Fear is the Mindkiller in Dune by Frank Herbert


From the publisher, “Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the ‘spice’ melange, the most important and valuable substance in the cosmos. The story explores the complex, multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion as the forces of the empire confront each other for control of Arrakis.

Published in 1965, it won the Hugo Award in 1966 and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune is frequently cited as the world’s best-selling SF novel.”


  • Paperback 604 pages
  • Published June 1st, 2006 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published June 1st, 1965)
  • Original TitleDune
  • ISBN0340839937 (ISBN13: 9780340839935)
  • Edition Language English
  • Series Dune #1, Dune Universe #10


  • Hugo Award for Best Novel (1966) 
  • Nebula Award for Best Novel (1965) 
  • Seiun Award for Best Foreign Novel (1974)

My Thoughts

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” 

Dune – Frank Herbert

It is hard to figure out what kind of book Dune is. First, let’s classify what Dune is not. Dune is not easy; it is not the kind of sci-fi book that tells you about something, or how to feel about the story. Dune shows you what the Sands of Arrakis look like, and it shows you how they feel under your feet, and you can hear the sandworms crashing through the red hot sand if you listen close enough. That is the magic of Herbert’s writing. It isn’t flashy, and you might feel like it is a little bit dated — you blasphemer. But, the world building is so good that Dune helped define what epic science fiction is. We are here today in storytelling because of stories like Dune that came before us.

The plot is complicated, but summed up Dune is the story of the rise of Paul as a religious leader and savior of the Planet Arrakis causing the fall of the human emperor of the galaxy 10,000 years into the future. Humans have raced towards all corners of the universe, colonizing habitable planets. Arrakis is a colonized small desert planet plentiful with a valuable drug resource called Melange. Melange is the drug of choice for the rich and elite of the galaxy. The powers that be want the drug and control of the planet. Paul, the son of a powerful family house, seeks refuge with the desert people of the planet. There he discovers his innate powers and matures into the religious leader and figurehead of the Sand people. Plus ecology, how religion affects the masses, and familial drama.

The compelling thing about Dune is not the world-building, which is impressive, or the storyline, which is detailed, it is the social commentary. Maybe some people do not want a dash of social commentary with their sci-fi, but I do. Books that have the extra layer of writing and thought always stay with me as a reader and linger for years. Dune talks about feminism, ecology, power struggles, and family… so much. If you haven’t read it, do it. First, watch the hilarious 1980’s movie, get that out of your system, then go read the book. I highly recommend it. I mean, it’s Dune, what else can I say?


  1. Lydia Tewkesbury

    This is such a classic but I’ve never picked it up for some reason. I’m exactly the same way – I love some social commentary. It allows me to engage with the material way more. It gives those alien planets some relevance – otherwise I find it a bit hard to tolerate sci-fi as a genre.

  2. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

    I was tasked to read this in eight grade (or was it seventh…one of the two!) and it was so unlike anything I had ever read that I didn’t enjoy it, and didn’t finish reading it. :X I was even uninterested in the [1984] film, and not just because of the outdated effects. I do want to give it another go, because I was in eight/seventh grade quite awhile ago and my reading tastes have obviously greatly developed, but I know I’m going to have to devote a lot of my attention to it because of its density.

    1. Beth Tabler

      I get that. I so get that. What I had to do originally when I was a teen was read a chapter and then go to sparknotes to make sense of what happened. It got a little easier and more enjoyable as I went along and especially in the second half of the book. But, it is a whale of a book.

  3. Tasha Leigh

    Dune is a series of books that my entire family loves. My dad bought a copy and scribbled away in the cover when he started/finished (multiple times), which then came to me when I was of age and now has moved on to my daughter. Its tattered and torn and we love it anyway.

    I love this review, it’s true that it isnt easy, the imagery is amazing and ‘the spice’ reigns above all. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series if you choose to continue

    1. Beth Tabler

      I will have to go back and reread it. It has been at least 15 years since I read it, but I will continue. For sure. At least until his son takes over the writing. I hear the series greatly changed at that point. I try to review a classic sci-fi once a month to give the classics some love. Have you read Strangers in a Strange Land? That is Feb’s classic book.

      1. Beth Tabler

        It is in league with Dune. Both deep science fiction. Another one of those books that affected me greatly when I first started reading science fiction.

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