Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first sf story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of Dune World and The Prophet of Dune that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.
While I would regularly rate this book 5 stars, the Kindle version is very poorly edited, and formating and spelling errors occur regularly. Words with missing spaces in between them show up on almost every other page. Just because something is in a digital format doesn't mean the publisher gets a pass on, what should be, run of the mill quality control for every single book they put out.
Also, a note to Amazon. Book reviews need to be separated by format and editions. I cannot stress this enough. My complaints about this book are irrelevant to anyone who's not looking at the Kindle version, yet it will show up as a review for all versions of this book. This is a particular problem with popular public domain books, like Pride and Prejudice, that have multiple releases from different publishers, all with varying quality of of formating and editing, yet still share reviews.
I know some people who hate the movie and will not touch this book. I know a few who own and love the movie but have never read the book. I have lent DUNE to friends who could get no further than page 20 because it was too "out there" or too difficult, with its array of characters and glossary of made-up terms. But of all the people who have gotten past page 20- I don't know one who doesn't praise it among their absolute favorites. I am no exception. I love sci-fi but don't read much of it because I prefer fantasy. DUNE feels like a perfect blend of the two. A war of noble houses set in space. Paul Atreides is heir to the duchy- and to say that he is well trained for the job would be an understatement. His father, Duke Leto, is given charge of Arrakis- a hellish desert-world and the sole source of "the spice" which the entire universe needs. A very prestigious assignment, but treachery and peril comes with it. Paul finds himself thrown into the mystery of Dune and its fierce natives, the Fremen. Is he the savior their prophecy speaks of? I was first blown away by DUNE at the age of 16, and have since considered it "the one to beat". In 8 years, very few books have made me question that judgment: Game of Thrones, Foundation, Lord of the Rings, Ender's Game. I had to reread it to be sure I wasn't just naïve at the time. Was it really THAT great? Absolutely.
Dune Messiah suffers in the general consensus from being plot-driven and extremely complex; for readers who take the time and effort to delve into its themes and characters, it is one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time. Messiah is not so much a sequel to Dune as it is a companion; it is impossible to fully understand the themes, motivations, and implications of the original Dune (or any of the others, even) without reading and comprehending Dune Messiah. Herbert takes his average hero from the first book and shapes him into a realistic, faulted human -- ironic considering Paul's decidedly abnormal powers. Finally, we see Muad'dib as he really is: torn by his position as emperor, cursed by his vision of the future, yet still capable of his duties to kingdom and family. His ultimate fate sums up a masterful, twisted analogy to the life of Christ. This is also the incredible origin of Duncan...the Duncan you will come to know throughout the other books. Messiah is not for the faint of heart though. If you can't handle a lot of philosophy, just keep walking. Some points in Dune Messiah are so profound that I had to quit reading and just spend a couple minutes thinking about what Herbert means. What a rare treat that is; I can honestly say that Dune Messiah changed the way I think about things, about life. If you give it a chance, it may just do the same for you.
Frank Herbert's Nebula and Hugo award-winning "Dune" is widely acclaimed as the best science fiction work. And rightly so. As entertainment it's a suspenseful tale of adventure that sparkles with imaginative creativity. When the family of Paul Atreides arrives on the desert planet "Arrakis" or "Dune", they find that their goal to take over rule from the Harkonnen family is difficult to achieve. Paul faces treachery, murder, as well as the rigorous conditions of a dry and deadly planet where water is more precious than gold. It is only with the help of the mysterious battle-hardened desert tribe of Fremen, and his newly-discovered religious powers that Paul stands any chance of triumphing over the powers of evil. The plot has a complexity of layers reminiscent of Tolkien. The sci-fi classification does not mean "Dune" is inaccessible to non-sci-fi fans, because most of the traditional sci-fi elements are either absent or mere background. Several remarkable scenes of hand to hand combat are more reminiscent of ancient Roman gladiators than of science fiction! There are weaknesses: mature themes (such as allusions to pedastry) make "Dune" unsuitable for children, and Herbert's use of language is not outstanding. But what especially makes "Dune" great is the complexity of ideas. Herbert has created not just a story, but a memorable world conveying an elaborate philosophy of ideas, with three outstanding themes: 1. ECOLOGY. Arrakis is a barren and bare planet of desert sands, with characters reminiscent of desert Arabs (Herbert studied Arabic extensively in researching for the novel).Read more ›