vrijdag 26 februari 2016

"Dune" by Frank Herbert

“No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.”

There's no doubt that Frank Herbert's "Dune" is one of the most popular science fiction novels ever. It is still widely read today and it is not too difficult to see how this massive work has influenced modern icons like "Star Wars" and "Game of Thrones", to name just two.

In the far future, humanity has spread throughout the galaxy. Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV assigns control of the planet Arrakis (aka 'Dune') to the Atreides family.  But the rival House Harkonnen is not very happy with this, as the planet, though barren and dry, is the only place in the galaxy where 'melange' can be found, a spice which is used to increase mental abilities. Mining this spice is a very lucrative business. The power-hungry Baron Vladimir Harkonnen has Duke Leto Atreides murdered and tries to wipe out all House Atreides. But then he hasn't counted on the survival of Paul Atreides, the son of the late Duke and the Bene Geserit witch Jessica, who is destined to become a religious prophet, the Muad'Dib, ànd a great ruler in his own right.

OK, so it isn't easy to summarize a complex book like "Dune" in just a few lines, but believe me: it absolutely deserves its legendary status. What I really enjoy about it, is the scope of the storytelling. Herbert created a living, breathing world, which is absolutely fascinating. There's politics & religion, mythology & environmentalism, love & betrayal and a cast of characters which are all captivating. And I'm not even talking about the giant sandworms.

The author wrote five sequels to "Dune" and his son Brian, along with Kevin J. Anderson, extended the series with another dozen or so novels. I might end up reading some of them. Then again, I might not, because the original novel is just perfect in its own right.

Author: Frank Herbert
Title: Dune
Publisher: Gollancz, London
Year: 2007 (orig. 1965)
Number of pages: 611
ISBN: 9780575081505

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