Thursday, 4 April 2013

Dune


It is common knowledge that most of the Earth's surface is covered by water; around two thirds of it, if memory serves me correctly. Granted, most of that is oceans and salt water, and therefore not fit to drink. But we still have enough fresh water to sustain the nearly ten billion people that inhabit our planet.

Now, imagine a planet where the opposite proves to be true. A desert planet named Arrakis, where the most precious resource in the known galaxy is produced. Frank Herbert's Dune is the first book in the eponymous series that paints a picture of life on such a planet, and a book considered by many to be one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time.

The story opens with the arrival of the members of House Atreides - Duke Leto Atreides; his wife, Lady Jessica; and their son, Paul Atreides - who have left the comfort of their own planet for Arrakis. They've come to take over and oversee the production of the aforementioned resource, a mind-enhancing spice known as melange. But unknown to them, their appointment has been orchestrated to foster some underhand politics.

It doesn't take long before an attack by a rival House disrupts their fledgling administration. Duke Leto is captured, while Paul Atreides and Lady Jessica are forced to seek shelter with the Fremen, a group of desert dwellers. And it is there that Paul must continue to develop his mental abilities, while preparing for a day when he would be able to exact his revenge on the evil Baron Harkonnen.

The above summary doesn't even begin to do the depth of this book any real justice. Its pages are practically teeming with details great and small. Like the giant sandworms that hunt their prey based on how much noise their footsteps make. Or the special suits the Fremen wear to retain as much bodily fluids as possible. The world is so rich that a glossary of terms is needed (and included at the back) just to keep track of everything.

And therein lies my only problem with this science-fiction classic. The constant need to look up terms like Bene Gesserit and Lisan al-Gaib. Add that to the book's doorstopper length and a minor annoyance suddenly becomes a major concern. But I guess it is all required to create a world every bit as vivid as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth.

16 comments:

  1. I've kind of wanted to read this one for a while now. It feels like one of those sci-fi/fantasy books that every fan of the genre should read, you know? I might have to do that soon. :)

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    1. Yep. It is definitely a landmark title and a genre favorite.

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  2. Dune is one of my favorite books. I hate all the sequels, but the first one is an absolutely classic.

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    1. I haven't read any of the sequels, though I saw the Children of Dune miniseries back when it originally aired on TV.

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  3. Dune is an all time favorite of mine. There were excerpts from the book that have actually changed how I live my life. Epic!

    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

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    1. Really? Wow. Now that's something. :D

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  4. Cant wait to read this.. #AtoZChallenge

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  5. on my wishlist already......can't wait

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  6. The first one isn't the problem. It's that there are ten thousand sequels. Maybe they're more relevant than they seem, but most of them just seem redundant, like the 2001: Space Odyssey sequels...after you've read them all.

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    1. I've had Dune Messiah and Children of Dune sitting on my shelf for years now. Unread. I'll probably check them out someday, along with those other sequels written by Frank Herbert.

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  7. The first one was all right, but I didn't like where the series eventually headed.

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    1. Really? I'll have to see for myself I guess.

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  8. I LOVE DUNE...of course, i've only read the ones actually written by frank herbert :)

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