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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

cover of Dune Messiah

My brother once told me, long ago, that all the Dune sequels put together are not as good as Dune itself. I postponed reading any of the other Dune Chronicles for a long time, but since someone had given me a copy of Children of Dune (I think it was Sapphire, actually), I finally decided to read more of the series. I have to admit-- so far, my brother was right. However, Dune Messiah is not a completely worthless or un-fascinating book.

I thought one of the points in the original Dune was that Paul was trying to carefully navigate all the possible futures, to avoid the raging jihad through the stars that he saw in so many of his possible futures. He apparently failed, or it was impossible. It is, however, a pretty fascinating idea that Paul's foresight is so clear and precise that, when he loses his vision and becomes blind, he can still see and navigate perfectly by the use of his inner eyes.

This book also adds some interesting new groups of plotters. In addition to the Bene Gesserit, we now encounter the Bene Tleilax, who provide Paul with a clone of Duncan Idaho trained as a Mentat and philosopher (you almost wonder why the Tleilax weren't mentioned or introduced before-- although the first book was plenty complex without them). This is one of those cases where there are plots within plots-- hidden beneath a plot to kill the emperor Muad'Dib is an attempt to perfect the Tleilax cloning techniques, to provide a circumstance that would allow the cloned Duncan Idaho to recover the memories of the original Duncan.

Title:Dune Messiah
Author:Frank Herbert
Date published:1969
Genre:Science Fiction
Series:Dune Chronicles
Number of pages:329


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