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Dune by Frank Herbert
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Dune (1965)

by Frank Herbert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dune (1), Dune Saga (12), Dune: complete chronology (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
30,19246362 (4.28)3 / 880
Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family-and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.… (more)
  1. 319
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Patangel, JonTheTerrible, philAbrams)
    JonTheTerrible: The pace of these books are similar as well as the topics they cover: society and government. The science plays only a small role in both books but is present enough to successfully build the worlds in which the characters inhabit.
  2. 123
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (corporate_clone)
    corporate_clone: It is difficult not to compare Dune and Hyperion, even though both series have major differences in terms of tone, style and philosophy. Those are two long, epic, elaborate and very ambitious sci-fi masterpieces where religion plays a key role. I would highly recommend the fans of one to check out the other.… (more)
  3. 82
    Gateway by Frederik Pohl (Vonini)
  4. 60
    The Faded Sun Trilogy by C. J. Cherryh (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Same basic sort of premise - SciFi set on desert worlds inspires the rise of a galactic empire, but very different outcomes!
  5. 85
    Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg (corporate_clone)
    corporate_clone: Both books are a subtle blend of science fiction and fantasy while being truly epic stories. Although Dune remains a superior literary achievement in my view, Silverberg's Majipoor series is a credible alternative.
  6. 30
    A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (Anonymous user)
  7. 41
    Grass by Sheri S. Tepper (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the description of the planet.
  8. 31
    The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Ecological science fiction.
  9. 20
    Bright of the Sky by Kay Kenyon (amysisson)
    amysisson: Different in tone, but similar in scope, plus it's also about the lengths to which empires will go to maintain the status quo.
  10. 43
    Singularity Sky by Charles Stross (hyper7)
    hyper7: Singularity Sky could have been set in the Dune universe.
  11. 21
    The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Similar tropes in the form of human computers and a native species capable of granting youth, and the powerful woman trying to breed a special child- The Snow Queen seems on one level a response to Dune, taking many of the same elements and twisting them around, while going in quite different directions in other ways.… (more)
  12. 10
    Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve (themulhern)
    themulhern: Duncan Idaho is not so unlike Kit Solent
  13. 21
    The King Must Die & The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault (themulhern)
    themulhern: Young man with special powers and noble blood overthrows the established order through cunning and charisma. In the process he changes his people and then the rot sets in.
  14. 21
    Marrow by Robert Reed (Sandwich76)
  15. 10
    Ringworld by Larry Niven (sturlington)
  16. 32
    The Lazarus Effect by Frank Herbert (d_perlo)
    d_perlo: So you have read Frank Herbert's Dune series and want more? Thy The Lazarus Effect, The Jesus Incident, and The Ascension Factor, also by Frank Herbert. This is his take on a water world.
  17. 22
    Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Substance gives power to individual. Lots of political intrigue with interesting characters.
  18. 11
    The Broken God by David Zindell (whiten06)
    whiten06: Another coming-of-age story with the protagonist gaining god-like knowledge through the use of hallucinogens.
  19. 12
    The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington (Sandwich76)
  20. 24
    The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (LaPhenix)
    LaPhenix: Another messiah story drawing inspiration from similar sources.

(see all 25 recommendations)

1960s (19)
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English (453)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (460)
Showing 1-5 of 453 (next | show all)
Update 8/28/17

Re-read. Number 13. :) I cry when Paul meets Gurney. I shiver when Jessica consoles Chani. I'm awestruck by the peaks and troughs of time, free-will, and the weakness in Paul even as he heroically strives against the evil that is about to be unleashed upon the universe.

*sigh*

Perfection. Easily the number one book I've ever read. :)

I waver, sometimes, but right now, it is my absolute favorite. :)



Original Review:

This is a phenomenal classic of literature.

It's not just science fiction. It transcends science fiction, as a fascinating discussion of free-will versus inevitability. Can the Jihad be denied? Can Paul ever really avoid his own death, despite seeing every time-line play out with him as the butt of every cosmic joke? Can even cruelty or mercy even remain comprehensible after such knowledge?

Yes, I think this work outdoes Nietzsche. It certainly does a great job of making us care about the question.

Is this all? Is this just a work that pays great justice to philosophy of action and inaction?

Or is the novel merely a clever play at turning the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle into the physical embodiment of a man? It is that, of course. The Kwisatz Haderach can be many places at once, and he can be both alive and dead at the same time just like that certain cat.

