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Heretics of Dune

(Dune #5)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  52,300 ratings  ·  909 reviews
With more than ten million copies sold, Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune books stand among the major achievements of the human imagination. In this, the fifth and most spectacular Dune book of all, the planet Arrakis--now called Rakis--is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying. And the children o ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 471 pages
Published August 15th 1987 by Ace Books (first published April 1st 1984)
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Eladir Having finished the 6-book series, I've been looking out for similar stuff and this is the best piece I've seen so far (it's an introduction to a Germ…moreHaving finished the 6-book series, I've been looking out for similar stuff and this is the best piece I've seen so far (it's an introduction to a German edition of Dune, I copied it from the thread "Norman Spinrad Interview" in forum jacurutu):

(OBVIOUSLY spoilers for Dune #1 and a few paragraphs refer to other popular sci-fi books, if you haven't read them better to skip those paragraphs.)

DUNE
Introduction by
Norman Spinrad


Frank Herbert's DUNE is one of the four most culturally-influential science fiction novels ever written, the other three being Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD, George Orwell's 1984, and Robert A. Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.

Of these four novels, DUNE is the longest, most complex, the deepest by far, arguably the most successful on a literary level, certainly the most culturally important, and yet the least under-stood by critical establishments, both genre and general.


BRAVE NEW WORLD, published way back in 1932, became the template for the science fictional dystopia, particularly of the "Friendly Fascism" variety wherein the dystopian reality emerges from a superficially utopian surface, but read now seems stilted, schematic, and amateurish; inferior, in fact, to Huxley's own later science fiction.

1984 is much more skillfully written, far more politically and psychologically sophisticated, a classic that remains literarily valid long after its political relevance has faded, written by a so-called "mainstream" writer, who, unlike Huxley, wrote no other significant science fiction.

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND was written by an acknowledged master of science fiction who never wrote anything else of significance, but it is not Heinlein's best novel any more than BRAVE NEW WORLD is Huxley's. Structurally, it breaks in half rather clumsily, on a stylistic level it is inferior to THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. It has become Heinlein's sigil novel largely because of its centrality to the evolution of the Counterculture born in the 1960s and its unfortunate notoriety as the novel that inspired the discorporative depredations of Charles Manson and his "Family."


DUNE, as a cultural icon, partakes of some of the aspects of all three of the other books, but is something much more. Like BRAVE NEW WORLD, it has become the template for a generation and more of imitative works, including all too many sequels by Herbert himself. Like 1984, it is a novel written on a level of sophistication that will preserve it as a literally classic long after its cultural relevance has faded.

And like STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND only more so, DUNE was a formative literary factor in the cultural revolution of the 1960s, and in a much more positive manner, which is why it is so generally and deliberately misread as a novel centered on "ecological" issues.

The truth is far more complex and, even today, far more politically incorrect, and therefore still far more politically dangerous. After thirty years and more and millions of copies sold, it is hard to realize that back in the early 1960s this now famous and best-selling classic had a difficult time getting published. And it so happens that I was around for part of the story.

DUNE was first published in Analog, John W. Campbell, Jr.'s magazine, as two separate "novels" in serial form. "Dune World" was serialized in 1963-64, and "The Prophet of Dune" in 1965, though as Frank Herbert told me in personal conversation much later, DUNE had always been conceived and written as one novel.

And indeed, as an avid reader of each installment of the "Dune World" serialization as a young writer just starting out, I was deeply disappointed, not to say outraged, by the way the last installment seemed to end in mid-air. By the time Analog began to serialize "The Prophet of Dune," I was being published in the magazine myself. But I was still an avid reader of the serialization. And I was working at the Scott Meredith literary agency, which was trying to place the novel with a publisher.Despite the success of the serialization, this wasn't easy, and the literary agency finally had to settle for selling the American trade edition rights for a small advance to Chilton, an obscure house, who brought out the hardcover in 1965 in a very modest printing.

Only later, when Ace Books reprinted DUNE in paperback, did it begin to slowly gather momentum to become the long-term best-seller that we know it as today.

