The Authorized Guide and Companion to Dune
September 1, 2010 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Snippets of poetry from the Imperium; a sample folk tale from the Oral History; brief biographies of over a dozen Duncan Idahos; two differing approaches to Paul Muad'Dib himself and to his son Leto II; Fremen recipes; Fremen history; secrets of the Bene Gesserit; the songs of Gurney Halleck -- these are just some of the treasures found when an earthmover fell into the God Emperor's no-room at Dar-es-Balat. Out of print for more than two decades, disavowed by Frank Herbert's estate, and highly sought-after by fans, the legendary Dune Encyclopedia is now available online as a fully illustrated and searchable PDF [direct link].

[Note: If you're unfamiliar with the Dune series, see the opening section of this TVTropes article for a spoileriffic crash course.]

Conceived and compiled by respected science fiction scholar Dr. Willis E. McNelly in 1984, the phonebook-sized Encyclopedia was a work of speculative beanplating unlike any other. Drawing on the contributions of dozens of experts in history, linguistics, theology, botany, and a score of other fields, it presented a series of approximately 200 essays and articles on the Dune universe, copiously cited and cross-referenced. The level of verisimilitude is striking, as the entire tome was written from the point of view of a "Library Confraternity" of in-universe scholars existing thousands of years after the events of the books. Accordingly, its ponderous, heavily-footnoted entries are rich with arcane detail, citing hundreds of fictional papers and books, and even contain realistic measures of error and misinterpretation.

The comprehensiveness of the project was no accident. Dr. McNelly was a close personal friend of Frank Herbert -- he conducted an extended interview with the author and his wife in 1969 (previously), and penned a heartfelt eulogy after Herbert's death from pancreatic cancer seventeen years later. This close kinship was reflected in the Encyclopedia, which Herbert personally vetted and contributed a foreword to. A record of McNelly's writings on Herbert and the Dune series can be found on his memorial webpage, including a two-part piece on the development of the Encyclopedia, essays about Herbert's literary influences and love of wine, and a collection of writings on the role of science fiction in literature.

Unfortunately, after Herbert's death, his estate placed less and less emphasis on Dr. McNelly's opus, opting instead to highlight the new novels being turned out by Herbert's son. Repeated requests for a reprint of the Encyclopedia were denied, and it was eventually relegated to official "non-canon" status. With McNelly's death and the expansion of the new series of books, this state of affairs is unlikely to change. Still, the Encyclopedia remains a fascinating work, perhaps the finest example of "fan fiction" in sci-fi history.

Some highlights:

[Note: All page numbers refer to this scanned PDF linked to in the FPP. If that version goes down or is removed, you can find another copy here. The character-recognition process is not perfect, and there are a few instances of mis-scanned words scattered throughout the book. If you want to view a direct xerox-style scan of the Encyclopedia -- albeit one with different page numbers and no search function -- see here.]
A Chronology of Some Important Events in Human History (pg. 7) - An extensive timeline of the Dune universe, which charmingly compacts all of human history to date into only nine entries. The chronological baseline has been moved from (approximately) the birth of Jesus to the foundation of the Spacing Guild in A.D. 16,200. This makes deducing the "correct" years a bit difficult, but fortunately the grunt work has been accomplished by this fansite (albeit in Comic Sans). Note that a handful of the early dates are a century off due to an error in the Encyclopedia -- "The Great Struggle" should be in 1400, "Discoveries in America" in 1492, and the "Battle of Englichannel" in 1588.

Al-Harba, Harq (pg. 14) and Al-Harba Question, The (pg. 17) - A biography and analysis of the Dune universe's Shakespeare, including examples of his work and questions about his true identity.

Arrakis, Astronomical Aspects of (pg. 33) - The first in a series of articles detailing planet Arrakis, the central world in the Dune mythos, as well as its environment and evolution.

Atreides, Leto II: God Emperor of Dune (pg. 98) - An account of the son of Muad'Dib, whose actions shaped the course of the later novels over thousands of years of history, and whose hidden historical cache formed the fictional basis of the Encyclopedia.

Atreides, Paul (pg. 113) - A sprawling biography and analysis of the single most pivotal character in the series: Paul "Muad'Dib" Atreides, who founded a new religion and launched an epic holy war that changed the galaxy forever.

