Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

The world of Dune is vast, with the first book barely scratching the surface. Leaving many fans asking author Frank Herbert for more. 4 years after the release of the first one, Frank delivered Dune Messiah. Taking many of the criticism of his previous books and proving them wrong, by introducing us to the dark side of destiny. If I were to describe the book in one word, it would be sinister. Everything about it, from the villains, the heroes, the politics, and the philosophy. There are moments when you will feel dirty as if you participated in some evil plot. But this is exactly what Herbert wanted, he wanted to show how power is corruptive, and how even the noblest of heroes have a dark side.

He broke the mold of the classic “hero’s journey” and focused on the hero’s psychological transformation. As Paul Atreides struggles to deal with his “horrible purpose”, visions of destruction, and a horrific injury. Despite this intriguing concept, the book is not without its failings. Unlike its predecessor, the book has hardly any action, focusing almost entirely on dialogue. This can lead to parts of the book coming off as filler, or self-aggrandizing philosophical nonsense. However, it makes up for it in the best endings I’ve ever read. The final act of the book is simply breathtaking, hard to put down, and yes, it’s incredibly sinister. In many ways, it’s the complete opposite of its predecessor, which had an incredibly lackluster ending. Leaving me with only one question, what could the next book have in store?

-Parker K.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby

Book Review: Children of Dune

Minor spoilers for other Dune books

Children of Dune is the 3rd book in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. It was published in 1976 a whole 11 years after Dune, and 6 years after Dune Messiah. The story follows Paul Atreides’ children, the twins Leto II and Ghanima as they navigate political plots, religion, and mental turmoil. Both twins are “pre-born” meaning they have the knowledge of all those who came before them. This causes them to struggle, as they navigate physically being children, but mentally being thousands of years and thousands of people all in one. The Bene Gesserit are incredibly afraid of pre-born believing that they could turn into abominations. This simply means that they can become possessed by the evil people of their past who haunt their minds. Ideas like this are what make the story so interesting. Herbert always shows the dark side of power and the consequences of losing your humanity. The twins acknowledge and know about this dark side, seeing it in Alia, and in Paul’s supposed death. Yet, they are forced to use their powers and risk their humanity for the greater good. In Leto II’s opinion, they must go where Paul never could go, where he even was afraid to go. 

Many would consider this blasphemous to say, but it’s a bit like Star Wars Episode 7. By this I mean the story is a bit of a retelling of the original story. But it’s more fun and has enough new and interesting content to make it a great read. Some might even find it superior to the original. I probably would if it wasn’t for a few specific issues I had with the story. I dislike the ending of the story; it’s too similar to the first book and doesn’t show enough of Leto II’s potential. Perhaps this is on purpose to get us excited for the next book, but I’m not a fan. I also dislike how little Herbert does with Ghanima. I find her far more interesting of a character than Leto II (who in many ways is the same character as Paul) yet she hardly does anything. That being said I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what the next book and the books after that have to offer. 

-Parker K.

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert is available at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Dune and its Iterations

Dune: 10 Biggest Differences Between The 2021 and 1984 Versions
Dune 2021 and Dune 1984

I love Dune or at least two versions of it. My love of it has led me to constantly talk about it, which has caused my friends to ask me what it’s about. It’s a bit hard to answer, I could say “Published in 1965, Dune is a space epic by Frank Herbet that went on to change the face of science fiction.” Or I could say “It’s like Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings, and Star Wars had a baby, but with a lot more sand.” But if this fails, I use my last resort “The movie has Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in it” which usually works. 

This is a good thing because I think the 2021 movie is by far the best way to introduce someone to Dune. The movie tackles the first half of the book and introduces you to the world, you learn about the Bene Gesserit witches, the secretive Fremen, the all-powerful Emperor, the powers of Paul Atreides, and most importantly you get to see the planet of Arrakis or Dune. It does all of this while showing you amazing visuals. Through both practical and CGI effects the planet of Arrakis is stunning, a wasteland beaming with possibilities, with hostile giant sandworms that attack anything that moves. The director, Denis Villeneuve does a masterful job staying true to the book whilst using incredible cinematography.

The book itself is a masterpiece of science fiction and world-building. It’s a massive book that’s absolutely jam-packed with details and interesting concepts. At some points, you feel like you’re reading a science textbook when learning about how “spice” is created, or how the Fremen stillsuits retain your body’s moisture. However, it keeps itself interesting by guiding you through the planet through the eyes of various characters. Whether it’s the main character Paul, his mother Jessica, or even the evil Baron Harkonnen, you are constantly interested in how the story is unfolding and what motives are shaping each character’s actions. 

Despite all this praise I have to discuss the awful monstrosity that is Dune (1984). Directed by David Lynch, Dune (1984) was the first attempt at transferring the behemoth book onto the big screen. It fails miserably, the intriguing characters become flat, the massive world seems small, and the science turns silly. All while the directing remains boring with the same transitions being used over and over. Granted it has some awful CGI that keeps it somewhat entertaining. Some scenes from the book remain but most of the movie seems to ignore the book entirely. To Lynch’s credit, the movie was plagued with issues and was supposed to be 2 parts instead of the 1 movie. But in my opinion, this still doesn’t make up for the absolutely awful translation of the book. 

If you want to learn more about Dune I’d recommend starting with the 2021 movie. If you love it like I did you’ll love the book. Be warned that both the book and the movie are long, they have to be in order to explain the world. Chances are the time will fly by while you read/watch it. But whatever you do, stay away from the 1984 version.

-Parker K

What You May Want To Know Before Watching Dune

The movie adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert, which is directed by Denis Villeneuve, will be released in theaters on October 22 this year. The first movie is the first of a trilogy that will cover the first two dune books, Dune and Dune messiah. The book having 22 chapters and 412 pages. Dune the movie will cover around the first half of the book so around 11 chapters in 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Dune written in 1965, was in part inspired by The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch published in 1960. Dune is one of the most popular and influential sci-fi books of all time has changed sci-fi and set the standard for a great sci-fi book. Dune has been adapted into a movie before in 1985, where they tried to cover the whole book leading to the movie being a failure. This time with the movie only covers the first half might portray the complex story better.

*There may be spoilers ahead*The story focuses on the character Paul Atreides a thoughtful and quiet boy and son of Duke Leto Atreides. Duke Leto is the Duke of Arrakis. Arrakis is the planet most of the story takes place on. The nickname or other name for the planet of Arrakis is Dune. Arrakis is called Dune because the planet is almost completely covered in deserts.

The villain is Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Duke’s political rival and former owner of Arrakis. A power-hungry person he becomes the main villain trying to take control of Arrakis from the Duke.

Dune is expected to be a success, and from the looks of the trailer has great CGI effects. Do you think Dune will be a success or a failure?

-Luke G.