Is the novel a coming of age tale, first set as a mirror against his father Leto, only then to mirror the whole universe that had just turned against him? Yes, of course. He was, after all, both the product of all his upbringing and his genes, embodying the question of nature versus nurture. He was taught within many schools of martial arts and assassins, as well as training the mind in both the schools of the Mentats with their pure logic and that of the mystics, the Bene Gesserit, that allows complete control over the body down to the cellular level. And if this training wasn't enough, he was deeply schooled in politics, leadership, and the meaning of loyalty. The boy was raised right. Of course, that is nothing without ninety generations of genetic bloodline tampering from the Bene Gesserit, right? To become the fulcrum between cellular memory, tapping the minds and lives of all your genetic ancestors as well as tapping the ability to fold time and space, to become the eye of a storm of time.

What a damn brilliant setup for one tiny character, no? His training links to the unlocking of his genes and to the life-extending and enveloping spice, Melange, to make him not merely aware of time in a theoretical sense, but eventually to be unable to discern what was in the past, the present, or the future. Here's a true Super-Man, well beyond Nietzsche.

And don't believe for one second that this serious discussion about what would make a superior man makes for dull reading. No. We've got PLOT that's probably some of the most exciting and visceral in all of literature, driving us right into the web of intrigue, vengeance, treachery, and galactic politics.

To quote the text, we've got "Plans within Plans," and it hardly stops there. We know the House Atreides is falling into a trap laid by the Emperor and House Harkonnen, and yet free-will and pride prevents any chance to avoid it. The setup is brilliant and extremely political, giving us character sketches of some of the most brilliant and memorable characters of all time.

Duke Leto, the Red Duke, the most honorable and beloved leader.
Duncan Idaho, the emotional and intuitive hero.
Gurney Halleck, archetypal loyalist and troubadour.
Lady Jessica, the woman who ought to have had all honor in life, but was unjustly reviled and set aside for political necessity. (Chani being both her mirror and her eventual glory.)

And of course, my favorite character of all time, Paul Muad'dib Atreides, the one that would prevent the greater evils he foresaw, and went to enormous lengths and sacrifice to achieve, but who eventually failed in his task because even a god cannot overcome destiny. (Or the will of so many minds set as one.)

So damn brilliant.

Frank Herbert spent five years writing this treasure, working and reworking it until he published it at age 25. None of his other works come close to this masterpiece, and there's little wonder. It was birthed, fully-formed, like Athena from Zeus's head, with enormous forethought and care.

The worldbuilding was just as carefully formed, from the ecology of Arrakis and the life-cycles of the sandworms, to the history and the creation of the Fremen from their mild beginnings as Zensunni Wanderers, adherents to the Orange Catholic Bible, to their history of oppression so like those of those who are Jewish, to their settling and hardening of their bodies and souls in the wastes of Arrakis, also just like the Jewish who carved out a place for themselves in Israel. (Current politics aside, this was a very potent idea before 1965 when Herbert wrote this, and indeed, the core is still just as powerful when you turn it back to Muslims.)

The Galactic culture is rich and detailed. The CHOAM economic consortium, with their monopoly on space travel and their need for the Spice to allow them to see a short period into the future to plot a safe course before folding space. The Empire is caught on a knife's edge between a single power and every other House who sit in the possibility of putting aside all their squabbles for the sole purpose of checking the Emperor, if they so desired. (And Duke Atreides was such a possible popular leader among all the Great Houses, which was the primary reason the Emperor wanted him dead.)

And of course, we have our Villains.

The Baron Harkonnen has always been a crowd pleaser. Brilliant in his own right, devious and able to corrupt anyone with just the right sorts of pressure, including a certain absolutely trustworthy doctor we might mention.

"The Tooth! The Tooth!" -- You can't handle the Tooth!

Feyd Rautha Harkonnen is especially interesting for the question of nature versus nurture.

The Bene Gesserit had intended him to mate with Paul, who should have been Leto and Jessica's daughter, and that offspring should have been the cumulation of ninety years of a breeding experiment to recreate the Kwisatz Haderach which had come about almost by accident during the Butlerian Jihad in the deep past, to overthrow the AI overlords.

He was practically Paul's genetic twin, or at least, his potential to be the "One who can be many places at once" was on par with Paul. But instead of fulfilling the kind of destiny that we get with Paul, we see him grow up under the auspices of his Uncle the Baron, becoming as cruel and devious as he was deadly. He was the argument of nurture in the conversation, of course, and having so very little of it eventually cost him his life.

I often wonder about the directions that Dune could have taken, all those little paths in time and circumstance that could have been. What if Feyd had been brought to Arrakis earlier and overwhelmed with Spice the way that Paul had? Sure, he wouldn't have been able to convert the unconscious changes into conscious manipulation, but he might have had enough glimpses of the future, the way that the Fremen did, to have given him the edge he would have needed to kill Paul.

