Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Even though I wrote an article on why this novel is so difficult to adapt into a movie, I didn’t review the novel. It’s time to do just that now.

Few novels have exerted such a tremendous influence on me. Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, and undeniably one of the very best SciFi novels ever written, takes a life of its own over the span of the first few pages.

The universe the story is set in is complex — a vast intergalactic empire working as an intricate mechanism, a lasting feud, and all the treacherous games that are a part of the never ending struggle for power among the powerful.

But also, Dune is a story of love and compassion. And it underlines the basic of human desires and needs in a way that compresses how people act and react under various circumstances that we don’t feel the story as taking part in an entirely different universe than our own.

I strenuously believe that the human aspect in each story is what genuinely appeals to readers. The characters interact with each other in a natural way, relationships are built in an organic way. Dune manages all that, and even more.

As I said earlier, the universe Herbert created is vast and impressive. Every aspect of human life is sifted by the cruel climate of Dune, but also, by the more advanced technology available to people. At the same time, religious mysticism abounds — situations that can be clearly labeled as fantasy are at the core of the story itself.

The bestselling SF novel of all time, Dune spanned several sequels, and prequels and all that, written both by Herbert himself and by his son, but the first novel is the ultimate masterpiece.

Maybe the other novels in the story build a more intricate web of treachery and lies, but Dune manages to build an entirely different world from our own, and at the same time, it makes it believable.

A story about destiny, about power, a story of love and passion and bravery, and at the same time, a story about the power that resides inside each and every individual, Dune can be read as a SF novel or as a brilliant metaphor for the world outside our windows.

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