Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dune (Book Awards Challenge II #10 of 10)

I can see why this is a science fiction classic. This Hugo Award winning novel by Frank Herbert is possibly the best-selling science fiction book in history. Paul, the son of Duke Leto Atreides and his concubine Jessica is at the heart of this story set thousands of years in the future. The Atreides family has moved to a desert planet called Arrakis at the request of Emperor Shaddam IV. Arrakis had been ruled by the Harkonnen family which oppressed and enslaved the native population, the Freman, in order to extract "spice" from the desert. Spice is an addictive drug created by the life cycle of the gigantic and deadly sandworms that live in the desert and is incredibly valuable off planet. Through both the subtle and the violent interplay between religion, politics, and family, Paul rises from the Duke's heir to a prophet and powerful leader.

Dune is a heavy book and it took me a bit to really get into the characters. And I am not sure I would continue to read other books in the series. However, the plot moved along well and the desert world of Arrakis was fascinating with its massive worms and native people who have figured out how to conserve every drop of moisture. I appreciated the glossaries at the end which explained the nuances of the language and culture.

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