Dunecember: Week 1 Roundup: First 40 Pages

Lots of information in these first forty-odd pages. We meet our main character: Paul Atreides, the son of a Duke in some kind of future/past (”A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…”–this won’t be the last Star Wars reference). We meet his mother, a mysterious witch-woman, and some of his friends who also happen to be adults in the employ of his father. We also meet his and his father’s rival, and some political machinations are introduced. Phrases pop up like crazy, so I assume there has been lots of flipping to the glossary.

There’s a fair amount of exposition in these opening chapters. We’re introduced to a number of systems, which are the real rulers in Dune. There’s the environmental systems on Arrakis, the fiefdoms of the Imperium, the Spacer Guild, the Bene Gesserit and all kinds of other certifications and classifications and bureaucratic powers. Even the members of the “main cast” that we’ve been introduced to are like members of a D&D (or WoW) raiding party, each with their own powers and allegiances. While there’s certainly some action (the gom jabbar is a great scene, and the carefully controlled shielded sword fighting [swords!–there’s your second Star Wars reference], plus there is already so much intrigue with Yueh’s CONSTANTLY MENTIONED betrayal), these opening chapters are clearly setting the stage for excitement to arrive in full force when the Atreides family arrives on THE DUNE PLANET.

There’s a lot to take in, in the beginning. The characters are not only the people, but the whole of the world that Frank Herbert’s built for this story.

So, for the discussion. Feel free to talk about the first part we’ve read in the comments. I’ve got threading turned on, so you can reply directly to someone’s comment and start your own mini-thread if you feel the need. Here’s the rules, in ALL CAPS because I am shouting them:

KEEP YOUR SWEARS TO YOURSELF (at least humorously self-censor, like we’re watching the TV edit of your comments)
NO SPOILERS (that means discuss nothing after the first week reading line)

that’s it! For supplemental reading, check out the first post over at DHarbin’s Book Club.
If you are reading this and have not caught up–be aware that spoilers await. Also, don’t stress. The first month is easy reading because I figured some of you bums would take a while to jump in. Feel free to revisit these posts+comments once you get to this point.