Name: Diana Snyder
Occupation: Starbucks barista/student
Neighborhood: Clairemont Mesa
Where Interviewed: San Diego City College
What are you currently reading?
"Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert."
Tell me about the book.
"It's the second in a six-book sci-fi series; I'm somewhere around page 70. The main character's name is Paul, and he's become a sort of ruler over all these different planets. He was a royal person, and a lot of his family got assassinated. He and his mother went with a group called the Fremen, who belonged to the desert. They were a rough, violent people. Paul became their ruler, and then he came back and took over the planet, which had originally belonged to his father. On that planet, there is a spice that is greatly sought after. Spice is responsible for all sorts of things -- the setting is similar to how it is right now with oil, this big resource with everything depending on it. The book was written in the late '60s; it's strange how it parallels so much today: the planet is called Arrakis, which sounds similar to Iraq. The leader who was kicked out was named Shaddam -- this was before Saddam was even in power."
What do you make of the plot? Any favorite passages?
"It's interesting -- complex, with many layers. I like that it takes place in the future, yet people are totally against technology."
Any favorite characters?
"I like Stilgar, who was the leader of the Fremen before Paul. He's very loyal to Paul, and to his religious beliefs."
Tell me about the style and language.
"The language is difficult because characters speak on different levels. What a character means is not what they're saying. If you were to just hear the dialogue, it wouldn't make sense."
Compare this to other novels you've read.
"This book is much more complex. I like sci-fi and fantasy. I've read most of the Harry Potter books, and when I was younger, I read Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith, who writes about psychic vampires."
What book has been most life-changing for you?
"There's a series called The Seth Material by Jane Roberts. She didn't write it -- she dictated it over the course of 30 years as she channeled this spirit. Everything that she said immediately clicked with me. I had this strange experience when I was 15; I thought it was an out-of-body experience. I went to the library to see if I could get more information. I opened up to a passage in The Seth Material , and it completely changed my view of how I saw the world. It said things like 'energy is the basis of the universe.' I had thought that physical matter came first, and then consciousness was born out of that. The book said the opposite: that there's a consciousness first, and that's what's creating physical matter."
Who is your favorite author?
"Frank Herbert is becoming my favorite author. There is just nothing that I've ever read that compares with him."
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
"I read Astronomy magazine. I'm a physics major, so I'm very into astronomy and physics. I read about 75 percent of the articles."
Do you talk to your friends about reading?
"I have friends who like Harry Potter, which is cool because we can go to the movies together. My sister loves books that have religious undertones. We've both read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, but she doesn't want to touch my Frank Herbert with a ten-foot pole."