Let’s see here, I was supposed to do this post how long ago exactly? December? ok…. it’s just a little late I guess…. XDD
Published way back in 1965, Dune has been and still is one of the most, if not The most, well known names amongst the sci fi genre novels and surely a title I wanted to get my hands on for a long while – ever since that time I watched one of the films back when I was a snotty little runt XP. Well, thanks to a sweet deal at Comic-Con, the two first volumes are now comfortably squeezed in one of my shelves, leaving “just” 14 more left to hunt!
The top ones of course XP This is a pic from our December’s loot post
It has been around for so long – all 16 volumes, a movie, a couple of mini-series, games etc – at it’s so well known that there’s hardly the need to write a synopsis or review of some sort but then again our blogs deserves that entry!
Although Frank Herbert’s “Dune” takes place more than twenty thousand years in the future, its central themes are quite familiar to any of us: resource driven conflicts, political games and betrayal, ecological issues and religion. Probably we can find more similarities and relevance to our own time than when it was first written…. (but really? more than 20 000 years and it’s still the same sh****?! Humans, humans never change!)
Since the universe isn’t exactly something small I tried finding a map with the planets location but (so far, at least) to no avail… Well, let’s just say that a large portion of the known space is part of an Imperial system divided amongst several noble houses, who are given entire planets to rule and explore, that must swear allegiance and obey Emperor Shaddam IV and his Empirium or risk obliteration.
We’re introduced to this complex setting through the noble house of Atreides who, at the beginning of the novel, are given the order to assume the governance of Arrakis, a harsh desert like planet that would be insignificant if it wasn’t the only known source of Melange, or spice, a substance that is used to prolong life and even enable to see a little into the future – making it absolutely essential for interstellar travel and commerce. Of course that controlling the source of such a rare and valuable commodity is quite a status symbol, an opportunity to gain power and riches and an huge risk, all at the same time and it’s a no brainer that the previous owners of Arrakis, the noble house of Harkonnen, weren’t exactly thrilled to hand it over to a rival house. While Duke Leto Atreides, his family, forces and government are still settling in, the Harkonnen strike both from inside, with the help of a betrayer, and outside, with imperial forces helping their own, and eliminate all but a few Atreides – amongst whom are Leto’s concubine, Jessica and his son, Paul who manage to escape into the desert – and seize control of the planet (and spice) once more.
But in spite of Arrakis almost uninhabitable conditions, the planet has its own indigenous people – the Fremen, a tribal society with deep religious views that have learn to cope with the particular nature of their home and ultimately aim to, slowly but steadily, turn the desert into a more suitable and gentle landscape. Contrary to the Harkonnen policy of antagonizing the Fremen, the Atreides understood their importance from the very beginning and tried to develop a beneficial ties with them… and those very ties were responsible for not only keeping Jessica and Paul alive later on but also start something that shook the very Empire to its core when Paul-Muad’Dib assumes the role of a long awaited messiah.
And to keep it as simple and spoiler free as possible – ok, it has been around far longer than myself but there are always people reading it for the first time – that’s about it!