Books | Cheat's guide to Dune

LSi presents the abbreviated guide to Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi epic.


Paul Atreides – Teenage heir to the noble House Atreides. As opposed to yelling obscenities down his Xbox Live headset, his teenage life consists of taking on the role of Space T. E. Lawrence.

Lady Jessica Atreides – Paul’s mother and a willing participant in a centuries-long Bene Gesserit (read: Space Catholic Church) breeding program to produce the Kwisatz Haderach (read: Space Jesus).

Princess Irulan Corrino – Daughter of the Padishah Emperor. Eventually, Space Jesus Paul requests her hand in marriage to legitimise his Messianic status.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen – Megalomaniac who quite enjoys referring to himself in the third person. Not particularly subtle, may as well wear a neon sign which reads “I AM AN EVIL TYRANT, BEWARE”


21,000 years in the future, our universe is ruthless capitalist nightmare, as the Padishah Emperor and the noble houses of the Imperium conspire to acquire a monopoly on production of the spice Melange (essential for interstellar travel and filling plot-holes), found only on the titular desert planet Dune. Paul Atreides is dumped on Dune and eventually leads the native Fremen to fulfil his destiny as Space Jesus and seize control of the spice, and thus the universe, from their industrial oppressors.

-The Herbert is a big fan of allegory: with the spice obsession mirroring the unscrupulous oil corporations of the 1960s; Melange’s trance-like effects echo- ing the booming drug culture; and the evil Harkonnen acting as a veiled Space USSR.

-Not every sci-fi work needs extraterrestri- als to be successful. Unless it has gigantic frickin’ sandworms. Those are pretty rad, too.

Adam Berkley

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