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Dune: William Skelly Review



Dune is a science fiction book written by Frank Herbert, first copyrighted in 1965. Dune takes place on the harsh desert planet of Arrakis, where there are giant sand worms, which grow to be over 400 meters long, and the planet is so dry, that people must wear water recycling suits to keep moisture. The planet is also filled with valuable spice worth a fortune to those who mine it. Competing for the planet's resources, are the evil Harkonnens and the noble Atreides, great houses in the imperium. The main themes of the book are religion, power, and nature. In Dune, religion and power are closely related, and whoever can exploit or control religion, will have power. Also, all men are at the will of the elements of Arrakis, whether it be the brutal sand storms that can tear flesh from bone and pound bone to dust, or the absolute dryness that requires people to wear water recycling Still suits.


The story is told in the third person by an omniscient narrator. The focus of the story is the main character, Paul Atreides, and his struggle to gain back the planet Arrakis, and to stop the looming jihad. This book is a science fiction space opera, as well as a story of power and struggle. It is not just a book about struggle between people, but also against the planet Arrakis. The author keeps you interested with the vastness of his science fiction universe, the political intrigue, and the perils of Arrakis. It is a real page turner that keep the reader wanting more. This book is written to intelligent, science fiction fans, who enjoy political intrigue, and it is well suited for that audience, or anyone who enjoys science fiction.


Man cannot tame nature. The men of Arrakis have tried to tame nature, but they cannot. When the Atreides tried to tame the harshness of Arrakis, they could not. Early when the Atreides started to mine Arrakis, they got a lesson that no machine can match the power of nature, when a giant sand worm swallowed a factory crawler* whole.
* (a massive harvesting machine for mining spice, about 100 meters long.)

A gigantic sand whirlpool began forming there to the right of the crawler. It moved faster and faster. Sand and dust filled the air for hundreds of meters around. Then they saw it! A wide hole emerged from the sand. The hole's diameter was at least twice the length of the crawler, Paul estimated. He watched as the machine slid into that opening in a billow of dust and sand. The hole pulled back.
"Gods, what a monster!" Muttered a man beside Paul.
-Dune, page 200

No matter how advanced your technology is, or how much you have prepared, nature reigns supreme. All the men of Arrakis are at the will of nature. The only way to live is to accept that. Dune reminds me of Star Wars and other science fiction. Many of the greatest space epics from Star Trek to Star Wars have borrowed heavily from ideas in this book. The concept of a desert planet where moisture is precious, like Tatooine or Jakku, is completely borrowed from Dune. The idea of the Jedi also sounds much like the Bene Gesserit. This book made me realize that some of the modern and creative space epics, like Star Wars, that I know of, owe a lot to earlier science fiction.


Dune is a science fiction masterpiece that draws you into an intriguing plot. From the giant sand worms on the planet Arrakis, to the treacherous Harkonnens, the world of Dune is saturated with amazing detail and wonder. If you like science fiction, you must read Dune.


William Skelly
~Rating: ***** 5/5