Reviewed by: Dr. Matt
Review posted: 02/13/05
What the Lord of the Rings books are to fantasy literature, so Frank Herbertís Dune novels are to modern science fiction writing. The novels span millennia charting the history of the Planet Arrakis. There are 5 novels written by Frank Herbert and a further 6 or so written by his son, Brian, in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson. This review isnít about all those books, because that would be crazy.
This review is about The Daddy. This is about Dune.
Only on the planet Arrakis, otherwise know as Dune, is found the Spice. Spice is the most valuable commodity in the galaxy, because it facilitates travel between planets. Without it the galaxy would be in a pretty bad situation. The Emperor of the galaxy has decreed that the job of mining the Spice be taken away from the House Harkonnen and given to their mortal enemies House Atreides. The story follows the fortunes of Paul, heir to the throne of House Atreides as he struggles to survive on the harsh desert world and accept his role as the messiah of the Fremen.
The story of Dune seems at first to be a little simplistic, and on many levels it is. The characterisation of the characters is pretty limited; all the Harkonnens are portrayed as being irredeemably evil, all of the Atreides are good and all the Fremen are portrayed as noble savages. Paul gets the most characterization in the book, but thatís not really a surprise, since it IS his story. The lack of complex characterization could be seen as a drawback for the book, however there are a lot of details of the setting that readers need to be aware of and as a result the lack of complex characterization makes that a lot easier. There are also a lot of different themes to Dune beyond what happens to Paul. Among the many themes the book explores are; the necessity of conflict in human evolution, the dangers of mixing religion and government, and the hazards of addiction.
I enjoy reading Dune a great deal. Itís a testament to the strength of the book that Iím able to find new things about it each time I read it. Or you could watch the movie. Or the mini-series. Itís all good.