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Dune: A Discussion

I recently read DUNE by Frank Herbert for the seventh time! The first time I read it was in high school for my Sci Fi class. (It was one of the only books I actually read.) I fell in love with the story that first time I read it. Over the years, DUNE has become my all-time favorite book. I adore everything about it. I love Herbert’s writing, the characters, the setting, the complexity of the story, and the ethical/moral issues it explores.

I understand why some new readers have a hard time with it. I had my IRL book club read it almost seven years ago and most gave up or didn’t understand the political and economical aspects of the book. In today’s publishing world, so much of DUNE would’ve been edited out and the third-person omniscient POV isn’t for everyone.

I’ve never read any of DUNE’s sequels. I’ve toyed with the idea, but I’ve decided against it. I don’t want to be disappointed and I don’t want that disappointment to ruin my love for DUNE. Fortunately, DUNE stands well enough alone that I don’t need to go on.

During this reread, I was very aware of how much Herbert relied on Islamic culture as his inspiration for DUNE. In past reads, I had wondered if some of the words were inspired by Arabic. It wasn’t until I was watching the new movie that I became more curious about Herbert’s inspiration. As I did a little research, I was surprised to find out how much of Islamic culture he used. It made me wonder … is DUNE a misappropriation of Islamic beliefs? If so, can I still love DUNE, acknowledge the misappropriation for what it is, AND help society do better by also supporting Muslim authors and authentic Muslim stories?

What are your thoughts? Do you have any recommendations for Muslim authors and authentic Muslim stories that I should read?

P.S. My shortest read of 2021 was DUNE, THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, BOOK 1 at 160 pages and my longest read was DUNE at 894 pages. Ha!

4 replies
  1. Anne@HeadFullofBooks
    Anne@HeadFullofBooks says:

    I guess I’ll have to do some more research like you did about the Muslim faith connection. Was Herbert a follower? All that went over my head when I read Dune for the first time last year. I could see the appeal of the story but was honestly a little shocked by the lack of transitions from one event/time period to the next. I wasn’t even remotely interested in moving to the next book either. What I was interested in was how other Sci-fi authors used Herbert and Dune as their template.

    Reply
    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      He wasn’t a follower of Islam. He just saw it as part of humanity. I think the reason the political and economic aspects don’t go over my head is because of the discussions I participated in in my Sci Fi class in high school. 🙂

      Reply

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