The Dosadi Experiment (ConSentiency Universe, #2), by Frank Herbert
McKie again saves the world, while at the same time getting some intense nookie. He is Frank Herbert's James Bond, the guy who can outthink everybody, adapt to any situation and still look cool and positive while doing it. To be fair, I enjoyed The Dosadi Experiment quite a lot, perhaps because and not despite the air of interplanetary secret agent idea. I liked it more than Whipping Star, the first book in this universe, which had the handicap of having to establish it first. Also, because most of that was a human trying to understand a Caleban, which was not terribly exciting. This book explores a planet used as a (unlawful) social experiment and what the result of that experiment was.
There is something I both like and despise in Herbert's writing. He weaves different captivating stories and worlds from the same pieces. So you get the stagnating civilization, malignant government and various explorations of solutions to solve the problem, you get the very rational yet emotionally immature male heroes and the amazing and terrifying women that they stumble upon, the idea of terrible pressure shaping civilizations and individuals alike into extraordinary form, the people reaching higher levels of awareness and saying or understanding the precise best things that could have been said or understood. There is even a Gom Jabbar in this.
In fact, some of his books remind me of chess games. And one might enjoy chess games immensely, but after a certain level you just don't get if they are brilliant or complete shit. It's the same with The Dosadi Experiment, where everybody begins seeing the world in the Dosadi way, speak in the Dosadi way, think in the Dosadi way, but you never understand what that is, other than a form of psychopathic focus on power games.
I believe that, given more time, Herbert could have shaped the ConSentiency Universe into something really unique, not as dry (pardon the pun) as Dune, not as depressing as Pandora, something that would combine the mind games and social analysis that he loved with good fun and great creative ideas. Alas, other than a couple of short stories, that's all we get for this intriguing world building.
Bottom line: a little more lighthearted than most Herbert books, featuring more action, but still having the distinctive attributes one would expect from the author. I liked it, but it wasn't as memorable as the books I really like from him.
Be the first to post a comment