Dune by Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert
577 pages
8.7 (Best Book)

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis' second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

No one can argue the significance of Dune in science fiction world. Dune is regarded as the Lord of the Rings in science fiction literature, a masterpiece body of work which landmarks an achievement in science fiction world, swept Hugo and Nebula Awards. The long list of acclaim for Dune can go on and on. How can I be not fascinated by this book? 

I cannot hide my squeal when I finally encounter this book in a bookstore in Singapore which happened to sell all the winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards. The bookstore is my wet dream. And after hours of contemplation to decide which books I should buy due to limited budget and books cost hella more there, I brought this book to cashier, while back of my mind was hoping I can get a great adventure by reading this book. 

I get the great adventure, indeed, but unfortunately with an extra effort. 

Dune is a space-opera about Paul Atreides, the heir of Atreides family, whose father is betrayed by the Emperor and House Harkonnen and killed. Paul and his mother, Jessice, his father's concubine barely escaped the slaughter, but they must face the uncertainty of their life. Luckily, their escape has been planned by loyal fellow, and they are saved by the Fremen, the native tribe of Planet Arrakis. I'm sorry if the synopsis is not clear enough, but Dune itself possesses such a complex story. And I'm lazy to type long passage. 

There's a reason why Dune is called a space-opera. Dune is like daytime soap-opera in CBS (Bold & Beautiful, etc) that takes place in, well, space. You got master-concubine love story that is pure and innocent, a child who wants to take revenge for the death of his father, more master-concubine love story, power usurpation. You have everything you find in a soap opera in Dune. It can be tiring sometimes and an utter boredom, just like a soap-opera with their incredulous amount of episodes, but I enjoy it, because it is entertaining. 

Dune of course is entertaining. But I find Herbert's writing style is exhausting to say the least. Every time I flip a new page, I pray to God to give me strength in understanding his sentences and dialog. Not only Herbert uses difficult and obsolete words, most of his dialog are filled with figurative speech that seems ancient. It is hard to understand what these characters try to say, because they do not utter their meaning directly. They can say, "The stars in the sky are shining bright tonight" to say "I love you". I kept wiping my temple every time these characters started to talk, like I don't understand a bit what a heck they are talking about. Some of the conversation use broken English as well because some of the characters come from "more primitive" tribe, adding another cause to my headache. 

But, if you can overcome those hurdles, you will feel that Dune is rich and fascinating. It provides you with a complete set list of war tactics, politics, ecology, biology, science, physics, and anything. Herbert has thought about these advanced technologies beyond his era. He is still able to leave you in a complete awe years after this books has been published fifty years ago.Years after he has passed away. Dune is amazing and pure and influential science book that makes you keep thinking the possibilities out there. Herbert has created such a vast world in space out there, provided us with the unlimited vastness out there. 

Dune is not an enjoyable read, I have to admit it. It needs an extra effort, it is not a book that you can finish reading in one-sitting. I assure you will find yourselves read a paragraph over and over and don't understand a thing. That is normal. But, you have to read it. This is the book that influences Star Wars. No Dune, no Star Wars. The name of the planets in Dune has been used in the geographical features of Titan, the Saturn's moon. 

The book doesn't deserve less than four stars.

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