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The Dosadi Experiment (ConSentiency Universe #2)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  4,642 ratings  ·  115 reviews
The Dosadi Experiment (1977) is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert. It is the second full-length novel set in the ConSentiency universe established by Herbert in his novelette The Tactful Saboteur and continued in Whipping Star.
Paperback, New Ed
Published July 2000 by Gollancz (first published 1977)
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Stephen
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is best "non Dune" book by Frank Herbert that I have read. It is a sequel of sorts to Whipping Star (a book I did not really like) and is set in the universe of the ConSentiency. The basic plot involves a secret experiment in which a group of humans and aliens are kidnapped and placed on a planet with a brutal environment in order to produce...( no spoilers).

In tone, this story reminded me a lot of the later Dune books in so far as its focus on the psychological motivation...more
Ric
This had the makings of a second "Dune", twelve years after publication of that ground-breaking book. And all the elements are here: a richly-imagined world - Dosadi, a strong emotional focus - an enslaved population, a back story that goes back generations, and sinister forces to ramp up the suspense. And, also in prime form, Herbert's dramatic, impactful prose.

And Herbert kept the suspense at a peak for much of the book. The story could have taken a turn for something entirely different at vir...more
Nomi
I wanted to give this book a low rating because the first 70 pages are painfully boring and unintelligible... on the first read and the ending is kind of blah...

Nevertheless, it has some unbelievably redeeming qualities (if you're a Dune fanatic)... and I even suspect that these 70 pages might yield whole new insights upon the second reading. I'd even go so far as to say that this is a must read for any serious Dune afficianados because the text provides one more point of entry into that univer...more
Rob
...My opinion that The Dosadi Experiment is Herbert's best non-Dune book has remained unchanged. It is a novel that summarizes many of the themes that can be found in his works but also highlights some of the problems with his writing. The lack of character development, the constantly changing viewpoints and the cognitive leaps that characterize the novel keep it from being a great work. Herbert's grasp of the ideas he wants to discuss is unrivaled in science fiction but the way he translates t...more
Lyn
I have learned about myself that I don’t (as a principle) like series. This seems to be the new vision of science fiction and fantasy writers as any browsing of new books will see Book 2 of this and number 4 of the series in that. I would like to say to writers, “Present an original idea, say what you want to say, have some fun with it, do it well, and slap a The End on the back and move on to something else.” Now, having said that, I still do read series; too many talented writers are spending...more
Herbert
Fascinating insight nto the internecine underpinnings of modern urban culture and basic complexities of natural human subversion. Riveting Sci-Fi. Timeless in so many of it's implications. Applicable to today, the Tang Dynasty, the Obama Administration 2013.
Denis
As with Poul Anderson, I've only chipped at the iceburg-body of work from this author, therefore, I can not judge him too harshly. Yes, it is obvious that he is a master writer with complex yet solid plotting and inspiring world building... And it is true, that I have not yet read the Dune series, I have tried a few early short stories and the later novel "White Plague" and had to give up on those - just did not grab me! 'Cause man, I would really rather read better stories by less competent wri...more
Kevin
I am perhaps too lenient on this book, else this review will serve as a confession that I am too stupid to grok the Dosadi mindset. But I think that the weakness of characterization that is a standard scifi caveat hinders this novel, one of Herbert's most ambitious(I say skiffy instead of scifi usually, cause I don't give a fuck. Yeah that's right). As in Dune, Herbert attempts a merciless dissection of society. Dune, rightly regarded as a classic, began as an exploration of the effect of trade...more
Dennis
I was a bit surprised at first to find this book has such mixed reviews on here. I first read it as a teenager and it made a big impression on me. I have just recently finished re-reading it and if anything am more awe-struck than before. Unlike last time I also tracked down and read Herbert's earlier ConSentiency writings (The Tactful Saboteur and Whipping Star) which are far more amateurish than The Dosadi Experiment but help to fill in the background.

Herbert likes characters who are super sma...more
Tim
I enjoy Science Fiction - this one is hard to explain, but for those who've read some of Frank Herbert's Dune series, this one is understandable and regularly surprising.

