02 September, 2009

Dune, Frank Herbert

Dune, by Frank Herbert is a classic of the SF literature. That’s why I decided to read it, although kinda late in life. I am 32. I say this because I think this is a book for the teenage years, more then for later. It’s a kind of Jules Verne. There’s an unintentional compliment.
OK, the book gets you, and it is once again proof of the fact that a good SF work must relate permanently to things already known to the public, from…well, earth. I have seen a program on the Discovery Cannel about the Star Wars series and the elements of human culture upon witch it is built. It is the same with Dune. The similarities with the feudal social organization are obvious: the emperor padishach, the landsraad, the fremens of the desert and their strong religion (the arab nations of the middle east of today) etc.
There is another thing: in a good SF book you might see all kinds of scientific nonsense that (strangely) doesn’t bother you, unlike in bad literature or movies, when you hold any mistake against it. For example, the people of Dune used to do battle with knives, in parallel with using lasers, air ships named “topters” and even atomic bombs. Somehow, this doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, it ads to the story.
It is a complex world that Frank Herbert builds, and I liked it. The religions are fascinating, mainly the Bene Geserit. The occult order of well trained priestesses that plot for generations to high political goals is a wonderful idea and very well illustrated.
It was a pleasant reading, but it would have been an even better one if I would have read it in my teens.

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