The New York Times
Dune (40th Anniversary Edition)by Frank Herbert
Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble familyand would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
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Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble familyand would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
The New York Times
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A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.
—from "Manual of Muad'Dib"
by the Princess Irulan
In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.
It was a warm night at Castle Caladan, and the ancient pile of stone that had served the Atreides family as home for twenty-six generations bore that cooled-sweat feeling it acquired before a change in the weather.
The old woman was let in by the side door down the vaulted passage by Paul's room and she was allowed a moment to peer in at him where he lay in his bed.
By the half-light of a suspensor lamp, dimmed and hanging near the floor, the awakened boy could see a bulky female shape at his door, standing one step ahead of his mother. The old woman was a witch shadow—hair like matted spiderwebs, hooded 'round darkness of features, eyes like glittering jewels.
"Is he not small forhis age, Jessica?" the old woman asked. Her voice wheezed and twanged like an untuned baliset.
Paul's mother answered in her soft contralto: "The Atreides are known to start late getting their growth, Your Reverence."
"So I've heard, so I've heard," wheezed the old woman. "Yet he's already fifteen."
"Yes, Your Reverence."
"He's awake and listening to us," said the old woman. "Sly little rascal." She chuckled. "But royalty has need of slyness. And if he's really the Kwisatz Haderach ... well...."
Within the shadows of his bed, Paul held his eyes open to mere slits. Two bird-bright ovals—the eyes of the old woman—seemed to expand and glow as they stared into his.
"Sleep well, you sly little rascal," said the old woman. "Tomorrow you'll need all your faculties to meet my gom jabbar."
And she was gone, pushing his mother out, closing the door with a solid thump.
Paul lay awake wondering: What's a gom jabbar?
In all the upset during this time of change, the old woman was the strangest thing he had seen.
And the way she called his mother Jessica like a common serving wench instead of what she was—a Bene Gesserit Lady, a duke's concubine and mother of the ducal heir.
Is a gom jabbar something of Arrakis I must know before we go there? he wondered.
He mouthed her strange words: Gom jabbar ... Kwisatz Haderach.
There had been so many things to learn. Arrakis would be a place so different from Caladan that Paul's mind whirled with the new knowledge. Arrakis—Dune—Desert Planet.
Thufir Hawat, his father's Master of Assassins, had explained it: their mortal enemies, the Harkonnens, had been on Arrakis eighty years, holding the planet in quasi-fief under a CHOAM Company contract to mine the geriatric spice, melange. Now the Harkonnens were leaving to be replaced by the House of Atreides in fief-complete—an apparent victory for the Duke Leto. Yet, Hawat had said, this appearance contained the deadliest peril, for the Duke Leto was popular among the Great Houses of the Landsraad.
"A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful," Hawat had said.
Paul fell asleep to dream of an Arrakeen cavern, silent people all around him moving in the dim light of glowglobes. It was solemn there and like a cathedral as he listened to a faint sound—the drip-drip-drip of water. Even while he remained in the dream, Paul knew he would remember it upon awakening. He always remembered the dreams that were predictions.
The dream faded.
Paul awoke to feel himself in the warmth of his bed—thinking ... thinking. This world of Castle Caladan, without play or companions his own age, perhaps did not deserve sadness in farewell. Dr. Yueh, his teacher, had hinted that the faufreluches class system was not rigidly guarded on Arrakis. The planet sheltered people who lived at the desert edge without caid or bashar to command them: will-o'-the-sand people called Fremen, marked down on no census of the Imperial Regate.
Paul sensed his own tensions, decided to practice one of the mind-body lessons his mother had taught him. Three quick breaths triggered the responses: he fell into the floating awareness ... focusing the consciousness ... aortal dilation ... avoiding the unfocused mechanism of consciousness ... to be conscious by choice ... blood enriched and swift-flooding the overload regions ... one does not obtain food-safety-freedom by instinct alone ... animal consciousness does not extend beyond the given moment nor into the idea that its victims may become extinct ... the animal destroys and does not produce ... animal pleasures remain close to sensation levels and avoid the perceptual ... the human requires a background grid through which to see his universe ... focused consciousness by choice, this forms your grid ... bodily integrity follows nerve-blood flow according to the deepest awareness of cell needs ... all things/cells/beings are impermanent ... strive for flow-permanence within....