Bene Gesserit Archives (pg. 157) - The first of seven articles describing the nature, history, and practices of the mysterious Bene Gesserit sisterhood. Follow-up articles include discourses on the Bene Gesserit Library and Chapter House on Wallach IX, their system of governance, their ranking system, their training techniques, and their extensive history (including hinted-at interludes as the driving force behind Wiccans, European royalty, and the Daughters of the American Revolution).

Butler, Jehanne (pg. 194) and Butlerian Jihad ("The Great Revolt"); Its Cause and Effect (pg. 201) - An analysis of the Dune backstory's most central event paired with a biography of its most central figure. The Butlerian Jihad, a devastating war against "thinking machines," was Frank Herbert's way of constructing a baroque future not defined by advanced technology. The Encyclopedia's account of the Jihad differs significantly from later canon, most notably the controversial trilogy of prequel novels penned by Herbert's son Brian.

Calendar, Standard Imperial (pg. 207) - An interesting exercise in devising a calendar system that spans tens of thousands of worlds.

CHOAM (pg. 226) - An examination of how the "Combine Honnete Ober Advancer Mercantiles" trading society helped maintain the balance of power between the feudalistic Houses over millennia of war and political upheaval.

Family Atomics, History of (pg. 290) - Traces the evolution of nuclear weapons back to the ancient mists of "Old Terra" (20th-century Earth). Due to a serious case of Future Imperfect, the familiar outlines of World War II are heavily and amusingly distorted to adhere to the neo-feudal "House" system that dominates the world of Dune.

Fremen: Cultural Development to the Year 10190 (pg. 314) - One of many articles exploring the culture and history of the Fremen people of Arrakis. Companion articles include an account of their Jihad against the rest of the galaxy (led by Paul Muad'Dib) and a detailed examination of their language and customs.

Holtzman, Ibrahim Vaughn (pg. 419) and Holtzman Effect (pg. 423) - The strange and tragic tale of the lost scientist whose research produced, among other things, near-instant communication and convenient interstellar travel.

Imperium, Feudal Patterns of (pg 470) - An explanation of the basic structure of the galactic government.

Mentats, History of the Order (pg. 515) - The first of three articles outlining the "Mentats," human computers that have come to replace advanced AI.

Orange Catholic Bible, the Fundamental Scripture of the Imperium (pg. 553) - Adapted from the Appendix of the first Dune novel (a much pithier essay, in my opinion: 1 2 3) and ostensibly written by protagonist Paul Muad'Dib, this article explores the history of the O.C. Bible, the revered "Accumulated Book" of pan-religious scripture that forms the foundation of faith in the Dune universe. Includes a rare list of the tome's constituent books, a roster of contributing faiths, and a follow-up essay analyzing its impact on Paul Muad'dib that's rich with O.C. Biblical quotes.

Rakis Finds, Discovery (pg. 582) - An account of the discovery of Leto II's secret "no-room" that contained much of the information discussed elsewhere in the Encyclopedia.

Shai-Hulud (pg. 618) - An overview of the monstrous sandworms of Arrakis: their biology, life-cycle, and their role in the production of the all-important melange.

Spacing Guild, Foundation (pg. 629) - A history of the Spacing Guild, the consortium that controls all trade and transportation in the galaxy through their monopoly on melange and the mutated pilots who sustain themselves on it.
Fabulous Bonus: Open source advocate Tim O'Reilly's full-length biography of Frank Herbert, now available for free through his website.
posted by Rhaomi (55 comments total) 152 users marked this as a favorite

 
Father! The reader is delighted!
posted by cortex at 4:44 PM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


-dies happy-
posted by strixus at 4:47 PM on September 1, 2010


It's a great book, one of the best examples of what I like to call "fictional non-fiction'. It's of the particular sub-class written from an in-universe perspective, which somehow makes it more fun. It's also written from the perspective of someone living after all the events in the novels happened, so there are lots of spoilers, but just about as many interesting speculations about why things happened, what things meant, etc.

The illustrations by Matt Howarth (he of Those Annoying Post Bros. and "Sonic Curiosity" fame) are just icing on the cake.

