Dune is a science fiction franchise that originated with the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert. Dune is frequently cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history. It won the 1966 Hugo Award and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel, and was later adapted into a 1984 film as well as a 2000 television miniseries. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the first two were presented as a miniseries in 2003. The Dune universe has also inspired some traditional games and a series of video games. Since 2009, the names of planets from the Dune novels have been adopted for the real-world nomenclature of plains and other features on Saturn's moon Titan.
Herbert died in 1986. Beginning in 1999, his son Brian Herbert and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson have published a number of prequel novels, as well as two which complete the original Dune series—Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007)—partially based on Frank Herbert's notes discovered a decade after his death.
The political, scientific, and social fictional setting of Herbert's novels and derivative works is known as the Dune universe, or Duniverse. Set tens of thousands of years in the future, the saga chronicles a civilization which has banned artificial intelligence but has also developed advanced technology and mental and physical abilities. Vital to this empire is the harsh desert planet Arrakis, only known source of the spice melange, the most valuable substance in the universe.
- 1 Development and publication
- 2 Derivative works
- 3 Plot arc
- 4 Chronology
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Development and publication
Herbert's interest in the desert setting of Dune and its challenges is attributed to research he began in 1957 for a never-completed article about a United States Department of Agriculture experiment using poverty grasses to stabilize damaging sand dunes, which could "swallow whole cities, lakes, rivers, and highways." Herbert spent the next five years researching, writing, and revising what would eventually become the novel Dune, which was initially serialized in Analog magazine as two shorter works, Dune World (1963) and The Prophet of Dune (1965). The serialized version was expanded and reworked—and rejected by more than twenty publishers—before being published by Chilton Books, a little-known printing house best known for its auto repair manuals, in 1965. Dune won the 1966 Hugo Award and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel.
A sequel, Dune Messiah, followed in 1969. A third novel called Children of Dune was published in 1976, and was later nominated for a Hugo Award. Children of Dune became the first hardcover best-seller ever in the science fiction field. In 1981 Herbert released God Emperor of Dune, which was ranked as the #11 hardcover fiction best seller of 1981 by Publishers Weekly. 1984's Heretics of Dune, The New York Times #13 hardcover fiction best seller of that year, was followed in quick succession by Chapterhouse: Dune in 1985. Herbert died on February 11, 1986.
Prelude to Dune
Over a decade after Herbert's death, his son Brian Herbert enlisted science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson to coauthor a trilogy of Dune prequel novels that would come to be called the Prelude to Dune series. Using some of Frank Herbert's own notes, the duo wrote Dune: House Atreides (1999), Dune: House Harkonnen (2000), and Dune: House Corrino (2001). The series is set in the years immediately prior to the events of Dune.
Legends of Dune
Herbert and Anderson followed with a second prequel trilogy called the Legends of Dune, consisting of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (2002), Dune: The Machine Crusade (2003), and Dune: The Battle of Corrin (2004). This series is set during the Butlerian Jihad, an element of back-story which Frank Herbert had previously established as occurring 10,000 years before the events chronicled in Dune. Herbert's brief description of humanity's "crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots" was expanded by Brian Herbert and Anderson into a violent and generations-spanning war between humans and sentient machines.
Completion of the original series (Dune 7)
With an outline for the first book of Prelude to Dune series written and a proposal sent to publishers, Brian Herbert had discovered his father's 30-page outline for a sequel to Chapterhouse Dune which the elder Herbert had dubbed Dune 7. After publishing their six prequel novels, Brian Herbert and Anderson released Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007), which complete the chronological progression of the original series and wrap up storylines that began with Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune.
Heroes of Dune
In the foreword to Hunters of Dune (2006), Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson wrote that they planned to continue writing Dune novels after completing the Dune 7 project. In 2006 they announced that after Sandworms of Dune they would release an interquel series of novels called Paul of Dune, which was renamed Heroes of Dune in 2007. Heroes of Dune focuses on the time periods between Frank Herbert's original novels; the first book, Paul of Dune, was published on September 16, 2008. The Winds of Dune, called Jessica of Dune before publication, was released on August 4, 2009. The next two installments were to be called The Throne of Dune (formerly Irulan of Dune) and Leto of Dune (possibly changing to The Golden Path of Dune).