Over and over and over within Paul's floating awareness the lesson rolled.
When dawn touched Paul's window sill with yellow light, he sensed it through closed eyelids, opened them, hearing then the renewed bustle and hurry in the castle, seeing the familiar patterned beams of his bedroom ceiling.
The hall door opened and his mother peered in, hair like shaded bronze held with black ribbon at the crown, her oval face emotionless and green eyes staring solemnly.
"You're awake," she said. "Did you sleep well?"
He studied the tallness of her, saw the hint of tension in her shoulders as she chose clothing for him from the closet racks. Another might have missed the tension, but she had trained him in the Bene Gesserit Way—in the minutiae of observation. She turned, holding a semiformal jacket for him. It carried the red Atreides hawk crest above the breast pocket.
"Hurry and dress," she said. "Reverend Mother is waiting."
"I dreamed of her once," Paul said. "Who is she?"
"She was my teacher at the Bene Gesserit school. Now, she's the Emperor's Truthsayer. And Paul...." She hesitated. "You must tell her about your dreams."
"I will. Is she the reason we got Arrakis?"
"We did not get Arrakis." Jessica flicked dust from a pair of trousers, hung them with the jacket on the dressing stand beside his bed. "Don't keep Reverend Mother waiting."
Paul sat up, hugged his knees. "What's a gom jabbar?"
Again, the training she had given him exposed her almost invisible hesitation, a nervous betrayal he felt as fear.
Jessica crossed to the window, flung wide the draperies, stared across the river orchards toward Mount Syubi. "You'll learn about ... the gom jabbar soon enough," she said.
He heard the fear in her voice and wondered at it.
Jessica spoke without turning. "Reverend Mother is waiting in my morning room. Please hurry."
The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam sat in a tapestried chair watching mother and son approach. Windows on each side of her overlooked the curving southern bend of the river and the green farmlands of the Atreides family holding, but the Reverend Mother ignored the view. She was feeling her age this morning, more than a little petulant. She blamed it on space travel and association with that abominable Spacing Guild and its secretive ways. But here was a mission that required personal attention from a Bene Gesserit-with-the-Sight. Even the Padishah Emperor's Truthsayer couldn't evade that responsibility when the duty call came.
Damn that Jessica! the Reverend Mother thought. If only she'd borne us a girl as she was ordered to do!
Jessica stopped three paces from the chair, dropped a small curtsy, a gentle flick of left hand along the line of her skirt. Paul gave the short bow his dancing master had taught—the one used "when in doubt of another's station."
The nuances of Paul's greeting were not lost on the Reverend Mother. She said: "He's a cautious one, Jessica."
Jessica's hand went to Paul's shoulder, tightened there. For a heartbeat, fear pulsed through her palm. Then she had herself under control. "Thus he has been taught, Your Reverence."
What does she fear? Paul wondered.
The old woman studied Paul in one gestalten flicker: face oval like Jessica's, but strong bones ... hair: the Duke's black-black but with browline of the maternal grandfather who cannot be named, and that thin, disdainful nose; shape of directly staring green eyes: like the old Duke, the paternal grandfather who is dead.
Now, there was a man who appreciated the power of bravura—even in death, the Reverend Mother thought.
"Teaching is one thing," she said, "the basic ingredient is another. We shall see." The old eyes darted a hard glance at Jessica. "Leave us. I enjoin you to practice the meditation of peace."
Jessica took her hand from Paul's shoulder. "Your Reverence, I—"
"Jessica, you know it must be done."
Paul looked up at his mother, puzzled.
Jessica straightened. "Yes ... of course."
Paul looked back at the Reverend Mother. Politeness and his mother's obvious awe of this old woman argued caution. Yet he felt an angry apprehension at the fear he sensed radiating from his mother.
"Paul...." Jessica took a deep breath. "... this test you're about to receive ... it's important to me."
"Test?" He looked up at her.
