Dune: Cinema’s unattainable dream
Although much of its recent attention has come from the big screen, the Dune series by Frank Herbert was a behemoth in the world of fiction since the first book was released in 1965.
The thrilling Dune movie was released in late 2021 to immense critical and commercial acclaim. Denis Villeneuve’s efforts yielded a worthy dune adaptation of a major motion picture directed brilliantly and remarkably.
A befitting cinematic adaptation of the books seemed to be an unattainable dream since the first Dune movie of the science fiction series was released in 1984.
While the star-studded cast of Dune includes Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, and Rebecca Ferguson, the lore of Dune is no stranger to bright lights.
Jewel of Science fiction
The Dune novels have won several accolades, including the Hugo Award in 1996 and the inaugural Nebula Award.
Beyond its monumental status, Dune became the world’s highest-selling science fiction novel in 2003. Such a landmark showed the timelessness of the sci-fi novels about forty years from its prior release. The classic Dune series will indeed live forever.
Frank Herbert and his masterpiece
Before Frank Herbert died in 1986, he published just six Dune series novels during his lifetime. However, his works so no end as his son, Brian Herbert, continued his father’s works.
Brian collaborated with acclaimed science fiction author, Kevin J. Anderson, to create another Dune story series of prequels and sequels in addition to the original six.
In 1999, the duo published the first of three books that would later expand into several Dune trilogies.
Dune’s lore is set many millennia into humanity’s future, where technology has leaped the bounds of today’s imagination. Frank Herbert engraved his written Dune world with ultralight travel and human colonization of multiple planets.
Humanity’s wealth of intergalactic empires is controlled by several Great Houses in a system reminiscent of the middle age’s feudalism.
The desert planet Arrakis
These Great Houses control several planets, but the story is set on one, in particular, the desert planet Arrakis, otherwise known as “Dune.”
Arrakis is a desert planet with little to no rainfall. However, this odd planet is the source of the well sought-after drug, ‘Melange.’ This Melange drug is a life-extending substance that also magnifies the mental capacity of its users.
Computers and artificial intelligence have been forbidden in Dune since the Butlerian jihad of millennia prior. After the machine crusade, Melange was used by specially trained humans (Mentats) to perform complex calculations without the aid of computers and thinking machines.
Such calculations help mutated pilots of the Spacing Guild to navigate folded spaces and travel between several planets. It also triggers the powers of a mighty religious group, the Bene Gesserit.
For all its great benefits, Melange is very difficult to obtain. This is because of Arrakis’ hostile environment, especially the monstrous sandworms in the dune desert. Rhythmic sounds generated in any area of the desert attract these sandworms to the explorer’s peril.
Dune (the first novel) mainly revolves around one of the Great houses – House Atreides. The head, Duke Leto Atreides, ruled over the ocean planet, Caladan. This was until his overlord, Emperor Shaddam IV, assigned him to Arrakis as a vassal ruler.
However, this assignment was just a ploy in the grand scheme to destroy House Atreides. The Emperor and House Harkonnen conceived this scheme, former stewards of Arrakis, who both despised the Atreides noble family and would bring great peril.
House Atreides was in a precarious situation. Asides from the hostile dune planet, Duke Leto had to match the former Harrkonen tenure’s production volume or suffer grave consequences.
Duke Leto could not evade this trap as it would mean insubordination to the emperor.
Beneath the political strife, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood organization also worked towards their own profit in the shadows. This ancient organization manipulated the course of humanity to guide them towards the desired end.
Bene Gesserit is one of the great schools in the Dune universe, and their significant influence takes a toll on the story’s characters. The matriarchal organization used its millennia-long breeding program to mechanize desired bloodlines.
Their primary goal was to combine these bloodlines to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, a male Dune messiah that would determine humanity’s future.
Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit member, became a concubine of Duke Leto. The sisterhood planned to produce a daughter from mating with him to actualize the organizations’ ancient and unattainable dream.
However, Lady Jessica produced a male child instead known as Paul Atreides, who would become Maud’dib, the mysterious man of Dune.
The boy Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalet on the big screen, becomes the hero of the Dune saga. The saga is the story of the boy who would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient dream.
Moreover, his journey evokes a thrilling adventure as he seeks to destroy those who plot against his noble family. Paul Atreides would later reign over the dune universe as god-emperor after avenging the traitorous plot.
In Dune, Frank Herbert takes us through the thrill of dystopian warfare and political landscapes with a stunning blend of epic substance and acute political intrigue.
Dune is not just about the protagonist but encompasses a tale of worlds quite beyond our imagination.
Is Dune available as an audiobook?
The demise of Frank Herbert in 1986 was indeed sad, but his visionary fiction remains unapologetically etched in memory. The Dune novel is also available in audiobook form for audio players.
Audible published the first audiobook novel in 2008 to supplement the written form. This audiobook is packed with an impeccable narration that won the Audie award for science fiction.
The narration of Dune was voiced by an entire cast of voice actors, including Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Simon Vance, Euan Morton, and Ilyana Kadushin.
Is the Dune audiobook all 6 books?
From the originals of Frank Herbert himself to the additional trilogies, there are audiobooks available for the entire Dune series.
The award-winning narration team of Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Simon Vance, and Euan Morton reprised their role in voicing the world of Frank Herbert for the whole series.
A thrilling audiobook adventure into the world of Dune awaits! The novel audiobooks are incredibly promising, either listened to individually or in a book club. So get your audio player ready for this beauty!