Dune by Frank Herbert: Book Review Summary & Analysis

Dive into the epic world of 'Dune' by Frank Herbert with our comprehensive book review, summary, and insightful analysis of this timeless masterpiece.
Welcome to an insightful journey through the world of 'Dune by Frank Herbert - Review, Summary, & Analysis,' written by Muhiuddin Alam on the book recommendations and reviews site, ReadingAndThinking.com.
Over the years as a leading authority on literary expertise, I've created numerous book reviews, many of which can be found on this site. I'm also a regular contributor to other book-related websites and publications.

I have received many requests to review the book 'Dune' which was written by Frank Herbert'. In response, I'm pleased to offer my expert Reviews, Summary, and Analysis in this article.

So, when I suggest this book, it's because I've read a lot and want to share the best ones with you. I'm all about making your reading experience awesome. Trust in a guide deeply immersed in the literary books and stories. I love books just like you do!


Dune has an enduring appeal that makes it one of the most popular and influential science fiction novels of all time

Frank Herbert created a world completely different from the earth with his subtle brushwork. Planet Arakis. It is not only the territory of the heroic and scheming Yatridi family, the hometown of the cold, tenacious Freemans, and the nest of huge and unparalleled sandworms that can swallow everything. What it produces is the treasure that the entire human universe dreams of-spice.

With this planet as the stage, the drama of bravery and cowardice, noble and vile, loyalty and betrayal are staged, and its every move. All affect the entire human universe.

People often call these arid planet dunes by another name.

In the prelude to this large-scale and tortuous universe epic, the Atradi family is in desperation. The father of the boy Paul, Duke Leto Atreides, was transferred to the emperor of the Milky Way to be the only planet that produces spices in the universe. "Dune" star. Everyone knows that this is the trick of Baron Harkenney, the mortal enemy of the Yatridi family, and he wants to kill the Yatridi family here.

However, if the teenager Paul can prove that he is a Superman who can exist in different times and spaces at the same time and is cultivated by the mysterious Bi Gist sisterhood, it is the native Freeman on Dune Star who leads them to win freedom in the legend. "Lundin", the Yatridi family still has a ray of life...

Once the book was published, it received unprecedented acclaim. It has successively won the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and it has been rated as the "most imaginative work ever" by readers.

Book: Dune

  • Author Frank Herbert
  • Cover artist John Schoenherr
  • Country United States
  • Language English
  • Series Dune series
  • Genre Science fiction
  • Published August 1965
  • Publisher Chilton Books
  • Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
  • Pages 896
Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune by Frank Herbert ——Buy from Amazon

About the Author: Frank Herbert (1920-1986)

American science-fiction novelist and writer. Born in Washington State on October 8, 1920. Herbert is an extremely influential American science fiction master and a master alongside Asimov. His status in science fiction literature is the same as Tolkien's status in fantasy literature, which no one can shake. He is the first science fiction writer to popularize "ecology" and "systems thinking". He taught science fiction writers how to give science fiction ideas.

Herbert wrote twenty-three novels and five collections of short stories in his lifetime, among which the Dune series novels are particularly successful. The first three features of the series, "Dune", "Dune Savior" and "Son of Dune" constituted the "Great Dune Trilogy" that was remade into a movie and caused a huge sensation.

Herbert's work is not only huge and complex but contains profound ideas. More importantly, "As a respected leader and experienced sailor, he taught science fiction writers how to give science fiction ideas."

Excerpts from the original text

I must not be afraid. Fear can stifle thinking ability, is a lurking god of death, and can completely destroy a person. I want to tolerate it, let it pass through my heart, through my body and mind. When all this is over, I will open my eyes deep in my soul and examine its trajectory. Fear is like the wind, and there is no trace of the wind, but I still stand. ——Quoted on page 330

Book Summary

"You spent a lot of money to buy a long-awaited book. After reading twenty or thirty pages, you feel bored and want to let it go, and you feel reluctant and unbearable. Finally, you decide to bite the bullet and finish it. Does it feel similar to marriage?"    

