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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired me to write an essay on it
Dune is one of the deepest science fiction books of its time, you'd never really guess that it was written about 50 years ago. It tells of a boy named Paul who is destined to become the religious leader of the Fremen, the native dwellers of Arrakis. The politics and religious aspect in Dune are very well balanced and the characters are quite realistic for a sci-fi. If...
Published on June 13 2004 by Sera

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK THAT FAILED
...It has always boggled my mind as to how a writer who can write one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time can turn around and write shamefully crafted work. But Frank Herbert has succeeded at this. With flying colors. Not only is Dune Messiah one of the most static and lifeless works I have ever read by any author. There is tons of badly written science...
Published on July 29 2002 by Sesho


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired me to write an essay on it, June 13 2004
By 
Sera (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
Dune is one of the deepest science fiction books of its time, you'd never really guess that it was written about 50 years ago. It tells of a boy named Paul who is destined to become the religious leader of the Fremen, the native dwellers of Arrakis. The politics and religious aspect in Dune are very well balanced and the characters are quite realistic for a sci-fi. If you're into sci-fi or not, you really should read this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not LOTR, No, definately not. It's much better., Oct. 14 2006
By 
Steven W. Williams (Kitakami, Iwate, Japan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
I will surely burn but I have to say it; "DUNE" stands head and shoulders above LOTR. LOTR is good but it is predictable. Dune has much more detailed and it's scope wider. Certainly, "Dune" is the harder read but much more worthwhile. This book digs much deeper into the nature of humanity, its goals, its weaknesses, strengths, and the nature of religions.

Comparing the books is, however, like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, they are both fruits, both are round-ish, both are tasty, and both grow on trees but they are very different. One book is about a quest and the battle between good and evil. The other is about the battle between humans who are both good and evil at the same time. It is a book about "wheels within wheels" that exist in each of our natures and in our society. Dune is amazing and worthy of reading twice or three times to see the layers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable Science Fiction, Sept. 11 2002
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
One of the greatest science fiction epics ever written. This book has it all: mind-expanding drugs, human computers, political intrigue, interstellar economics, and big-... worms. The reader should take from this book a sense of grandness of scale. The messianic fervor of the Fremen, the calculated patience of the Bene Gesserit eugenics program, the ecological ambition of Liet Kynes, and the universal-historical vision of the Quisatz Haderach, all ought to awaken us to the necessity and danger of human activity on the universal-historical timescale. That is the scale on which we all operate, whether we know it or not. Some of the themes in this book, which was written in the mid-1960's, foreshadow the adolescent field of chaos theory. In particular, the notion that seemingly insignificant local events can have calamitous effects on future history is analogous to the butterfly effect. Also, Herbert's conception of prophecy as a probability tree branching infinitely through time enjoys some endorsement from quantum physics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK THAT FAILED, July 29 2002
By 
Sesho (Pasadena, TX USA) - See all my reviews
...It has always boggled my mind as to how a writer who can write one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time can turn around and write shamefully crafted work. But Frank Herbert has succeeded at this. With flying colors. Not only is Dune Messiah one of the most static and lifeless works I have ever read by any author. There is tons of badly written science fiction out there of the commercial dumb character dumb plot type but at least they breath, they live, even in their patheticness. Dune Messiah is still-born, oxygen deprived.
Set twelve years after Dune, Paul Atreides is now Emperor of the galaxy after legions of Fremen troops have conducted a holy jihad in his name. Even though his rule extends over many lightyears, we are still claustrophobically stuck on Arrakis with much the same power struggles. As in Dune, he who controls the spice also brings much danger to themselves because it is so important that others would kill to control it. A conspiracy composed of his greatest enemies arises to overthrow Paul.
This book is set up more as "literature" than science fiction, with there being very little plot but a lot of soul searching and characterization. Unfortunately for us, the characters are not interesting enough to warrant this treatment. The characters are uninteresting because they all seem to be locked into their destiny and can do nothing about it. There is no surpise. No spontaneity. That leads me to another fact. This book is missing an element of adventure. By that, I mean the physical type and also the mental. The jacket says this is the "pivotal novel" of the Dune series. Well, if it's pivotal, the house has collapsed.