An experiment by two races (human and one other) who have put "volunteers" of their population on to a planet, quarantined it, and allowed the two populations struggle to find their way under very tough survival conditions.

The experiment has gone on secretly for decades, with the fear that this experiment is strictly illegal und...more
Chris
This may be my favorite of Herbert's books outside of the Dune series and the Jesus Incident trilogy. I almost wish that this universe he created, it could be expanded to a series. Much is left to the imagination and the insinuation of the reader, in a way Herbert does early on with Dune.

Many similar aspects between Dune and this universe are seen... chairdogs, Galach language, etc, except that this one includes multiple sentient, and 1 supersentient, species. The overall theme is typical Herber...more
Steve
The first 70 pages are hard to follow but things quickly fall into place afterwards. So be prepared.

I really enjoyed the story but the motivation of the main character was a little unclear to me.

What I especially enjoyed was how the writing mirrored the story; The confusion you feel as a reader mirrors the confusion McKie feels when landing on Dosadi and trying to integrate into their society. The brisk pace of the book mirrors the brisk mental pace of the Dosadi inhabitants. Another author migh...more
Boris
Wow. I loved Frank Herbert in middle school, and I hadn't realized just how poor a writer he was. It's especially apparent in this and Whipping Star. Herbert was skilled at creating fascinatingly foreign and complex cultures, and then demonstrating through them the tedious ideas of 1950s-era business gurus which he seemed to hold in high regard. He reminds me of Hubbard in that respect. Of course, he's still a much better writer than that!
Douglas
Mar 25, 2014 Douglas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are curious about more of Frank Herbert; frogs, toads, and amphibians
I'll start with a side note here: The cover of the edition I read had a synopsis that had only a slight similarity to the actual content of the book. So if you have some similar copy and are curious what's inside, don't read the book cover. It'll mislead you some. Consider yourself warned.

Although Frank Herbert is best known for his Dune series, he wrote other science fiction. The Dosadi is in this "other" category -- other in that it takes place in an entirely different universe than what occur...more
Zantaeus Glom
What an extraordinarily absorbing work of speculative fiction! 'The Dosadi Experiment' proves, yet again, that Frank Herbert is sf's most profound visionary.

The book is like Gnostic overload, so proceed with all due caution.

As soon as I started reading 'The Dosadi Experiment' I was soon aware of genuine literary magic effervescing in my giddy, thirsty for more cranium.

Saboteur Extraordinary Jori X. McKie, and his convoluted machinations against the mind-jiggering complexities of Gowachin law t...more
Patrick
JDN 2456280 EDT 17:06.

The Dosadi Experiment was a novel Frank Herbert wrote in the middle of his career, with some Dune books before it (up to Children of Dune) and some after it (God Emperor of Dune and beyond). Actually, come to think of it, it's roughly "the good Dune books" before and "the bad Dune books" after.
It's a strange novel, longer than it needed to be, and with characters who manage to be complex without being particularly interesting or sympathetic. The closest to sympathetic are...more
Lianne Simon
It's not as famous as Dune, but I think it's far superior. This is one of those books where 'just one more chapter' gets caught in an endless loop.

Jorj X McKie is the only non-Gowachin admitted to practice law before the Gowachin bar. He's also a Saboteur Extaordinary for the Bureau of Sabotage, an agency responsible for limiting the excesses of government.

Dosadi is a poisonous planet with a single, over-populated city. It's people, both Human and Gowachin, were kidnapped from various planets, a...more
Steven Brandt
In a far-distant future, the human race is part of a civilization known as the consentiency, which covers many far-flung galaxies, and multiple species of sentient beings. It is two of these races that make the consentiency possible: the Taprisiots, who can make it possible for any two minds within the consentiency to connect and communicate, and the Caleban, who can create jump-doors, providing instantaneous travel between any two points in the universe. But these conveniences have their downsi...more
Traummachine
This was a very solid story. Herbert took the protagonist and setting from Whipping Star and ran in a totally different direction with them. Unlike Whipping Star, there was no portrayal of communications issue, so this was much easier to read.

