Dune by Frank Herbert
read by Simon Vance and cast
The library at my high school didn’t have that much of a selection when it came to fiction—just three waist-high aisles. (This was not, as I briefly entertained, to cut down on canoodling; there were plenty of ceiling high shelves over on the nonfiction side.) But it was the only library I had constant access to until I was about sixteen, due to a family vendetta against the public library over a fine. (Not mine, obviously, but Madame McBride never forgets.) That was perfectly alright, since I wasn’t really reading much beyond occasionally inhaling a Jodi Picoult novel in a day, whatever was assigned for the school’s book club, and the occasional Heroes fanfic.
The flip side of last week’s …
Are there any good books that you read IN SPITE OF the cover and ended up wondering what on earth the artist and publisher were thinking to pair up a cover that so badly represented a perfectly good book?
And … if you didn’t like the cover, what made you pick up the book? The author? Assigned reading from school? A recommendation from a friend?
Like I said last week, I’m used to relying on the public library for my books, so I can’t be too picky about covers. And despite the fact that I’m easily distracted by an attractive cover, I’m also, by virtue of being a speculative fiction fan, used to reading amazing books with mediocre covers. I, in fact, delight in bad covers, much as I delight in bad movies; Good Show, Sir is a website completely devoted to silly fantasy and sci-fi covers, which I love.
That being said, there are two covers that have stuck with me for being off throughout the years. I once completely derailed a discussion about Sabriel because I disagreed with Leo and Diane Dillon about a costuming note on the titular character’s sleeves. The copy of The White Plague I got from the library showed a double helix coursing through the English country, which is just weird.
Remember last summer, when NPR hosted that poll about the best science fiction and fantasy novels? Well, this summer NPR had another poll—this one aimed at generating the best ever teen novels, according to NPR listeners. While I rushed to last summer’s, if only to fulfill my obligations as a Tolkien fanatic and devotee of Jacqueline Carey, I didn’t to this one. Why? Because of the rather thin criteria. Whereas last summer’s poll focused on two genres that, at the very least, can be defined in broad strokes, this poll focuses on an audience instead—an audience we’ve only recently invented, and have only recently started catering to.
In June, I was alerted by my fellow The Lord of the Rings fans to NPR’s call to nominate books for their Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. Setting aside the problem of conflating the genres—I mean, I get it, but it does mean a lot of good books in both categories will fall by the wayside—I enjoyed looking through the comments for new recommendations and, of course, taking the opportunity to peddle Jacqueline Carey’s The Sundering like it’s my job. (If you read and liked The Lord of the Rings, you should read it. End of story.) The nominations were counted, the votes were tallied, and on Thursday, NPR unveiled the fruit of its labors—their top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books (circa Summer 2011). I’m not going to copy the list verbatim—you can find a printable version here if you so desire—but I am going to talk about some of the selections that made it, be they good or bad in my book.
The White Plague by Frank Herbert
I adored Frank Herbert’s Dune. The epic scope, the nobility, and especially the Fremen caught my attention just so when I was fifteen. When I saw that The White Plague, also by Herbert, dealt with the consequences of a plague that wiped out most women, I was intrigued. It’s a fascinating concept, and I thought I would be in good hands with Herbert. I was terribly disappointed.
Part of my distaste for digital readers comes from the ability for a reader to change the font of the book they are reading. Something about taking that artistic choice out of the hands of the publisher and the book layout design team rubs me the wrong way. It’s certainly not a deal breaker; after all, I’m most interested in the content of the text itself. But I do prefer to see a novel or a book the way the entire team behind it intended it to look. Presentation is important, be it books, clothing, or dinnerware, and I don’t like being able to customize that intent.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Team’s first meeting came twenty-nine days after the Achill demonstration, a delay caused by political indecision in high places, an indecision which was put aside only after chilling developments worldwide.
O’Neill’s disease, now being called the white plague because of the pallor of its victims and white blotches that appeared on the extremities, obviously was not being contained in Ireland, Britain and Libya.
pg. 60 of The White Plague by Frank Herbert.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!