28.03.2023 18:17
Kultúra a umenie

Autor : Ernest Fázik, Gymnázium Ivana Kupca, Komenského, Hlohovec

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Dune by Frank Herbert is a science fiction novel, generally considered a masterwork of the genre. The book follows the story of young Paul Atreides and the court, diplomatic and military conflicts in which his family, the Atreides, is involved in. Other important characters are Paul’s father the Duke Leto and his mother Lady Jessica. We must also mention their enemies the brutal Harkonnen family, the Padishah Emperor and other parties such as the order of the Bene Gesserit. The book contains a great deal of political intrigue, but also talks of religion, ecology, economy and their interactions. It is a science fiction, however the development of technology is secondary to the development of humanity itself, contrary to most science fiction.

The story is large in volume, scope and theme. It is an epic tale of Paul Atreides, whose family is given the control of Arrakis, the only source of spice, a commodity of paramount importance to interstellar travel. This is a ploy by the past rulers to crush their rival House on this unfamiliar world, which the Duke Leto hopes to prevent by using the native inhabitants as forces against the hated Harkonnens. Paul is being trained by his mother in the art of the Bene Gesserit, the sisterhood his mother was taught in. They teach enhanced control over oneself and the ability to detect deceit in others. Other tutors of his are Tufir Hawat, a Mentat assassin, taught to compute and calculate with speed and accuracy akin to a computer, the warriors Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho, and Doctor Yueh taught in the most prestigious school of the Imperium. Paul is also tangled in the eugenicist plans of the Bene Gesserit and the prophecies of the Fremen planted by Bene Gesserit missionaries. All of these elements converge to create a complex story of plots within plots within plots, with a massive scope of ideas and characters.

The book can seem intimidating because of its volume, however it is precisely the scope of its world together with its mystery that draws the reader in, this I believe to be true of Dune. It is also a book to be reread. There is simply so much we can choose to focus on, this also means that it is not a quick nor easy read. Strangely, despite that I found it very hard to put it down once I began. Truly there is not much lacking in this book.

The book is the first ever recipient of the Nebula Award and a co-recipient of the Hugo Award for Best Book, as such its reputation precedes it. It is a giant of sci-fi, which many tropes and newer works take inspiration from. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to engage with thought-provoking ideas while reading, but also to those who love a great character ensemble. Frank Herbert, inspired by Oregon sand dunes, and the Caucasus, has written a story about humanity millennia ahead, to inspire us with lessons and questions for today, who to trust and who to be.