Herbert has McKie move away from his saboteur comfort zone, making the espionage-feel of the prior stories more of a background to the setting. A planet is discovered where someone has established a complicated and horrifying social experiment, and he must...more
Ethan I. Solomon
After reading the Dune series for the third time I found myself not wanting to leave Frank Herbert behind. At a local used bookstore I found this book and Whipping Star. My mind was quite blown by both of them, suffice it to say. I was pleasantly surprised to find many of the same existential conflicts and issues explored in this book as in the Dune novels. Frank was a genius no matter what he was writing apparently. Anyone that read Dune and enjoyed it will also enjoy Frank's other books, parti...more
David Haws
“His bedog rippled gently against his buttock.”

I liked the idea of a chairdog, as introduced in the previous installment, The Whipping Star (which was a better book) and also included in some of the later Dune books. The bedog however—unless McKie is suffering a little early-morning flatulence—is just creepy (maybe it’s creepy even then). And what is the bedog doing while McKie and Jedrick are experience coitus on top him/her? (My dog would be barking, and maybe even biting.)

As always, the writ...more
Alex DiDonato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
TalonWyrm
Not nearly so comprehensive as the Dune saga, Herbert returns to his theme of closed societies and harsh extremes creating supermen. I had thought this would be an examination of the morality of such a situation: I was wrong. Which lessened my enjoyment of it. Instead, the conclusion of the book almost justifies the corruption and horror inflicted on an entire population because that population now escapes and changes the Universe for the better. Herbert seems to wish for jihad to burn the decad...more
J.S.  Kitololo
I loved this book. The thing is, Frank Herbert takes so much time trying to intrigue us with depictions of cultures and worlds utterly foreign to us - if you like the exotic, it's difficult not to be sucked into the intrigue.
Beyond that, the central themes, human adaptation to affliction and how it makes us better, the purpose of law in society, the tendency of secret elites to commit atrocities for power and benefit, are strongly depicted.
In my opinion, Herbert's greatest strength is his abilit...more
Bria
At first I thought it was very clever how the sparseness reflected the Dosadi philosophy and personality, how there was so much background that was not explicitly stated. I like that sort of parallelism in form and content, that the way the book is presented is a reflection of the ideas within it. Except that it began to get a little bit too obscuring since I do not and never have lived in this universe, so it's just not possible for me to understand the unspoken assumptions and depth of history...more
Stephen
Frank Herbert's Dune may be my favorite sci fi book of all time. Might even be in my top 5 reads ever.

This is no Dune. It's OK--cool idea but felt rushed and our hero seems to make giant leaps in learning in days that would take others years. I just didn't feel it.
James
One of Frank Herbert's best novels, one that can stand comparison to his better-known Dune. As in that book, he's started with a situation, a place, that pushes people (in the sense of sentient beings including but not limited to humans) to the extremes of possible endurance, and draws his conclusions about how that might affect their culture(s). Then he drops a crisis in their path to see how they would adapt and cope with it. As with his other books, Herbert has done a thorough and vivid job o...more
Trevor Vallender
The first hundred or so pages were nearly incoherent. As the story picked up it showed occasional glimpses of what Herbert is capable of and the genius within Dune, but it came to naught. Dipping in and out of confusion and never delivering on the promises its mysteries set up, this was one of the most disappointing novels I've read in a good while.
Renato
Honestly, the writing is overly dense and at times baroque... but this is Herbert, after all.

The book is chock full of ideas that another author might have milked for whole books.

The story is super complicated and full of duble and triple turns... but it has a charm: something being "very dosadi" has become a household way of saying.
Brett
Wow, this book was hard to get through. The language used is very difficult to parse smoothly. It's hard to describe what is meant by this without actually looking at some fragments of text, it is like he is trying to write it in an obscure fashion to make it seem more foreign, and maybe that is the point. However, the story is pretty good, definitely some unique ideas, and I enjoyed that. But, most of them aren't really developed to the point where it held together cleanly. Part of my problem c...more
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Frank Herbert was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author.

He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classi...more
More about Frank Herbert...
Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2) Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3) The Great Dune Trilogy  God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)

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