of ipthe protagonist, but not all books are like that. Thankfully so, because I for one can't stand books that are all about the feeeeeelings of main characters smile

Re "characters must be believable and have humanity" - Let's consider how different we are from Egyptians who built the pyramids. Can you imagine how different people who live 8,000 years in the future on various different planets will be from us? What does it even mean to say that those characters should have "humanity". You seem to expect them to feel like us and act like us. That would be the opposite of "believable" (Like in "Wool", I thought).

Imagine a child who is taught & expected to sit rock-still for hours to practice lowering his body temperature or moving one muscle at a time to catalog his mind-body responses. Imagine a culture where this is normal. Do you really think they would talk like us and think like us? No. So what does it even mean to talk about "humanity"?

(Genuine question. I'd be interested in your answer)

minipie Sat 10-Aug-13 22:49:27

Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 might fit your bill. If you haven't already read them?

I mean, 'humanity' in the sense that they have feelings of some sort, and relationships of some sort, and connections of some sort and can develop and change in some ways.

You loved, 'This Thing of Darkness,' yes? Surely that was, at least in part, based on the FEELINGS of Fitzroy and Darwin and the 'natives' and their relationships, and the way those feelings and those relationships develop - essentially, about the humanity of those characters? Without that, and without understanding that, Fitzroy's feelings of betrayal don't make sense and therefore the whole book surely wouldn't work?

Read both and love both, Mini. smile

minipie Sat 10-Aug-13 23:06:03

hmmm. More Ray Bradbury would be my first suggestion.

Asimov I absolutely love, but he doesn't really do emotions or internal dialogue. (Personally I'm more about plot than internal dialogues, I tend to skip past any soul searching to find out what happens next smile). Brave New World I imagine you've read. Have to admit Le Guin leaves me a bit cold.

2001: A Space Odyssey contains lots of psychological stuff as well as the science fiction.

The Philip Pullman trilogy?

No I don't want internal dialogue particularly - I was objecting to how awful Jessica's internal dialogues were in Dune.

Loved Brave New World. Liked the Pullmans apart form the stupid horse things. Le Guin has done nothing for me thus far and don't imagine I'll change my mind, but willing to give her a chance.

CoteDAzur Mon 12-Aug-13 08:37:19

"'humanity' in the sense that they have feelings of some sort, and relationships of some sort, and connections of some sort"

I thought there were feelings and especially relationships in Dune. A spider's web of relationships, in fact.

Anyway, have we talked about Hyperion before? It is another great sci-fi book and I think you would find character development in it to be much better than in Dune.

greenhill Mon 12-Aug-13 08:54:27

I'm not a fan of SF but read Dune, when I was a teenager, I only really got it when I'd read the lot and talked to my DF about it. Ray Bradbury is much more approachable.

remus as you like Wilkie Collins, The Haunted Hotel is on iPlayer at the moment, it was an afternoon play. It's 60 minutes long.

Which other Bradbury books should I look out for? Have only read Fahrenheit and (long ago and can't remember anything at all) The Illustrated Man.

Tell me more about Hyperion. Is it just one book or a series? Who's it by? What's it about?

Thanks for the WC heads up, Green. I've read The Haunted Hotel - it's great fun. Oh I do love Wilkie.

minipie Mon 12-Aug-13 13:58:39

I like his short stories, eg The Martian Chronicles and The Day it Rained Forever - very thought provoking and emotional. I don't usually like short stories much but science fiction really lends itself to the format as many sci fi ideas are only really enough to support a short story (which I think is why so many longer science fiction novels are really more like fantasy/epic dramas)

GooseyLoosey Mon 12-Aug-13 14:10:39

I love Dune (Dune and Children of Dune anyway). Also loved Lord of the Rings. I think in both the individual characters were not intended to be important, the books were about the history and culture of worlds and the great events that shaped those worlds. I enjoyed the "macro" nature of the books and was not really interested if Aragorn could be a self-obsessed or Paul was a petulant brat. I liken it to history books. I am not personally interested in the history of individuals but in the way their acts shaped their times and the future. Horses for courses though.

HarderToKidnap Mon 12-Aug-13 14:20:10

I quite enjoyed Hyperion but haven't bothered seeking out the second one yet, which is telling. I'd love to know what happens to the little Jewish baby girl, if someone wants to enlighten me via PM?

Basically Remus, Hyperion is about a group of hand picked people journeying to a distant planet called Hyperion to confront/figure out what is going on there with a giant scary time travelling thing called the shrike. On the way they each tell their tale, whats bought them there and why they want to find the shrike. It's been likened a lot in concept to Canterbury tales. They are each from a different planet as Earth has gone to shit. V good and it ends in a cliffhanger but the actual shrike but was a bit too sciencey and nerdy for me.

Oh yes - have read The Martian Chronicles. I liked it.

Goosey - love LOTR too and think the characterisation in there is much stronger than in Dune.

Thanks Harder. It sounds okay, but am not v good with sciencey/nerdy. In fact, I've realised that the kind of sci-fi I like is single short novels, with v few silly names and low nerd levels. smile

CoteDAzur Mon 12-Aug-13 15:50:00

Harder - I PM'ed you smile

Remus - Hyperion title comes from the poem by John Keats by the same name. It is about six people on a pilgrimage to Time Tombs, artifacts travelling backwards in time, presumably sent back by future generations. These pilgrims tell their stories one by one and the story of the book emerges from these different viewpoints and with different actors.

I wouldn't call it a terribly "sciencey" book. It is possibly one of the least "sciencey" sci-fi books I have read, in fact, comparable to Dune in that respect. However, its characters are carefully drawn and their thoughts & feelings elaborated. This is why I thought you would like it.

Who's it by, Cote?

CoteDAzur Mon 12-Aug-13 16:02:33

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Cheers. smile

CoteDAzur Mon 19-Aug-13 10:02:53

Remus - re "feeeeelings" smile

I'm miserably plodding through Delirium these days, and thought I would come back here and give it as the perfect example of what I meant when I said "I for one can't stand books that are all about the feeeeeelings of main characters"

Delirium is about a future when people are "cured" of love. It could have been a much more interesting book if it focused on this world - what it is like, how society and technology have evolved to accommodate a world where people don't really care much for each other etc. Instead, it's all about a teenage girl's hots for a teenage boy. All about her feeeelings when he is near and they are dancing etc.


Oh gods, no - can't be doing with that sort of crap either. smile

CoteDAzur Tue 20-Aug-13 21:47:09

I finished it today. YA, written by a woman over 10 years my junior. I should have known better.

smile Jane Austen was only 41 when she died though, and wrote the first version of, 'Sense and Sensibility' aged only 19. grin

CoteDAzur Tue 20-Aug-13 21:58:44

That was a time when YA didn't exist as a genre, though grin

I didn't realise you were reading YA - I thought you detested it!

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