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God Emperor of Dune (1981)

by Frank Herbert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dune (4), Dune: complete chronology (18)

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8,81564662 (3.67)94
Leto II, God Emperor of Dune, trades his humanity for immortality and, as the magnificent sandworm of Dune, desperately attempts to save humankind.
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» See also 94 mentions

English (61)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
The 4th book in the Dune series was my 2nd favorite so far. The 3rd book build on House Atreides in an unexpected way, veering away from Maud Dib to another darker path. This book takes that darker path and runs with it. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
This is the 4th post in a series on my reread of the Dune books, and it became yet another lengthy text of about 8,720 words. I’ve also written long analyses of Dune, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.

My text on Dune itself focuses on the issue of Paul as a tragic hero, without free will, and has some notes on the book as a literary construction. The one on Messiah compares it with the first book, and also deals with its relationship to the concept of eternal recurrence – a strong Nietzschean undercurrent that ties into Paul not being an Übermensch – and with the relationship between prescience and the absence of free will. The article on Children is over 10,000 words long and deals with the tragedy of Alia, change as a key concept in the series, a Nietzschean morality beyond good & evil, and Amor Fati, among other things.

I’ve tried to keep overlap between this text and the previous ones to a minimum, so if you’re interested in a deep desert dive, please read those first.

Before I’ll zoom in on Leto’s conceptual character, and questions about prescience, the nature of the Golden Path and the question whether the world portrayed in this book is mystic or mechanical, I’ll try to write a proper review of sorts. If you’re also interested in the more philosophical matters, or in the various inconsistencies introduced in this novel, read on afterwards.

How to assess God Emperor of Dune in the series? In my recollection I thought Dune was by far superior to the 2nd and the 3rd book, but when I finished the series, I thought book 5 and 6 were the best. God Emperor is the only book I don’t have specific memories about anymore.

So far, my rereads have more or less confirmed my feelings: Messiah is dumbed down to the point it became bothersome – even though the emotions saved it in the end; the intrigues and Alia’s character make Children an above average read, even though conceptually it is a bit of a mess, and Herbert didn’t achieve the same purity of message as he did with Dune itself.

Similarly, after rereading God Emperor, I simply don’t have very outspoken feelings about it. It was an okay read, and by any standards Leto is a remarkable character – maybe the strangest character I have ever encountered in fiction. That by itself is an achievement.

The novel is often portrayed as heavy on philosophy, and I can understand what people mean by that, but I’d rather say it is sprinkled with tidbits that make you think, instead of calling this a philosophical book. Often these passages are mildly intellectually stimulating, but at the same time, taken at face value, generally taken the form of sweeping generalizations about humanity. Because they often lack nuance they more than once made me shrug – Herbert’s attempt at Nietzschean aphorisms do succeed once in a while, but they don’t fully compensate for the main structural weakness of this book.

(...)

Full text on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It ( )
1 vote bormgans | Jan 19, 2021 |
I suppose if I had to spend thousands of years becoming a human/sandworm hybrid, any book I wrote would be pretty trippy too. Also, I think I'm pretty much Dune-ed out at this point. *looks listlessly at the pile of four remaining books*

"It has occurred to me more than once that holy boredom is a good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will" (35). ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Ugh. This was entertaining as an audiobook to listen to while doing other things (mindless accounting paperwork, in my case), but a pretty bad book. It is essentially one long (in multiple ways) detour from everything else, with one core message, but didn't need to be...16 hours. Sadly probably necessary for "read all of the Dune books", but could be skipped with almost no loss of understanding of the series. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
Absorbing and thoughtful, this is the strangest of the Dune books so far. It definitely competes with the original Dune in substance, and there are definitely layers and meanings I missed. I think it will benefit from future re-readings. ( )
  neilneil | Dec 7, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Herbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
DiFate, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, BradCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojciechCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyter, M.K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webber, Phil H.Author photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
This morning I was born in a yurt at the edge of a horse-plain in a land of a planet which no longer exists.

Tomorrow I will be born someone else in another place. I have not yet chosen. This morning, though - ahhh. this life! 

When my eyes had learned to focus, I looked out at sunshine on trampled grass and I saw vigorous people going about the sweet activities of their lives.

Where ... oh where has all of that vigor gone?

~ The Stolen Journals
Dedication
To
Peggy Rowntree
with love and admiration and deep appreciation
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Prologue -

Excerpt from the speech by Hadi Benotto announcing the discoveries at Dar-es-Balat on the planet of Rakis:

It not only is my pleasure to announce to you this morning our discovery of this marvelous storehouse containing, among other things, a monumental collection of manuscripts inscribed on ridulian crystal paper, but I also take pride in giving you our arguments for the authenticity of our discoveries, to tell you why we believe we have uncovered the original journals of Leto II, the God Emperor.
The three people running northward through moon shadows in the Forbidden Forest were strung out along almost half a kilometer.
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Leto II, God Emperor of Dune, trades his humanity for immortality and, as the magnificent sandworm of Dune, desperately attempts to save humankind.

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AR 5.8, 22 Pts
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Centuries have passed on Dune itself, and the planet is green with life. Leto, the son of Dune's savior, is still alive but far from human, and hte fate of all humanity hangs on his awesome sacrifice ....
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