Dune

Reading a highly acclaimed classic sometimes puts certain expectations on a certain novel, so what about your expectations about  “best-selling science fiction novel of all time”. So putting this idea aside, Dune was an enjoyable read. From time to time, I felt it was not that big of a deal, then I remembered that this novel was published in 1965, so when Egyptian writers were renovating our literature, Frank Herbert was building a whole universe. 

Note that as far as I know, this is one of the earliest “complete sci fi sagas”, it is even said that Star Wars was heavily influenced by Dune, especially in its earlier drafts. But let’s leave this to the experts.

I liked the depiction of political struggles, ecology, religion, social interactions in general.. I found the multitude of several cultural / religious connotations pretty interesting, especially the Arabic ones. I was very surprised with the multitude of Arabic names, phrases, sayings. Why was Herbert so interested in the Islamic culture? However, I know that the book also mentioned some other oriental influences, but because I don’t have a background on them, I couldn’t figure them out.

Here are some interesting quotes:

“Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.” ” ‘Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind,’ ” Paul quoted.

A visionary on computer hacking?🙂

Hawat looked at the boy. “I was thinking we’ll all be out of here soon and likely never see the place again.” “Does that make you sad?” “Sad? Nonsense! Parting with friends is a sadness. A place is only a place.” He glanced at the charts on the table. “And Arrakis is just another place.”

very true.

“If wishes were fishes we’d all cast nets,”
 
the proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.
 
Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
 
You see, gentlemen, they have something to die for. They’ve discovered they’re a people. They’re awakening.”

Very suitable for our post 25 Jan mentality🙂

The Sardaukar had never been prepared for such happenings as this day. They’d never known anything but victory which, Paul realized, could be a weakness in itself.
 
The Guild navigators, gifted with limited prescience, had made the fatal decision: they’d chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward into stagnation.
 
The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”

On religion.

From Shaitan did we not get the hurtfulness of speed?” (This is the source of the Fremen saying: “Speed comes from Shaitan.” Consider: for every one hundred calories of heat generated by exercise [speed] the body evaporates about six ounces of perspiration. The Fremen word for perspiration is bakka or tears and, in one pronunciation, translates: “The life essence that Shaitan squeezes from your soul.”

Frank Herbert’s explanation of ” العجلة من الشيطان”

 

All in all, it’s a must read for sci fi fans, for more reviews, check out the goodreads link. As for me, definitely I will continue the series, but maybe after a break.

5 responses to “Dune

  1. Dune is one of my favorite SF books. I read it at a rather young age, and have been reading it on and off ever since. Did your copy have the appendices at the end? there’s all sorts of neat stuff about the galactic religions that’s not mentioned in the book itself.

    if you do continue the series, books 2 and 3 are much shorter than Dune, and the three of them encompass a full story with a conclusion. books 4,5 & 6 take place much, much later, and are just very different.

  2. I too read “Dune” at an early age, and was caught up in it, ending up reading the other 5 Dune books that were written by Frank Herbert. I always wondered what someone from an Arabic or Islamic background would make of it (btw, I hope I’m using the proper terms here; if not, I apologize). Your review of it, and your selection of some of the quotes, was very interesting. I often find myself using the Litany against Fear as well as the Mentat credo. @ Redhead- did you find the latter 3 books to be not as good?

    • the first time i read books 5 & 6 I didn’t care for them. It’s many generations later, so most of the characters are different. Only after a handful of readings did they make sense as more a continuation of the mythology of the first book (and the “big picture” of this space opera universe) than as a continuation of the original story.

    • Thank you for dropping by. First of all, Arabic or Islamic, both are fine, as I can be identified with either🙂
      It was actually interesting to find a western author using verses from the Qoran and old proverbs for his master work in fiction. In many times I didn’t need explanations for names / terms cause they were transliterated from Arabic🙂

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