Great Schools of Dune
In a July 15, 2010 blog post, Anderson announced that the planned final novels of the Heroes of Dune series had been postponed due to plans by himself and Brian Herbert to publish a trilogy about "the formation of the Bene Gesserit, the Mentats, the Suk Doctors, the Spacing Guild and the Navigators, as well as the solidifying of the Corrino imperium." The first novel in that series, titled The Sisterhood of Dune, was released on January 3, 2012. The next, named Mentats of Dune, was released on March 11, 2014. In a 2009 interview Anderson stated that the third and final novel would be titled The Swordmasters of Dune.
In 1985, Frank Herbert wrote an illustrated short work called "The Road to Dune", set sometime between the events of Dune and Dune Messiah. Published in Herbert's short story collection Eye, it takes the form of a guidebook for pilgrims to Arrakis and features images (with descriptions) of some of the devices and characters presented in the novels.
Brian Herbert and Anderson have written several Dune short stories, most of them related to and published around their novels. The stories include "Dune: A Whisper of Caladan Seas" (2001), "Dune: Hunting Harkonnens" (2002), "Dune: Whipping Mek" (2003), "Dune: The Faces of a Martyr" (2004), "Dune: Sea Child" (2006), and "Dune: Treasure in the Sand" (2006).
Film and television adaptations
Syfy (Sci-Fi Channel) premiered a three-part miniseries adaptation called Frank Herbert's Dune on December 3, 2000. Its March 16, 2003 sequel, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, combined both Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. As of 2004, both miniseries were two of the three highest-rated programs ever to be broadcast on Syfy.
In 2008, Paramount Pictures announced that they had a new feature film adaptation of Dune in development with Peter Berg set to direct; Berg dropped out of the project in October 2009, and director Pierre Morel was signed in January 2010. Paramount finally dropped the project in March 2011. However rights holder Richard P. Rubinstein has indicated he may still pursue the project.
In 1984, Herbert's publisher Putnam released The Dune Encyclopedia under its Berkley Books imprint. Approved by Herbert but not written by him, this collection of essays by 43 contributors describes in invented detail many aspects of the Dune universe not found in the novels themselves. Herbert rendered the work technically non-canon in its own foreword, and Herbert's estate later reasserted this status after Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson had begun publishing prequel novels which directly contradict The Dune Encyclopedia.
On December 1, 1984, Marvel Comics and Berkley published Dune: The Official Comic Book (ISBN 0-425-07623-7), a comic adaptation of David Lynch's film Dune. Marvel Super Special #36: Dune featuring an adaptation of the film by writer Ralph Macchio and artist Bill Sienkiewicz was released on April 1, 1985, as well as a three-issue limited comic series from Marvel entitled Dune from April to June 1985. The film also spawned The Dune Storybook (September 1984, ISBN 0-399-12949-9), a novelization written by Joan D. Vinge, and The Making of Dune (December 1984, ISBN 0-425-07376-9), a making-of book by Ed Naha. In November 1984, Pocket Books published National Lampoon's Doon by Ellis Weiner (ISBN 0-671-54144-7), a parody novel.
In May 1992, Ace Books published Songs of Muad'dib (ISBN 0-441-77427-X), a collection of Dune-related poems written by Frank Herbert and edited by his son Brian. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson released The Road to Dune on August 11, 2005. The book contains a novelette called Spice Planet (an alternative version of Dune based on an outline by Frank Herbert), a number of the Brian Herbert/Anderson short stories, and letters and unused chapters written by Frank Herbert.
The board game Dune was released by Avalon Hill in 1979, followed by a Parker Brothers game Dune in 1984. A 1997 card game called Dune was followed by the role-playing game Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium in 2000. To date, there have been five Dune computer and video games released: Dune (1992), Dune II (1992), Dune 2000 (1998), Frank Herbert's Dune (2001), and Emperor: Battle for Dune (2001).
