“Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.”
-Freman Prayer to the Wurm
I’ve always loved Dune, the philosophy, the theology, the way that myth and legend and religion are used to control the masses. Oh and who doesn’t like an incredibly on the nose socio-ecological metaphor…
Much like Star Wars, Dune is closer to space fantasy rather than Hard Science Fiction. In the Dune Universe (or Dune-iverse or Uni-Dune I suppose) There is a multi-tired semi-fudal system, with … You know what it’s complicated, here just watch this. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
There are two responses to watching that, either you have shut off your device, cancelled your internet and moved to Sweden or you will now consume everything Dune ever, including the terrible novels by his son.
If you’re of the first type, Lycka Till!! If your of the second let’s talk about the religion of Muad’Dib. In the Children of Dune, the follow up, Paul has wandered off the the desert, presumably to die, leaving his sister (the abomination)
as regent of the new empire. But with Paul, the focus of the new faith gone, and Alia’s possession by her evil Grandfather (not kidding). the religion begins down the road to corruption. Symbols are more and more taken as real faith and many lose sight of what Paul was attempting to achieve. The rule of the church becomes totalitarian. Essentially it’s all the worst parts of the Spanish Inquisition. Which I for one ,did not expect.
Then his son
who has merged with a Sand Worm, which is the God of the Freman, arrives to set everything right. (Get it, eh eh eh? Pisst he’s jesus. ) Then of course turns fully SandWorm and rules the empire as the God Emperor of Dune for the next 3500 years.
Oh and there are clones, and shape-shifters, and people who can travel in four demensions, and the big bad of the later books are all from Pluto. So take that
And if at this point you feel a bit confused i understand. Some people who’ve read it don’t even remember a lot of that. Why? Because there’s so much time spent of the Love stories of Dune Paul and Chani whom he would leave all of it if she asked him, or of Leto and his twin sister Ghanima. In the middle of the great battles and politcal power plays we are always brought back to the characters hears. What’s important is that Dune is one of the best examples of how you can take Sci-fi and mix it with religion and make something amazing. Dune is about the horrors of fanaticism, God, Faith, Prophecies, Controlling the masses through Dogma, and why sometimes terrible things are required to do good.
But at the same time it’s about relationships. Paul’s love of Chani, his wife, The princesse’s love of Paul, and why you should never listen to the voices in your head. If you dug the Matrix, or Star Wars, or Lord of The Rings this is right up your alley.
Dune is the perfect example of what sci-fi can achieve and why it’s valuable. Life isn’t all big moments and it’s not all small drama’s it a mix, and Sci-Fi better than many other Genres can show this. It can remind us that unimportant people can shift the galaxy, and that Gods can trip on grains of sand.