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Dune 101

Saturday, May 06, 2023 at 4:50pm

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. 

Adaptations

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?

Different Editions

For those starting on your Dune journey, you have quite a few options. Many of the editions are listed below after the text, but here we will highlight a couple different editions.

For the first book, there are four main editions in print: the mass market paperback, the trade paperback (same cover, larger size book), the Penguin Galaxy edition, and the Deluxe Hardcover.

Mass Market Trade paperback Penguin Galaxy Deluxe Edition

No matter which you choose, you are in for a treat. Staff here at the bookstore are always excited to sell copies, if it's your first or twentieth time reading it. If you have more questions, we're happy to answer them here: [email protected]

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Dune

- Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman, Brian Herbert

Hardcover $40.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $36.00

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem

A deluxe hardcover edition of the best-selling science-fiction book of all time--part of
Penguin Galaxy, a collectible series of six sci-fi/fantasy classics, featuring a series introduction by Neil Gaiman

Winner of the AIGA + Design Observer 50 Books | 50 Covers competition

Science fiction's supreme masterpiece, Dune will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, it is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who will become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. Paul's noble family is named stewards of Arrakis, whose sands are the only source of a powerful drug called "the spice." After his family is brought down in a traitorous plot, Paul must go undercover to seek revenge, and to bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Penguin Galaxy
 
Six of our greatest masterworks of science fiction and fantasy, in dazzling collector-worthy hardcover editions, and featuring a series introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, Penguin Galaxy represents a constellation of achievement in visionary fiction, lighting the way toward our knowledge of the universe, and of ourselves. From historical legends to mythic futures, monuments of world-building to mind-bending dystopias, these touchstones of human invention and storytelling ingenuity have transported millions of readers to distant realms, and will continue for generations to chart the frontiers of the imagination.
 
The Once and Future King by T. H. White
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Dune by Frank Herbert
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer by William Gibson

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Frank Herbert's Dune Saga 3-Book Boxed Set

- Frank Herbert

Trade paperback $40.97 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $36.87

Perfect for longtime fans and new readers alike--a beautiful premium mass market boxed set of the first three novels in Frank Herbert's Dune Saga.

DUNE IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem.

In the far future, on a remote planet, an epic adventure awaits. Here are the first three novels of Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune saga--a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling science fiction series of all time.

Includes Books 1 - 3: DUNE o DUNE MESSIAH o CHILDREN OF DUNE

Frank Herbert's Dune Saga 6-Book Boxed Set

- Frank Herbert

Trade paperback $144.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $129.60

Perfect for longtime fans and new readers alike--a beautiful trade paperback boxed set of the first six novels in Frank Herbert's Dune Saga.

DUNE IS NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem.

In the far future, on a remote planet, an epic adventure awaits. Here are the first six novels of Frank Herbert's magnificent Dune saga--a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling science fiction series of all time.

Includes Books 1 - 6: DUNE o DUNE MESSIAH o CHILDREN OF DUNE o GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE o HERETICS OF DUNE o CHAPTERHOUSE: DUNE

Dune

- Frank Herbert

Hardcover $54.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $48.60

Frank Herbert's epic masterpiece--a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time.

This deluxe hardcover edition of Dune includes:
· An iconic new cover
· A stamped and foiled case featuring a quote from the Litany Against Fear
· Stained edges and fully illustrated endpapers
· A beautifully designed poster on the interior of the jacket

· A redesigned world map of Dune
· An updated Introduction by Brian Herbert


Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the "spice" melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for...

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul's family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. 

A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.


o DUNE: PART TWO o THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE COMING NOVEMBER 3rd, 2023
Directed by Denis Villeneuve, screenplay by Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts, based on the novel Dune by Frank Herbert o Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Léa Seydoux, with Stellan Skarsgård, with Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem

Dune Messiah

- Frank Herbert

Hardcover $66.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $59.40

A deluxe hardcover edition of Dune Messiah, the second novel in Frank Herbert's magnificent science fiction saga.