Which book caused my above feelings? It's "Dune" by American science fiction writer Frank Herbert.

I didn't spend any money on this book. Thanks to readers, I can appreciate it. When "Dune" was about to go on sale on a large scale, I sent myself a copy and asked to write a book review. I readily agreed.     

Sci-fi fans like me have admired "Dune" for a long time, and Herbert's "Dune" is on the list of almost all science fiction books. I've long wanted to buy it and have a quick look, but the first two versions have been out of print on the market for a long time, and have never been able to see them. 

This time I was asked to write a review of "Dune" which was published by the reader. It was really "a sleepy person encountered a pillow".     

After I got the book, I felt very thick, with more than 600 pages. I started to read this book with a serious attitude that I have rarely seen in the past few years. I read about sixty pages a day, and I expect to finish it in about ten days. 

After I write a book review and read it on the fourth day, I can’t push it anymore. To me, it’s too unsightly. Thinking about not letting down the good intentions of others, doing things should start and finish well, bite the bullet, and read down, what if it looks good later? However, it has not been.

It took twenty days to finish reading, and I’m sorry to post it until today. No way, I think "Dune" is really ugly.     

Where is the ugly? 

First of all, "Dune" is not hard science fiction.

Although there are laser guns, shielded fields, and space fleets in the novel, they are all insignificant embellishments. The only set with a bit of sci-fi meaning is the setting of environment on the planet Erachien where this story takes place. 

This is a desert planet, the surface is full of desert, and water resources are extremely scarce. This led to some interesting features of the local indigenous Freemans in clothing, religious beliefs, customs, etiquette, language, and nothing more.     

All these settings with a bit of pediatric science fiction are just the fur of the novel, and they are really too soft. Not so much that "Dune" is science fiction, it is better to say that it is a fantasy novel. 

It is still full of witches, assassins, castles, barons, emperors, prophets, seers, and so on. Both the actor and his mother are quite capable of seeing the future. It’s very clever, not sci-fi, okay? 

For a "science fiction, fundamentalist" and hard science fiction fan like me, fantasy novels like "Dune" in a sci-fi coat are really not addictive. I would rather watch an upright fantasy novel.     

However, it is not impossible to write fantasy in a sci-fi coat. You can also write good-looking novels. The ugliness of "Dune" lies in the fact that it is still ugly to discuss novels with novels.

From the perspective of the plot, this is a prince's revenge set in the desert instead of Denmark. It is very old-fashioned. The story can even be described as "younger", and it is unattractive. The novels are filled with large-scale dialogues and psychological descriptions of characters. The plot is driven by this, and people are drowsy.     

The advertisement of this book says: "Dune" is on every "must-read of life" book list, which is a must-read classic in the history of science fiction. "Dune" has been included in many lists such as Amazon's "100 Must-Read Books in Life", BBC's "British 100 Most Popular Books", and National Public Radio's "Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novel TOP100". 

The works that won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award won the "Best Science Fiction Novel of the 20th Century" by "Track" magazine...  

"Dune" can get so much honor and be liked by so many people, there must be some truth to it-I don't like it anyway, I think it's too ugly. No matter how many people say that she is good, if you don't like it, you don't like it, and you can't force it, it's like love.

10 things you need to know before reading the "must-read of a lifetime" "Dune"

1. "Dune" is on every "must-read of life" booklist

"Dune" is a classic science fiction masterpiece by Frank Herbert, who is as famous as Asimov. It has been included in various "lifetime must-read" book lists, such as Amazon's "100 books that must be read in a lifetime", BBC's "Britain's 100 most popular books" and the like.

Of course, the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award have also been won. The award status and so on are all top-level configurations. After the test of time and the masses, please rest assured.

2. The patriarch of the IP world

The IP that talks about every day, "Dune" can be regarded as the ancestor. The extended game "Dune 2000" is the first real-time strategy game in history, which gave birth to "Red Alert" and "StarCraft"; the movie "Star Wars" borrowed laser swords from it, and "Avatar" almost copied the plot......