The book was one of a series of things I set myself to buying when I got home from Taiwan a few years ago. Got a copy on eBay for not too much.
posted by jiawen at 4:53 PM on September 1, 2010


There are too many Sci-Fi Imperiums; the Imperium from Dune should fight the Imperium from Warhammer for the title.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:55 PM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Holy crapcakes, I've never actually seen a copy of this. This is amazing.

Rhaomi, may you raise your families in happiness amidst an abundance of water!
posted by SNWidget at 5:01 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


First MeFi post that actually made me choke.
posted by penduluum at 5:04 PM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I realized a number of years ago that reading the Dune Encyclopedia is more enjoyable than reading any of the actual novels. I felt somehow relieved of guilt once I'd articulated that thought to myself.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 5:05 PM on September 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


OMG YES! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! I spent a whole summer in my early teens at my father's cabin poring over his copy of the book. Several years later, it never made it back to my house when he and mom got back together. He didn't remember the book when I asked him about it and none of my friends ever heard of it, so I've always half wondered whether it was something that I had "made up" in my head to cope with my folk's seperation. Now I know it was real, and I can finally shut the door on 20+ plus years of nagging childhood anxiety.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:06 PM on September 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


There goes my week. Rhaomi, this is a great find, thanks.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:08 PM on September 1, 2010


So the Herbert estate decrees the Encyclopedia non-canon and the Brian Herbert novels canon. But it's hard to make a completely persuasive case that it isn't the other way around.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:13 PM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Skimming the timeline is interesting, especially in how much got changed between that and the Dun prequels (especially those set during the Butlerian Jihad). A lot of events that Brian Anderson and Kevin Anderson describe as taking place during the beginning days of the Jihad against the machines were originally envisioned as taking place throughout the timeline. Holtzmann's inventions, Norma Cenva's spice-guided foldspace trip, and the discoveries on Rossak which led to the creation of the Bene Gesserit, all take place over a wider period of time than as envisioned in the prequel novels.

Then again, Anderson and Herbert the Younger basically said that they didn't consider it canon, so I guess it's not to be surprised. From wikipedia:

" THE DUNE ENCYCLOPEDIA reflects an alternate "DUNE universe" which did not necessarily represent the "canon" created by Frank Herbert. Frank Herbert's son, Brian Herbert, writing with Kevin J. Anderson, IS continuing to establish the canon of the DUNE universe. This is being done with the full approval of the owner of the DUNE copyright, the Herbert Limited Partnership.
While Frank Herbert himself considered THE DUNE ENCYCLOPEDIA interesting and entertaining, he did not refer to Dr. McNelly's derivative work while writing any of his DUNE novels. Likewise, in writing their DUNE novels (beginning with DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES), Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have exclusively used, and will continue to use, Frank Herbert's original notes as well as their own imaginations, and not THE DUNE ENCYCLOPEDIA. [23]"

I wonder if one could make the meta explanation that because this would be like us writing about things that happened tens of thousands of years ago, certain facts and timelines get distorted.

It doesn't matter in the end, though, as this is a great bit of reading for any Dune fan, alternate universe implications or not.
posted by SNWidget at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2010


I must not read this at work
This is the productivity killer
This is the little death that brings total oblivion
I will let this pass through me
And when it is gone.... I will still really want to read it!
posted by munchingzombie at 5:17 PM on September 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


I actually owned this back in the day, when I was in college and had the time and brainspace to read up on fictional universes for fun and have some hope of retaining it. I don't know whether it vanished in one of my many moves since then or whether my ex got it when we split the books, but I'm delighted to get another copy now. Thank you!

/kinda ran out of steam after the fourth book so doesn't care about the later canon.
posted by immlass at 5:24 PM on September 1, 2010


Does anyone know anything about this Vanity Fair piece that cortex mentions?
posted by grouse at 5:49 PM on September 1, 2010


That tweet is noncanonical. Pay it no mind.
posted by cortex at 5:52 PM on September 1, 2010


My copy of this is one of my most treasured possessions. It's definitely only quasi-canon, because it's from an in universe perspective and thus has unreliable narrators. Plus, it was written before Heretics and Chapterhouse, which contradict it in spots. But it's still a great read.

I've pimped it before, but National Lampoon's Doon is a great little parody and available for much cheaper than copies of the Encyclopedia.

