Dune - Frank Herbert Don't mistake me, Dune, the novel, retains its 4+ stars in my heavens. This audio version gets the lesser rating because of deficiencies in presentation.

The good side of the CD is that, as happened while listening to Tolkien's [b:The Silmarillion|18512|The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, Part 3)|J.R.R. Tolkien|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fR4%2Bp81bL._SL75_.jpg|2964424], I heard a lot of things I had missed or glossed over in my many rereadings of the book. (I first read Dune when I was 12 or so.) For example, I had never really grasped the "ecological" theme of the novel that many critics point to. I understood the setting of Arrakis but it was just that - the scene where much of the action takes place. The CD brought out Arrakis' role as a character in the book that my readings hadn't. Which is good - I like discovering something new when I reread a book.

On the downside: The discs keep going back and forth between the narrator who reads all parts - dialog and narrative - and a cast that handles the dialog. And there appears to be no rhyme or reason for when this happens. In the first case, the narrator is fine when he's reading the story but his vocal range is limited. I wouldn't have minded him reading the entire novel but I think the production should have been consistent - all reader or reader + cast.

As to the cast-read parts, most of the speakers are seriously miscast in my opinion. Particularly egregious were the actors who voiced Gurney Halleck and Stilgar. Gurney's tone and rhythms are all off; and Stilgar's delivery is stilted and suffers from a bad pseudo-Middle Eastern accent. (I admit, however, that the fault may not be entirely the cast's fault. Listening to Dune does highlight the fact that Herbert's ear for natural-sounding dialog is not always very good.)

Recommended if you liked Dune and need something to listen to on a long road trip or to-and-from work, but one could wish for a better adaptation.