Saturday, May 13, 2006

Book Review: DUNE

As a Science Fiction reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Frank Herbert's American classic DUNE. This is the first in a growing series of novels. The first six were written by Frank Herbert himself but following his untimely death in 1986, the series has been continued by his son, Brian Herbert.
At over 500 pages, including several appendixes, it was a daunting book and I did have to renew it from the library because I couldn't finish it in three weeks. But I found that it really held my interest. Frank has crafted not only a fascinatingly complex story but set it in an equally complex world. He develops different classes of people and an intricate economy that hinges on the spice found only on the desert planet Dune. The vast history of his universe is fashioned with the same meticulous care as the ecology of the desert world of Dune.
Paul Atreides, the main character, finds himself at the crux of time, either the culmination of carefully designed plans or the catalyst for universal chaos. Great responsibility depends on his precient vision of the future and every momentary decision. Yet through it all there is the sense that even Paul doesn't have full control of the events that engulf him. As his Bene Gesserit mother Jessica expresses, "Plans within plans within plans within plans. Have we become part of someone else's plan now?"
It was clear why this book has been called "a triumph of the imagination" and compared to Tolkein's Lord of The Rings. Although it is a complete story within itself, after returning it to the library I was eager to check out the second book in the series: Dune Messiah. I would heartily recommend DUNE, and not just to the SciFi reader but to anyone who enjoys a good fiction novel.