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Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah (original 1969; edition 1972)

by Frank Herbert

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10,63385269 (3.68)106
Title:Dune Messiah
Authors:Frank Herbert
Info:New English Library (1972), Edition: 2, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Use for recommendations
Tags:Science fiction, 20th century fiction, American author, Series: Dune, Published: 1969, Location: spare room - contemporary fiction

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Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (1969)



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Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
Soooo, hmmm. Let's first start with the things that were not good, so we can end with the things that are.

First and foremost, the Bene Tleilax play a MAJOR role in this story. What's strange about it, though, is the Tleilaxu were mentioned maybe twice in the previous book. So for something that was a passing mention in the first book (you may have never picked up on it), it takes center stage in its sequel. This comes off to me as bad planning. Almost as if Frank didn't have his whole universe mapped out from the beginning. Instead, he writes a book, it becomes a commercial success, and then he decides to expand on it. That's fine, and it can be done correctly, but it wasn't done correctly here. Instead, I would have much rather had the Bene Gesserit take a larger role in this book than the first. It would have been a better transition, and with 12 years distance between the two books, would have played well with Alia.

Second, this book is a political nightmare. There is so much political plotting and intrigue, that it's hard to understand when characters are insulting each other, because of the subtlety. I know people who eat up political intrigue books (which is partly why A Song of Ice and Fire is so successful). I'm not one of them. They bore me intensely. In fact, this book is so heavily politically laden, that there are no wars, battles, or really any physical conflict at all. This is unfortuate, because in the book, it's mentioned that Paul Atreides killed upwards of 61 BILLION people across the known univers. SIXTY. ONE. BILLION. So many battles, fights, conflicts, completely wasted, and never explored. Well, maybe they're explored in another book, I don't know. But it's a MASSIVE disappointment to go from a book full of conflict, to a book severely lacking in it.

Third, a few characters are just ... sort of ... forgotten. Major characters, that are critical to the plot, just get left behind about 3/4 of the way through the book. Specifically, the Princess Irulan, Edric, and Gaius Helen Mohiam. Scytale is _almost_ forgotten, but he comes back, and is a principle character in the final couple of chapters. Those 4 characters really needed more page time. This book is only 1/2 the length of the first, so it certainly would not have hurt to write additional story surrounding them, rather than just dropping them like a rock.

Finally, the ending of the book was a massive disappointment. I won't spoil anything here, but while Frank made the right decision regarding its conclusion, the execution was extremely flawed. Trying not to spoil anything here, but the execution of the final chapters of the book revealed how inconsistent a writer can be with character personalities, and it's deeply troubling.

Now the good stuff.

Even though the book focused primarily on the Bene Tleilax, I actually found them as a species fascinating. The Tleilaxu are shape changers. While nothing new in science fiction, I found Frank's innovation with them remarkably well done. Knowing that there are shape changers in the story, and they are critical in the plot to overthrow the Atreides Empire, you spend a lot of mental energy second-guessing everyone in the book. And while I usually have a good eye for finding which character is the fake, Frank did a good job keeping me guessing, when he didn't spell it out directly. This is the type of writing for great stories.

Another incredibly well done, but not original, plot device were the gholas. Gholas are a sort of manufactured clone of the original dead body, but using the original dead body cells, tissue, organs, etc. Sort of like Frankenstein's monster. However, rather than the natural eye, they have metal eyes. They can still see normally. Duncan Idaho, although dead in the first book, comes back as the ghola Hayt, and even though some disagree with me, I thought it was well executed, and a great plot device that reveals itself in the second-to-last chapter.

Finally, I really liked Edric the Guild Navigator. Even though the Guild Navigators were introduced in the first book, we have a larger interaction with them in this book, why they are isolated in tanks, and how they use the spice to navigate ships through space. This is probably the most original aspect of Frank's books, where a fish-like alien species is confined to a tank, requires incredible amounts of spice, and is a core navigator of the Spacing Guild. But, as mentioned earlier, he sort of gets forgotten about, and that's really a massive disappointment. I would have liked to have some sort of conclusion with his character.