"Remember that you're a duke's son," Jessica said. She whirled and strode from the room in a dry swishing of skirt. The door closed solidly behind her.
Paul faced the old woman, holding anger in check. "Does one dismiss the Lady Jessica as though she were a serving wench?"
A smile flicked the corners of the wrinkled old mouth. "The Lady Jessica was my serving wench, lad, for fourteen years at school." She nodded. "And a good one, too. Now, you come here!"
The command whipped out at him. Paul found himself obeying before he could think about it. Using the Voice on me, he thought. He stopped at her gesture, standing beside her knees.
"See this?" she asked. From the folds of her gown, she lifted a green metal cube about fifteen centimeters on a side. She turned it and Paul saw that one side was open—black and oddly frightening. No light penetrated that open blackness.
"Put your right hand in the box," she said.
Fear shot through Paul. He started to back away, but the old woman said: "Is this how you obey your mother?"
He looked up into bird-bright eyes.
Slowly, feeling the compulsions and unable to inhibit them, Paul put his hand into the box. He felt first a sense of cold as the blackness closed around his hand, then slick metal against his fingers and a prickling as though his hand were asleep.
A predatory look filled the old woman's features. She lifted her right hand away from the box and poised the hand close to the side of Paul's neck. He saw a glint of metal there and started to turn toward it.
"Stop!" she snapped.
Using the Voice again! He swung his attention back to her face.
"I hold at your neck the gom jabbar," she said. "The gom jabbar, the high-handed enemy. It's a needle with a drop of poison on its tip. Ah-ah! Don't pull away or you'll feel that poison."
Paul tried to swallow in a dry throat. He could not take his attention from the seamed old face, the glistening eyes, the pale gums around silvery metal teeth that flashed as she spoke.
"A duke's son must know about poisons," she said. "It's the way of our times, eh? Musky, to be poisoned in your drink. Aumas, to be poisoned in your food. The quick ones and the slow ones and the ones in between. Here's a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals."
Pride overcame Paul's fear. "You dare suggest a duke's son is an animal?" he demanded.
"Let us say I suggest you may be human," she said. "Steady! I warn you not to try jerking away. I am old, but my hand can drive this needle into your neck before you escape me."
"Who are you?" he whispered. "How did you trick my mother into leaving me alone with you? Are you from the Harkonnens?"
"The Harkonnens? Bless us, no! Now, be silent." A dry finger touched his neck and he stilled the involuntary urge to leap away.
"Good," she said. "You pass the first test. Now, here's the way of the rest of it: If you withdraw your hand from the box you die. This is the only rule. Keep your hand in the box and live. Withdraw it and die."
Paul took a deep breath to still his trembling. "If I call out there'll be servants on you in seconds and you'll die."
"Servants will not pass your mother who stands guard outside that door. Depend on it. Your mother survived this test. Now it's your turn. Be honored. We seldom administer this to men-children."
Curiosity reduced Paul's fear to a manageable level. He heard truth in the old woman's voice, no denying it. If his mother stood guard out there ... if this were truly a test.... And whatever it was, he knew himself caught in it, trapped by that hand at his neck: the gom jabbar. He recalled the response from the Litany against Fear as his mother had taught him out of the Bene Gesserit rite.
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
He felt calmness return, said: "Get on with it, old woman."
"Old woman!" she snapped. "You've courage, and that can't be denied. Well, we shall see, sirra." She bent close, lowered her voice almost to a whisper. "You will feel pain in this hand within the box. Pain. But! Withdraw the hand and I'll touch your neck with my gom jabbar—the death so swift it's like the fall of the headsman's axe. Withdraw your hand and the gom jabbar takes you. Understand?"
"What's in the box?"
He felt increased tingling in his hand, pressed his lips tightly together. How could this be a test? he wondered. The tingling became an itch.
The old woman said: "You've heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There's an animal kind of trick. A human would remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind."
The itch became the faintest burning. "Why are you doing this?" he demanded.
"To determine if you're human. Be silent."