This novel is more an epilogue to Dune than a novel in its own right. To me, it should've just been tacked onto the first book. The conspiracy goes on and on and on and everybody talks and talks and talks and nothing ever happens until maybe the last 50 pages or so... It's boring. It's dull. It frightens me from reading the next book... I don't know if I will go on with this series. It doesn't get one star simply because I've read some books worse than this. Not a lot, but some.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened?, June 11 2004
By 
Collin Garbarino (Texas) - See all my reviews
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Dune is a colossal work. Dune Messiah is a disappointing work. I don't understand how the same man could have written both books. Dune has strong characterization and a strong plot; Dune Messiah has neither. Dune Messiah substitutes characterization with psycho-babble. Half the dialogue in this book doesn't make any sense and doesn't further the plot. The ending is strong, but it doesn't make up for all the nonsense that Herbert subjected me to. (Don't let anyone try to tell you that this book is "deeper" than Dune because of all the confusing things the characters say. "Deep" only equals "confusing" for people who can't read.) All that said, Dune Messiah made me feel like I was reading Fanfic. It was mildly entertaining, but please don't confuse it with the real thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuation..., July 16 2004
By 
S_McCrea "s_mccrea" (Henderson, NV United States) - See all my reviews
but strangely short--given the first book's gargantuan size. The book also seems as tho' it didn't have Herbert's full attention. He seemed tacitly to admit this once when he said that "parts of Children of Dune were written before Dune was finished." It also suffers from the fact that it was first serialized in a SF magazine. It seems as tho' it were "remixed" after the fact.
Although Herbert continues to use the Prophet Mohammad's life as a scaffolding for his story, he departs widely from the Koran's account while still retaining an essentially Arab flavor to the story. (These books are, by the way, incredibly popular in the Muslim world.)
Those minor criticims aside, the story continues towards its headlong conclusion in the Golden Path. To say much more would spoil it for the uninitiated. If you liked Dune, read this one just to get to "Children" and, the piece de resistance, "God Emperor of Dune" where Herbert's mastery becomes complete and the Golden Path is revealed to us in all its terrible majesty.
The last two books before cancer and grief killed him were almost after thoughts. After Leto II, what was there to say?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very intricate and detailed, but not quite a page-turner, June 7 2004
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
Having been a science fiction fan for only a short time, and mostly through the works of Robert A. Heinlein, I felt compelled to read Dune as I considered it my "duty" if I were to repectably describe myself as a Sci-fi fan.
What I found in Dune was a richly detailed description of that universe's politics, commerce, warfare, and all the intrigue and scheming that ultimately tie them all together. However, there is at times a tendency toward a sluggishness of plot that can make certain parts of the novel a chore to get through, but it is all rewarded in the end.
What was intriguing, however, was that, as a sci-fi novel, Dune pays scant attention to the supposed advanced technology that we 21st-century folk would expect from humans in the year 10,191 A.D. I had expected to find descriptions of how the ornithopters (aircraft that flap their wings like birds) and personal sheild belts (which generate a force-field around the wearer that deflects fast moving projectiles and swift sword swings, but curiously lets in slowly-guided knife thrusts) work, but it seems Herbert expected the reader to take it at his word that such things were as commonplace and therefore as unnoteworthy in the 102nd century as jet aircraft and automatic firearms are in the 21st. I found it curious that warfare in the 102nd century was conducted in much the manner it was in the 13th century, where the soldiers' standard weapons were swords and lances.
The story itself revolves around the character Paul Atriedes. At the book's beginning, he is a mere lad of fifteen, heir to his father, the Duke Leto Atriedes. The Atriedes family is ordered by the Emperor to take over the planet Arrakis, a desert planet regarded as a wasteland and valuable only because it is the source of the spice known as Melange, which imparts on its users a form of ESP. The incumbent Noble House on Arrakis, the Harkonnens, are loath to give up a huge source of profits without a fight, and through intrigue and scheming, manage to launch an attack on the newly-arrived Atriedes, killing the Duke Leto and casting Paul and his mother into the desert to die. Paul eventually comes to be the leader of the desert people known as the Fremen, and through his skill and training recovers his rightful place as Duke.
WHile this book is widely considered a masterpiece of science fiction writing, I found that the climax felt, well, anti-climactic. There wasn't the feel of tension before the final battle, being built up over several chapters, as was the case in the Lord of the Rings saga, and is this were written as a stand-alone book, it didn't feel like it. In fact, it felt as though it was deliberately setting the reader up for subsequent novels of Paul Atriedes and his Fremen hordes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kick off the saga with a bang!, May 15 2004
By 
therosen "therosen" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
Frank Herbert knocks it out of the park in this masterpiece, the first and best novel in his Dune Saga.
Throughout the 1000+ pages, Herbert develops multiple stories and themes, seeding the ensuing series. On the top of the plot, there is the drama of a galatic struggle fighting over Sprice, a precious commodity only found on Dune. Intertwined in this are themes on politics, love, religeon, addiction and family values. Similar to Tolkein, you are still left feeling that there is much unsaid. Perhaps this depth is what marks Dune as a masterpiece instead of escapist fiction.
