Book Reviews

Dune by Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert’s Dune is a seminal science fiction work, written in 1965 by one of Sci-Fi’s greatest authors. The film and TV series were made in the ‘80s and 2000, giving vision to the original work and not straying too far from the written form. The novel won both the Hugo Award (joint winner) and the Nebula Award in 1966 and is one of the most published works of the Science Fiction genre.

The author chose to write it as ‘soft’ Sci-Fi, meaning that he downplayed the science behind the storyline. Instead, Herbert concentrated on the characters, the socio-economic and political worlds in which they inhabit and the sheer brutality and the religious houses fighting for control against the ruling houses (so similar to the current Game of Thrones).

Young Paul Atriedes and his family are assigned the coveted planet called Arrakis (or Dune) to manage for the Emperor.  It is a one way ticket to death as the Emperor wishes to remove House Atreides permanently from the Great Game but can’t be openly seen to do so.  Though Paul’s father is assassinated early, he and his mother, the Bene Gesserit ‘witch’ Lady Jessica, flee into the desert and not only survive, but thrive with help from the local population, the Fremen.

Dune is a mastery of world-building. For Dune devotees, hints of its power and influence in other works provide no end of satisfaction. One Star Wars instalment is set on a sand planet, where spice is mined at great cost and sand worms are fed captives. All of these elements originated in this novel.  The author died in 1986, having written five more novels in the series. His son, Brian Herbert, has taken over the saga and continues to produce weighty tomes exploring further into the other Great Houses.

The first time reader is advised to take it slowly, and read each sentence to allow meanings to infuse. The reward is a classic education in Science Fiction.

Find Dune by Frank Herbert in the SMSA Library Catalogue.


Belinda Coombs
Member of the SMSA Mystery & Crime Reading Group

Dune by Frank Herbert

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