Paul clenched his left hand into a fist as the burning sensation increased in the other hand. It mounted slowly: heat upon heat upon heat ... upon heat. He felt the fingernails of his free hand biting the palm. He tried to flex the fingers of the burning hand, but couldn't move them.
"It burns," he whispered.
Pain throbbed up his arm. Sweat stood out on his forehead. Every fiber cried out to withdraw the hand from that burning pit ... but ... the gom jabbar. Without turning his head, he tried to move his eyes to see that terrible needle poised beside his neck. He sensed that he was breathing in gasps, tried to slow his breaths and couldn't.
His world emptied of everything except that hand immersed in agony, the ancient face inches away staring at him.
His lips were so dry he had difficulty separating them.
The burning! The burning!
He thought he could feel skin curling black on that agonized hand, the flesh crisping and dropping away until only charred bones remained.
As though a switch had been turned off, the pain stopped.
Paul felt his right arm trembling, felt sweat bathing his body.
"Enough," the old woman muttered. "Kull wahad! No woman-child ever withstood that much. I must've wanted you to fail." She leaned back, withdrawing the gom jabbar from the side of his neck. "Take your hand from the box, young human, and look at it."
He fought down an aching shiver, stared at the lightless void where his hand seemed to remain of its own volition. Memory of pain inhibited every movement. Reason told him he would withdraw a blackened stump from that box.
"Do it!" she snapped.
He jerked his hand from the box, stared at it astonished. Not a mark. No sign of agony on the flesh. He held up the hand, turned it, flexed the fingers.
"Pain by nerve induction," she said. "Can't go around maiming potential humans. There're those who'd give a pretty for the secret of this box, though." She slipped it into the folds of her gown.
"But the pain—" he said.
"Pain," she sniffed. "A human can override any nerve in the body."
Paul felt his left hand aching, uncurled the clenched fingers, looked at four bloody marks where fingernails had bitten his palm. He dropped the hand to his side, looked at the old woman. "You did that to my mother once?"
"Ever sift sand through a screen?" she asked.
The tangential slash of her question shocked his mind into a higher awareness: Sand through a screen. He nodded.
"We Bene Gesserit sift people to find the humans."
He lifted his right hand, willing the memory of the pain. "And that's all there is to it—pain?"
"I observed you in pain, lad. Pain's merely the axis of the test. Your mother's told you about our ways of observing. I see the signs of her teaching in you. Our test is crisis and observation."
He heard the confirmation in her voice, said: "It's truth!"
She stared at him. He senses truth! Could he be the one? Could he truly be the one? She extinguished the excitement, reminding herself: "Hope clouds observation."
"You know when people believe what they say," she said.
"I know it."
The harmonics of ability confirmed by repeated test were in his voice. She heard them, said: "Perhaps you are the Kwisatz Haderach. Sit down, little brother, here at my feet."
"I prefer to stand."
"Your mother sat at my feet once."
"I'm not my mother."
"You hate us a little, eh?" She looked toward the door, called out: "Jessica!"
The door flew open and Jessica stood there staring hard-eyed into the room. Hardness melted from her as she saw Paul. She managed a faint smile.
"Jessica, have you ever stopped hating me?" the old woman asked.
"I both love and hate you," Jessica said. "The hate—that's from pains I must never forget. The love—that's...."
"Just the basic fact," the old woman said, but her voice was gentle. "You may come in now, but remain silent. Close that door and mind it that no one interrupts us."
Jessica stepped into the room, closed the door and stood with her back to it. My son lives, she thought. My son lives and is ... human. I knew he was ... but ... he lives. Now, I can go on living. The door felt hard and real against her back. Everything in the room was immediate and pressing against her senses.
My son lives.
Paul looked at his mother. She told the truth. He wanted to get away alone and think this experience through, but knew he could not leave until he was dismissed. The old woman had gained a power over him. They spoke truth. His mother had undergone this test. There must be terrible purpose in it ... the pain and fear had been terrible. He understood terrible purposes. They drove against all odds. They were their own necessity. Paul felt that he had been infected with terrible purpose. He did not know yet what the terrible purpose was.
"Some day, lad," the old woman said, "you, too, may have to stand outside a door like that. It takes a measure of doing."
