Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune

This book was mistakenly published under ISBN13: 9780965017763.Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family...

Title:Dune
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0340839937
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:604 pages

Dune Reviews

  • John Wiswell

    No one should argue the importance

    . It laid the foundations for a great deal of the themes and constructs in modern science fiction. Frank Herbert was as important to the genre as Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. Unfortunately, just like them, he's quite dated, and his books can be a labor to read. One thing he maintained from old science fiction was prim and scientific dialogue that no one would ever actually speak. I've known many scientists, and they don't talk like this. You're not going

    No one should argue the importance

    . It laid the foundations for a great deal of the themes and constructs in modern science fiction. Frank Herbert was as important to the genre as Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke. Unfortunately, just like them, he's quite dated, and his books can be a labor to read. One thing he maintained from old science fiction was prim and scientific dialogue that no one would ever actually speak. I've known many scientists, and they don't talk like this. You're not going to convince me a child does.

    The stuffy dialogue is inserted into even stuffier narrative, until it feels like nothing is organic about Herbert's prose. This is a terrible tragedy when you've got a world that he put so much effort into building - and it is an amazing feat of world-building, technically interplanetary building. But unlike J.R.R. Tolkien, who he is so frequently compared to, Herbert didn't make sure to include a great story in his world. Instead he included a story that frequently illustrated how clunky an artificial world can be, even if it's lovingly crafted. I struggled to attach or find interest in anyone, yet they're more archetypes than human beings, whose logic races past modern skepticism and whose dialogue is cloyingly artificial, the way people cared for the Hobbits, Dwarves and Rangers. In his world-building, Tolkien at least saved himself from being dated by antedating himself, and even with his illuminated prose, wrought more characteristics in just one protagonist than all of

    's cast.

    Even the political intrigue Herbert tries to fall back on was overdone in the Spy genre decades before he started this book. All fans of the "Genre" genres should appreciate Herbert's massive contributions, but they shouldn't pretend to enjoy the books if they don't, and they should be wary of certain pitfalls typical of science fiction that survived into his landmark work.

  • Manny

    There's a characteristically witty essay by Borges about a man who rewrites

    , many centuries after Cervantes. He publishes a novel with the same title, containing the same words in the same order. But, as Borges shows you, the different cultural context means it's a completely new book! What was once trite and commonplace is now daring and new, and vice versa. It just happens to

    like Cervantes's masterpiece.

    Similarly, imagine the man who was brave or stupid enough to rewrite

    There's a characteristically witty essay by Borges about a man who rewrites

    , many centuries after Cervantes. He publishes a novel with the same title, containing the same words in the same order. But, as Borges shows you, the different cultural context means it's a completely new book! What was once trite and commonplace is now daring and new, and vice versa. It just happens to

    like Cervantes's masterpiece.

    Similarly, imagine the man who was brave or stupid enough to rewrite

    in the early 21st century. Like many people who grew up in the 60s and 70s, I read the book in my early teens. What an amazing story! Those kick-ass Fremen! All those cool, weird-sounding names and expressions they use! (They even have a useful glossary in the back). The disgusting, corrupt, slimy Harkonnens - don't you just love to hate them! When former-aristo-turned-desert-guerilla-fighter Paul Muad'Dib rides in on a sandworm at the end to fight the evil Baron and his vicious, cruel nephew, of course you're cheering for him. Who the hell wouldn't be?

    So that was the

    we know and love, but the man who rewrote it now would get a rather different reception. Oh my God! These Fremen, who obviously speak

    , live on a desert planet which supplies the Universe with melange, a commodity essential to the Galactic economy, and in particular to transport.

    a very subtle way to say "oil"! They are tough, uncompromising fighters, who are quite happy to use suicide bombing as a tactic. They're led by a charismatic former rich kid (OK, we get who you mean), who inspires them to rise up against the corrupt, degenerate... um, does he mean Westerners? Or only the US? And who

    Baron Harkonnen intended to be? I'm racking my brains... Dubya doesn't quite seem to fit, but surely he means

    ? Unless, of course, he's just a generic stereotype who stands for the immoral, sexually obsessed West. This is frightening. What did we do to make Frank al-Herbert hate us so much? You'd have people, not even necessarily right-wingers, appearing on TV to say that the book was dangerous, and should be banned: at the very least, it incites racial hatred, and openly encourages terrorism. But translations would sell brilliantly in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and a bad movie version would soon be made in Turkey.