Soundtrack albums have been released for the 1984 film, the 2000 TV miniseries, and the 2003 Children of Dune miniseries, as well as the 1992 video game, the 2001 computer game Emperor: Battle for Dune, and select tracks from the entire series of Dune video games.
The Dune universe, set in the distant future of humanity, has a history that stretches thousands of years (some 15,000 years in total) and covers considerable changes in political, social, and religious structure as well as technology. Creative works set in the Dune universe can be said to fall into five general time periods:
- The Butlerian Jihad: Legends of Dune prequel trilogy (2002–2004) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
- The Corrino-led Imperium: Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999–2001) by Brian Herbert and Anderson; Heroes of Dune interquel series (2008–present) by Brian Herbert and Anderson
- The rise of the Atreides: Dune (1965), Dune Messiah (1969), and Children of Dune (1976) by Frank Herbert; Heroes of Dune interquel series (2008–present) by Brian Herbert and Anderson
- The reign and fall of the God Emperor: God Emperor of Dune (1981) by Frank Herbert
- The return from the Scattering: Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1985) by Frank Herbert; Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007) by Brian Herbert and Anderson
The Butlerian Jihad
As explained in Dune, the Butlerian Jihad is a conflict taking place over 11,000 years in the future (and over 10,000 years before the events of Dune) which results in the total destruction of virtually all forms of "computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots." With the prohibition "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind," the creation of even the simplest thinking machines is outlawed and made taboo, which has a profound influence on the socio-political and technological development of humanity in the Dune series. Herbert refers to the Jihad several times in the novels, but does not give much detail on how he imagined the causes and nature of the conflict. In Herbert's God Emperor of Dune (1981), Leto Atreides II indicates that the Jihad had been a semi-religious social upheaval initiated by humans who felt repulsed by how guided and controlled they had become by machines: "The target of the Jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," Leto said. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed." This technological reversal leads to the creation of the universal Orange Catholic Bible and the rise of a new feudal galactic empire which lasts for over 10,000 years before Herbert's series begins. Several secret societies also develop, using eugenics programs, intensive mental and physical training, and pharmaceutical enhancements to hone human skills to an astonishing degree. Artificial insemination is also prohibited, as explained in Dune Messiah (1969) when Paul Atreides negotiates with the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, who is appalled by Paul's suggestion that he impregnate his consort in this manner.
The Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly (and approved by Frank Herbert) presents an extended chronicle of the Butlerian Jihad. According to McNelly, he and Herbert had planned to expand this version into a prequel novel to Dune; Herbert's death in 1986 left this project abandoned, and Herbert's own vision of the actual events of the Butlerian Jihad unexplored and open to speculation. The Legends of Dune prequel trilogy (2002–2004) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson presents the Jihad as a war between humans and the sentient machines they had created, who rise up and nearly destroy humanity. The series explains that humanity had become entirely complacent and dependent upon thinking machines; recognizing this weakness, a group of ambitious, militant humans calling themselves the Titans use this widespread reliance on machine intelligence to seize control of the entire universe. Their reign lasts for a century; eventually they give too much access and power to the AI program Omnius, which usurps control from the Titans themselves. Seeing no value in human life, the thinking machines—now including armies of robot soldiers and other aggressive machines—dominate and enslave nearly all of humanity in the universe for 900 years, until a jihad is ignited. This crusade against the machines lasts for nearly a century, with much loss of human life but ultimately ending in human victory.
The Corrino-led Imperium
The ancient Battle of Corrin—occurring 20 years after the end of the Butlerian Jihad—spawns the Padishah Emperors of House Corrino, who rule the known universe for millennia by controlling the brutally efficient military force known as the Imperial Sardaukar. Ten thousand years later, one balance to Imperial power is the assembly of noble houses called the Landsraad, which enforces the Great Convention's ban on the use of atomics against human targets. Though the power of the Corrinos is unrivaled by any individual House, they are in constant competition with each other for political power and stakes in the omnipresent CHOAM company, a directorship which controls the wealth of the entire Old Empire. The third primary power in the universe is the Spacing Guild, which monopolizes interstellar travel and banking. Mutated Guild Navigators use the spice drug melange to successfully navigate "folded space" and safely guide enormous heighliner starships from planet to planet instantaneously.
