by Frank Herbert
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Chilton Books
Length: 412 pages
About the Author: Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first sf story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of Dune World and The Prophet of Dune that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.
Summary: In a futuristic world, 15-year-old Paul Atreides and his family are uprooted from their home planet of Caledon and given the stewardship of a planet known as Arrakis, or, Dune. While their new domain appears to be inhospitable, it is rich with a substance known as “the spice”, a mental enhancement drug that can only be found on Arrakis and is greatly sought after by the entire network of planets, as well as the houses that rule them. In taking over Arrakis, the Atreides family displaces the Harkonnen rule, causing great turmoil and political strife. Follow Paul on his path to self-discovery and see how his relationship with the Harkonnen’s unfolds as the two houses battle for control.
Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking science fiction novel Dune is highly regarded as one of the best science fiction novels to ever be written. Through his descriptive language, Herbert creates an immersive and complex world, filled with varying cultures, conflicts, and turmoil. While depth and development of the characters leaves much to be desired, their ability to adapt to new situations and betrayals certainly speaks to their nature. As disappointing as some of the characters are, this isn’t the crux of this novel, nor does the development of these characters over the course of the novel lend itself much to the story. At the end of the day, Dune is about the overturn of power, and the means by which some will go to satisfy their desire to rule the most important planet in the book’s universe. The tumultuous relationship between house Atreides and house Harkonnen presents itself in the understanding of Arrakis, and the importance held by the houses in the greater scope of the Dune universe.
Herbert’s first novel in the Dune saga sets the groundwork for the complexities of the world, and while the plot may be lacking in some areas, Dune’s ability to build an entirely complex, flushed-out universe must be commended. While you may find it dry in areas, Dune sets a precedent for the Science fiction genre, and its influence can be seen across a variety of different works throughout the ranks of world-renowned science fiction writers. While Dune might not be everyone’s favorite book, there is no denying that the word created by Frank Herbert, and subsequently continued on by his son, is one of the most complex and comprehensive undertakings in science fiction history. Through his creation of multiple planets, cultures, and languages, Herbert’s attention to detail outweighs that of most other authors.
Frank Herbert’s Nebula Award wining Dune is a book that will take determination, perseverance, and time. The book is lengthy and requires an astute attention to detail that most books do not require if you are looking to escape reality for some time. That being said, if you are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the science fiction genre, Dune should be your next read. If you are a lover of science fiction or planning on seeing Dune when the movie is released next year, be sure to give the novel a read. This is an incredible world unlike any other and should not be missed.