A few days ago my friend came back from Barnes & Noble with one of the best books I have ever read in my life, and I feel I have to recommend it on my blog, because that’s pretty much what the Internet is for. Also I am continually amazed at how many of my friends have not read this glorious novel, because they are clearly missing out. So here it is:
I’m fairly certain this is the copy I have, plus the original cover illustration, which I guess makes me a Dune hipster.
Dune is a science-fiction novel of epic proportion, and widely held as one of the best sci-fi titles of all time. Despite this, I was shocked to realize that it has nowhere near the fame of Star Wars or Star Trek. Or even Starship Troopers. Maybe it needs more “star” in the name.
Dune was written by Frank Herbert in 1965, which means it is only two years younger than Doctor Who and predates Star Trek: The Original Series by a year. Dune is the story of Paul Atreides, who moves with his family to the desert planet Arrakis where life is pretty dismal, water is scarce, and the savage native peoples wrap themselves in cloth as protection from the sand and heat (sounds familiar, looking at you George Lucas.) Also there’s spaceships, knife-fights, giant worms and some vague spiritual plot points. All in all it’s a fantastic setup for a sci-fi series, especially because it’s very well written.
It’s interesting to me that Dune has kind of fallen out of public knowledge, especially since Star Wars follows a lot of the same lines (evil space-overlords, desert people, spiritual/magical messiah figure.) So here’s me doing my part to get the word out, again.
Also Dune spawned one of my favorite quotes, ever:
“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.”
Litany Against Fear, mantra of the Bene Gesserit
Okay well I’ll stop there, before I nerd out any harder. No, I unfortunately did not quote that from memory. Also I want to take a moment to say, don’t get your hopes up for an epic series. Some people like the sequels to Dune, but I am not really one of them. Still, read the first one. If just one person reads it, I’ll feel like I accomplished something.