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The Dosadi Experiment

(ConSentiency Universe #4)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  6,978 ratings  ·  213 reviews
Beyond the God Wall

Generations of a tormented human-alien people, caged on a toxic planet, conditioned by constant hunger and war-this is the Dosadi Experiment, and it has succeeded too well. For the Dosadi have bred for Vengeance as well as cunning, and they have learned how to pass through the shimmering God Wall to exact their dreadful revenge on the Universe that creat
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 16th 2002 by Tor Books (first published 1977)
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Skip When I first picked it up had no idea it was part of a series and I couldn't put it down. I think there's only a hazy mention of earlier developments …moreWhen I first picked it up had no idea it was part of a series and I couldn't put it down. I think there's only a hazy mention of earlier developments and they don't affect the story for your first reading. (less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  6,978 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Frank Herbert’s Dune was a masterpiece, not just of the genre but of literature, it was and remains an amazing achievement. The second Dune book was good, the third pretty good, and the fourth OK, and so on. Fans of all the Dune books (and I am one) worshipped the original (correctly and justly) and simply enjoy reveling in the world building.

And so I come to Frank Herbert’s 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment. I read a review I liked and recalled the quality of his writing that I had enjoyed so m
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2020-shelf
While I think I may have preferred the previous ConSentiency Universe novel more than The Dosadi Experiment, but that may be more because I prefer linguistics and math-crazy plus-dimensional aliens over most other ideas.

However. This novel is pretty damn fascinating on its own, but for completely different reasons. I don't normally see hard-SF novels revolving around Alien Law. Or economics. Or psychology. Or a whole world that is a social and biological experiment writ very, very large.

This is
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
...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
Nov 09, 2010 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
Mike (the Paladin)
I just couldn't get into other words I found it uninteresting. May be me, I find that I'm harder and harder to please where novels are concerned. I have started several in the last few weeks and none of them has really drawn me in. I have unfinished novels of a couploe of different types and different genres laying around waiting.

Oh well, I won't rate this as frankly I didn't care enough to finish it.

Maybe you'll like it more. Good luck.
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Herbert has created a fascinating universe with the ConSentiency, a diverse alliance of an eclectic group of aliens, of which humans are just a small part. This is a very good story, essentially a conspiracy within this alliance that threatens it from the inside. However, it gets weighed down in what feels like never ending levels of political machinations, legal maneuvering, psychoanalysis and internal dialogue. In the end, it was a bit too introspective to keep me fully engaged.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, speculative

The Dosadi Experimenti>'s basic problem is that the reader can’t really partake in its supposedly deeply intellectual plays. An important part of this book is courtroom drama: the main character, Jorj X. McKie, is not only a top notch secret agent, coincidentally he is also the only guy in the universe who was accepted at the bar of the Gowachin court – the Gowachin being frog like aliens who have a legal system with intricate, changing rules and high stakes, the courtroom being an arena.

J.M. Hushour
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Herbert is the master of what I call whafuck?! in genre fiction. With masterly aplomb, he crafts devious and often hilarious worlds with nary an explanation and then forces it down your throat with nary a warning.
It's obvious that if you haven't read the first book "Whipping Star" you will be largely lost reading "Dosadi". But that doesn't mean that you didn't leave "Whipping Star" without a whafuck?! in your frontbrain, because I bet you did, and that's why Herbert is so fun to read.
"Dosadi" ca
20th book for 2019.

Spoilers ahead.

For Herbert's future universe imagine something like the Star Trek Federation, but one where things are kept in check by the Bureau of Sabotage, which basically goes around screwing any social structures that come into being to avoid power accumulating too much; basically a supra-governmental CIA/FBI group of James Bond-like anarchists.