And then there's a relatively minor character, Hasimir Fenring, the Emperor's personal assassin, who was nearly the Kwisatz Haderach, himself. Unable to breed true, he was still potent enough to be completely hidden to Paul's time-sight in the same way that Paul was hidden from the Spacing Guild's weaker time-sight. His training as a skilled killer was also superior to Paul. He was, by all the hints and tricks in the tale, Paul's perfect downfall. It always gives me shivers to think about, and it was only in a single instant of both recognition and pity from Paul that stayed Fenring from killing our hero. It was just a moment of whim.

The setup was gorgeous. Paul's pity, had it been missing at his moment of greatest triumph over the Emperor, would have meant Paul's assured death. I still wonder, to this day, what stayed Frank Herbert's hand from killing his most wonderful darling. We knew the pressure of religion and politics was going to have its way upon all the oppressed peoples of Dune. The return of a monstrous religious Jihad was going to happen one way or another, sweeping across the galaxy and toppling the Empire, regardless of Paul's frantic plans and desires. Paul's own death would only mean a higher level of fanaticism, and Frank Herbert's warning against unreasoning devotion would have been made even clearer with Paul's death.

Perhaps it was pity that stayed his hand. Who are we to say who lives and who dies?

If you really think this review is overlong, then I apologize, but please understand that I could absolutely go on and on much longer than this. It is a symptom of my devotion to this most brilliant of all tales.

And yes, it still holds up very, very well after twelve reads. I am quite shocked and amazed. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Dune - F.Herbert - 553pg - 5/2/20 - 5 stars
Audio performance - multiple narrators

”To read Dune in the twenty-first century, after the resurgence of militant Islam is doubly disquieting.” Michael Dirda: Introduction to Folio society edition 2015

I believe this was the third time that I’d read Dune from beginning to end. Nothing matches the complete immersion of a first reading, but as my first reading was at least 40 years ago, there was much I didn’t remember. It was worth reading again. I’m hardly alone in believing that this book is one of the best. I know it has been called a space opera. That is a term that I apply to lighter, more trivial fiction. If this is an opera, it’s heavy, like Wagner. (It’s just a shame that the following books in the ‘cycle’ did not live up to the first.)

The Folio Society edition of this classic is a treasure of my home library. The endpapers of the book are beautifully detailed maps of Dune. Like a map of the moon, it feels like a real place, if not exactly a vacation spot. The illustrations by Sam Weber depict the characters and scenes of the story exactly as I pictured them from my first reading of an unillustrated paperback. They are also very beautiful. The introduction by Michael Dirda and Brian Herbert’s afterward were informative and interesting.

Not wanting to take my beautiful book out of the house, I also had an Audible book. It was performed, unabridged, by some of the best voice actors. The performances were excellent, but the book did not adapt well for so many changes of voices. Orlagh Cassidy was great for the epigram voice of Princess Irulan at the beginning of each chapter. Using actors to speak the parts of other characters resulted in one voice for verbal conversations and another, Simon Vance, voice for the internal thoughts of the character. It would have been smoother to let Vance perform the whole book. Small complaints, though. I enjoyed the audio enough to have effectively ‘reread’ the book twice through April and into May. ( )
  msjudy | May 28, 2020 |
My favourite memory of this book is when I was reading along, thoroughly hating everything, and then the book abruptly ended fifty pages before I was expecting it to because it turns out the rest of it is all appendices.

I don't even know where to begin reviewing this book, although the rant I launched into on Tumblr taught me I had many things to say. Perhaps I was doomed to dislike this book when I started at page one and discovered that its two main characters were named Paul and Jessica. Still, I moved past that; I'd heard this book was good, I was going to persevere. Then on page 20 or so Paul was obnoxious and sexist and I got frustrated. And then, it has to be said, Paul never really did anything to redeem himself for being generally obnoxious. Mostly he just oscillated between continuing to be obnoxious and being some all-seeing, all-knowing dispenser of wisdom and neither of those personas was particularly endearing.

Honestly, I was annoyed for a lot of the book that Paul had all of these special mental abilities that supposedly had never been had by men before, only women, and Paul was such an arrogant twerp anyway that I strongly disliked him being some kind of Chosen One. I felt that Frank Herbert was going to have this rule that only women can have these powers, the character of Paul should have been a woman then. But then it seems that the entire point of the plot is that he IS the first man to have this abilities - the Kwisatz Haderach or however it's supposed to be spelt - so then I guess it just annoyed me that there was this deep gender essentialism in something that should not have anything to do with gender at all (the innate abilities of the brain...).