Paul looked down at the hand that had known pain, then up to the Reverend Mother. The sound of her voice had contained a difference then from any other voice in his experience. The words were outlined in brilliance. There was an edge to them. He felt that any question he might ask her would bring an answer that could lift him out of his flesh-world into something greater.
"Why do you test for humans?" he asked.
"To set you free."
"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
"'Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind,'" Paul quoted.
"Right out of the Butlerian Jihad and the Orange Catholic Bible," she said. "But what the O.C. Bible should've said is: 'Thou shalt not make a machine to counterfeit a human mind.' Have you studied the Mentat in your service?"
"I've studied with Thufir Hawat."
"The Great Revolt took away a crutch," she said. "It forced human minds to develop. Schools were started to train human talents."
"Bene Gesserit schools?"
She nodded. "We have two chief survivors of those ancient schools: the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild. The Guild, so we think, emphasizes almost pure mathematics. Bene Gesserit performs another function."
"Politics," he said.
"Kull wahad!" the old woman said. She sent a hard glance at Jessica.
"I've not told him, Your Reverence," Jessica said.
The Reverend Mother returned her attention to Paul. "You did that on remarkably few clues," she said. "Politics indeed. The original Bene Gesserit school was directed by those who saw the need of a thread of continuity in human affairs. They saw there could be no such continuity without separating human stock from animal stock—for breeding purposes."
The old woman's words abruptly lost their special sharpness for Paul. He felt an offense against what his mother called his instinct for rightness. It wasn't that Reverend Mother lied to him. She obviously believed what she said. It was something deeper, something tied to his terrible purpose.
He said: "But my mother tells me many Bene Gesserit of the schools don't know their ancestry."
"The genetic lines are always in our records," she said. "Your mother knows that either she's of Bene Gesserit descent or her stock was acceptable in itself."
"Then why couldn't she know who her parents are?"
"Some do.... Many don't. We might, for example, have wanted to breed her to a close relative to set up a dominant in some genetic trait. We have many reasons."
Again, Paul felt the offense against rightness. He said: "You take a lot on yourselves."
The Reverend Mother stared at him, wondering: Did I hear criticism in his voice? "We carry a heavy burden," she said.
Paul felt himself coming more and more out of the shock of the test. He leveled a measuring stare at her, said: "You say maybe I'm the ... Kwisatz Haderach. What's that, a human gore jabbar?"
"Paul," Jessica said. "You mustn't take that tone with—"
"I'll handle this, Jessica," the old woman said. "Now, lad, do you know about the Truthsayer drug?"
"You take it to improve your ability to detect falsehood," he said. "My mother's told me."
"Have you ever seen truthtrance?"
He shook his head. "No."
"The drug's dangerous," she said, "but it gives insight. When a Truthsayer's gifted by the drug, she can look many places in her memory—in her body's memory. We look down so many avenues of the past ... but only feminine avenues." Her voice took on a note of sadness. "Yet, there's a place where no Truthsayer can see. We are repelled by it, terrorized. It is said a man will come one day and find in the gift of the drug his inward eye. He will look where we cannot—into both feminine and masculine pasts."
"Your Kwisatz Haderach?"
"Yes, the one who can be many places at once: the Kwisatz Haderach. Many men have tried the drug ... so many, but none has succeeded."
"They tried and failed, all of them?"
"Oh, no." She shook her head. "They tried and died."
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Meet the Author
Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. He worked a wide variety of jobsincluding TV cameraman, radio commentator, oyster diver, jungle survival instructor, lay analyst, creative writing teacher, reporter and editor of several West Coast newspapersbefore becoming a full-time writer. He died in 1986.
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This is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it to anyone. My only problem is why is the digital download version twice the price of the paperback edition? You can go into any bookstore and buy this book for $8 for paperback and used bookstore can get it for $2 - $4, yet the digital download is $16. I buy brand new bestsellers for less than that. Don't know what the publisher is thinking here. I know the price is set by the publisher and not B&N because they all are that way so not blaming B&N. The publisher needs to learn something about the cost savings for digital downloads because there is no reason why the digital version should cost twice as much as the paperback version.
