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Dune

Posted on: October 7, 2013

DuneName : Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

Genre : Planetary romance, Political thriller, Psychological thriller, Conspiracy fiction, Adventure, Military science fiction

Pages : 800+

Publication Year: 1965

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movies based on book: Dune (film)

Rating: 5/5

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Dune first in the series, is considered as a masterpiece in science fiction genre. Dune was the first novel to win Nebula Award in 1965 and shared Hugo Award in 1966. The Dune is considered by some critics to be the best science fiction book ever written and rightly so, in My opinion it’s best science fiction novel ever written.

The novel is set in more than 21,000 years in the future,humanity has settled on countless habitable planets, which are ruled by aristocratic Great Houses that owe allegiance to the Emperor Shaddam IV. Science and technology has grown significantly since 20th century but 10000 years before the events of this novel – the use of “artificial Intelligence’ have been prohibited after the events of “The Butlerian Jihad”.

In Terminology of the Imperium, the glossary of 1965’s Dune, Frank Herbert provides the following definition:

Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt) — the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.”

Due to this humans have been trained to do the most complex tasks, including mental computing and those who are trained to do this are known as Mentats (aka Human Super Computers).

Arrakis also known as Dune (aka Desert Planet) is the only planet in whole universe which can produce the “spice” melange which is most valuable spice throughout the universe. The galactic Emperor Shaddam IV and all the Great Houses are depended on the profits earned by the “spice” melange. Dune was ruled by House Harkonnen but Shaddam IV removes House Harkonnen places House Atreides’s Leto as ruler of Dune. This triggers all the events which will unfold in this book.

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 family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. The story is told in this by different characters POV and each character has been crafted with such a mastery that you will know every character and start sharing their thoughts.

The culture, demographics, religion and most of the things in Dune apart from “spice” melange – resembles Arabia. Many words, titles and names (e.g. the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, Hawat, Bashar, Harq-al-Ada) in the Dune universe as well as a large number of words in the language of the Fremen people like Kalima, erg, salat, Muad’Dib, Sunni, Hajj, Fedayakin etc., are derived or taken directly from Arabic (e.g. erg, the Arabic word for ‘dune’, is used frequently throughout the novel).  Paul Atreides’ character bears some similarities to the historical T. E. Lawrence – who being foreigner in Arabia, adopts the ways of a desert-dwelling Arabian people and leads them to military expeditions.

The Fremen people of Dune are awaiting for a Messiah named “Mahdi” who will come and fulfill certain prophecies and will lead the people of Dune to salvation. The reference to “Mahdi” is directly taken from Islamic prophecies  which states that before the end of time and just before the second coming of Prophet Isa alaiye-salam(Jesus) ‘Imam Mahdi(RA)’ will come who is prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years (according to various interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. Isa (Jesus Christ) will return to aid Mahdi, or the guided one, against Masih ad-Dajjal(anti-christ), the false messiah, and his followers.

That first day when Muad’Dib rode through the streets of Arrakeen with his family, some of the people along the way recalled the legends and the prophecy and they ventured to shout: ‘Mahdi!’

Frank Herbert has masterfully crafted each character and every great house in Dune universe that you can tell by dialogues of each character to which house he/she belongs. Dune has everything a masterpiece needs – political plots(between Emperor and Great Houses), sabotage, evasion, holy war(jihad), survival tactics one has to adopt in order to survive in planet Dune, coup, and revenge.

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics. The complex and intricate world created by Frank Herbert will blow your mind with its creativity and uniqueness. This one is the best science fiction book I ever read and will definitely read all the sequels of this book Insha Allah.

A must read for everyone, doesn’t matter whether you like science-fiction or not.

“Unique…I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.”–Arthur C. Clarke.

Some awesome lines from Dune:

1. A popular man arouses the jealousy of the powerful.

2. 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.

3. You shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind.

4. The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows – a wall against the wind. This is the willow’s purpose.

5. A world is supported by four things …’ She held up four big-knuckled fingers. ‘… the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the righteous and the valor of the brave. But all of these are as nothing …’ She closed her fingers into a fist. ‘… without a ruler who knows the art of ruling. Make that the science of your tradition!

6. A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.

7. If wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets.

8. Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.

9. When God hath ordained a creature to die in a particular place, He causeth that creature’s wants to direct him to that place.

10. Parting with people is a sadness; a place is only a place.

11. A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

12. Paradise on my right, Hell on my left and the Angel of Death behind.

13. God created Arrakis to train the faithful.

14. The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.

15. Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

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1 Response to "Dune"

[…] You can find the review of Dune chronicles book 1 – “Dune” here. […]

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