Why this difficult publishing history of a novel that was to become an enormous commercial success over time? The answer must be sought within the pages of DUNE itself. And understood within the context of the times in which it was written and published.



In superficial plot outline, the story of DUNE seems not only simple but something of a derivative cliche.

Due in part to the machinations of the Harkonnen clan and its evil leader Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Padishah Emperor, ruler of the human interstellar empire, banishes the hereditary enemy of the Harkonnens, the Atreides clan, led by Duke Leto Atreides, to rule the desert planet Arrakis.

Bereft of any other significant economic interest, Arrakis is the sole source of the "spice" melange, the psychoactive drug that allows the navigators of the Spacing Guild to move their starships faster than light through a form of hyperspace and thus maintain the coherence of this unlikely pseudo-medieval interstellar culture.

It's all a Harkonnen set-up, in collaboration with the Emperor, to destroy the Atreides and gain control of Arrakis and the spice themselves.

Unrest is fomented, Harkonnen mercenaries arrive, a war starts, Leto is assassinated, the Harkonnens take over, and his heir Paul, along with the boy's mother Jessica, flee into the wilds of the deep desert.

There they are taken in by the Fremen, a Bedouin-like tribe battling the oppressive rule of the Harkonnens. Through a series of feats, rituals, initiations, and battles, young Paul becomes the leader of the Fremen, turns them into a People's Liberation Army, and eventually not only reclaims his rightful throne but becomes Emperor himself and a kind of God-King of this fictional universe.

An oft-told story?
Yes.
Derivative?
Yes?
A cliche?
No.
Simple?
Not at all.


For what we have here in outline is Frank Herbert's version of what Joseph Campbell argues is the basic human story in his landmark work of mythic analysis and literary comparative cultural anthropology, THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES.

The Hero (Paul) is dispossessed of his rightful heritage (Leto's throne) by the forces of evil (the Harkonnens) and must flee into the wilderness(the Arakeen desert). There he encounters his spiritual guide and master who educates him in mystical and practical lore. Interestingly enough, as we shall see later, in DUNE, Herbert divides this archetype into three masters, one for each level of knowledge: Duncan Idaho, his warrior sensei; the Mentat Thufir Hawat, his mentor in things tactical and intellectual; and his mother the Bene Gesserit adept Jessica, his guide to the things of the spirit and mystical vision.

There in the primal wilderness he also undergoes spiritual and physical testing and initiations, proves his worth, and gathers loyal followers and allies (the Fremen).

He descends into the Underworld, the place of the dead, the world of spiritual and moral darkness, where he undergoes the ultimate testing, triumphs, and returns to the world of men as the liberating Lightbringer.

Whether this is the main human template myth may be arguable, whether this is even the main Western mythic template somewhat less arguable, but that this generalized tale of The Hero With a Thousand Faces is the structure and inner reality of everything from the New Testament to Tarzan, from THE STARS MY DESTINATION to SIDDHARTHA, from the various tellings and retellings of the King Arthur cycle to the myths of Gilgamesh and Barbarossa, to endless samurai epics and much of Shakespeare, as well as DUNE, certainly is not.

So DUNE's superficially simple and derivative story line is not a cliche but the retelling of one of humanity's deepest and most powerful myths. Deep and powerful because it is the story of ourselves as we would like to be. Our adolescent selves identify with the young Paul because we all, one way or another, feel deprived of our rightful place at the center of the world. We all seek to escape from the usurping forces of repression into the wilderness of self-discovery where we will perform feats that will allow us to return to the seat of power and triumphantly confront the oppressors as the darling of destiny.

On this level, the tale can, and all-too-often has, become a psychologically fascist power fantasy; in fiction, and worse still, in the real world.

And this seductive appeal to egoistic power fantasies is certainly strong in DUNE, particularly to adolescents, most particularly to male adolescents, which partially explains the popularity of Frank Herbert's novel, and almost entirely explains the popularity of the imitative "science fantasy" that was to follow.