    I honestly don't think Herbert meant any of that; but today, it's almost impossible not to wonder. If anyone reading this review is planning to rewrite

    , you'd better make sure you get your timing right. Who knows how it will be interpreted five years from now?

  • Rajat Ubhaykar

    In my head, the purpose of this review is very clear. It is to convince

    to read this book. Yes, you! Waste time no more. Go grab a copy.

    Machiavellian intrigue, mythology, religion, politics, imperialism, environmentalism, the nature of power. All this set in a mind-boggling, frighteningly original world which Herbert ominously terms as an "effort at prediction". Dune had me hooked!

    The very first stirring I felt upon opening the yellowed pages of Dune was that of stumbling upo

    In my head, the purpose of this review is very clear. It is to convince

    to read this book. Yes, you! Waste time no more. Go grab a copy.

    Machiavellian intrigue, mythology, religion, politics, imperialism, environmentalism, the nature of power. All this set in a mind-boggling, frighteningly original world which Herbert ominously terms as an "effort at prediction". Dune had me hooked!

    The very first stirring I felt upon opening the yellowed pages of Dune was that of stumbling upon an English translation of an ancient

    manuscript of undeniable power and potence which had an epic story to narrate. The tone was umistakably sombre and I realized Herbert was not here to merely entertain me, he was here to make me part of the legend of

    . It was intriguing and challenging and heck, since I live for challenges I decided to take this one up too, gladly. The challenge was the complexity and depth of the plot, which left me perplexed, in the beginning. I knew there were dialogues which meant much more than their superficial meaning and was unable to grasp at it. I felt a yawning chasm between Herbert's vision and my limited understanding of it. However, of course, I plodded on and could feel the gap closing in with every page much to my joy and relief.

    "To the people whose labours go beyond ideas into the realm of 'real materials'- to the dry-land ecologists, wherever they may be, in whatever time they work, this

    is dedicated in humility and admiration."

    The foreword makes it pretty clear that Frank Herbert isn't kidding around. This is a serious effort at predicting how our world is going to look two thousand years from now and by God, it's a bloody good and detailed prediction. However, the real merit in this effort lies in the commentary on our lives in the present.

    The setting of the book is arid futuristic. the plot is driven by political mindgames reminiscent of The Game of Thrones. The issues he tackles are as modern as the colour television. Herbert's genius manifests itself in his ability to combine the past, the present and the future in one sweeping elegant move called Dune.

    Dune is set in a futuristic technologically advanced world which after the

    (the bloody war between Man and Machines) has eliminated all computers and passed a decree declaring

    . Since there are no computers, the essential working of the galaxy is still

    and

    with heavy reliance on men and their dallying around. Lots of thriller potential right there. Men with superhuman analytical abilities called

    have taken the place of Computers. On the other hand, we have the

    , an ancient school of mental and physical training for female students (it gives them superhuman intuitive powers) who follow a selective breeding program which makes them feared and mistrusted through the Imperium. Their desired end product of this breeding program is the

    , a superman who’ll be able to glimpse into the future. How he’ll be able to do this is rooted in Herbert’s idea of determinism: given that one can observe everything and analyze everything, one can effectively glimpse the future in probabilistic terms. Quantum physics anyone? The

    is the proposed solution to the male-female dichotomy, between the analytical and intuitive.

