Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written. Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a ...
Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written. Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis. Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe. When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis' second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands. In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them. And his journey will change the universe.
The book is in very good shape and was delivered in a timely way. The story is great -- I'm rereading it now, but needed to buy my own copy.
Apr 7, 2009
the best science fiction book of the last century. herbert draws you into his world full of spice, prescience, witchcraft, revolution, and everything else you can imagine. it's elegant and lively, stimulating and suspenseful. i've read it probably a dozen times and don't plan on stopping anytime soon.
Sep 29, 2008
A great idea but clunky writing
Let me tread carefully here. I fully understand why so many reviewers are so taken with this novel, and I cannot blame them. The idea behind the story is a good one, maybe even a great one, and I can only imagine that if Herbert were working in Hollywood today, he would be the creator behind some pretty amazing shows (and I'm not talking about that travesty of a film version). But what bothered me about "Dune" is that the writing did not hold up to the level of the idea. Throughout, Herbert utilized a bizarre device in which a character's thought would appear in italics, usually set up with the phrase "s/he thought," which to me just screams of the amateur. Isn't the big advantage of the written word the fact that the reader can know the character's thoughts without it having to be presented in voice-over narration? Then, the main character, Paul, was pretty much a cipher up until the last chapter or two, and even then he was...not much. At times Herbert revealed the ability to turn a phrase beautifully, which only made it more frustrating that the writing elsewhere was so....not what it should be. I really wanted to know how the book would resolve itself, and so I carried through to the end. I guess I could say that the infrastructure of the book is quite good. The world-building, the political intrigue, the religious complications, were all interesting and deftly woven. It's just that the actual writing of the thing was too much of a distraction for me to really enjoy myself.
Jan 19, 2008
A Comparison of Mini Series to Novel
The SciFi channel mini series got me interested in the "Dune" saga. Frank Herbert's writing was choppy and not easy to read compared to Herbert & Anderson's, which really flowed. I enjoyed comparing the book to the mini series. I learned more about the saga, like Jessica's personality was a lot more hard in the novel, and Paul's personality went through phases from being a immature child, to an adult trying to survive, to being a god like entity. I did miss the butchering that Rabban did in the mini series. But understood more when Piter was killed off, and Hawat became the Baron's new Mentat. It was the little things like this that made the novel so enjoyable, like the prequel trilogy, and the House trilogy. I highly recommend all scifi readers to read the Dune books.
Aug 20, 2007
Not everybody may like Dune, but nobody may simply ignore Dune.
The scope of Dune is dizzying. It chronicles the life of one boy, Paul Atreides, growing up in the harsh desert world Arrakis. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Frank Herbert weaves in an enormous number of layers into this novel. There is the political power dynamics between House Atreides and House Harkonnen. You have the Spacing Guild who control space flight, and the Bene Gesserit women who are a mystical group of women with special abilities. On Dune itself, you have the indigenous Fremen and their mysterious ways, the Sandworms, and the spice Melange, the ultimate source of currency in the universe. Spice is only found on Dune, thus placing it in the middle of all of these forces.
I think that the planet Dune itself is the main character. Every detail, every aspect, and every force that seeks to tame and control it ultimately serves to reveal more about Dune.
Be careful, you just might get addicted to this series.
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