But on a deeper level, the level Joseph Campbell addresses, and a level that is fully present in DUNE, the ultimate adversary that the true hero (as opposed to the barbarian with a broadsword or the space cadet with a blaster) confronts in the nethermost pit of the moral and spiritual underworld is himself. The egoistic power-tripping self of the superficial level of the story.

And the climactic battle, the ultimate test, is a spiritual and moral one, between these two aspects of the hero; the false and the true, the merely physical and the mystical, the warrior and the man of knowledge, and what emerges to champion the cause of the people if the hero is successful is not merely an irresistible warrior, but a true Lightbringer, an Enlightened One, a Bodhisattva.

What makes DUNE such a unique and powerful retelling of the myth of The Hero With A Thousand Faces is that Paul, however imperfectly, understands this very dichotomy early on, and struggles with it, however ambiguously, throughout the bulk of the novel.

And in the end, what can be read as the ultimate triumph on one level can be read as tragedy on the other. And that is the level upon which Paul Atreides, become Muab'dib, become the Kwisatz Haderach and Padishah Emperor, sees it. His prescient vision may make him God-King of this fictional universe, but he cannot escape from the deterministic destiny thereof and the jihad he will bring, the jihad he has spent so much of the novel trying to prevent.

This is what is thematically and mystically and dramatically and psychologically central to DUNE and not "ecology." This is the visionary core of this long, complex, often-discursive, multileveled novel. This is what makes it a literary classic.

And this, in the context of its time, explains why a science fiction novel serialized in eight parts in a genre magazine, first published in small printing by a minor house and then modestly reprinted by a genre publisher in paperback, could become a culturally-influential book in a much wider context and, over time, a best-seller.

The so-called ecological theme of DUNE does not stand up to serious scrutiny because the ecology of Herbert's fictional Arrakis is extremely simplified and unrealistically schematic. Arrakis is a vast planetary desert, its ecospheres only varying somewhat in degree of dessication, and indeed the main native food chain seems to consist of only two organisms--the tiny ones that produce the raw material of the "spice" and the huge Sandworms which graze upon them and convert it into the precious melange.

It is the melange, in effect Sandworm droppings, upon which the wealth of Arrakis, and indeed the existence of the novel's interstellar empire, entirely depends. It is the melange for which the Atreides and the Harkonnens contend. It is the melange which is the center of the Fremen culture and religion.

It is the melange which will eventually transform Paul Atreides into the Kwisatz Haderach, the prescient being who can see into levels of reality to which all others are blind. The melange which turns a boy and then a guerrilla leader into a kind of god.



And though melange is referred to throughout the novel as a "spice" and consumed in small quantities as such, that is not what it really is at all.

What it really is is that which could hardly speak its name in clear in the science fiction of the early 1960s, which explains why the book was such a hard sell to publishers in 1964 and 1965 even with the terminological obfuscation. Which also explains why it became a best-seller after the cultural transformations of 1967 once it was published and why it was one of the engines of those transformations.

Melange is not a fictional "spice."
Melange is a fictional psychedelic drug
Its effects are similar to those of LSD or mescaline or peyote.
Only much more powerful.

DUNE, therefore, is not primarily a novel thematically centered on ecology. It is centrally a novel exploring chemically enhanced states of consciousness and their effects not only on individual personality and spirit but on culture.

One of the very first.
And, after all these years, still one of the most profound.



Melange, in even small continuous doses, is addictive, turns the sclera of the eyeballs blue, has milder psychedelic effects than LSD, and, like the peyote of the American southwestern desert, an integrated sacrament of the Native American religion, is thoroughly incorporated into the culture and religion of the Fremen.

On the level of the interstellar culture, it is taken in much stronger doses by the Navigators of the Spacing Guild, who use it to attain extreme states of altered consciousness which allow them to pilot starships through a form of hyperspace, turning them into transhuman beings as part of the existential bargain.

The Bene Geserit female adepts use it for more visionary purposes, and dream of creating and/or finding the "Kwisatz Haderach," a male capable of handling the spice on the highest level, whose consciousness will be freed thereby from conventionally perceived space and time into a kind of Einsteinian four-dimensional viewpoint which will enable him to see "the future" presciently, or, more subtly and profoundly, to surf the geodesics of probability.

