Is Dune The Greatest Work of Science Fiction of all time? What are your choices for this?
I last read Dune by Frank Herbert in 1967 (1920 to 1986). I had no plans to reread Dune but I received notice in an E book bargains newsletter to which I subscribe that the Kindle edition was marked down temporarily to $1.95. I remembered that I totally loved it in the long ago, I knew many consider it the greatest Science Fiction novel of all time, plus I wanted to see if I would still love Dune, so I bought the book. I saw a movie based on Dune directed by David Lynch 33 years ago.
Dune is set far in the future, the planets of the known universe are each ruled by a royal house. Rulership is structured like European royalty. At the head of the universe is an emperor, each of the royal houses are involved in continual power struggles with each other. The novel centers on the rise to power of Paul Atreides, son of Duke Leto head of house Atreides and his concubine Jessica, a Bene Gesserit.
I decided not to do much of a synopsis of the plot (Wikipedia has a decent one).
The emperor has decided to give house Atreides control over the planet Dune. Dune is a desert planet, with no rain, Life revolves around water. Dune is of great importance as only there can a spice that prolongs life and allows space to be navigated be found.
Just a handful of spice can buy a house on other worlds. Dune was previously controlled by the house Harkoonnen, long blood enemies of the Atreides. The duke suspects this is a trick by the emperor to destroy his house.
The plot is intricate and fascinating, Herbert goes into great detail about the religion and beliefs of those in the story. It is a very "ecological" work, we are constantly aware of the power of water. On Dune there are huge worms, some up to 400 meters. They are integral to the production of spice.
I really enjoyed this reread, I was happy to see I could recall a lot of the book.
There are five sequels to Dune, some by Frank Herbert, some by others after his death. I have not read any of these. If you have, please leave some feedback.