This is my single favorite novel of all time. It involves sandworms, drug induced psychic pre-mature babies, marrying the wife of those you kill, the hoarding of water, intergalactic rivalry of Great Houses, an ancient genetics project, and spice. Frank Herbert wrote it over a span of six years (based on research of the Oregon Dunes), and even after publishing a short story version of it, couldn’t find a publisher. According to wikipedia, 20 publishers rejected it. Only Chilton Books, an auto repair manual publisher agreed to print it.
Years later, it remains as one of the greatest Sci-Fi story of all time. It is hard to pinpoint why it became so popular. Experts believed it was too long, too confusing, had too much ecology, too much religion, and too much damn head hopping (a no-no in the literary world). I mean, how dare he call his hero some weird name like Muad’Dib.
For me, the journey of Paul Atreides and his fish-out-of-water search for a new beginning isn’t new. It was the rich detail and decisive story arc and deep characters and history that sets it apart.There have been many “chosen ones” in fiction. This story has the world building, politics, religion, ecology, and economics so well thought out, and all for a tight ending that it stands the test of time. I have read Dune five times. I have read Dune Messiah once. There is a reason for this, but I’ll leave it for another blog post to what went wrong with the books that followed (Some of the other books by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert are better thought out).
My favorite scene in the story is the end, when Paul wins, controlling the spice, winning the hand of the daughter of the Emperor while getting to keep his Fremen wives.
For Dune fans disappointed by the screen adapapations, check out Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary, and imagine what could have been. Although it would have changed my favorite scene in the movie, I think overall it would have been a stronger film than the David Lynch version. Frank Herbert might have even liked it.
Book Rating: 10/10