Thus Herbert portrays four levels of both the use of psycho-active drugs by a society and the corresponding levels of consciousness. The Fremen incorporate melange as the sacrament of a tribal religion. The Guild Navigators employ it as a pragmatic technological augment. The Bene Gesserit use it in vision quests and mind-melding sessions.

Paul Atreides passes through these three ascending stages on his way to finally employing the drug to achieve the ultimate level, to become the Kwisatz Haderach, the fully Enlightened One, able to view the conventional realm of space and time from the outside, as Einsteinian four-space, a consciousness rendered therefore prescient up to a point, an Enlightenment that turns out to be both a godlike power and a tragic curse.

All this is set in a culture which is anachronistically archaic in a manner which is both rather too familiar and yet interestingly strange.

Stretching disbelief and contorting technological logic by staging swordfights in a space-going technology capable of using atomic weapons and inflicting an improbable monarchical political system upon it for the purpose of setting a pseudo-medieval action-adventure story on alien planets is hardly Frank Herbert's invention, and these fictional swords-and-spaceships cultures are almost always implicitly Christian and more or less Catholic.

In DUNE too, we have an Emperor and noble vassals and a hierarchical feudal system with a theocratic underpinning. But it is not Catholic or even Christian.

Although the word "Islam" never even appears in the novel and you have to be rather conversant with the real-world referents to get it, the religious template in DUNE is Islamic, not Christian, more Eastern than Western.

The term "Padishah Emperor" certainly points to Herbert's deliberate decision to do this, since "Shah padi Shah" means "King of Kings" in Farsi, the language of the Islamic Persian Empire.

Nor is it going too far to suppose that the grudge-nursing Fremen, exiled on Arrakis after a long and complex interstellar hegira, are cognates of the minority Shi'ite followers of Ali persecuted and reviled by dominant Sunni cultures.

And the visionary Bene Gesserit have their similarities to the mystic Sufis, Muslims who claim their sect predates Islam, and who emphasize techniques designed to induce direct mystical experience and insight, rather than ritual, rules, or a belief system.

Why Frank Herbert chose Islam as the religious and mystical underpinning of an interstellar culture that is otherwise based on that of medieval, feudal, Catholic Europe, is perhaps beyond the scope of literary analysis, a choice made somewhere in the deep subconscious regions from which artistic creation arises.

However, one can speculate...

While Islam is generally grouped with Judaism and Christianity, the monotheistic religions out of which it arose, there is one fundamental difference between Islam and its direct predecessors.

Judaism began as a tribal religion centrally concerned with the relationship between the history of the Jews and their God and its Bible was written by diverse hands over a long period of time. Christianity converted Judaism into a proselytizing universalist religion based on the story of one transhuman figure, Jesus Christ, its Bible was written in a much shorter period of time in four alternate versions (not unlike Lawrence Durrell's ALEXANDRIA QUARTET), it is basically a biography of Jesus, and its central concerns are sin, redemption, and morality.

Islam too began as a tribal religion, that of the Arabs, and was transformed into a proselytizing universalist religion, and its holy book, the Koran, is also filled with rules and regulations.

But the Koran, unlike either Testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible, was created by one man, Mohammed, over a very short period of time in historical terms; directly dictated to him by Allah, if you are a believer, and certainly in the throes of some powerful mystical and visionary experience even if you are not, since Mohammed was an illiterate who had never created a literary work before.

Thus Islam, unlike Judaism or Christianity, but like Buddhism, has as its core one man's mystical and visionary awakening experience. And Mohammed, liked Buddha, made no pretense of being the Godhead, merely (if that can be the word)of directly experiencing it.

The transcendent goal of Christianity is individual immortality in a vaguely described but rather concrete heaven, to be achieved by following the rules. Thus it is basically a religion of morality.

The transcendent goal of Buddhism is the achievement of Nirvana, the ecstatic reintegration of the individual spirit with the universal Godhead from which it arose, to be achieved by meditative techniques. Thus Buddhism is an experiential religion, whose goal is achieving a transhuman state of consciousness.