Great book. Works fine with Nook now after the April 2010 Nook update/patch.
As Duke pointed out, the nook has trouble displaying this ebook correctly. A buddy loaned this to me, very cool feature by the way, and I couldn't wait to start reading it. From the opening lines though I noticed that some of the text was cut off on the right side of the page, as if the page justification wasn't quite right. Changing font/size made no difference, the error was always present. Now is the book unreadable? No, far from it, and the book likes fine using the B&N reader software ... but I wanted to check this out on the nook. The whole point of having an ereader is to make the reading experience more convenient, not endure some shoddy version of a favorite title. Whatever the problem is, and I hope it's something minor, FIX IT. Maybe ditching the legacy file format and getting an actual .epub out to the masses would help fix things, who knows. But please, sort this out.
Frank Herbert did not simply write a great science fiction novel; he created an entire universe of amazing detail that is filled with characters so well developed that they become real enough to be believed -- no matter how very different they are from our own selves. Herbert laid a fabric of many plot lines, intrigues, and twists that the reader might become intractably enmeshed in the worlds of Dune eagerly and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series (as the Dune universe has been lovingly and skillfully continued by Frank's son Brian and his writing partner, Kevin J. Anderson). When I first read Dune back in 1987 I was so strongly attracted that I finished it in a day and a half, and then immediately began reading the remaining four books of the then extant series inside of four days. A rare thing for me. One should regard Dune as a master classic of scifi on par with any of the great scifi writers: Asimov, Heinlein, etc.
This is a novel which transcends the time in which it was written. Not content to be merely a gripping story about a gifted and cursed boy who becomes a man who changes the destiny of humanity, Dune reveals its true value in its portrayal of a deep understanding of our species's past and present using an original, deep, and organic future. Nearly 50 years on, Arrakis and its surrounding politics and religious fervor are as relevant as ever, and Frank Herbert's expertise in crafting a believable world consistent unto itself assures this relevance will not be lost on readers growing up in a different age. While Dune is one of the best science fiction novels ever written, it would be a disservice to classify it only as such. Indeed, Dune, like other great works of fiction, uses a skillfully constructed setting to tell a story any reader would benefit from. The science fiction trappings serve as exciting window dressing for the main attraction: a profound look into the histories and natures of societies, of self-righteousness, of decadence, of religious fanatacism, and of people who wield such things as weapons. Herbert's classic is a must read for anyone who wants to read one of the best books ever written about power and influence by and via large masses of humanity.
I read Frank Herbert's Dune as a teenager and I just lived in the pages, and it still remains a favorite of mine. This edition is a larger book size than what I had then. As I reread this later edition today, I relive Dune once again. It is an inspiration to see how others adapt to a planet with a difficult environment. The different cultures are presented well. The science fiction concepts are excellent. And, I experience the smell of spices when reading parts of it. This is science fiction at its finest. The writting style is superb--of another world quality. There is much wisdom in Dune, and as a fan of Asian philosophy, I can write that Dune is depth.
This is not a review of the book itself but rather a review of the digital download. Dune (40th Anniversary Edition) has problems on the nook. About 10% of the last letters at the end of a line are cut off. This happens with all font sizes and both fonts.
I'm going on the record to say that this is my favorite book of all time. It's scope is beyond description. I read it once a year and I guess I've read it about a dozen times. I even love the so-so movies that have been made based on the book. I never get tired of the characters and just the entire universe in general. I'm even listening to the new audio version of the book which is a great production.
I read 'Dune' when it first came out in the early 70's and I can truly say that the work changed my life. The door to the world of Science Fiction had already been cracked open for my by the juvenile-oriented works of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. 'Dune' blew that door right off its hinges. As I look back over 30 years of dedicated Sci-Fi reading, there are other books that stand with Dune as works head and shoulders above the general milieu of the genre, but those are measured by their ability to reach as high as Dune itself. If you read only one science fiction novel in your life, make it Dune.
