Task #11: A Book With a One-Word Title – Dune

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Science Fiction has actually become somewhat of a subgenre to action when you think about it. I mean, you have the futuristic settings with advanced weapons, interstellar travel, and/or dystopian civilizations; with such things available for both setting and plot it creates an easy foundation for what has become modern day science fiction. Though this genre isn’t my strong suit, but science fiction used to be in part about using the possible future to analyze our current society. They were cultural critiques to inspire the reader to think about the human condition, the human mind, or the modern society in a way that would expand our horizons. Action was often present for plot purposes but hidden within the story was an idea to stir up the imagination and critical nature of the mind. In this famous literary wonder, Frank Herbert takes us for an adventure that has and will captivate the imaginations of millions.

Herbert has created a world where the most sought after substance in the universe is a spice that can only be found on one planet: Arrakis. On this dessert planet water is money, sand storms sweep across the planet with immeasurable destructive power, giant sandworms can consume entire buildings, and a mysterious dessert people known as the Fremen exist in these near uninhabitable conditions. Yet the House Atreides is resigned to follow the Emperor’s instructions and take up dukedom here. However, conditions soon worsen as a dangerous rival House moves to destroy House Atreides, casting the young heir and his mother into the dessert. With only an ancient prophecy as their guide, they will join forces with the Fremen in an attempt to seek revenge for what they have lost.

As a work of science fiction, Dune is a masterpiece. The futuristic construction of technology and a whole new civilization is remarkably detailed while still maintaining general laws of reality. I will say that I don’t have the most detailed idea of the social hierarchal structure that exists in the novel, but I believe that is mostly because the majority of the time the story was taking place with a man on the run. However, I’m sure the future novels take more time to explain everything further.

To backtrack, I mentioned how science fiction in the traditional sense uses the futuristic setting to delve into the human condition. After saying that I realize that I am struggling to see how this was done in Dune. Though it isn’t a big deal it is mildly upsetting. The story is fantastic, the characters are awesome, and the setting is vivid and remarkable yet I can’t figure out how it tries to investigate humanity. Culture and our individual perspectives on others? If anyone whose read this book would like to add any of their thoughts I would love to hear them.

If you have never read science fiction and are looking for somewhere to start this is a good choice. This has been a landmark book for me because I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time and only just got around to doing so. At first I couldn’t figure out which book was the first book and didn’t want to get the wrong one. When I finally took the time to perform the necessary Google search to discover which one it was I couldn’t find a copy I liked. As you can see above I finally managed to do so. This treasure came from a used book and movie store in Littleton, NH. I had perused the books before and never found anything worth while, so I was quite surprised to find this, and for under five dollars as well. And now that I’ve continued my journey into this realm of fiction I feel compelled to read more. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to know what other science fiction people have liked. Thank you for reading.

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3 Responses to Task #11: A Book With a One-Word Title – Dune

  1. hellomylivia says:

    Had to chime in here! The first time I read Dune it was an entertaining read, but it wasn’t until the 2nd-3rd-4th-etc. times that I really started to see the depth to it. The way the Bene Gesserit manipulated superstition and belief for their own ends, the human tendency towards violence, and the effort to exert some control when being swept along in something bigger all really stood out to me. But like I said, it took a couple readings for this to pop out because I was so distracted by the setting and action the first time through.

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    • That’s understandable. The setting and plot are so detailed and amazing I admit I wasn’t able to focus on much else. I’ll have to take your advice and re-read them later to try and get a little deeper. I didn’t even think about the human tendency toward violence. I want to give that some more thought.
      Did you ever read more of the books in the series? I thought about continuing on but everyone I talked to has only ever read the first one and stopped. I’d love to talk to someone who has read more.

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      • hellomylivia says:

        I haven’t read any of the other books, mostly because I’ve heard that they “ruin” it a little. I’m really happy with the way Dune ended despite the ambiguity, and I’d rather keep that in my head. I’ve been told that the other books get a little outlandish, and I liked how grounded Dune was despite the futuristic tech and mysticism.

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