I consider J.R.R.
of the Rings the defining epic of modern fantasy, Herbert didn't
originate a genre like Tolkien did, but his epic works redefined science fiction.
He had a well-developed universe that with each book in the series was turned
on its head. Although Isaac
Bradbury and Arthur
C. Clarke are considered the standard-bearers for science fiction, Herbert's
epic Dune Chronicles put him among the greatest of the genre.
The first book, Dune
works on several levels. When I first read it, I was fourteen and wasn't too
interested in the philosophy and politics, so I just scanned on to the action
and loved the book just on that level. The plot is simplistic and yet there
are intricacies that add layers to the plot. Each time I have read Dune,
I have grasped more of the philosophy and politics in the story and my appreciation
of the story increased. It is heavier reading than an Asimov book and much longer
than a Clarke book, which means that it may not be for everyone.