Dune is a book that I didn’t know a lot about, but had heard of many times. The extent of my knowledge of it, though, was that it took place partly in a desert, and that there appeared to be space travel. Not a very detailed description, and not one helped a lot if you search for it on Google. The images relating to this book either look like this:
Or this, from a poster for the 1984 movie:
Honestly, though, it is very different from that. What is the book about? Well…it starts off as being about yet another evil Empire, like pretty much every single Final Fantasy game and many sci fi series…although keep in mind that Dune was originally published in 1965, meaning it actually preceded, and therefore influenced, Star Wars, countless novels since, maybe even Star Trek and other epic sci fi shows and movies, and not the other way around. I even think I see instances of it in Firefly, although I have to explain a little more before you’ll see.
So, yes. Evil empire, except this one is galactic in scope. Then we have the Atreides family, which consists of the usual nuclear family- Duke, concubine, ducal heir-wait, what? Yes, in this world there are concubines as well as wives, because then he can still marry, like Elizabeth I, but he never does. I know, what a tease- and this family is leaving the relative luxury of ruling the planet Caladan to go to the rough desert planet of Arrakis.
Arrakis is one of the many concepts here I see repeated in video games to no end- a desert planet with sandworms, almost no water, and few plants or animals, although they have ‘the spice’, a somewhat addictive substance that the entire universe wants. This leads into the main conflicts of the book, which include:
- The native people of Dune, Fremen, v. the Empire’s people, who are there for the money
- The Atreides family v. the Harkonnens, another important family in the Empire.
- Jessica, the duke’s concubine, v. other people who think she betrayed him.
- Paul, the duke’s son, v. the Fremen, who he must convince to trust him.
- The Fremen v. their own planet.
- Paul v. The Universe.
Needless to say, there is a lot going on. There are at least 3 forms of religion that conflict and intertwine, there are secret breeding plans between families, rivalries, traitors, prisoners, a messiah, crazy technology that I really wish we had, sandw orms, and just a little bit of mystical magic that is never quite explained, and no one really feels the need to…that last bit is especially refreshing to me in a world where so many writers feel the need to explain everything to the reader as it happens (Twilight) and therefore have no real depth (Twilight).
Anyway, I liked this book. I haven’t read any of the others yet, so hopefully I will. I also haven’t seen any of the movie adaptations, though the 1984 boasts, among other things, Sting as a supporting character, so you can’t go wrong. I also think it would be a good thing to try to remake now, although by someone who doesn’t feel the need to make it 3D and rely on special effects instead of story. So basically, Joss Whedon, when he has the time.
So, I recommend you read this one. If you love fantasy and sci fi, or really just love sand worms, I think you’ll enjoy this.