Aside from that! This book also had approximately 9658976897579668 male characters who I couldn't tell the difference between. Towards the end there some guy named Guernsey or something turned up and supposedly he was Paul's friend from way back but I had no clue who he was and nor was I entirely sure I was supposed to. The female characters who existed seemed mostly interested in basking in the glory of Paul (probably he had a halo or something too, idk). Chani was nothing more than his love interest. That woman he won (as property) by killing Jamis was the same. Alia barely even did anything. Jessica was by far the most developed of the female characters, but even she was really disappointing because literally everyone spent the entire book talking about what a threat she posed to Paul and like, no, she didn't in any way whatsoever. PAUL HIMSELF at one point identified Jessica as his "true enemy" and well, I guess he's not all-seeing and all-knowing after all because that was LITERALLY NEVER FOLLOWED UP ON. All she did was disapprove of his relationship with Chani because she's an utter snob and disapproved of him seeing a "desert girl". Wow. I'm shaking in my boots, Jessica.

There are some defences to be made of this book - for instance, Herbert was obviously not trying to write about anything other than a deeply sexist society, so the fact that women get treated as property and evaluated in terms of their marriageability is not a flaw of the writer so much as the deeply annoying society he invented. Nonetheless, there were not enough female characters and those characters that did exist were not strong enough to counteract this. But then again, the male characters weren't very strong either, hence why I mixed them all up, so... really...

Anyway, I was dithering about whether to give this book two stars or three (mostly because I'd heard it was so good and I thought I'd judged it unfairly just because of the names-of-the-characters thing making me hostile from the off). BUT THEN I READ THE LAST PAGE.

NO JOKE, the last page is about how Paul has to marry this Princess Irulan to secure peace across the kingdoms or something but NO WORRIES because he's going to treat Princess Irulan like a worthless piece of shit forever because his true love is Chani! And Jessica is really pleased about this because she no longer hates Chani and she apparently thinks Princess Irulan deserves to live a life of misery because, y'know, she dared to be born a woman into a family that would force her into an arranged marriage and that is definitely all her fault.

Seriously, I hate you Jessica.

And basically everyone in this book, really. I guess Chani was okay, if not very well developed. Also the woman Paul won off Jamis, she was sassy, except I forgot her name so I guess not that sassy.

In conclusion...

This book is hyped beyond all proportion. I didn't understand it and it annoyed me but if you like long books with irritating and indistinguishable characters, go for your life.

(EDIT: I decided to demote this book from two stars to one star, because I actually really hated it so two stars was bizarrely generous. I don't remember anything I liked about this book. Don't read it.) ( )
  Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
The most extraordinarily brilliant audiobook I have ever listened to. ( )
  vernaye | May 23, 2020 |
i dont know why i never read this before. i have heard conflicting opinions on if i should read other books in the series. ( )
  aabtzu | May 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 453 (next | show all)
Why is Blanch’s influence on Dune worth recognizing? Celebrating Blanch is not a means to discredit Herbert, whose imaginative novel transcends the sum of its influences. But Dune remains massively popular while The Sabres of Paradise languishes in relative obscurity, and renewed public interest in Blanch’s forgotten history would be a welcome development.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy was famously inspired by Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. J. R. R. Tolkien’s background in medieval languages helped shape the mythology of Middle Earth. Frank Herbert’s Dune is no different, and rediscovering one of the book’s most significant influences is a rewarding experience.
 
One of the monuments of modern science fiction.
added by GYKM | editChicago Tribune
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Herbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cassidy, OrlaghNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Fontaine, DorothyMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Di Fate, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dirda, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herbert, BrianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morton, EuanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojciechCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyter, M.K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toivonen, AnjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dune (1984IMDb)
Dune (2000IMDb)
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the people whose labors go beyond ideas into the realm of "real materials" - to the dry-land ecologists, wherever they may be, in whatever time they work, this effort at prediction is dedicated in humility and admiration.
First words
A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct... from "Manual of Muad'dib" by the Princess Irulan
In the week before their departure to Arakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.
Quotations
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
Let us not rail about justice as long as we have arms and the freedom to use them.
The thing the ecologically illiterate don't realize about an ecosystem is that it's a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained miss the collapse until too late. That's why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.
The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows — a wall against the wind. This is the willow's purpose.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
If you are combining a translated copy please check carefully as in some languages this book was split into two volumes. In some languages there is a single volume edition and a split edition - you should only combine the single volume edition with the English edition. Languages known to have multiple-volumes: French, German,
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Book description
Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary fiefdoms are controlled by noble Houses that owe an allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and scion of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the spice melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe. The story explores the complex and multilayered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as forces of the Empire confront each other for control of Arrakis and its spice.

AR 5.7, 28 Pts
Haiku summary
Foretold one gets dumped
in desert, then goes native.
Returns, beats baddies!
(ed.pendragon)
Fear the mind killer
Worm vomit expands the mind
Kwisatz Haderach
(amweb)

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