Overall, despite the book being heavily political, I found it a fun read. Not great, and I'm not sure that I would recommend it for others to read, but it had enough interesting things like Hayt, Edric, and the Tleilaxu, that it kept my interest. And really, that's all that matters. ( )
  atoponce | Oct 7, 2016 |
Terrifying. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
This is the continuation of the story started in Dune, although it occurs a few years after the first book ended. It is not quite as action-packed as Dune, and is more about different plots and how they play out. It is a very dense book, with every action and even every phrase being analyzed, but it is still interesting.
  GretchenLynn | Apr 18, 2016 |
Twelve years after the events described in Dune (1965), Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides rules as Emperor, following a jihad which conquered most of the human universe[2]. Paul unleashed this jihad by accepting the role of messiah to the Fremen. While Paul is the most powerful Emperor ever known, he is ironically powerless to stop the lethal excesses of the religious juggernaut he has created. Although sixty-one billion people have perished, Paul's prescient visions indicate that this is far from the worst possible outcome for humanity. Motivated by this knowledge, Paul hopes to set humanity on a course that will not inevitably lead to stagnation and destruction, while at the same time acting as ruler of the Empire and focal point of the Fremen religion.

The Bene Gesserit, Spacing Guild and Tleilaxu enter into a conspiracy to dethrone Paul, the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam enlisting Paul's own consort Princess Irulan, daughter of the deposed Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. Paul has refused to father a child with Irulan, but his rule is unstable owing to his failure to produce an heir with his Fremen concubine Chani. Desperate both to secure her place in the Atreides dynasty and to preserve the Atreides bloodline for the Bene Gesserit breeding program, Irulan has secretly been giving contraceptives to Chani; Paul is aware of this, but has foreseen that the birth of his heir will bring Chani's death, and does not want to lose her. With the Guild Navigator Edric shielding the conspiracy from Paul's prescience, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale gives Paul a gift he cannot resist: a Tleilaxu-grown ghola of Duncan Idaho, Paul's childhood teacher and friend, now called "Hayt." The conspirators hope the presence of Hayt will undermine Paul's ability to rule by forcing Paul to question himself and the empire he has created. Furthermore, Paul's acceptance of the gift weakens his support among the Fremen, who see the Tleilaxu and their tools as unclean. Chani then conceives after switching to a traditional Fremen fertility diet, preventing Irulan from being able to tamper with her food.

Otheym, one of Paul's former Fedaykin death commandos, reveals evidence of a Fremen conspiracy against Paul. Otheym gives Paul his little Tleilaxu servant Bijaz who, like a recording machine, can remember faces, names, and details. Paul accepts reluctantly, seeing the strands of a Tleilaxu plot. As Paul's soldiers attack the conspirators, others set off an atomic weapon called a stone burner, purchased from the Tleilaxu, that destroys the area and blinds Paul. By tradition, all blind Fremen are abandoned in the desert, but Paul is able to continue in leadership by fixing his actions precisely in line with what his previous oracular visions showed him; by moving through his life in lockstep with his previous visions, he can see even the slightest details of the world around him. The disadvantage of this is his inability to change any part of his destiny so long as he wishes to appear sighted. The unraveling of the Fremen conspiracy reveals that Korba, a former Fedaykin and now high priest of Paul's church, is among Paul's enemies.

