30 Books In 2018 #12: Dune Messiah By Frank Herbert

I read a lot in February you guys! Go me!

Anyway, Dune Messiah.

I was so excited to get my hands on this one, and dig into it. And uh. Well.

I didn’t like it as much as Dune. It’s definitely weirder in spots, but unlike it’s predecessor, which hints at a larger really cool world while telling a fairly straightforward story, Dune Messiah, feels like much more straightforward court plotting. About characters who, as I stated when I wrote up Dune, I don’t care that much about.

I mean, there’s still oddness and cool sci-fi world hinting, but it’s much more focused in on the politics of Paul Astreide’s reign as emperor, and specifically how he’s going to produce an heir. He’s vowed to never have sex with his wife Irulan, who at the behest of the Bene-Gesserit, has been secretly feeding his concubine Chuni a contraceptive. Also, The Bene-Gesserit sort of what Paul to impregnate his sister Alia? For reasons?

Oh also, Alia is falling in love with the reanimated zombie corpse of Paul’s sword master Duncan Idaho.

Like you do.

So, about that last part, there is a society which creates zombie slaves, like, on the reg, just for fun, in this universe and it’s thrown away in a single line? WHAT THE HELL, FRANK HERBERT? That is way more interesting than Paul sighing about how he doesn’t get to run around the desert with the Fremen anymore, or vaguely talking about his visions being a pain in the ass, or whatever.

Paul, no one made you eat so much spice you saw into the total consciousness of time, and no one made you marry poor Irulan and declare yourself emperor. You did that all by yourself, buddy, so quit moping about it. That said, I do appreciate the way Herbert plays with chosen one narratives, by making the chosen one sort of a dick.

Anyway, I think if I liked or cared about the characters here more, I’d have enjoyed the book more. Normally everything that happened is right up my alley, but it just came up short because I’m not invested in the people.

I’m still going to keep going on this series, because it’s fun easy reading and it feels somehow essential to my ongoing nerd education to get this one under my belt. And I want to find out if Alia ever does manage to get it on with that zombie….so sometime in March I’ll pick up Children Of Dune.

Up next is Call Me By Your Name because I want to read it before I see the movie, and I want to see the movie before the Oscars. YAY!


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