The matriarchal Bene Gesserit possess almost superhuman physical, sensory, and deductive powers developed through years of physical and mental conditioning. While positioning themselves to "serve" humanity, the Bene Gesserit pursue their goal to better the human race by subtly and secretly guiding and manipulating the affairs of others to serve their own purposes. The Bene Gesserit also have a secret, millennia-long selective breeding program to bolster and preserve valuable skills and bloodlines as well as to produce a theoretical superhuman male they call the Kwisatz Haderach. By the time of Dune, the Sisterhood are only one generation away from their desired individual, having manipulated the threads of genes and power for thousands of years to produce the required confluence of events. But Lady Jessica, ordered by the Bene Gesserit to produce a daughter who would breed with the appropriate male to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, instead bears a son—unintentionally producing the Kwisatz Haderach a generation early.
"Human computers" known as Mentats have been developed and perfected to replace the capacity for logical analysis lost through the prohibition of computers. Through specific training, they learn to enter a heightened mental state in which they can perform complex logical computations that are superior to those of the ancient thinking machines. The patriarchal Bene Tleilax, or Tleilaxu, are amoral merchants who traffic in biological and genetically engineered products such as artificial eyes, "twisted" Mentats, and gholas. Finally, the Ixians produce cutting-edge technology that seemingly complies with (but pushes the boundaries of) the prohibitions against thinking machines. The Ixians are very secretive, not only to protect their valuable hold on the industry but also to hide any methods or inventions that may breach the anti-thinking machine protocols.
Against this backdrop, the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999–2001) chronicles the return from obscurity of House Atreides, whose role in the Butlerian Jihad is all but forgotten. The Imperial House schemes to gain full control of the Empire through the control of melange, precisely at the time that the Bene Gesserit breeding program is nearing fruition.
The rise of the Atreides
As Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) begins, Duke Leto Atreides finds himself in a dangerous position; the 81st Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV has put him in control of the desert planet Arrakis, known as Dune, which is the only natural source of the all-important spice melange. The most valuable commodity in the known universe, the spice not only makes safe and reliable interstellar travel possible, but also prolongs life, protects against disease, and is used by the Bene Gesserit to enhance their abilities. The potential financial gains for House Atreides are mitigated by the fact that mining melange from the desert surface of Arrakis is an expensive and hazardous undertaking, thanks to the treacherous environment and constant threat of giant sandworms which protect the spice. In addition, Leto is aware that Shaddam, threatened by the rising power and influence of the Atreides, has sent him into a trap; failure to meet or exceed the production volume of their predecessors, the vicious House Harkonnen, will negatively affect the position of House Atreides in CHOAM, which relies on spice profits. Further, the very presence of the Atreides on Arrakis inflames the long-simmering War of Assassins between House Atreides and House Harkonnen, a feud ignited 10,000 years before when an Atreides had a Harkonnen banished for cowardice after the Butlerian Jihad.
The little-understood native population of Arrakis are the Fremen, long overlooked by the Imperium. Considered backward savages, the Fremen are an extremely hardy people and exist in large numbers, their culture built around the commodity of water, which is extremely scarce on Arrakis. The Fremen await the coming of a prophesied messiah, not suspecting that this prophecy had been planted in their legends by the Missionaria Protectiva, an arm of the Bene Gesserit dedicated to religious manipulation to ease the path of the Sisterhood when necessary. In Dune, the so-called "Arrakis Affair" puts unexpected Kwisatz Haderach Paul Atreides in control of first the Fremen people and then Arrakis itself; he deposes Shaddam and becomes ruler of the known universe. With a bloody jihad subsequently unleashed across the universe in Paul's name but out of his control, the Bene Gesserit, Tleilaxu, Spacing Guild, and House Corrino plot to dethrone him in Dune Messiah (1969). The Atreides Empire continues to devolve in Children of Dune (1976) as the religion built around Paul falters and his heirs rise to power.
The Heroes of Dune interquel series (2008–present) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson follows events involving the Atreides before, between, and after Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune.