After reading the novel, you will find that its children and grandchildren run all over the street.

3. The milestone of "soft science fiction"

Schopenhauer once said: A genius can perceive the world in front of him, and then discover another world. Before "Dune", everyone read hard science fiction, and after "Dune", our world was born with a wonderful "soft science fiction"-a kind of science fiction writing that joins the discussion of human nature.

4. Remember to stick the appendix on the bedside

If you see a character saying something that makes you feel inexplicable, or a vocabulary that is mysterious like a spell, don't think that the translation is funny or that there is a problem with the printing, just look at the appendix at the back! Don't force it to understand it, because you can't understand it at all—that's a language system created by Herbert!

5. Thanks to Mrs. Herbert

Like director Ang Lee, Herbert quit his job at home to create "Dune" and devoted himself to writing for 6 years. For the past 6 years, my wife has made a living writing advertising copy. Before reading the book, we would like to thank the great Mrs. Herbert.

6. Don't always worry about the beauty of a beautiful age, this indescribable column is the real hero.

Although James McAvoy is breathtakingly beautiful in "Son of Dune", please remember that the real, rich, and handsome male protagonist is this sandworm! From the human "nanny" on the Dune Star to receiving various games in the back, and becoming a boss in "World of Warcraft", the commercial value has soared all the way, which is so inspirational.

7. Fired the first shot of "anti-intellectual"

I wonder if Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" has left a shadow on your childhood? In fact, as early as the 1960s, Herbert had already realized the danger of thinking machines. The machines in "Dune" are used to cruelly enslave human beings. Butler's Jihad is an "anti-intellectual"—that is, a war against intelligent robots with thinking. Finally, Herbert directly banned the use of computers in Dune.

8. A small manual for starting a business and making a fortune

The population explosion, climate change, the situation in the Middle East, the energy crisis... these issues have long been hinted at by Dune. "The New York Times," said that "Dune" is more realistic than it was 50 years ago.

It is worth noting that "Dune" has built a world extremely similar to the current Internet, and entrepreneurs can learn from it.

9. Don't expect big movies

Oscar director David Lynch has remakes and flutters; Yimei has starred in TV series and flutters; geniuses Zodulowski, Dali, and Pink Floyd got together to remake and flutter. Mostly because "Dune" itself is too vast. Now Legendary Pictures has taken over the burden of adaptation, and it is said that Jing Tian may become the heroine.

10. Finally, please note that the world of dunes is fake! fake!

Dune Star has its own language, customs, and laws, and even its religious beliefs are fake. The true love fans abroad have gone straight to the point. They ate dune cakes, wore dune clothes, and even gave themselves a passport for "Dune Star", and they firmly believed in the existence of Dune Star.

Book Reviews & Analysis

A monument in the history of science fiction literature in Dune

In the 1950s, in order to prevent quicksand from flooding the highway, the US Department of Agriculture successfully planted barren grass on the dunes in the coastal area of Oregon. 

In 1957, Frank Herbert conducted an inspection of the area and planned to write an article for the magazine called "Quick Sand Repelled". But soon, he realized that he had a better idea. In this year, Frank Herbert's life took a turn.

From 1957 to 1961, he spent more than four years in research and preparation, and a huge story structure gradually took shape. From 1961 to 1965, he began an arduous writing process and repeatedly revised the first draft of the science fiction novel "Dune".

"Dune" embeds the author Frank Herbert's life experience for more than 40 years. This epic science fiction novel is a melting pot of spirit, faith, and inspiration. 

We can read this novel from many levels, and they are all hidden in the thrilling story of the savior of the desert planet. Desert ecology is the most obvious level. Others include politics, religion, philosophy, history, human evolution, and even poetry.

Frank Herbert deliberately left an open-ended ending at the end of the novel, allowing readers to recollect, speculate, and understand. However, publishers are worried about the novel's intricate plot and the author's original vocabulary, which they feel will slow down the pace of the story. 

An editor said that he read the first 100 pages of the novel and was still confused about the story. After more than 20 rejections, "Dune" was finally picked up by Chilton Company and was first published in 1965.

