8. (8) – Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune is by far my favorite, of what would largely be considered the classics in Science Fiction (I view the Classics as Science Fiction before 1980).  It’s a tail of deception between powerful families and their rivalries that shape the galaxy and the people in it.  It plays with the traditional, white savior narrative in a wonderfully inventive way.  Dune is nearly unrivaled as a novel for all those reasons.

The Harkonnens are perfect foils for the Atreides.  They are undoubtedly selfish, with acts that are easy to describe as evil, but they are far from caricatures.  Their schemes make sense, complex, but not needlessly so.  They combat various interests against each other to promote their own, and were it not for the centuries of planning from the Bene Gesserit, they likely would have eradicated House Atreides for good.

Dune is brilliant because it is so much more than the heroes’ journey it seems to be on its face.  Paul Atreides is complicated, his deeds not necessarily good or bad.  The spice is a perfect resource to center the conflict around.  The need for the spice shaping the houses, and the population (Fremen) that suffers under those galactic needs.  If you love Science Fiction and haven’t read Dune…what the hell are you doing?

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