I can read: Dune

6 Jul

I think Dune was written by a man who would be considered a psychopath had he less than fifty dollars in his bank account.  Thankfully Frank Herbert was the rare human animal that found a stable career in writing down a bunch of dramatic human socio-political insanity set in an almost unimaginable future that other people with an appetite for that sort of thing found good enough to buy.

Dune is a sci-fi novel that’s less 2001 and more Star Trek the Next Generation; it’s science fiction that uses technology to say something about human characters rather than fiction that tries to teach you the calculus of a space jump.  When I was a little kid I watched Back to the Future 2’s time jump into our near future and I thought to myself how weird it would be if someone made a story based thousands of years into our future where our technology would seen like magic.  Little did I know then that Dune is that story.

If a prophecy story can be implanted as a meme in a simple population and if it can be controlled via eugenics, is it still a prophecy? How much information can I obtain from your body language before my insight is considered a superpower?  The universe of Dune grants humanity strange and awesome abilities built on a long history of science and yet humanity is still divided and self-interested.

One royal family is sent to rule a desert planet that produces the galaxy’s most prized substance, and another family conspires to ruin them. The royal family is defeated and the young son and his mother are lost and exiled on the planet only to be adopted by a fierce desert people who claim them as saviors and share secrets with them.  The conspiracy against this mother and son is vast and the destiny of the young boy is disturbing.

Dune is weak in prose.  Most of the narrative shifts in perspective. We read thoughts, then people talk, and then we read another character’s thoughts.  The entire emphasis is on the plot and how the characters plan on behaving before they behave.  As I finished the story though I found myself saddened that it ended because the characters had snuck into my sympathies along with the plot.  

There are sequels damnit.



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