One of the alien species in this federation is a frog-like race, who have the charming habit of eating their young tadpoles in
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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)
Mar 17, 2014 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
Dec 18, 2014 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
Michael Burnam-Fink
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2018
Saboteur Extraordinary McKie is back, in a much better sequel that focuses on a more interesting part of the ConSentiency universe. The planet of Dosadi has been locked away for generations, an experiment in applied social science that has gone tremendously wrong. McKei has been sent in to clean it up, though the ultimate motive behind his mission is a mystery.

Dosadi as a planet is like Dune on steroids, a punishingly deadly environment where simple survival has attuned its inhabitants to superh
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Stephanie Ricker
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Definitely better than Whipping Star, and set in the same ConSentiency universe that Herbert created. Again, the world-building is the best part of the book; it's such a strength with Herbert that it becomes the thing that carries the book. The plot is confusing, and some of the assumptions don't seem sensical. The characters are fairly unlovable. But the reader wants to keep going just to learn more about the universe Herbert has created. There isn't the universe depth of the Dune series; that' ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Erik Graff
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Herbert fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I read this Frank Herbert novel out of sequence which is perhaps why I didn't get much out of it. ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pure philosophical science fiction. Highly recommended
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun unique adventure that kept me guessing, even when it was all over. Four stars because i really liked it.

Jorj Mckie investigates a survival planet to gain Bene Gesserit-like abilities in a vast spacefrog conspiracy. All the Dosadi bits are done extremely well, and the space-frog courtarena battles invoke the battle of wits in Dune.

Particularly strong and unconventional female character in Jedrik, but kind of backed into tropes at the end.

I really wish there were more Consentiency books afte
Towards the end of the book Herbert starts a chapter with a quote from a fictitious book titled 'Insights (a glimpse of early Human philosophy)'. It goes like this: 'In a changing universe, only a changing species can hope to be immortal and then only if its eggs are nurtured in widely scattered environments. This predicts a wealth of unique individuals.'

Sounds familiar? If you've read any of Herbert’s Dune novels, it probably does.

However, unlike roses a 'Golden Path' by any other name does no
Carolina Casas
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of those books that you cannot skip over, or skim through because you want to prove you're a fast reader. (Come on, we've all been there. Some people read fast, some don't. It is not the speed which matters, a good reader knows that.) You have to absorb EVERYTHING, from star to finish. If you are a past Frank Herbert reader, you already know this. But in case you aren't, then welcome to the wonderful and detailed leave-nothing-to-chance world of Frank Herbert. There is no vast world- ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Became convuluted. Courtroom suspense toward End was like ‘watching a cricket game without knowing the rules ‘, but enjoyable for how Herbert uses maxims to head his chapters, and how introspective his characters are, the motif of ‘feints within feints’ mind-fencing, he is truly deft at such crafty dialogue and inner narration. Con: almost needed some assistance, some spoon-feeding as to what was really transpiring between everyone, there was: Broey (the bad guy turned ? guy), his sketchy allian ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Frank Herbert fans, sci fi fans, Literature students
Recommended to Michael by: Wayne Douglas Barlowe
I’m somewhat glad that I read this after “Whipping Star,” because to some degree it has restored my faith in Herbert as being a decent author, that “Dune” was not just a fluke. Oddly, though, while it slightly raises my opinion of Herbert, I find that I still find myself thinking of him as a bit more human, a bit less perfect, and thus as “Dune” itself as a bit less impressive. I’ll see if I can make any sense of that as I discuss this book.

The book follows Jorj McKie, the same hero as in “Whipp
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving such a classic sci-fi writer such a low rating, but this book had some issues. I've been explaining it to people this way, I love his ideas, I don't always like his writing. There's far too much convenient mind-melding to make it even relatable. It’s one thing to have something like that be part of the plot, but it loses the reader when all of the important relationships are explained by magic hand-waving and instant fixes. I couldn’t relate to the characters at all, and it was ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

ConSentiency Universe (3 books)
  • The Tactful Saboteur
  • Whipping Star (ConSentiency Universe, #1)

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