Frank Herbert was an American science-fiction writer. He was born on October 8, 1920 in Tacoma, Washington, US.

He is especially well known for his novel Dune, which was published in 1965, and its five sequels.

Apart from being a world-renowned novelist, Herbert was also a print journalist, photographer, book reviewer, ecological consultant, and lecturer. He was also one of the initial science-fiction writers to write on ecology.

Dune and the Dune Saga are one of the world’s all-time bestselling science-fiction novels and have won numerous accolades and prizes, including the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award. In fact, Dune and the Dune Saga had a major influence on many later science-fiction novels and films.

Herbert breathed his last on February 11, 1986.


Dune is divided into three parts – Dune, Muad’dib, and The Prophet.

The book is set in a distant future. The protagonist is Paul Atreides, the heir to duke Leto Atreides.

The Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV, fearing duke Leto’s influence, orders Paul to take up the operations of the Arrakis planet – the desert planet rich in ‘melange’ from the rivals, Harkonnen. Despite knowing that things are not as they seem, the duke agrees.

Paul’s mother, Jessica, who is the concubine of Duke Leto and a Bene Gesserit, also warns the duke, who decides to go ahead and relocate anyway. On her part, Jessica has been training Paul from an early age in the ways of the Bene Gesserit. She had also trained him to be a Menat.

After arriving in Arrakis with his loyal household, the duke ensures that all the bases are covered to thwart the plans of the Harkonnen and the Padishah. He also reaches out to the native inhabitants, the Fremen, to ensure a stronger defense. However, as fate would have it, the duke is betrayed.

This gets the ball rolling, and changes not only the entire course of Paul’s life but also that of the empire.


As a novel, Dune is not your regular story of struggles between planets in the universe to gain control over each other. It addresses many deeper issues that may soon be a reality on the Earth if we are not considerate enough toward our environment. The importance of water and the inevitable conflicts that occur when it is limited make up the central themes of this novel.

The author was largely inspired by the Arabic tribes and their survival tactics in the desert. Many words and customs bear a striking resemblance to the Arabic culture and help visualize the struggle of the Fremen.

Quote from Frank Herbert's Dune

One cannot help but feel admiration for the young protagonist, Paul, who, within a short time, assumes the role of the leader whose arrival was prophesied for hundreds of years. His predicaments, pain, and struggles from the day he set foot on Arrakis are so well portrayed that even the most uninspired readers can feel them for real.

One very strong message that comes out of this novel is that to survive one has to adapt and adapt quickly. True survivalists will turn all disadvantages to their advantage. Besides, for the survival of the future generation, the present generation has to sacrifice and practice large-scale sustainability.


To find fault in Dune is to look for a needle in a haystack. That said, the one thing that does merit a mention is that the story has a serious feel to it throughout, with only a few light-hearted instances scattered here and there.


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path, where the fear has there will be nothing. Only I will return.

“You’ll learn a great concern for water,” Hawat said. “As the Duke’s son you’ll never want for it, but you’ll see the pressures of thirst all around you.”


Ameya Score:

We would recommend Dune to all readers, regardless of their age group. This is one of the few science-fiction novels that are not just meant for sci-fi buffs. The book is a must-read for everyone due to the social and ecological issues it so impeccably touches upon.

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