If you've seen the movie, you will get much more out of it than you did in the movie theater. There's only so much than can be displayed in a few hours. The Hollywood vision will contain plot spoilers, but really misses much of what is going on underneath. (Dune is about much more than action and a fight over a scarce resource)
When I purchased the book, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was doing a lot of flying, and preferred thick books - 1000+ pages or more were best. I was most pleasantly surprised at the experience these pages provided. Much more than just filler for a plane trip.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fear is the Mind Killer, April 1 2004
This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
This is one of the finest works of science fiction ever crafted, containing some of the most memorable phrases ever invented. I will leave it to the reader to enjoy the litany that includes the famous phrase, "Fear is the Mind Killer."
Herbert successfully weaves an epic tale of rebellion and religion. It is the tale of a man who becomes a messiah, and discovers many things about himself, the Empire he lives in, and the world of Dune.
Herbert paints a world in which man can travel between stars, yet no longer uses computers; a place where fencing skills are often more useful than energy weapons; a land of soldiers, assassins, prophets, mystics, nobles, monsters. It is about love, passion, resistance--and the effect that the appearance of a messiah has on a culture.
Sadly, much of Herbert's sequels don't live up to this first book. However, it is an entirely satisfying epic in its own right--if you never read the other books, this one will still live on in your memory forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Prescient Classic, March 13 2004
By 
Bart Leahy (Huntsville, AL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dune (Mass Market Paperback)
Anyone who read Dune prior to the early 1990s will see that Frank Herbert had an excellent grasp of the politics of petroleum. Anyone reading the book after Desert Storm will probably get the creeps. If you read the author's preface to the short story collection Eye, you can see that Herbert was interested in describing the interworkings of business and politics, as well as the effect of "hydraulic despotism." (Hydraulic despotism, by the way, is what happens when an area is dependent upon one stream of water for the basics of life and somebody upstream attempts to dam it to gain control over the people downstream, exactly what happened in the 1973-74 oil shocks and in Desert Shield/Storm.) That's just the politics of it.
Herbert also examined the role of religion in politics, and thus we have the Fremen, a "Zensunni" group of fanatic beliefs (Ascetic Buddhism combined with Islam), made ferocious by their efforts to survive the desert landscape of Arrakis, the planet known as "Dune." Herbert creates or extrapolates some really remarkable technologies for drawing or retaining moisture from the desert air.
What really grabbed me about Dune, though, was the first third of the book, when we observe the society of the Great Houses of his futuristic Galactic Empire. For as much as the David Lynch film was panned by the critics, the movie got the "look" of this society dead right. It is a form of straightforward feudalism, with the primary spoils and properties being planets, commodities, and shares in the overarching Imperial corporation, CHOAM (Combine Honnette Ober Advancer Mercantiles, if that helps you any). The feudal arrangements of the Empire are complex and fascinating. The Imperial House rules by fear (Herbert's version of Stormtroopers or the Praetorian Guard, the Saudaukar), and the Great Houses of the Landsraad (legislature) fight amongst themselves for the scraps that remain. The opening story is a fight between two of these Great Houses, House Atreides and House Harkonnen. They war openly and by stealth, using blatant and subtle means of inflicting damage. A "Medici" look is entirely appropriate to their world.
Into this mix, Herbert also included the Bene Tleilax, a totally amoral technocracy focusing upon genetic engineering. The people of Ix are likewise technocrats, but focus upon standard machinery. Technology is slowly developed and unobtrusive. Instead of computers, there are humans trained as "mentats;" instead of disks or magnetic tapes, there are "scrolls" or "cielagos" (coded data transcribed into and relayed by a human or animal). There are also the Bene Gesserit, a group of women similar to Catholic nuns in their appearance and behavior. They endeavor to manipulate bloodlines in order to improve the human species. They wish to create the "kwisatz haderach," a man with the powers of a Bene Gesserit (contacting the memories of female ancestors, ability to transmute poisons, yoga-type mental and muscular disciplines).
Does all this sound incredibly complex and heavy? It is. That is part of what makes the book fascinating and difficult to read. Herbert has gone to the trouble to create an entire world, recognizably human, brutal, and unlikable at times, but very convincing and well-thought-out. As a story, all of this must be explained while the plot advances forward. This Herbert manages to do, as well as insert a great deal of philosophical and political thought. This is one of the best-wrought works in the science fiction canon. Alas, it can almost be too hard to read. Go forth bravely, and you will be rewarded.
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Dune
Dune by Frank Herbert (Hardcover - Jan. 1 1965)
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