By Frank Herbert
Why this book?
I first read Dune in 1969. Rated by some as the best sci-fi novel of all time—and the start in a long line of sequels. Oddly, perhaps, it was a set book in a sociology of religion course I took. The author, Frank Herbert, had based the religious worldview in the book on that of Africa’s Dinka people. At a time when I was experimenting with psychedelic drugs, this felt like another drug – although it took me 40 pages to fully inhabit the new reality. I was so taken that I contacted Frank, who lived on the Olympic Peninsula, north of Seattle. I was based in London but tried to link up a couple of times when I was in Seattle. We finally did meet, several years later. This time, I was flying back to London (from Seattle, as it happened) and he and his then-wife Bev were in London, getting ready to fly back to Seattle. It turned out that my family and I had unknowingly visited the beach in Oregon, near a place called Dune City, that in 1944 had first inspired the idea of a desert planet. Our conversation was published in 1981. Am very much looking forward to what looks likely to be the first film to capture the book’s spirit, made by Denis Villeneuve, due out later in 2021.
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