I also have no idea what people are talking about when they mention Dune prequels. The mere idea is preposterous.
posted by kmz at 5:53 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome.
posted by statelyplumpbuckmulligan at 5:57 PM on September 1, 2010


Oh thank you thank you. This is one of the books I had when I was a kid and held too lightly because kids, what do they know? I have no idea how I lost it. Anyway. It's back now. Thank you.
posted by kipmanley at 6:35 PM on September 1, 2010


Got this at a library sale back in the late 80s. Sits on my shelf right next to my Terran Trade Authority books.
posted by Tenuki at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sits on my shelf right next to my Terran Trade Authority books.

Man, Mr. F and I went on an epic TTA hunt at one point. That's a whole 'nother post right there.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:42 PM on September 1, 2010


...You know all those 'ultimately pointless' Spacing Guild Navigator sequences, and the mentat stuff in the movie... well, that was just a big shout-out to The Dune Encyclopedia!

posted by ovvl at 7:47 PM on September 1, 2010


Kooll-Juh-Herk!
posted by Casimir at 8:00 PM on September 1, 2010


Both the Dune Encyclopedia and National Lampoon's Doon are on my shelf, thanks to a friend and a birthday.

He told me he had bought me a Dune book, and I already owned all of them other than the Dune Encyclopedia, which had just been released. I was salivating for days thinking how great it would be to be able to read the Encyclopedia. Imagine my surprise when I opened Doon instead. I think I concealed my disappointment well, and I did enjoy reading Doon, but I went right out after my birthday to buy a copy of the Dune Encyclopedia. Delightful!

I still pull it off the shelf occasionally to re-read an entry or two. (And I have managed to avoid the Brian Herbert books -- from everything I hear, that's a good thing.)
posted by dttocs at 8:04 PM on September 1, 2010


I still pull it off the shelf occasionally to re-read an entry or two. (And I have managed to avoid the Brian Herbert books -- from everything I hear, that's a good thing.)

I've got a robust tolerance for bad literature, and I picked one up while on holiday one time. Seven pages in I closed it, weighed it in my hand briefly and fastballed it into the rubbish bin.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:14 PM on September 1, 2010


That tweet is noncanonical. Pay it no mind.
We have weirding ways of making you talk, cortex.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:16 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


kmz: "National Lampoon's Doon is a great little parody"

"If he's so damn ineffable, why doesn't he write his own biography?"
posted by Chrysostom at 8:31 PM on September 1, 2010


I was a bit fanatic about Dune in my high school days. I had a copy of the Dune Encyclopedia and... well, I sort of think people got to edging away when they saw me coming with it. I've often wondered how many girls I might potentially have gotten dates with if I hadn't constantly been talking about the balance of power between the Imperial House Corrino and the rest of the Landsraad or the competition between the Bene Gesserit and the Mentats or ...

Aww... come back. Please.

Aslo, since Frank Herbert approved it, in my opinion it is as canonical as it can be. Screw his heirs.
posted by John Smallberries at 8:32 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I still pull it off the shelf occasionally to re-read an entry or two. (And I have managed to avoid the Brian Herbert books -- from everything I hear, that's a good thing.)

I... *sigh* I can't stop with them. I've read them all. It's bad. Every time I finish one of them, I swear up and down that it'll be my last. I did it when the first one (House Atriedes) came out. I did it after the Butlerian Jihad trilogy. I did it after Hunters and Sandworms. God, did I swear that I'd never read another fucking word of Brian Herbert after Sandworms. But I was at an airport, I had an hour before my flight... and I bought Paul of Dune. And I read it. And hated myself for reading it...

I told my wife to make me stop. Don't let me do this, I begged.

I just picked up Winds of Dune, or whatever the latest one is called. I've started.

It's the universe. I love the universe so much that even if it's being dragged through every sci-fi trope and cliche known to man, I'll still read. I'm the reason they keep writing these damn things.

Next time I'm at the airport, I'll just buy Eat, Pray, Love instead.
posted by SNWidget at 8:39 PM on September 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow. Condsidering how the series petered out, even while being written by Frank Hebert (seriously, Heretics? Chapterhouse? Gah. I barely made it through those, and that only to a bizarre completionist compulsion.), I can't imagine how bad the Brian 'Have you met my cashcow' Hebert's novels must be.

