What is Dune?
Dune is a science fiction novel published in 1965 by Frank Herbert. It was well received immediately, winning both the inaugural Nebula and sharing the Hugo in 1966. Dune is often called one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time; it has never gone out of print.
The novel is set in the far, far future when interstellar travel is possible thanks to “melange” or spice, a consumable substance which allows a specialist guild to navigate the complexities of faster-than-light travel. Galactic society is feudal in structure, with large Houses competing for economic dominance, all of whom hope to control the planet Arrakis, the only place in the universe where the spice can be found. The beginning of the Dune saga follows House Atreides as they take over stewardship of the planet only to be dismantled from within by spies planted by rival House Harkonnen. Duke Atreides’ son, Paul, survives the attack and goes “underground,” where he is trained in the ways of the desert by the Fremen people, the original settlers of the planet thousands of years earlier. Paul Atreides grows in power, fulfilling a prophecy thousands of years old that a Messiah who can see and think forwards and backwards through time would unite the galaxy. But first he must defeat Baron Harkonnen and his House and free Arrakis from ecological collapse due to demand for melange.
Herbert’s masterpiece is deeply philosophical, rife with deep thoughts about the nature of power, politics, religion, free will, technology and ecology. Dune has often been credited with bringing explicit ecological concerns to the field of science fiction. A deeply humanistic novel, Dune tries to consider how power shapes individuals and how individuals can shape society, for good or for ill.
Where Should You Start?
With the first book of course! Herbert’s universe is complex and somewhat daunting at first, but he lays out everything you need to know in the first few hundred pages of the first book. Armed with that knowledge you are ready to take on the rest of the action packed second half of the novel and the rest of the series.
After Dune, What’s Next?
Herbert took years and years to devise the sequels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, and the time and care he put into them show. Some folks argue all you need is the first Dune, but we think books 2 and 3 have their delights. Dune Messiah and Children of Dune should be read together, one after the other, not only because that’s the order they were published in, but because they were conceived as tightly bound, one plot flowing into the next. Dune Messiah follows Paul Atreides, the Muad'Dib, as the Emperor of the galaxy, but the remnants of House Harkonnen and new enemies conspire to remove him from power. Paul is tormented by foreknowledge: that he must do despicable things to set humanity on a millenia-spanning course with distant utopia as the goal. Dune Messiah is shorter than Dune, but more focused, with less worldbuilding and more intrigue and action. Children of Dune is longer, but not quite as lengthy as Dune. In it, Paul’s children have come of age and the religion around the Muad'Dib has coarsened and veered from the path Paul worked so hard to put humanity on; the utopia promised will never come to pass because Paul refused to make the necessary sacrifice. Leto, his son, has the same foreknowledge as Paul but does not shy away from what must be done. With Children of Dune’s denouement and end, the trilogy is complete, and the story can be closed.
Aren’t there more Books in the Series?
Yes, the fourth book is God Emperor of Dune, set 3,500 years after Children of Dune, with Leto still living as Emperor. This novel, published five years after the previous one, is a bridge between what Herbert envisioned as two trilogies: the first Dune trilogy, then a second, comprising Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse: Dune, and Dune 7, which was left unfinished after Herbert passed away in 1986. Dune 7 was completed by his son, Brian Herbert, and his collaborator Kevin J. Anderson as two books, Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. While the reception to these last two was decidedly mixed, completionists may want to delve in just to see how Frank Herbert saw the series ending.
There are quite a few adaptations of the books, despite their legendary status as impenetrable or difficult. First is David Lynch's 1984 version known simply as Dune. Critically reviled and disowned by its director, the 1984 version features Kyle MacLachlan as Paul and a score by the band Toto. Recently, the film was restored and reissued by Arrow Video in 4K UHD.
After that, the Sci-Fi channel did two TV mini-series with the intent of adapting the source material more closely. Frank Herbert's Dune and Frank Herbert's Children of Dune starred Alec Newman as Paul and then James McAvoy as Leto II, Paul's son. While these adaptations were closer to the book, a network TV-sized budget and rudimentary computer graphics held them back from being great.
Famously, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve adapted the novel into two parts: 2021's Dune: Part One and the forthcoming Dune: Part Two, starring Timothée Chalamet as Paul. Critical reception was high and more importantly, it reignited interest in the Dune books.
While the books have never been out of print, they have enjoyed a huge sales boost in the last two years and we hope to bring even more fans onboard! But how to start?Categories: Site News, Staff Pick, Fun, SciFi & Fantasy, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Book Lists, Literature
For anyone who loves learning, but may not have a lot of extra time during their busy week, our Community Classroom offers weekend courses too.
