Herbert quickly swept me into Dune and the main two protagonists — Paul and Jessica — carried me through the book. These two characters travel to a different planet with a different culture, and their names emphasize their foreignness. The names increasingly highlight a feeling of non-belonging. The familiarity of the names clash with Paul and Jessica’s evolution of abilities and discoveries. Eventually, they receive different names which blatantly symbolizes their transition and assimilation.
I think of Dune and imagine the story flowing like sand shifting downward. When I started reading it, I completely skipped over the table of contents and missed the fact that there is a glossary. I do think there is value in being just as lost and confused as the characters when they immerse themselves in the alien culture of the Fremen. But that is not all that is weaved into these pages. There is a healthy dose of mysticism and politics. I love that even though Herbert makes it clear that Paul’s father will die, I still want him to pull through — somehow.
For science fiction’s supreme masterpiece, I don’t think Herbert missed a beat. If I could have read the book in its entirety over two days, I would have.