Dec 4, 2010

Frank Herbert: Dune

"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."
Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.

Lego sandworm

Surely Herbert's Dune is to sci-fi what LOTR is to fantasy literature. It's also a true classic and its background of political intrigue makes it reminiscent of the historical novel.

Yes, I know this one up is silly, but I don't feel like inserting here the classic image from Lynch's movie

Frank Herbert's greatness is the creation of a cosmos where everything is distributed perfectly, with characters actually defined, large shades, and a really impressive fusion between the feudal nineteenth century with a credible futuristic society. His prose, simple in appearance, is very rhythmic and descriptive, and the progression of the characters makes us believe that they are really alive. 

In the book, Herbert gets quickly rid of the problem of predicting scientific advances by creating a Jihad that removed them (lacking computers, man has to make do with his brain, and discover a whole new universe) and then he proceeds to write formidably one of the more philosophical and mystical novels I've ever read. The always interesting idea of the messiah and legends that always end up happening in one way or another, here are masterfully developed.

 Indisputable masterpiece whose only drawback is an overabundance of continuations of the saga that do not reach the quality of the first books in the series.

And although I've resisted so far to place here those images that everyone expected, I will not hold the urge to leave my tiny tribute to Kyle gorgeuous MacLachlan who we'll always be Paul in my imagination.

To know more (and better):


  1. very good book. I have read and analice it and im surprised that 20,000 years in the future the humanity returned to an aristochrathic Empire

  2. I seem to recall reading the book when I was 12 more o less. Horny ever since every time I think about Paul's mum, Dama Jessica, she was so unbelievable hot. But even permanently disturbed and mind wandering by her, I can see this is mainly a political novel, one about ecology, politics and human emotions. I think Herber wanted to be a great writter, one whose books were not only popular but important in a conscience moving way.

  3. Heinrich Härkönen: I love this book but I think your commentary points to the critical flaw of the story being that Herbert fell into an extreme medieval worldview, drawing a society totally devoid of meritocracy. Considering that even ancient China and Egypt were marked by a class of professionals, especially in government and the military, where a person's worth was marked by his work and skill, it strucks as bizarre the many professional positions which held no status at all in Herbert's world. Maybe this comes from too much devotion to tokenism by Herbert, but I sometimes I consider this to be a great mistake in the book. I say "sometimes" because this flaw is also what makes the book so terribly romantic, lavish and glamorous so, at the end, I'm often not so sure it's a mistake at all.

    (what would a mentor say about this? ;))))

  4. I dunno about a mentor's opinion. I consider the social-politic organization of Dune very close to realit of the human tradition of make hierarchies. Yes, its a romantic novel but the events in it are viewed in a lot of another books and the sequels doesn't review the other part of the book. for argument about science fiction this is my mail


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