(due to word limit, the essay continues in another answer)(less)

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Manny
The guards ushered Frank into the office. As usual, the Reverend Publisher was seated at her desk, writing.

So many lives touched by her decisions, he thought.

"Well?"

She looked up. He had promised himself that he would not flinch before the fire of her gaze, and once more he broke his promise.

"It is... almost finished."

"Almost." Her irony was palpable, a force. "Almost is not enough. You know that, Frank. When will it be done?"

"I think... a month. At most two. I am working as hard as I can, Rever
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I know, you are like, wait, 5 stars? Really? And I am, like, I really enjoyed this book. I mean, I learned about much of the Dune universe that was never mentioned in the first four books (sex, Ix, the Tleilaxu, the Bene Geserit proscription of love...) and I really liked Teg amd Odrade and even Lucillle and the new ghola. The action was great especially at the end (even if Teg’s capture of the Honored Matre’s no-ship was frustratingly fast-forwarded. Philosophically, there was a LOT to chew on ...more
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I put this one on the backburner for years and years and years, even though I attempted to re-read the series several times over the decades, I always got stuck right at the end of God Emperor of Dune and something in me just didn't want to pick up the two novels afterward.

This is strange to me! I thought the fifth and sixth books were rather awesome, frankly!

And that's why I'm skipping books 2, 3, and 4 altogether and jumping right back in to the books that I have only rea
...more
Evgeny
Jun 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Not much time has passed since the events in the end of the previous book – measly 1500 years. Considering the fact that God Emperor was an undisputed ruler of the known Universe for exactly 3 times as long as that, this time period is nothing. As such not much has changed – believe it or not. For comparison take modern state of humanity and that of 1500 years ago and think whether it is possible at all for humans to stagnate for this long. I honestly do not believe it.
Now and Then

Anyhow, with the God Emper
...more
Markus
Buddy read with Athena!

“The surest way to keep a secret is to make someone think they already know the answer.”

The tyrant God Emperor has returned to the sands of Dune. The universe that was once ruled by Houses Corrino and Atreides have fallen into chaos and is controlled by dozens of bickering factions. The Bene Gesserit and the Tleilaxu struggle for power, but their ambitions are contested by billions of humans returning from the Scattering. But on the surface of Dune, a small girl might be a
...more
Lyn
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I often complain about series and deride their success but here I am reading a series and I think I understand the attraction: escapism, pure and simple. As the pages turned I smiled, recognizing Bene Gesserit (now with more fully described superhuman powers – like Jedi), Duncan Idaho, and yes even the great worms. I surrounded myself, wrapped up like a great cozy blanket, in the familiarity of the world building and closed the door to this reality. I think maybe that is why series are so popula ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Heretics of Dune (Dune #5), Frank Herbert

Much has changed in the millennium and a half since the death of the God Emperor. Sandworms have reappeared on Arrakis (now called Rakis), each containing a fragment of the God Emperor's consciousness, and have renewed the flow of the all-important spice melange to the galaxy. With Leto's death, a very complex economic system built on spice collapsed, resulting in trillions of people leaving known space in a great Scattering. A new civilization has risen,
...more
Terry
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes the entirety of Frank Herbert’s Dune series even after you get past the first three volumes and the direct history of Muad’Dib and his family and start wading into some seriously weird stuff (and saying that the later volumes of the series are weird when you compare them to the earlier ones is saying something). Don’t worry though, I’m not crazy enough to have anything but contempt for that cash grab series of prequels and sequels floated by Herbert’s ...more
Wanda

2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

I do love the Dune universe, but I usually limit my re-reading to the first three books. The fourth book, God Emperor of Dune, is definitely the worst of the bunch, in my opinion, and yet I’m glad I read it long, long ago so that I knew what the main characters in Heretics were talking about! (Not enough to re-read God Emperor, mind you.)

