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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Dune Book Review

Dune is often considered to be the best science fiction novel ever written. Along with the Foundation series, Dune shaped the way science fiction novels should be. Sprawling, character-driven, with a rich fictional universe that readers would immerse themselves for hours until the end. There is also an upcoming Dune film that will introduce Dune to new readers.

Dune, Frank Herbert
Image: The Digital Wise
The Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic influenced major science fiction and space opera franchise such as Star Wars. Dune is considered as the Lord of the Rings of Science Fiction because of its themes, fictional language, and overall epic atmosphere throughout.

This will be a spoiler-free review, and will only deal with how Frank Herbert presented his masterpiece and his excellent example of world-building. If critics consider Dune as the LOTR of Science Fiction for its world-building, it is also considered as the Game of Thrones of Space because of its core plot about the conflict between the Houses of Atreides and Harkonnen. It is set tens of thousands of years in the future and unlike Star Wars it is set in our own universe, just far away in the future when mankind finally traversed the stars by folding space and this will not be possible without the Spice from Planet Arrakis or the Dune planet.

Frank Herbert let the world unfold on its own. He does not resort to info-dumping and flooding the readers with arcane terminologies and disrupt the way readers imagine the rich fictional world he has created. There are also glossaries of the arcane terms at the end of the book depending on the edition you got. Frank Herbert kept the sense of dread and suspense in the crucial moments of the story and gave satisfying conclusions on major story arcs until its end. So as a reviewer I will give 10/10 in this book.

Dune, Frank Herbert
Image: Zensunni Wanderer at Reddit
Dune can stand on its own as a novel. Critics often remark the decline of the quality of the books that followed. If a reader wants to know more and progress where Dune left off, there are sequels and spin-offs that can tie all the loose ends or make more loose ends(referring to Brian Herbert books).

The aforementioned film adaptation in two parts is set to be in theaters on December 18, 2020. There are several attempts of putting Dune on the silver screen. The first attempt is Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune that ultimately did not materialize for budget issues and producers moving to other projects. The first film adaptation was directed by David Lynch and was shown in theaters in 1984 with lukewarm reception and viewers criticized its special effects and the depiction of characters from the novel.

There is something really strange about Dune, despite selling tens of millions of copies since its release in 1965, we rarely see merchandise such as toys, costumes, and conventions of Dune universe unlike the ones we see in Star Wars and Star Trek. So despite its popularity in literature, the general audience usually has a little clue what Dune is really about.

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