I love sci-fi but don't read much of it because I prefer fantasy. DUNE feels like a perfect blend of the two. A war of noble houses set in space. Paul Atreides is heir to the duchy- and to say that he is well trained for the job would be an understatement. His father, Duke Leto, is given charge of Arrakis- a hellish desert-world and the sole source of "the spice" which the entire universe needs. A very prestigious assignment, but treachery and peril comes with it. Paul finds himself thrown into the mystery of Dune and its fierce natives, the Fremen. Is he the savior their prophecy speaks of?
I was first blown away by DUNE at the age of 16, and have since considered it "the one to beat". In 8 years, very few books have made me question that judgment: Game of Thrones, Foundation, Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game. I had to reread it to be sure I wasn't just naïve at the time. Was it really THAT great? Absolutely.
The sci-fi classification does not mean "Dune" is inaccessible to non-sci-fi fans, because most of the traditional sci-fi elements are either absent or mere background. Several remarkable scenes of hand to hand combat are more reminiscent of ancient Roman gladiators than of science fiction! There are weaknesses: mature themes (such as allusions to pedastry) make "Dune" unsuitable for children, and Herbert's use of language is not outstanding. But what especially makes "Dune" great is the complexity of ideas. Herbert has created not just a story, but a memorable world conveying an elaborate philosophy of ideas, with three outstanding themes:
1. ECOLOGY. Arrakis is a barren and bare planet of desert sands, with characters reminiscent of desert Arabs (Herbert studied Arabic extensively in researching for the novel).Read more ›