Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Dune

Or what the hell is up with space empires

In a sign of trouble ahead on my reading list, I found something extremely irksome about Dune that I haven’t found problematic before.

It’s essentially the idea of massive space empire. I know this also encompasses Star Wars but for some reason (probably that I watched it a long time ago and it has embedded itself in my mind as something good) I found the empire/royal structure in Dune annoying.

WHY WOULD THERE BE A SPACE EMPIRE?

I mean, if you look at the trajectory of our history on Earth, we are moving away from empires and royalty and more towards democracy. Okay, maybe a touch of corporate hegemony as well – but would we take anyone seriously if they declared an empire? It would be a total joke right? Suddenly the execs of Google, Amazon and other global corporations say “Wait, we’re not CEO’s, we’re Princes and were going to elect another CEO as the Wholly Worldy Emperor of Consumption. Bow before us, snivelling peasantry”. No. It doesn’t work, does it?

I suppose you can go far enough down the route of oppression and no one would dare say “that’s just ridiculous” because they’d be disappeared. But if we get off our little planet and into a whole galaxy or universe of space faring people – an empire, really?

I just don’t see how it would work.

The empire in Dune full of backstabbing Dukes and Baron’s was just a bit too much for me. They had spaceships and lasers and shit. Who the fuck cares about ruling a planet when you can HAVE SPACESHIPS. And clearly there would be more power and wealth around than just one planet?

I don’t know. I thought it was okay in the end, the political maneuvering and tricks within tricks within tricks was good but I just couldn’t get passed the stupid space empire. It took almost 150 pages into the book for the plot to get going but once it did, it was very interesting. I know loads of people love Dune but maybe it is like The Princess Bride in a way that if you don’t get it early, you don’t get it at all.

On my list is a whole bunch of fantasy epics that I’m sure won’t grate AT ALL now.

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