Still, someday, when I have something really, really important to do, I'll come back to this post and read it instead. Awesome post. Creepy as well, since I've run out of new books and am currently wending my way through the series again. I will stop after God Emporer this time, damnit.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:55 PM on September 1, 2010


Unfortunately, after Herbert's death, his estate placed less and less emphasis on Dr. McNelly's opus, opting instead to highlight the new novels being turned out by Herbert's son.

I've said this before, but Brian Herbert couldn't disrespect his dead father more if he went to his grave, pulled down his pants and plowed the dirt.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:02 PM on September 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks Rhaomi! Downloading for reading tonight. Good thing mrs arcticseal is away at present.
posted by arcticseal at 9:18 PM on September 1, 2010


Am I the only person that thinks God Emperor is a really good book with lots of juicy Frank Herbert wisdom and that books 5 & 6 are great, too?
posted by BillBishop at 9:25 PM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


now i have 3 months at the least to read so I have opened a new file.. yes...rare so ah thanks..I mean ISYnot...ms.clav loves long series particularly in the fall ,well she was looking fur said and it was pawed , no, it was in the forbidden library (pictures 50$)so she says we NEED to watch Dune...ho-ye smokes my recorder was still typing...little prick 7.04$ an hour...
posted by clavdivs at 9:39 PM on September 1, 2010


BillBishop, I happen to think God Emperor of Dune is almost as good as Dune. (The others, not so much, although they are decent reads. The whole Miles Teg and Idaho plan was really cool.)
posted by infinitewindow at 9:46 PM on September 1, 2010


Am I the only person that thinks God Emperor is a really good book with lots of juicy Frank Herbert wisdom and that books 5 & 6 are great, too?

Nope! Well, I do need to re-read God Emperor because the last time I did was years ago and I didn't have patience back then for the philosophizing, but I really really loved Heretics and Chapterhouse, which really should be read as two volumes of a single work. Miles Teg and Odrade are some of my favorite Duneverse characters.
posted by kmz at 9:47 PM on September 1, 2010


FWIW, the Prelude to Dune trilogy (House Atreides, House Harkonnen and House Corrino) was actually pretty good. I started to read the first book of the Butlerian Jihad trilogy (The Machine Crusade?), though and had to put it down after 50 pages. There's hackery and then there's pissing all over your father's legacy. I couldn't bring myself to even attempt any of the others.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:20 PM on September 1, 2010


Kull wahad! Never thought I would actually see this. Thanks!
posted by Palquito at 10:23 PM on September 1, 2010


I was at one time a real pain on the subject of the original Dune books. It did help in talking with guys about subjects other than politics, sport, or sex.

I liked the Czech Dune movie a lot as well.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:03 AM on September 2, 2010


My head, it hurts. Old now, am I. But my memory is not gone, only filled with holes, like some excellent cheese. Glimpses of the past, shades of what was, haunt and taunt. So Dune.

Oh, god, once, I was young! Melange? What the hell? What was that mixture? Ah, yes, the missing ingredient, so easy to forget. It was youth. My heart aches, for that ingredient is missing now, forever. At least, for me.

So, some measure of youth, combined with some other things, a bit of this, the experience of that, this is the melange which produced these strange images which flash before the screen of my memory, incomplete of necessity.

Or, perhaps, it was always so? Glimpses of a pattern, mere flashes in the dark. And the optimism of youth to flesh it out into something that seemed it may have been real. Surely, this is more likely the case.

However, to accept such a conclusion, that the experience was illusion, seems harsh and cruel. I was there, it was real. It was madness. These things are not incompatible. It was chaos, upon which my mind could impose order. Then, in a flash, at once the order is perceived and the vision collapses.

One could walk away and say "It was all a dream". Yes, one could. But that would require one to ignore incidents where things make sense where they should not, because of something remembered (If I may mix a little Heinlein in with my Herbert).

Dune? If you don't read it young, you're missing out of most of the fun. I did, but then, we had melange in those days. You can't 'get' Dune right, without melange. Youth and acid, herb and music. And caffeine, definitely caffeine is part of the melange. And the desire to unscrew the inscrutable.
posted by Goofyy at 2:03 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rhaomi is the time killer.
Rhaomi's is the little post that totally obliterates my day.
I will read the PDF.
I will let time pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn my eye to see the clock.
Where the day has been there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
posted by Splunge at 4:50 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The character-recognition process is not perfect...

