Title: The Dosadi Experiment
Author: Frank Herbert
Page Count: 336
This book was a little weird because I feel as though I should have enjoyed it a lot more than I did. The concept itself was pretty exciting, because it was set on a prison planet with crazy bad population. The specific figures are that there were 850 million convicts in 40 square kilometres.
The problem is that it’s almost deliberately obtuse, to the point at which I think I’d have to read it another two or three times just to understand what happened. Part of that is my fault, because when I’m reading a book like this and I’m not particularly enjoying it, I start to zone out. But I also think that part of it was down to the book.
So here we basically have the complexity of Dune but without any of its iconic story line and perhaps too much worldbuilding, if such a thing exists. It was just kind of unnecessary long and dull, with occassional bits of action followed by a ton of filler.
With The Santaroga Barrier, Herbert was able to build a kind of steady and consistent feeling of dread, while in The Green Brain, he grossed me out a couple of times by writing about people made entirely from insects. Here, he just made me kind of wish that I was reading something else, and that’s a shame.
So in a quite literal way, the Dosadi Experiment was a failure, but that’s okay. You can’t like them all, and Herbert is just one of those authors who has some good stuff and some bad stuff. I’m happy to keep on reading his stuff to try to find the wheat amongst the chaff, but I think I’ve also learned to temper my expectations with a certain amount of caution.
And that’s the key takeaway here – if you’re thinking about reading it, proceed with caution. ‘cause like, it’s not great.