Things I like in this book? Miles Teg, beloved Bashar and Atreides descendent and his interesting development in the last chapters.
...more
Eric Allen
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Heretics of Dune
Book 5 of the Dune Chronicles

A Dune Retrospective by Eric Allen

Heretics of Dune is a bit of an odd book in my experience. The first time I read God Emperor of Dune I was so put off the series by it that I refused to pick Heretics up for almost an entire decade. When finally I did pick it up, reading through the entire series again with the hope that age had given me new perspective on life to keep God Emperor from sucking so hard, it was probably my second favorite book in the s
...more
Bob R Bogle
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: herbert


[Nota Bene: As Frank Herbert's last two published novels in the Dune series, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune, along with the unwritten Dune 7, in fact comprise a single story that happened to be divided into three parts, I'll post the same review for both of the two published volumes. This review contains no spoilers.]

During the first half of his literary career, Frank Herbert focused most on coming to terms with what it meant to be conscious. The evolution of his thinking on the subject
...more
Tom
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
It speaks volumes of this book that up until the last six pages I had absolutely no idea what the endgame was; yet throughout, I was riveted to the page. Herbert's ability to introduce you to a pre-existing world with all of its complexities and idiosyncrasies without telling you a damned thing is at its best in Heretics of Dune, which delineates the decline of the God Emperor's vast domain over which he reigned as a Tyrant for 3500 years.

Organizations at varying degrees of the grotesque, cland
...more
Ramón S.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worst-books-ever
I am sorry to say that but it is a bummer. I don’t connect with Dune world at all at this point of the series. Elites vs Elites plotting, using jargon all the time, no senses, mysteries non interesting at all....Pufff
Kevin
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Compared to the questionable God Emperor of Dune, this regains some of the original Dune novels taste for plots, counter-plots, espionage, conspiracies and so on. God Emperor of Dune was too heavy with little action to break it up, and besides, it was so hard to visualise Leto II as the hybrid creature he became. Heretics of Dune however is a big return to form, with lots of action and different character focus, combined with the mysticism, religion and philosophical discourse that characterises ...more
Stephen
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
4.5 to 5.0 stars. Another superb installment in one of the best science fiction series of all time. The universe that Herbert created for the Dune series is as good as it gets and his writing and story telling are amazing. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!
Athena Shardbearer
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Buddy Read with Markus

Hey old worm, was this your design?

Soooooo much better than the last book.
...more
Sandeep Vasudevan
Finally! I haver been dreading reading this book for ever so long, and now the alarm bells seem to have been superfluous. Lulled into a false sense of doom and with jangling nerves fostered by the utter metaphysical crap that were the second, third and fourth books of the Dune series, and God Emperor of Dune was singularly mind-numbing, this gave my jangling nerves rest.

What's different? Well, there's still a lot of obscure talk, but some of it finally is relieved with some actual ACTION! Things
...more
Erik
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Heretics of Dune begins a new cycle in the Dune Series. Or, more accurately, an evolution -- consequence -- of the cycle identified in Dune. I enjoyed Heretics of Dune far more than God Emperor, although God Emperor was a necessary bridge between Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune, and Heretics, as well as Heretic's sister novel, Chapterhouse Dune.

Several of the characters are fantastic, in particular Miles Teg, who provides a necessary balance (oddly enough, given the typical focus on me
...more
Mark
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first novel of a new trilogy with apperently the Bene Geserit sisterhood as leading characters who are still involved or lead by the vision of Leto II. There are indeed strong links to the previous Dune books and characters and history.