The book "DUNE", by Frank Herbert is a science fiction novel. Dune was originally published in 1965 with 537 pages, and won the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award in the following year. Dune is a science fiction novel which started a saga and many spin-offs. In this review, I will give a brief summary and an evaluation of the author and book. I believe Frank Herman has created a truly unique book. The writing is very powerful, although the author created words, so some people may find it hard to remember certain concepts of the book. Dune makes reference to Islamic and Arabic words, like Fedaykin and in real life Feday'yin. Dune also has the concepts of Zen paradoxes, religion, ecology. I myself found the book very interesting and powerful. I would definitely recommend it to others, as even today it is still a unique book, and for ten dollars, it is definitely worth it. Dune takes place in the far future where humans have colonized countless planets throughout the universe, with various royal houses all led by the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. Technology has become extremely advanced, although computers and artificial intelligence are prohibited, because of an incident prior to the book. Because of lack of A.I, humans called Mentats have highly developed minds to perform the functions of these machines. Besides the royal houses and the emperor, there are three other major groups. The Space Guild who makes space travel possible through the use of Navigators, humans mutated by excessive and huge amounts of mélange, but they are also addicted to the mélange, a powerful spice with special properties. Also, is the shadowy matriarchy known as the Bene Gesserit, whose goal is to keep the Human Race alive while advancing it. They also rely on mélange for their powers, but also become addicted. Lastly, is the CHOAM Corporation, who is the base of the economy, with shares and directorships which determine a royal house's income and financial leverage. In Dune, everyone wants control of the desert world of Arrakis, because it is the only source of the most valuable thing in the universe: the spice Melange. It is the most valuable substance because of its uses to everyone: the Space Guild needs it for Navigators, the Bene Gesserit need it for their powers, and the royal houses and CHOAM want it for its huge financial gain. The story centers around Paul Altreides, heir to the Altreides royal house. The Altreides and the Harkonnens, another royal house, have a long lasting feud. Altreides' military is starting to rival the Emperor's, and so gives him Arrakis, as part of a Harkonnen plot to the Altreides. I found Dune very enjoyable and well worth my money. If you liked Dune, then you should also check out the other books in the series, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. I definitely recommend buying the book or finding it in your local library.
$15.00? Are you kidding me? Buy the paperback for $7.99.
When I was in my early 20's (30 years ago) I read both The Lord of the Rings and Dune. I spent many subsequent years trying to recapture the magic of those two novels, with no success. Like LoTR, Dune is so far beyond anything that's ever been written in its genre that there in no comparison. And to think it was written in the 60's is absolutely mind-boggling. It was decades ahead of its time. You're lucky if you get one like this per century, and Dune is the one.
Recently I listened to the audio version, which is superb. And I realized how much of the novel I was unable to grasp back then, how deep the themes are and how amazing the premise is. If you've read it already, give the audio a try, you'll be riveted.
I've had this version of Dune since it first became available, and at that time the ebook was plagued with formatting errors. I just wanted to chime in and let any interested parties know that these problems have long been remedied. There are no longer "cut off" lines of text and the introductory bits of each chapter are properly formatted and aligned. So if you're already a fan, buy this.
I don't know whether the text needed to be re-keyed in by hand, or the OCR software employed on a scanned copy is poor, but in either case the Nook version of Frank Herbert's classic novel is rife with typographical errors. Words are misspelled, spaces have been omitted, sometimes entire words are missing, and many special characters fail to display properly. Considering this is the "40th Anniversary Edition" and costs more than the physical paperback version of the novel (presumably because of the additional effort needed to render into electronic form), I expected more. At the very least a thorough proofreading. I've half a mind to demand a refund.
This is one of those classic sci-fi books that I picked up second hand at a beach shop and it has become one of my favorites! The story is epic that details a planet in turmoil due to its' severe environment and inhabitants. The political intrigue is complex and timeless. This story is wonderful for indepth conversations on religion, politics, and story telling. Dune becomes real and continues throughout the saga in Herbert's sequels. You will so enjoy this tale!
