Dune by Frank Herbert is a story of a boy searching for himself, and what Paul Atreides discovers about himself is beyond his expectations. Dune is a story of realization. Paul must face his fear, and Jessica, his mother, must face hers as well.
For me, Dune was a reminder that it is better not to know what will happen tomorrow, the next day, next week, or next year. We live one day at a time because we can handle today; by tomorrow, I may be ready for a greater challenge. The characters in Dune repeatedly found themselves knowing the future before they were ready to accept it or able to live it. Because of that, they found great strength within them, albeit with great apprehension and trial.
Arrakis itself is a planet of trial, the desert planet called Dune. On Arrakis, a sandworm creates a precious addictive spice, which the universe will pay anything to procure. Duke Leto Atreides has been called to rule Arrakis, leaving beautiful Caladon, where water falls from the sky, to rule the dune planet with his son Paul and the ducal concubine Jessica. But quickly the question becomes not whether the robust Fremen, the local inhabitants, will welcome the Atreides rule, but rather whether the Emperor is truly backing the Atreides Royal House. Paul and Jessica Atreides soon find themselves fighting for survival on Arrakis, even as they fight to determine who they really are.
I spent more than six months reading Dune simply because I was reading it aloud with my husband; we also are reading a nonfiction book and some evenings we’d read that instead. As a result, I didn’t find myself drawn into the story, although some nights it was a challenge to force myself not to read ahead. Herbert’s writing is not spectacular, but his imagination is admirable and his well-planned world is entertaining.
Herbert has written a number of sequels; even this book was obviously set up for a continuation of the story. He also has completely created the world: Dune has a glossary and five indexes describing the background to the world of Arrakis. It is a world as elaborate as the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars.
Because I wasn’t completely drawn to this book (partially because of how I approached it and partially because I’m not a huge fan of science fiction), I can’t say yet that I will read the sequels. Have you read any of the sequels? Are they worth reading? Have you read Dune? What did you think about it?