    The plot of Dune is almost wholly set on the desert planet of

    (also referred to as Dune), an arid wasteland where water is so scarce that men have to wear stillsuits which recycle human moisture for further consumption. The source of the galaxy’s interest in the planet is

    , a spice which bestows upon one longevity and prescient powers. Everything on the planet is permeated with the spice, the air, the sand, the food. Everybody on the planet is hopelessly addicted to the spice, their only hope for survival being their continued intake of the spice. The

    , the economic and trading monopolistic arm of the Galaxy badly needs the spice for interstellar transport. This is because their frigates travel faster than the speed of light and hence travel backward in time. The spice is the only way they can look into the future and see their way ahead. How cool is that! All the powers on the Galaxy are out to mine the spice, braving the sandworms, their name merely an euphemism, for they are gigantic 200 metre long creatures which always come digging through the sand whenever spice mining is undertook.

    . There’s also another little glitch. There exist on the planet, the kickass native desert tribal

    , whom the foreign powers look down with suspicion and disdain. The

    ethos is one of survival and scarcity, driven by tribalism and egalitarianism. Okay, I’ll stop right there. No more spoilers about this. Except that they value water to the extent that spitting on a person is the highest honour they can bestow upon him.

    Our protagonists are the

    family, consisting of the Duke, his Bene Gesserit concubine Jessica and their son Paul, who have been entrusted the stewardship of Arrakis. We discover the alien planet of Arrakis along with them, firstly with fear, suspicion and wonder and ultimately, love and respect.

    , however is no ordinary prince. There’s a teeny weeny chance he might be the

    , something which troubles him constantly and gives us our conflicted hero. The poor chap

    over the spice and has visions of black hordes pillaging and murdering around town bearing his flag and sees his dead body multiple times.

    My favourite character, however has to be the

    , the most evil character I’ve ever come across in my literary excursions. He is ruddy ruthlessness, he is virile villainy, he is truculent treachery. He executes the inept chess players in his employ which says oodles about his badassery and his fondness for cold-blooded logic. He sees everything in simplistic

    terms. What is my best move? What is my opponent’s best move? Is there anything I can do to completely squash his move? Is there a tactic which leads to mate in three?

    In this setting, Herbert does so much, it’s unbelievable. Religion, politics, the dynamic nature of power, the effects of colonialism, our blatant destruction of our environment are themes which run parallel to the intensely exciting and labyrinthine plot. He shows the paramount importance of myth making and religion for power to sustain over long periods of time.

    Now these are my thoughts about what Herbert could have meant to be Arrakis-

    It makes perfect sense. Herbert draws heavy inspiration for the religious ideology of Muad’Dib from Islam. He says “When religion and politics ride in the same cart and that cart is driven by a living Holy man, nothing can stand in the path of such a people.” which is the philosphy of the politics of Islam. Islamism in a nutshell.

    The spice, much desired by everyone, is the oil. Baron Vladmir Harkonnen is symblomatic of the wily Russians. The Desert foxes Fremen are representative of the native Saudi desert-dwelling Bedouin tribe who have a strongly tribe-oriented culture and undoubtedly value water in equal measure. And the ultimate loser is the environment.

    I almost forget this is a science fiction novel, it’s that real. It is also scary and prophetic. It is a reading experience that will leave you dreaming of the grave emptiness of Arrakis and make you wish you were there to brave it all in the privileged company of the noble Fremen. Frank Herbert achieves the pinnacle of what a sci-fi author aspires to rise to; authentic world building.

  • Lyn

    Dune.

    No other single syllable means as much to the science fiction genre, a single word that conjures images of sandworms, spice wars, great battles between rival dynastic families and a massively detailed and intricately crafted universe. No wonder this is widely regarded as not just a Science Fiction masterpiece, but a literary achievement as well.

    Like a study of Shakespeare, the reader finds that this is an archetype upon which many influences and imitators have based their works. The comple

    Dune.

    No other single syllable means as much to the science fiction genre, a single word that conjures images of sandworms, spice wars, great battles between rival dynastic families and a massively detailed and intricately crafted universe. No wonder this is widely regarded as not just a Science Fiction masterpiece, but a literary achievement as well.