As always Frank Herbert does seems to really instill a sense of beauty and at the same time mystery in his writing. Something that seems to be lacking in the writing of the continuation writers. And of all the actors in the Dune books I have always ha
...more
Adrian Ciuleanu
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First thing let me say that I've read this book three times over the years and in my opinion Heretics of Dune is one of the best books in the saga, up to par with the first one. While the previous book, God-Emperor was quite philosophical heavy and some might say action-less, the fifth book is nothing like that and returns to original form, with lots of action, different character focus, various plots, combined with the mysticism, religion and philosophical discourse we were used to. The events ...more
Brandon St Mark
I’ve come the conclusion that the last two Dune books (or should I say the last two original Dune books) are just not for me. The first time I tired reading them earlier this year I was also watching a lot of videos about Frank Herbert. Many of them touched on how he treated his gay son who died of AIDS, and it bothered me a lot. At the time I DNF’ed this book because as I have said many times I do not believe in separating art from the artist, and I just lost interest in the book because of wha ...more
Yassine Lachgar
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A major event in the Dune universe. A plot brilliantly set and written by Frank Herbert.
Neil
This is kind of an odd book. It takes place at least "several millennia" after God Emperor of Dune ends [based on the dust jacket], but a blurb inside implies it could be as much as ten thousand years after the fourth book. As a result, it is hard to quantify. The tempo of the book changes; it starts off 'slow' and plods along until the latter third-to-fourth of the book. Then, the pace noticeably quickens, due in part to how the story jumps around as it draws to a close. It is hard to follow at ...more
Scot Parker
May 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-sci-fi
Well, I thought The God Emperor of Dune was bad, but in Heretics of Dune, it got worse. Somehow full of even more misogyny than the previous novel and now with a dusting of anti-progressive political vitriol, this book is a dumpster fire in my opinion. I am not looking forward to reading Chapterhouse: Dune, I will only do so because of my stubborn resolve to not leave a series unfinished, but after that, thankfully I will be done.
Sarah
Nov 08, 2013 rated it liked it
In some ways, Heretics of Dune marks a significant departure from the previous installments in the Dune series. The plot is no longer focused on the Atreides family, but instead on the Bene Gesserit and its struggle for survival. Yet at the same time, it is a clear return to the original storytelling style of the first book. Rather than the pages and pages of philosophy present in God Emperor, Herbert has written a much more action-driven novel that further explores political powers and characte ...more
Chris
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing

This is my absolute favorite Sci-Fi book that completely blew my mind when I first read it. It is much more then just a means of entertainment. It is perhaps one of the most revolutionary commentaries on the anthropological analysis of the usage of language, sexuality, ecology, economics, religion, and military power all tied together. I first read this book before any of the earlier books in the Dune series by Frank Herbert. Because it occurs thousands of years after the earlier books, it can b
...more
Drew
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I'm not like a lot of these other reviewers. I thought this book, the fifth in the series, was fantastic and probably my second favorite after the first one. It's got that perfect Dune blend of sci-fi, politics, religion, intrigue, action, and great characters. I literally couldn't put this book down after the first 150 pages or so. The story begins some 1500 years after the death of Leto II from God Emperor of Dune and brings us up to speed on what happened in the aftermath of his death ...more
Jeremy Preacher
Apr 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I had read the first three Dune books many, many times, and the fourth one once, and decided I may as well try to get through the last two. (I had heard they were pretty terrible.) I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

Heretics is probably not the book anyone was expecting, which probably led to most of the ill-feeling about it. It's much less a philosophical work and much more an action-adventure story, and I'll tell ya, the sex gets weird. It's not so much a gender-politics thing (although I r
...more
Jeffrey Debris
This is the fifth instalment in the legendary Dune series. I heard many people say that, with each book, Frank Herbert got gradually worse with his books. Thus far I did not agree, but this book is definitely the least good one I've read so far. The story in itself, and the entire setting are wonderfully described. The moment I read the name Duncan Idaho, I knew I would love at least part of the story, which I did. But there were just a couple of things that didn't feel right, and I'll get to th ...more
Brian Clegg
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not quite up to its predecessor, an interesting step forward by Frank Herbert as he developed the Dune saga. The other titles to date have had one or two clear central characters - here there are far more, few of which it's easy to be wholly supportive of - in fact, the main character is the Bene Gesserit as a body, the manipulative female sect that has played a role throughout the books.

Although this lack of someone to identify with means the reader is slightly more detached from the acti
...more
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7,699 followers
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
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Other books in the series

Dune (8 books)
  • Dune (Dune, #1)
  • Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2)
  • Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #3)
  • God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)
  • Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles, #6)
  • Hunters of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #7)
  • Sandworms of Dune (Dune Chronicles #8)

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