The reign and fall of the God Emperor
At the time of God Emperor of Dune (1981), Paul's son, the God Emperor Leto Atreides II, has ruled the Empire for 3,500 years from the verdant face of a transformed Arrakis; melange production has ceased. Leto has forced the sandworms into extinction, except for the larval sandtrout with which he had forged a symbiosis, transforming him into a human-sandworm hybrid. Human civilization before his rule had suffered from twin weaknesses: that it could be controlled by a single authority, and that it was totally dependent upon melange, found on only one planet in the known universe. Leto's prescient visions had shown that humanity would be threatened by extinction in any number of ways; his solution was to place humanity on his "Golden Path," a plan for humanity's survival. Leto governs as a benevolent tyrant, providing for his people's physical needs, but denying them any spiritual outlets other than his own compulsory religion (as well as maintaining a monopoly on spice and thus total control of its use). Personal violence of any kind is banned, as is nearly all space travel, creating a pent-up demand for freedom and travel. The Bene Gesserit, Ixians, and Tleilaxu find themselves seeking ways to regain some of their former power or unseat Leto altogether. Leto also conducts his own selective breeding program among the descendants of his twin sister Ghanima, finally arriving at Siona, daughter of Moneo, whose actions are hidden from prescient vision. Leto engineers his own assassination, knowing it will result in rebellion and revolt but also in an explosion in travel and colonization. The death of Leto's body also produces new sandtrout, which will eventually give rise to a population of sandworms and a new cycle of spice production.
The return from the Scattering
In the aftermath of the fall of the God Emperor, chaos and severe famine on many worlds cause trillions of humans to set off into the freedom of unknown space and spread out across the universe. This diaspora is later called the Scattering and, combined with the invisibility of Atreides descendants to prescient vision, assures that humanity has forever escaped the threat of total extinction. At the time of Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)—1500 years after Leto's death—the turmoil is settling into a new pattern; the balance of power in the Empire rests among the Ixians, the Bene Gesserit, and the Tleilaxu. The Spacing Guild has been forever weakened by the development of Ixian machines capable of navigation in foldspace, practically replacing Guild Navigators. The Bene Gesserit control the sandworms and their planet, now called Rakis, but the Tleilaxu have also discovered how to synthetically produce melange. This balance of power is shattered by a large influx of people from the Scattering, some fleeing persecution by an as-yet unknown enemy. Among the returning people, the Bene Gesserit finds its match in a violent and corrupt matriarchal society known as the Honored Matres, whom they suspect may be descended from some of their own sent out in the Scattering. As a bitter and bloody war erupts between the orders, it ultimately becomes clear that joining the two organizations into a single New Sisterhood with shared abilities is their best chance to fight the approaching enemy.
|"Dune: Hunting Harkonnens"|
|Dune: The Butlerian Jihad|
|"Dune: Whipping Mek"|
|Dune: The Machine Crusade|
|"Dune: The Faces of a Martyr"|
|Dune: The Battle of Corrin|
|Sisterhood of Dune|
|Mentats of Dune|
|Dune: House Atreides|
|Dune: House Harkonnen|
|Dune: House Corrino|
|Paul of Dune (Parts II, IV & VI)|
|"Dune: Wedding Silk"|
|The Winds of Dune (Part II)|
|"Dune: A Whisper of Caladan Seas"||Dune|
|Paul of Dune (Parts I, III, V & VII)|
|The Winds of Dune (Part IV)|
|"The Road to Dune"|
|The Winds of Dune (Parts I, III, & V)|
|Children of Dune|
|Leto of Dune|
|God Emperor of Dune|
|Heretics of Dune|
|"Dune: Sea Child"||Chapterhouse: Dune|
|Hunters of Dune|
|"Dune: Treasure in the Sand"|
|Sandworms of Dune|
- Index of Dune-related articles
- List of Family Houses in Dune
- List of Dune characters
- List of Dune Bene Gesserit
- List of Dune Fremen
- List of Dune planets
- List of Dune terminology
- List of Dune religions
- Technology of the Dune universe
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