Review: Dune - Frank Herbert


Book Dune (First book in the Dune Series)
Author Frank Herbert
Pages 538
Year 1965
Reading time 2 Tries (January and then July)
Rating 10 / 10

What a wonderful book I must say. I've tried to read this novel several times in the past but never gone too far. I always thought it was a bit difficult to understand it. But January I was at the hospital and so I grabbed it. I'm glad I did it. This book is undoubtly one of a kind and one masterwork in SFF. Probably the Masterwork as Lord Of The Rings is for fantasy.

You've all heard of Dune. May it be because of the movie in the 80's or the mini series last decade. Both of them don't make any justice to the the book. It's nothing like the Lord Of The Rings movie. (Not that it make you justice of the book but it was a very good movie).

This novel as so much to tell that it's difficult to undersdant it all in one read. Maybe in ten years I will return and understant a little more of it. I am not that smart of a person. I like to read but there things that I don't understand. And after reading other reviews or websites I start grasping the full meaning of it. Fortunally most of the book is easy to understand and it makes you think of certain aspects and certain views Frank intented to give. Most important of all in 1965 there were few if any books about environmentalism and ecology. Very interesting view with the almost symbiotic link between the sandworms and the people who live in that world that to perseve the sandworms they must sacrificing
some of their desire for a water-laden planet. It's interesting to see these thing represented 50 years ago because noawadays if we want to perseve some of our natural fauna and flora we must compromise some of our doings...

By the way, if by any chance you've missed the book and movie this is a sandworm.

The decline of the Roman Empire is also present here with the intrigues within the court with Emperor Shaddam IV, the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, The Guild and the Bene Gesserit. They all try to gain the upper hand in the dominion of Arrakis and all of them have their motives.
Another influence was the arab references and the Fremen look to me like Berbers but with several differences of course. Some of the words are arabic and the path of Paul that transforms himself from a colonizing House (Country) to a native Fremen look to me like Lawrence of Arabia. But I am not complaining. It was a good transformantion.

Another thing and this one I didn't thought until I read somewhere is the importance of Heroes. Now that I think of it they are a bit different from the usual ones. From Wiki Throughout Paul's rise to superhuman status, he follows a plotline common to many stories describing the birth of a hero. He has unfortunate circumstances forced onto him. After a long period of hardship and exile, he confronts and defeats the source of evil in his tale. Eventually, Paul Atreides gains a level of omniscience which allows him to take over the planet and the galaxy, and causing the Fremen of Arrakis to worship him like a god. Author Frank Herbert said in 1979, "The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes. Much better rely on your own judgment, and your own mistakes."

And of course religion. Several religions are presented here in one form or another. Most important are Zensumi (mix of Zen Budishm with Shia Islam), Mahayana Christianity mix of Mahayama Budhism and Christianity. It seems that Frank is a adept or fan of Zen Budhism.

This book and the ones written afterwards are part of a Universe only compared with Lord of the Ring. There are several writers who in one way or another try to create extensive world like Peter Hamilton, George RR Martin or Steven Erikson but something prevents them to reach that high. Maybe they were the first and that's the way it's going to be until a new writer innovates and creates something truly majestic and epic. I hope I be here to read it.
There are other universes that are interesting but they are the making of several dozen or more writers like Forgotten Realms or Warhammer 40k or it's counterpart in Fantasy. Each of these companies have more than 200 books published with three decades of stories and fluff written.. But as I said that's a different story.

I am talking here about influences and such but I haven't touch the story of the book. I can resmue in a couple of lines.. Let me try.. House Artreites is now in control of Arrakis (Dune planet) to harvest spice in the name of Emperor and the Guild. This spice is the like our own oil. It controls everything. There are some intrigues and House Harkonnen, rival of Atreides, with the help of the Emperor overthrown the current rulers and kill Leto, the leader of Artreites. Paul, Leto's son and his mother Jessica travel around Dune until they meet the Fremen and become a prophet for the Fremen. With their help they overthrow Harkonnen and the Emperor and rule in his place. Of course it's a short summary and don't make any justice for the book greatness. There are also plots, and counterplots within plots. There are very good teachings that make you wonder and think about. There are so many habits so many information that to resume the novel it would be a gigantic post. And if you want a good resume check wikipedia here

Highly Recommended. If you are only trying once for a Sci-fi book then read this one.
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