This deluxe hardcover edition of Dune Messiah includes:
o An iconic new cover
o A stamped and foiled case featuring a quote from the Litany Against Fear
o Stained edges and fully illustrated endpapers
o A beautifully designed poster on the interior of the jacket
o An Introduction by Brian Herbert


Dune Messiah
continues the story of Paul Atreides, better know--and feared--as the the man called Muad'Dib. As Emperor of the known universe, Paul possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne--and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.
 
And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family's dynasty....

Children of Dune

- Frank Herbert

Hardcover $66.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $59.40

A deluxe hardcover edition of Children of Dune, the third novel in Frank Herbert's magnificent science fiction saga.

This deluxe hardcover edition of Children of Dune includes:
o An iconic new cover
o A stamped and foiled case featuring a quote from the Litany Against Fear
o Stained edges and fully illustrated endpapers
o A beautifully designed poster on the interior of the jacket
o An Introduction by Brian Herbert


The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities--making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of House Atreides.

Facing treason and rebellion on two fronts, Alia's rule is not absolute. The displaced House Corrino is plotting to regain the throne while the fanatical Fremen are being provoked into open revolt by the enigmatic figure known only as The Preacher. Alia believes that by obtaining the secrets of the twins' prophetic visions, she can maintain control over her dynasty.

But Leto and Ghanima have their own plans for their visions--and their destinies....

Dune

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $14.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $13.49

Set on the desert planet Arakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Dune Messiah

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $12.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $11.69

Book Two in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles--the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known--and feared--as the man christened Muad'Dib. As Emperor of the known universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne--and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover, Chani, and the unborn heir to his family's dynasty...

Children of Dune

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $12.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $11.69

Book Three in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles--the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities--making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of House Atreides.

Facing treason and rebellion on two fronts, Alia's rule is not absolute. The displaced House Corrino is plotting to regain the throne while the fanatical Fremen are being provoked into open revolt by the enigmatic figure known only as The Preacher. Alia believes that by obtaining the secrets of the twins' prophetic visions, she can maintain control over her dynasty.

But Leto and Ghanima have their own plans for their visions--and their destinies....

God Emperor of Dune

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $12.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $11.69

Book Four in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles--the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world's savior, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, is still alive but far from human. To preserve humanity's future, he sacrificed his own by merging with a sandworm, granting him near immortality as God Emperor of Dune for the past thirty-five hundred years.

Leto's rule is not a benevolent one. His transformation has made not only his appearance but his morality inhuman. A rebellion, led by Siona, a member of the Atreides family, has risen to oppose the despot's rule. But Siona is unaware that Leto's vision of a Golden Path for humanity requires her to fulfill a destiny she never wanted--or could possibly conceive....

Heretics of Dune

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $12.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $11.69

Book Five in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles--the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

Leto Atreides, the God Emperor of Dune, is dead. In the fifteen hundred years since his passing, the Empire has fallen into ruin. The great Scattering saw millions abandon the crumbling civilization and spread out beyond the reaches of known space. The planet Arrakis--now called Rakis--has reverted to its desert climate, and its great sandworms are dying.

Now the Lost Ones are returning home in pursuit of power. And as these factions vie for control over the remnants of the Empire, a girl named Sheeana rises to prominence in the wastelands of Rakis, sending religious fervor throughout the galaxy. For she possesses the abilities of the Fremen sandriders--fulfilling a prophecy foretold by the late God Emperor....

Chapterhouse

- Frank Herbert

Mass market paperback $12.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $11.69

Frank Herbert's Final Novel in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles--the Bestselling Science Fiction Adventure of All Time

The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. The remnants of the Old Empire have been consumed by the violent matriarchal cult known as the Honored Matres. Only one faction remains a viable threat to their total conquest--the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune's power.

Under the leadership of Mother Superior Darwi Odrade, the Bene Gesserit have colonized a green world on the planet Chapterhouse and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. And once they've mastered breeding sandworms, the Sisterhood will control the production of the greatest commodity in the known galaxy--the spice melange. But their true weapon remains a man who has lived countless lifetimes--a man who served under the God Emperor Paul Muad'Dib....