If one were to construct a Mount Rushmore of science fiction novels, you could probably gather a strong consensus around having Frank Herbert's Dune on that monument. In retrospect, the fact that such a novel was first published by Chilton books - whose specialty is books on auto repair - seems unfathomable today. However, the book's 200,000+ words, complex story and use of Arabic words and phrases worked against it. Science fiction at the time was little more than works of pulp, even if your name was Asimov or Heinlein. This reviewer is actually rereading the story after some 30 years. It was read in the early 1980s prior to the release of David Lynch's movie version of the novel. As such, the movie's plot initially confused me with respect to the re-read, as I was picturing the movie story instead of the novel. Once I put aside the movie adaptation, the book flowed more smoothly in rereading it. There is no doubt that the story of the Atreides - Harkonnen feud and the battle over the planet of Arrakis and its precious melange is not novel; it's setting and timeframe are literally out of this world. That notwithstanding, Herbert provides a complex story with plans, schemes and tactics that are concentric like a Russian nesting doll. These characters are fleshed out about as well as one could reasonably expect with a depth and range that are beyond 99% of stories in or out of print. The fact that this book is well known in the sci-fi community beggars against a long review; what I will say is that those for whom this novel is unknown to them, it is to your advantage to add at least the first in the Dune series to your reading list. This is not a light, summer read; it is challenging with many characters and plot lines going on at the same time. If one is willing to stick it out until the end, the reader will be rewarded for the invested time. BOTTOM LINE: Classic science fiction that must be read by fans of the genre.
As a 16 year old who loved to read sci-fi and fantasy in 1980, Dune blew me away! Its the only book I ever read in a single day! From the opening scene of the "gom jabbar" to the final fight between Paul and Feyd I was enthralled. I still read it every couple years and each time I gain new insight into mankind and every aspect that drives humanity. I dont know of many stories whose themes encompass so much of what it means to be human in such a concise and well written manner. Shakespeare himself would be green with envy!
I first read this book in middle school almost 17 years ago & it still grabs hold of you!!
I'm always wary of literature labeled as "classics." This breaks the mold though. I have never read anything more enthralling. I was literally glued to this book, driving around like a madpig just to get home to read it. I couldnt concentrate at work, I wanted to know what happened next. This book is an absolute must read for anyone interested in religion, sci fi, a good book, or politics. I have heard, unfortunately, that the rest of the books in the series dont reach the caliber of this one, but then again, I'm not sure any book could. I recommend reading through the back of book where the glossary and character list is before starting the book, and then referring back to it as you progress.
i had loaned my original copy of this fine book, and had to get a replacement to keep my full set complete. this is my fourth time rereading this set. there's no equal, and im not normally a science fiction reader.
Good story and great universe but a lot of rambling philosophy that gets repetitive.
Set more than 21,000 years in the future, Dune won the first Nebula Award and shared the Hugo Award. As to language, the “d” and “h” words are found frequently, the term “a**” is used of a person’s rear end, someone is called “lizard turd,” a little bawdy humor occurs, and there are some oblique references to sex but nothing openly vulgar or obscene. Concubines are mentioned several times. Jessica is the Duke’s concubine and only woman though they have never officially married. Paul keeps his Fremen wife as a concubine and his only woman though he officially marries the Emperor’s daughter. The Baron is definitely portrayed as a homosexual, although the LGBT crowd has complained that the book’s only portrayal of a homosexual character, the vile pervert Baron Harkonnen, is negative. According to the Afterword, Dune is a modern-day conglomeration of familiar myths, has words and names from many tongues, and is based on themes found in a variety of religious faiths. I noticed concepts drawn from Islam, Judaism, and even Christianity. Early in his newspaper career, Herbert was introduced to Zen by two Jungian psychologists, and throughout the Dune series Herbert employs concepts and forms borrowed from Zen Buddhism. In spite of these things about the book that I didn’t really care for, I generally enjoyed the story.
One can see why this is a classic of sci-fi but it didn't grip me as I'd hoped it would. Even though it's an interesting narrative it is rather a dry read, and that's not a pun on the fact that most of the story takes place on a desert planet. I did enjoy this book but I finished it mostly because I had determined that I would and not because I was swept up in the story. It's unlikely that the rest of the series will become part of my library.