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The Dosadi Experiment (ConSentiency Universe #2)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,477 Ratings  ·  142 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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May 28, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 04, 2011 Nomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 28, 2013 Ric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 19, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...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
Mar 25, 2014 Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  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
Aug 08, 2011 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 27, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2012 Herbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 23, 2014 Ethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever wondered what Dune would be like with aliens and computers, well... that's not exactly what this is, but it is a non-Dune Frank Herbert space opera so that's sort of what's going on. I was able to follow the basic arc of the plot, but I admit a lot of the details of the intrigues ("plans within plans within plans..." à la Dune) were hard to follow; it was also difficult to keep track of all the characters, factions, alien species, etc.

The basic plot centers on McKie and Jedrik. Mc
Jan 24, 2012 Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 03, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2014 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2016 Aerin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's not so much that this book was bad, as that it was incredibly boring.
John Loyd
Jan 31, 2016 John Loyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BuSab has heard rumors that the Gowachin have hidden the planet Dosadi and are keeping the inhabitants their prisoner. Jorj X. McKie, who helped solve the Caleban crisis in Whipping Star, is sent to the Tandaloor to meet with the Gowachins. The Gowachins had maneuvered BuSab into sending McKie because he is also a legum who they can force to work under gowachin law. McKie has some tense moments but talks his way out of it and is then briefed on Dosadi. Dosadi was populated twenty generations ago ...more
May 05, 2015 Conal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a book that I had thought I read in the past but turned out to be new to me (unless extreme CRS has set in). This was a solid space opera tale told by one of the past masters of this genre and was a really enjoyable story. I will need to pick up the first story with Jorj X. Mckie so I can see the past that is discussed in this one.

4.5 stars for a really fun read. Recommended for any fans of space opera especially if you enjoyed Dune!!
Feb 20, 2015 Klytia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leggere un romanzo di fantascienza scritto negli anni '70 e ritrovare numerose riflessioni sulla società che sembrano scritte oggi e sono valide tanto per il mondo in cui stiamo vivendo quanto, e forse ancora di più, per l'Italia di oggi.

"Tutti gli esseri senzienti sono creati disuguali. La società migliore offre a ciascuno un'uguale possibilità di galleggiare al proprio livello." - Il Principio Primario dei gowachin.

"Ogni governo è diretto da bugiardi, e nulla di ciò che loro dicono può essere
Feb 25, 2008 Boris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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!
It was an okay book. It took a while to get into it; there were enough gems interspersed to keep me hoping it might get better. I was pleasantly surprised that it did.

One part I liked/thought was hilarious: (view spoiler)
Apr 06, 2016 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I had one vivid memory of this book from the first time I read it.

This time, I'm fascinated by a number of things about it.

Science fiction is a genre of testing and exploring ideas. And Herbert digs in deeply with every novel. Back in the day I read most of his work. But I reached a point where he got so dense I just found myself tired of not getting it.

Even thirty years later, will all the things I've learned about and books I've read, I'm pretty sure that I'm missing 70% of what's going on.

Jan 12, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a super-interesting science fiction novel from the writer of the famous Dune. As in Dune, Herbert has created a dense, complicated universe which requires quite a bit of work to enter into on the part of the reader, but once you're in it's pretty rewarding. Unlike Dune, this book has little action and is much more an exploration of clashing alien cultures, politics, and legal theory. Yes, legal theory. There is a crazy amount of thought about a whole different alien legal system and val ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Hamoon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm writing a review because I kinda promised myself I'd review every book I read, otherwise I'd just forget this surprisingly bland sci fi book. I was pretty disappointed, seeing as it is Frank Herbert. Actually the ideas that make up the foundation of the book are quite imaginative and might have been the base for a grand and epic novel. Instead you get a very ordinary story from the point of view of a man building a flimsy legal case. I mean really, you could've had another Dune, but the whol ...more
Zantaeus Glom
Jun 21, 2014 Zantaeus Glom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Palfrey
Feb 26, 2016 Jonathan Palfrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I'm not a fan of Dune, this is my favourite book by Frank Herbert. I have reservations about it, but I reread it now and then and always seem to enjoy it.

All fiction, especially science fiction, is akin to stage magic: the author tries to persuade you that his powers (of imagination, understanding, and intelligence) are greater than they can possibly be. In reading this book, I'm more than usually conscious that what I'm seeing is trickery. Some of the main characters are presented as abnorma
Jan 01, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of two (largely independent) novels Herbert wrote in the ConSentiency universe, which is a very interesting universe indeed. The two novels star the same protagonist, Jorj X. McKie, a high-level agent in the Bureau of Sabatoge--a pan-universal organization whose mission is to keep the various species' governments in check.

The Dosadi Experiment is a complex book with complex thoughts on law/governance, morality and even evolution/genetics. A reader can squeeze meaning out of th
Amber Dunten
Shortly after starting The Dosadi Experiment, I said to my boyfriend, “This book reminds me a lot of Dune. I have no idea what's going on, and I feel like a total simpleton in this world.”

His response: “Welcome to Frank Herbert.”

Know going in that Frank Herbert wrote challenging books. His stories describe social and legal structures so byzantine they require page upon page of explanation, and political maneuverings so subtle that empires can seemingly fall on the arch of an eyebrow. Clues abou
I almost held this at 3 stars because the first 100 or more pages are terribly slow and the ending was a little odd and flat. However, the parts that take place on Dosadi, the majority of the book, were exciting, fast paced, and interesting. The Dosadi portion and the SF ideas throughout make this an above average book. Herbert throws in a ton of wild concepts, several of which he had already used a form of in his 3 earlier Dune series and refined in later Dune books. Having read Whipping Star p ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lianne Simon
Jan 04, 2013 Lianne Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 about Frank Herbert...

Other Books in the Series

ConSentiency Universe (2 books)
  • Whipping Star

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