    Like a study of Shakespeare, the reader finds that this is an archetype upon which many influences and imitators have based their works. The complexity and depth of the creation is staggering and I am continually astounded at the discipline with which Herbert must have focused his imagination.

    This is the book upon which Herbert would base his greatest series and one that would outlive him as his son has continued to expand and add detail to the vast, immaculate tapestry woven by a true master of the genre. Encapsulating political, economic, sociological, biological, cultural and dynastic themes, Frank Herbert has set a high standard for later practitioners.

    Brilliant.

    ***2015 reread - Read years later, this has lost none of its narrative power, if anything I can better appreciate the virtuoso attention to detail Herbert exhibited in his epic creation. From the perspective of having read his later 5 Dune sequels, I am astounded at the rich tapestry he has woven. Most impressive was his close omnipresence, analyzing the thoughts and minute actions and subtle nuances of his complicated dynamic interplay of characters. The exhaustive training of the Bene Gesserit and the intricate relations of the Houses and the Guild would stand as a monumental benchmark for speculative fiction ever since.

    This time around I found myself looking more closely at the Harkonnens and will likely read some of Brian Herbert's additions to his fathers great work

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    $1.99 on kindle US today 8-6-17

    I was so worried that I wouldn't understand a thing in this book. I will admit there are some things that went over my head but for the most part I figured it out.

    I remember a billion and 65 years ago I watched the movie and was like what the? Basically all I remember is Sting and sandworms. I would love to watch it again and see if I understand it more after reading the book.

    I'm still not sure what all the spices were about on Arrakis. I keep thinking it

    $1.99 on kindle US today 8-6-17

    I was so worried that I wouldn't understand a thing in this book. I will admit there are some things that went over my head but for the most part I figured it out.

    I remember a billion and 65 years ago I watched the movie and was like what the? Basically all I remember is Sting and sandworms. I would love to watch it again and see if I understand it more after reading the book.

    I'm still not sure what all the spices were about on Arrakis. I keep thinking it's like their farming like we would farm corn or tobacco, etc. I could be wrong and I didn't get the connection between the spice and the sandworms. Is it like a drug to them? I did read in the back of the book that is was like a drug when taken in small quantities and really addictive when taken in large quantities and that Muad'Did felt his prophesies were because of the spice.

    I liked Duke Leto and I hated that he was betrayed not long after they got to Arrakis. There is always some twat out there causing trouble.

    I really enjoyed Paul's character and his mother Jessica. They seemed like really strong people and adapted very well in everything they were put through. I didn't really pay too much attention to the other characters or I guess I should say I didn't have many thoughts about them. With the exception of the ones that betrayed them.

    I really enjoyed when Paul and Jessica had to travel to get away from the evil Baron Harkonnen before they were killed too. I don't know why, but I enjoyed their little journey. I think they were both great in their roles when they were found by the Freman and showed they were a force to be reckoned with. Now maybe I'm getting this all wrong but I'm trying to tell it through the way I saw it in my mind.

    I don't understand how Paul's sister, Alia, was an abomination. That one must have went over my head too. It might have had something to do with the poison Jessica took to become the Reverend Mother. I'm not sure but I know some of my goodreads friends that read this will get me sorted out =)

    Other than the sandworms and traitorous people on Arrakis, I was most freaked out by the thought of the water issue! I would NOT was to live somewhere there was a water shortage. And the part where they were talking about selling foot water, I can't even. Which basically means your stinky foot sweat!

    Overall I really liked the book. I enjoyed traipsing through this desert with Paul and his mother. Only in book form though, not in real life!

    Since they are doing re-makes of about a million different movies, I wish they would re-make this one because I think it would be really awesome! I would like to see this land come to life in today's time!

    I don't know if I'm going to continue with the series as I have heard this is the best one and the others get confusing. But I would like to see how Paul is as a ruler and what all happens to them, or maybe not depending on what all happens.

    If anyone can answer any of the things I was confused with that would be helpful =)

    Also, I have seen some pictures on here of this really cool Dune book with art in it. Does anyone have a link of where to get that book or is it still available? Thank you :-)

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