Matthew Williams's Reviews > Dune

Dune by Frank Herbert
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it was amazing

Dune is considered one of the most influential science fiction books ever written and is often listed as the #1 best SF novel of all time. And for good reason! With a story that combined ecology, biology, sociology, historical parallels, cultural commentary, space opera, and Herbert's own thoughts on human nature and the future of our species, Herbert did for science fiction what Tolkien did for high fantasy: he taught people to take it seriously!

It's understandable why Hebert was compelled to write five sequels to this book in order to flesh out the ideas and concepts he presents here. In this one volume, he presented his insights on how human beings, like all living creatures, are inevitably shaped by their environment. He also offered his thoughts on how humanity's ambiguous relationship with automation and machinery might one day lead to high-tech and feudal systems coinciding.

And of course, there was his commentary on how dependency on messianic figures, centralized authority, ancient forms, prophecies, and economies based on a single resource (echoes of the petroleum industry here!) can lead to disaster. But perhaps the greatest selling point was the way Herbert did all of this without being obvious or preachy. While he did give a few things away early, Herbert's style is clearly geared towards "show, don't tell." This is probably why, years later, people are still debating the meaning of his books.

This book was also what inspired me to become a writer. Since the age of 19, I wanted to become an author. I had always been a fan of SF as a genre and even had some ideas I was working on in my early 20s. However, I never considered turning these ideas into a novel, mainly because I suffered from the all-too-common prejudice that SF wasn't a serious literary form. Lucky for me, Dune came along at exactly the right time to change my mind.

Once I read it, I had to read the rest of the series! Fortunately, you don't have to. If you want to know what the big deal is, read this novel and do what you like about the rest.
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Quotes Matthew Liked

Frank Herbert
Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife - chopping off what's incomplete and saying: 'Now, it's complete because it's ended here.'

- from "Collected Sayings of Maud'Dib'' by the Princess Irulan”
Frank Herbert, Dune

Frank Herbert
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Frank Herbert, Dune

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 3, 2011 – Shelved

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