It would seem the movie I saw many, many years ago made some very bizarre choices in terms of what to include or not include (or just make up) from the book, a book that I've heard friends talking about for also many, many years. Therefore, when my building book exchange had this first part in the series, I decided to finally see what all the talk was about. I went through the first hundred pages very quickly, as it is often quick moving, intriguing, and exciting, but by the time I was 300 pages in I really started to slow down for the next 200+. The tale largely revolves around Lawrence of Arabia--sorry--Paul, the perhaps messianic son of a Duke (did I mention the story merges a feudal society with interstellar science fiction and religious overtones?) who is sent to replace their hated rivals, lead by Baron Harkonnen (I do like the way he's portrayed in the movie), as head of the incredibly desolate, but vitally important, planet Arrakis, where spice is mined that allows interstellar flight (how they got to the planet without spice to begin with, is only explained in the appendix). We are told almost immediately that the Duke and all his plans will be destroyed, leaving us with about 200 pages of false suspense, jumping far too quickly into a whole bunch of stuff of Paul being a magical hero, and finally culminating by skimming over a whole lot of potentially interesting scenes. Undoubtedly, the repulsive Harkonnens are the most fun to read about, but most of the time we deal with a glorified version of Arab desert culture--the book came out in 1965 so the stolen words and romanticized, orientalist ideas was probably largely unnoticed. I'm certainly glad I read this book, but it seems unlikely that I will read its sequels, especially as I hear that the final one appears to be a set up for a conclusion Herbert would, sadly, not live to write.