It now appears that if there is no far-sighted editor of Sterling Lanier, "Dune" may never be published, and it may well have buried a bright science fiction literary star. 

As soon as "Dune" was released, the "World Science Fiction Association" and the "American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association" realized that this is a genius work and awarded it the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award that all science fiction writers dream of. Immediately afterward, "Dune" was included in the "Global Catalog" and was highly praised by many mainstream media including the "New York Times", and a large number of fans began to gather.

However, some people objected. They believed that the dune world constructed by Frank Herbert seemed unfamiliar, but in fact, it was not much different from the world we know well, and the characters in the book were not much different from the historical figures we know well. 

So "Dune" is just an ancient fantasy novel dressed in science fiction or a future version of the revenge of a medieval prince. We can call these people "sci-fi fundamentalists".

Looking back at the classic works in history, we will find that an excellent science fiction novel should follow the following four principles:
  • The first is to have a good story,
  • Second, the other is to have a brain that is beyond imagination but is logical, and
  • Third, It is necessary to have a spiritual core that can withstand the test of time.
  • Fourth, the story, the brain, and the spiritual core can be perfectly combined.
For the author, the most difficult point is the fourth point. How to match the brain hole with the spiritual core? How can the development of the storyline to make the unconstrained imagination naturally enumerate the spiritual core of the novel?

There are two kinds of authors. One is a sudden inspiration, opening a brain hole, and immediately looking for a spiritual core that matches it. There is also a kind of pre-determined writing goals and readers, after having a mental core that can sell well, then looking for suitable brain holes.

Most of the excellent science fiction novels similar to "Dune" were created using the first method. Authors like Frank Herbert have keen judgment. They are good at grasping the value of their brains, but they are not addicted to it. Because novels always give priority to themes, readers will never applaud a work that is imaginative but superficial and thin in character.

The second method is too commercial. Although science fiction works for the sake of science fiction can sell well in a certain market environment, they cannot stand the test of time. 

The author of Sudden Inspiration will encounter two thresholds in the creation of science fiction.
  • First, it is necessary to be able to write insights that satisfy readers.
  • Second, there must be a mental core worthy of this brain hole.
The first threshold is difficult. Most of the brain holes that broke through the sky died at this level. A large-scale brain hole can make people feel shocked.

However, extraterrestrial civilization, alien invasion, time and space travel, interstellar travel, artificial intelligence, artificial black holes, parallel universes, natural or man-made disasters, utopias, dystopias, the purpose of the universe, etc. What have contemporary readers not seen?

What you can think of, others thought of it decades ago. Even if you think of a brain hole that no one else has written yet, are you sure you can write it? Millions of lives are parting and devouring the disaster scene, can you pat your head and make it realistically presented on paper? 

This is the first threshold in science fiction writing. No matter how big your brain is, if you can't write it, it's just a brain.

The second threshold is more difficult. What do you want to do with a big brain hole? What do you want to insinuate when describing a deserted planet? As a result, Frank Herbert found that a spiritual core worthy of this idea must be found.

Just as Isaac Asimov borrowed " The structure of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" predicts from the mouth of the master of "Psychological History" Harry Shelton: The galaxy empire, which is in full swing, is dying step by step, and the entire galaxy will experience 30,000 years of barbarity and tragic anarchy. Only a unified empire will appear.

The Etridi family in "Dune" originated from the Atreus family of ancient Greece, that is, the family of Agamemnon and Menelaus. This heroic family is haunted by a tragically flawed character and bears the curse of Thyestes. 

The evil Hacknans in "Dune" are related to the Otradi family, so when they assassinated Paul's father, Duke Reto, they were in fact crippled with the descendants of the Atreus family. An astronomical brain hole is often not implemented and cannot be described in an all-around way.

It is easy to cause the human factor to be suppressed to a minimum, and it is difficult to express the spiritual core of the novel. In the world of dunes, huge and fierce sandworms guard the precious spice treasure. In a practical sense, anti-aging spice is like a limited oil resource on the earth. 