Starting in September, you can make your own Mandala, learn about the women of rock and roll, take poetry classes with Winnipeg’s very own Poet Laureate, discover the benefits of Indian spices, or indulge your inner foodie with a decadent chocolate or wine and cheese tasting (or both!).
Keep reading for a list of weekend classes coming up in fall 2019!
- Celebrating International Chocolate
- Contemporary Poetries 3.0
- Respect: The Women of Rock (John Einarson teaches rock history classes every Friday!)
- Mandalas and Meditation
- Wine & Cheese Tasting
- Spices of Life: The Benefits of Indian Spices
Categories: Poetry, Fun, Music, Winnipeg, Community Classroom
On July 30th, 2016, McNally Robinson hosted midnight release parties for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two in both Winnipeg and Saskatoon. The parties were held to celebrate not only the release of Cursed Child but the fun and magic of the Harry Potter series as a whole. Many of our booksellers are fans of the series, and from past experiences we know there are many Potterheads in the Prairies — and at this year's parties, those fans came out in force.
Our Winnipeg celebration took place at the Lyric Theatre field in Assiniboine Park, and it's a good thing we had all of that open space. Based on previous parties and the response we had on social media, we anticipated around ten thousand guests at this year's party — but ended up with closer to 15,000. With so many Potterheads, many of whom were dressed up in their finest witch and wizard garb, the park was abuzz as guests took in the live entertainment and perused the activities and tents around the party grounds. Among the attractions were Quidditch lessons and scrimmages, a Tri-Wizard tournament, live animals in the Care of Magical Creatures station, a Diagon Alley shop tent, snacks and drinks from The Three Broomsticks, plus much more. All the while there were live performances by JP Hoe and The Mariachi Ghost from the Lyric Theatre stage. To see some photos of the party, explore #PotterPartyWPG on Twitter and Instagram.
Meanwhile, our Saskatoon location hosted a party at the bookstore and surrounding parking lot, which drew in a crowd of over 2000 fans of all ages. The event kept attendees on their toes with everything from high-spirited games of Quidditch to Dementors handing out demerits. A handful of furry (and not so furry) guests made an appearance, including live rats, snakes, and cats. Fans enjoyed frothy mugs of Butterbeer and sweet nibbles of Pumpkin Pasties in Prairie Ink, which was done up in Great Hall chic for the occasion with stars and Hogwarts letters strung from the ceiling. The more daring of the attendees tried their hand at competing in tasks such as the Tri-Wizard Tournament, complete with a series of nail-biting trivia questions. All guests were also invited to sit beneath the Sorting Hat and tremble in anticipation as it deliberated over which House they would be sorted into.
And of course at the stroke of midnight we began handing out copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Line-ups at both parties, as well as at our Grant Park bookstore, were filled with hundreds of eager fans, most of whom were beaming and some of whom were teary-eyed with joy, and all were on their way home with their new book in record time.
We thank all of the volunteers and organizations who helped us put our parties together, and a big thank you to all of the Potterheads who joined us for the evening. We had record turnouts at both parties, and — if we're fortunate enough to get another Harry Potter book someday — we hope to see you all at the next celebration.Categories: Fun, Store News, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Event News
Everyone's favourite worrisome squirrel has some tips to make sure you stay safe while reading:
Visit us today to help fill up your collection of books! And yes, we've got plenty of Scaredy Squirrel books!Categories: Fun, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
SASKATOON- Hey there Fans of all things Fandom! If you're a middle and/or teen reader with a thirst for following the things you love, this is for you! Whether a seasoned fandom veteran or a novice looking for a place to get their fandom feet wet, this is the place to discuss all things**!
**Apparently Fandom can be traced back to the 1930's! Who knew? It can also be characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. If you are an avid fan and follower of books, movies, television shows, comics, and/or anime, (etc.), chances are, you may already be a part of Fandom culture!: (consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom) is a term that refers to a microcosm of people who are fans of a fiction genre.
Hosted by our very ownSo feel free to join us every , you can expect an excellent evening and a chance to meet, hang out, play games, and participate in Fandom-related activities! We will be discussing a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, fanfiction, cosplay, fan subculture, fan-created meta, and all things fandom related! . Groups are always welcome!
Check out our excellent new Tumblr page, mcnallyfandomfridays.tumblr.com
For more info, call the kids desk (306)-955-1477
There is a $5.00 drop in charge to help cover the cost of refreshments/goodies (Mmmmmm! nom nom nom)Categories: Discussions, Fun, Saskatoon, Ongoing Kids Events in Saskatoon
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