Why You Should Start Reading Dune

Image for post
Image for post
Dune: Deluxe Edition

“Game of Thrones in Space” is how it has been described. Dune is a sci-fi novel based 20,000 years in the future. It is a world based on feudalistic noble houses who battle to control the most valuable substance in the known universe: The Spice Melange. The geriatric spice is used for a variety of purposes, such as allowing space travel, prolonging the human lifespan and enabling people to possess prescient visions, allowing them to see possible futures of their reality. Here are some reasons on why you should start investing in this franchise!

The origin of many known science-fictions.

The dune universe, written by Frank Herbert, has inspired many other sci-fi productions around the world. One of the most common examples of this is Star Wars. From the central figure being raised on a desert planet to biblical names of the main characters, there are many similarities between these two franchises. The original draft for Star Wars: Episode 4 even had a scene where Princess Leia was transporting spice from one location to another, evident of another reference to Dune. The 1990 film ‘Tremors’ also have underground creatures which bear a striking resemblance to the Sandworms, lifeforms present on the planet of Arrakis (i.e. Dune) which are used to produce the spice melange. The Wheel of Time book series by Robert Jordan refers to the desert dwellers known as ‘Aiel’ who are influenced by the mystical female society known as Aes Sedai. In Dune, the desert dwellers of Arrakis, known as ‘Fremen’ are manipulated by the mystical female organisation known as the ‘Bene Gesserit’.

Compelling Storyline

The action and adventure book starts of with Leto Atreides, moving his family from their black water planet of Caladan to the desert planet of Arrakis, which was previously controlled by the Harkonnen family, rivals of House Atreides. In the center of the story is Paul Atreides, the son of Leto Atreides and his concubine, the Lady Jessica. Paul must protect his family and survive the feudalistic battles between their houses and emerge victorious by uniting the people of the desert, the Fremen. In a way, the Paul Atreides arc bears a quite a similarity to Lawrence of Arabia, whose novel was believed to be an influence.

Exploration of Culture and Religion

Image for post
Image for post
Simon Goinard

There are variety of cultures represented throughout the Dune franchise. The most common are Fremen, whose cultures are similar to the desert dwellers of the Middle East and North Africa. Their religion of Zensunnism is based on the beliefs of Zen Buddhism and Sunni Islam. A clash of culture is present earlier on in the book, where are a Fremen spits on the ground in front of Leto Atreides and other members of his household. The Atreides see this as a form of insult and are ready to kill him. But it is soon explained that water is a precious commodity in the desert, so spitting in the ground is seen as a way of giving ones’ water, a sign of welcome and acceptance in the Fremen culture.

Depth into Philosophy

There is a lot of philosophical elements of Dune, typically dealt via inner monologues. Each character have their own ideas, their own way of ruling and their own perceptions in regards to the social and customs of the Dune universe. The Dune book delves quite deeply into this area and makes a significant portion of the material.

Parallels to Real Life.

The elements of Dune are analogs to the real world politics of the world today. The spice melange, a substance valued by the entire universe and which is produced by the desert planet is parallel to the significance with oil. The CHOAM company, which has a monopoly on the transfer of the spice, bears resemblance to the OPEC countries. Frank Herbert also talked about environmentalism in 1965, which is only now being picked up to speed.

A Big Franchise

There are 9 prequel books, 6 original books, 2 expansion books and 2 sequel books. There is a large amount of material to read. In chronological order, the books are as follows:

The Butlerian Jihad (2002), The Machine Crusade (2003), The Battle of Corrin (2004), Sisterhood of Dune (2012), Mentats of Dune (2014), Navigators of Dune (2016), Dune: House Atreides (1999), Dune: House Harkonnen (2000), Dune: House Corrino (2001), Dune (1965), Paul of Dune (2008), Dune Messiah (1969), The Winds of Dune (2009), Children of Dune (1976), God Emperor of Dune (1981), Heretics of Dune (1984), Chapterhouse of Dune (1985), Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007).

Image for post
Image for post
Twitter: Penguin Random House

The saga begins with mankind’s fight against artificial intelligence and later the aftermath of the wars. It then picks up in a world where sophisticated technologies are outlawed, as stated by the Orange Catholic Bible: ‘Thou shall not build a machine in the likeness of a man’s mind”. It later depicts the rise and fall of civillisation, only to be replaced by other forces. Dune itself was most likely inspired by Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edwards Gibbon.

The Upcoming 2020 Adaptation

There have been previous iterations to Dune on the big screen. The most notable was the 1984 version by David Lynch, which itself wasn’t positively received. In the early 2000s, Syfy attempted a mini-series adaptations, which was received largely positively. Although in the current time period, the CGI now looks outdated.

Hence, there is a new version on the works with the famed director Denis Villeneuve, who recently won the title as “Filmmaker of the Decade” by the Hollywood Critics Association in 2019. He has directed two great sci-fi pieces in the past, including Arrival in 2016 and Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. His other films include Prisoners (2013) and Sicario (2015). He is quite passionate of the book.

Image for post
Image for post
Twitter: @SecretsOfDune

With such an impressive cast alongside a great director, such as Timothee Chamelet as Paul Atreides, Oscar Isaac as Leto Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, the expectations for the film is quite high. If the film is a success, a sequel will be produced and the two films will cover the entirety of the original novel.

Disclaimer

This following statement discloses the presence of affiliated links in accordance with the Medium guidelines.

[Updated with Affiliated Hyperlinks on 18/07/2020]
[Updated with Link to Movie Article + Grammatical Correction + Image Correction + Disclaimer on 01/01/2021]

Written by

Writer. Reader of Novels. Video Gamer. Documentary Watcher. Tech nerd.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store