The terrible sandworm guards the treasures deep in the cave-like the dragon in the English epic "Beowulf". Prince Paul, who holds the sword of revenge, is like Lawrence of Arabia. He is the legendary savior of the Fremanite natives of the dunes and leads them to the free land of Moses.

Therefore, "Dune" is an epic science fiction novel that can be read from multiple levels, and its powerful spiritual core is just worth the size of Frank Herbert's brain. 

Frank Herbert worked very hard when creating "Dune", and he often kept himself in the study for long periods of time. With traditional novel themes, each reader will use his own experience to make up the background information of the story, and the author can explain the environment clearly in a few words.

And "Dune" is built on a brand-new worldview and value system. Because readers are naturally unfamiliar with the sci-fi context of the novel, the author must spend a lot of extra energy to allow the reader to smoothly integrate into the world depicted in the novel. 

This is also the reason why the editor mentioned earlier, after reading a hundred pages, I don't know why. At this time, you will find that it seems that Frank Herbert directly writes a "Prince's Revenge" like "Hamlet" to save effort.

"Hamlet" is Shakespeare's most prestigious work, representing the highest achievement of Western Renaissance literature. However, when we don't need to deal with the essay questions on the test paper, we don't pay attention to the spiritual core of "Hamlet" at all.

For example, in detective novels, we only care about who killed who and how. As for the tragic nature of the murderer, the victim and the murder, and the moral dilemma revealed, most readers will not care at all.

Another example is romance novels, We only care about who slept and who and how. If an author tries to write a thought-provoking romantic comedy, he will definitely be rejected by the editor. Because he is not Shakespeare who has been famous for a long time.

Science fiction does not have a well-known worldview and background. It needs to pre-set premises and self-evident context. But it is precise because of this that Dune can break through the traditional value system and discuss a broader, greater, and deeper spiritual core from an unexpected perspective from readers under a brand new premise.

for example. A boy likes a girl very much. He bought a rose for the girl. Everyone thinks this is really cheap! Then let me say that a boy likes a girl very much. He bought a diamond for the girl. Do you immediately feel that this boy is a little sincere? But this is still measured by traditional monetary value. 

Readers only care about whether the girl is tempted by the boy after receiving the diamond. If I say, a boy likes a girl very much. He bought a star in the galaxy for this girl. Does it feel different right away? Readers begin to think about the meaning of love.

another example. If the world is doomsday, you have to eat the girl in front of you to survive. In order to inherit human civilization, do you eat or not? In Liu Cixin's "Three-Body", the crew of the Bronze Age did not hesitate to eat, Lieutenant Karl Joyna, the communications officer of the Quantum. The immoral thing of cannibalism has become a possible choice in the context of the end of the world and the presupposition of inheriting civilization.

You will find that under this new value system, some originally unacceptable things become acceptable. Some are acceptable and become unacceptable. As a result, readers began to think about the meaning of life and the destiny of mankind.

This is why Frank Herbert insisted on creating "Dune". With the help of a brand-new dune world and a preset context, readers are brought into a brand-new value system, allowing them to discuss existing values from an impossible perspective. 

Incorrect, incomplete, or inapplicable deduction of existing values. Deeply show the absurdity, limitation, and sadness of it. This leads readers to think about the spiritual core of the novel. This is also the value of science fiction.

"Dune" is a monument in the history of science fiction literature. It surpasses Isaac Asimov's "Base", and builds a more complete, more detailed, grander, and more thought-provoking science fiction world for readers.

Frank Herbert, the author of "Dune", made three major contributions to the development of science fiction.
  • First of all, he taught science fiction writers how to give the spiritual core of science fiction novels.
  • Second, he brought science fiction into the palace of mainstream literature.
  • In the end, he passed through science fiction and successfully triggered People to pay attention to and think about politics, religion, philosophy, history, human evolution, and desert ecology.
Frank Herbert's status in science fiction literature is the same as Tolkien's status in fantasy literature, no one can shake it.

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