But inspiring nonetheless -- the section on Mehtats is making me rethink my career choices.
posted by JohnFredra at 5:42 AM on September 2, 2010


This thing needs to be reformatted and made more readable. I might just do that.
posted by papercake at 5:54 AM on September 2, 2010


The reader has awakened!
posted by Samizdata at 5:58 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


USUL WE HAVE WORMSIGN THE LIKES OF WHICH GOD HAS NEVER SEEN!

*gleefully downloads*



Wow, "Tell me of your homeworld, Usul", indeed.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:23 AM on September 2, 2010


Got this at a library sale back in the late 80s. Sits on my shelf right next to my Terran Trade Authority books.

There's never been a series of cheaply made and badly written books as enjoyable as the TAA books. I spent the eighth and ninth grade inventing a future history which was largely a mish-mash of the TAA books and Heinlein's juveniles.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:24 AM on September 2, 2010


Oh my god, for the past five minutes since I saw this post I have been making the Homer-sees-a-donut noise. Aloud, at my desk.
Guess I shan't be doing any work today. Thank you, Rhaomi, you magnificent bastard.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:00 AM on September 2, 2010


But inspiring nonetheless -- the section on Mehtats is making me rethink my career choices.

I particularly like the article on Ixian Mo-Rooms, which are full of cows.

A lot of events that Brian Anderson and Kevin Anderson describe as taking place during the beginning days of the Jihad against the machines were originally envisioned as taking place throughout the timeline.

It's harder to write books with the action spread out over thousands of years.

Then again, Anderson and Herbert the Younger basically said that they didn't consider it canon

It's all fanfic. There probably exists better dune fanfic.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:00 AM on September 2, 2010


I've said this before, but Brian Herbert couldn't disrespect his dead father more if he went to his grave, pulled down his pants and plowed the dirt.

Tycho, is that you?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bough this at Powell's in 1991 for $12. One of my most treasured possessions.
posted by Ratio at 10:00 AM on September 2, 2010


Bhwaa!??

I have things to do...


and now it includes this!
posted by P.o.B. at 1:37 PM on September 2, 2010


When I was about eleven years old, I was highly enamored of both a boxed set of the first three Dune books in paperback at a Waldenbooks and a Dune board game in the toy store across the street. Instead of picking up either one, I bought a copy of the Dune Encyclopedia. I was simultaneously enthralled and confused as hell, totally not getting that all the references to books about Alia were fictional, etc. That year I got the Dune books set for Christmas and was lost probably a quarter into Dune. I gave up and went back to my Tolkein and Eddings and Heinlein juveniles.

I eventually gave the Dune Encyclopedia away and didn't actually read Dune and all of its sequels until I was in my 30s. This PDF brings back a lot of memories. Thanks!
posted by raincrow at 2:53 PM on September 2, 2010


Tycho, is that you?

That's funny; I hadn't seen that before but should have known I wouldn't be the first person to make the corpse-fucking joke. It's the only sane response.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm pretty new to the dune-iverse. I finally got through Dune about a month ago and have been trying to decide if I am going to continue on with the series. I'm torn between the deliciously expansive environment and the thought Herbert put into it, and the mildly fascist elements and weird genetic exceptionalism that runs through the plot.

This encyclopedia makes me want to read more, but can anyone tell me: does the narrative get better down the line? Am I the only one who struggled through it at times?
posted by Think_Long at 10:41 AM on September 6, 2010


mildly fascist elements and weird genetic exceptionalism that runs through the plot.

For what it's worth, the plot develops with a fairly significant self-awareness, on both Herbert's and the characters' parts, of just how nasty and complicated that exceptionalism is. The story is an epic, not a hagiography; the ways in which the central characters struggle with, rather than blithely accept, the weird force of history and ideology and genetics that they find themselves part and parcel of is a big part of what makes the series compelling to me. "Terrible purpose" has always struck me as the key phrase.
posted by cortex at 11:36 AM on September 6, 2010


Metafilter: mildly fascist elements and weird genetic exceptionalism
posted by ambulocetus at 10:27 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


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