Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert
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The first installment in what some regard as the most influential science fiction series of all time, Frank Herbert’s Dune set the bar for not just the genre, but for all authors, world builders, and storytellers. Dune started what would become a twenty book series, lead to a theatrically released film, and several made for TV mini-series. It would eventually inspire such classics as Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Alien. With the main story line revolving around many topics and issues that have been relevant throughout human history, Dune remains quite popular in modern culture, and its effects can be felt today.
Focusing on Paul Atreidies and his family, Dune takes place in a distant future in which several ruling families rule the galaxy. The main source of power comes from whoever controls the mining of the substance known as “the spice” (which is used for everything, from food, the clothing, to fuel). The spice can only be found on the planet Arrakis (also known as Dune), and the novel begins with the planet exchanging hands from the Harkonnen family to the Atreidies. What follows is a series of calculated espionage, revenge, power struggle, action, giant sandworm creatures, and an ancient prophecy spoken of by the mysterious native desert people of Arrakis!
Focusing on such strong elements as religion, politics, and power struggles, Frank Herbert was able to craft a timeless tale that remains relevant to this very day. The parallels he creates between control of the spice, and the power struggle to control oil in the twentieth century are very apparent, and the points raised in Dune have often been written about and discussed. Herbert also brings up some very fascinating views on religion, their place in human culture, and the relationship between religion and science. All in all, Dune is a literary classic full of strong characters, unexpected twists, and a slue of intellectually inspiring morals. And also giant sandworms.
review by jd mcgibney [website]
• Series: Dune Chronicles (Book 1)
• Author: Frank Herbert
• Publisher: Ace (August 1, 1965)
• Pages: 704
• Language: English
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