Hayt interrogates Bijaz, but the little man — secretly an agent of the Tleilaxu — uses a specific humming intonation that renders Hayt open to implanted commands. Bijaz programs Hayt to offer Paul a bargain when Chani dies: Chani's rebirth as a ghola, and the hope that Duncan Idaho's memories might be reawakened, in return for Paul sacrificing the throne and going into exile. Unknown to Hayt, this also activates a hidden compulsion that will force him to kill Paul, given the appropriate circumstances. News is brought that Chani has died giving birth to two healthy children; like Paul's sister Alia, they are "pre-born" — born fully conscious with Kwisatz Haderach-like access to ancestral memories, in their case because of in utero exposure to the spice. News of the birth is delivered to Paul and his reaction to it triggers the compulsions in the mind of Hayt, who attempts to kill Paul. Reacting against its own programming owing to the trauma of the attempt, Hayt's body remembers itself, and a new consciousness arises that is a mix of Duncan Idaho and Hayt, unconditioned by the Tleilaxu programming. Because Paul had foreseen the birth of only a daughter (and not twins), his prophetic visions fail, rendering him totally blind. As he nears a crucial decision point, he is thrust into a deadly standoff: Scytale holds a knife to the necks of Paul's children. The ability to restore a ghola's memory proven, Scytale offers to revive Chani as a ghola in return for Paul's abdication. Paul receives a prescient vision from the perspective of his newborn son Leto, and is able to throw a dagger and kill Scytale.

With Paul's visions gone, he is now blind, and he chooses to walk into the desert in the Fremen tradition, winning the fealty of the Fremen for his children, who will inherit his mantle of Emperor. Paul leaves Alia, now romantically involved with Duncan, as regent for the twins, whom he has named Leto and Ghanima. Duncan notes the irony that Paul and Chani's deaths had enabled them to triumph against their enemies, and that Paul has escaped deification by walking into the desert as a man, while guaranteeing Fremen support for the Atreides line.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Herbert's sequels to _DUNE_ are not as consistently all-consuming, but they do move the story along. If you only want to read _DUNE_ and _Dune Messiah_, you will have read the two most important books of the series. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Herbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brumm, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Di Fate, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grace, GerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hahn, Ronald M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jäger, SimonSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenberg, MarianneSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoenherr, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siudmak, WojciechCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyter, M.K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webber, Phil H.Author photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Such a rich store pf myths enfolds Paul Muad'dib, the Mentat Emperor, and his sister, Alia, it is difficult to see the real persons behind these veils. But there were, after all, a man born Paul Atreides and a woman born Alia. Their flesh was subject to space and time. And even though their oracular powers placed them beyond the usual limits of time and space, they came from human stock. They experienced real events which left traces upon a real universe. To understand them, it must be seen that their catastrophe of all mankind. This work is dedicated, then, not to Muad'dib or his sister, but to thier heirs - to all of us.

---Dediction in the Muad'dib's Concordance as copied from The Tabia Memorium of the Mahdi Spirit Cult
There exists no seperation between gods and men; one blends softly casual into the other.

- Proverbs of Muad'dib
First words
Prologue: Dune is the planet Arrakis, an arid world of great deserts where life survives against terrifying odds.
Analysis of History: Muad'dib by Brons of Ix: Muad'dib's Imperial reign generated more historians than any other era in human history.
Despite the murderous nature of the plot he hoped to devise, the thoughts of Scytale, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer, returned again and again to rueful compassion.
Excerpts from the Death Cell
Interview with Bronso of IX ---

Q: What led you to take your particular approach to a history of Muad'dib?
A: Why should I answer your questions?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
A shorter version of this book appeared in Galaxy Magazine for July-September, 1969
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Haiku summary
Talk, think, talk, think, talk;
conspiracies in deep space
while billions die.
Jihad, billions dead
Paul is blind but can see all
Submit to the sand


Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441172695, Mass Market Paperback)

Dune Messiah continues the story of the man Muad'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to completion the centuries-old scheme to create a super-being.

"Brilliant...It is all that Dune was, and maybe a little bit more." --Galaxy Magazine

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:18 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"Set on the desert planet Arrakis, a world fully as real and as rich as our own, Dune Messiah continues the story of the man Muad'dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to completion the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing."

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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