• Published a book you want to tell us about? Uploaded a YouTube video you want to share?

    Normally you'll need 100 posts to self-promote, but with an upgraded membership you can do so with your first post.

    Find out more here: Become a Supporting Member

Dune Messiah

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,761
Location
Highlands
I really didn't like Dune Messiah. It felt disjointed and directionless, which most chapters being nothing more than characters in a room talking about nothing much of substance.

Any sense of conflict tended to be vague: Paul thought he could see the future, only to be surprised by everything; Alia thought she could see the future, only to be surprised by everything.

A book as exceptional as Dune was always going to overshadow any sequel - but Dune Messiah undermined itself by reading more as a stream of consciousness than a constructed story.

However... am I being unfair about it?
 

Randy M.

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2012
Messages
1,337
Honestly, I never read beyond Dune. It was, I thought, complete in and of itself, so I never felt the urge to go further.

Randy M.
 

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
4,538
I don't really think that you are being unfair, and I too didn't see any need to go further with the Dune books. It seems to me that Paul's rise to power means that later books will be about the least interesting aspects of the first one: the Arab/jihad/fanatical element and the mystical/psychic aspect. One of the reasons I liked Dune so much was that it was a kind of space Gormenghast, about two noble families of weird, dangerous people locked in a feud. Without that, and the more grotesque characters, it just felt dull and ephemeral.
 

Onyx

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,000
It isn't my favorite book, but it is the Empire Strikes Back of the series - it shows the fall of the Ubermench, the full extent of his powers (blindsight), the jihad Paul feared, the real risk of Alia's abomination, our first glimpse of a Guild Navigator and the rebirth of Duncan Idaho as the first ghola who remember's himself. The book is a downer, but full of meat. It sets up what is to come.

The six books cover a lot of territory and are different from each others in ways that are rarely seen in a series. The brilliance Herbert put into Dune is there in all of them, even if they aren't all the satisfying revenge tale of the first. I think people find Dune right at the limits of their mental endurance and are happy to have the excuse to tap after the exertion.

I seem to be somewhat alone in really enjoying the last two books.
 

Toby Frost

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
4,538
I think people find Dune right at the limits of their mental endurance and are happy to have the excuse to tap after the exertion.
Some might. I didn't, however: I just thought it was a pale shadow of the original. I thought it lacked the depth and innovation of the first novel, and was something of an afterthought.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
22,761
Location
Highlands
I never read beyond Dune. It was, I thought, complete in and of itself, so I never felt the urge to go further.
That was how I felt before - it was easy to cynically think of the sequels as a cash-in on the success of Dune, rather than because there was a story that desperately needed to be told.
 

Onyx

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,000
Some might. I didn't, however: I just thought it was a pale shadow of the original. I thought it lacked the depth and innovation of the first novel, and was something of an afterthought.
If you read beyond Dune, then you aren't the sort of person I was speaking about who is looking for a reason not to read the second book.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,487
Location
Scottish Highlands
Most people I've met who've read Dune either started or finished the next two books, I've met only a few who didn't at least give them a try, but I've met very few who thought the exercise was worth the effort. I read through books two and three myself and frankly found them dreadful, and I don't just mean in comparison with Dune itself; I found them painfully slow and tedious without a single character in them I could like or feel any sympathy for.
 

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Supporter
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
4,008
Location
Edinburgh
Most people I've met who've read Dune either started or finished the next two books, I've met only a few who didn't at least give them a try, but I've met very few who thought the exercise was worth the effort.
I've got all six, so you've met at least one person who thought they were worth the effort.

It's been a while since I've gone through the series, but I've done it a number of times. There's a lot of nuance and exploration of the issues that he starts with Dune. It can't all be Flash Gordon plots and the Hero's journey when dealing with weighty issues. (although it's fine to read books that give you that as well!)

But hey, I adore Gravity's Rainbow and a whole host of other books that get mixed reviews. A book that does not have any sympathetic characters is not high on my measure of good literature ;)
 

Vince W

Towel Champion
Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
2,660
I've got all six, so you've met at least one person who thought they were worth the effort.

It's been a while since I've gone through the series, but I've done it a number of times. There's a lot of nuance and exploration of the issues that he starts with Dune. It can't all be Flash Gordon plots and the Hero's journey when dealing with weighty issues. (although it's fine to read books that give you that as well!)

But hey, I adore Gravity's Rainbow and a whole host of other books that get mixed reviews. A book that does not have any sympathetic characters is not high on my measure of good literature ;)
I've read the series multiple times as well. I enjoy each book (Dune is obviously the favourite), but I will admit I didn't enjoy Messiah+ very much the first time around. But Dune sunk its hooks into me very deeply and reread them. I started to enjoy them more with each reading. I've been nibbling my way through GEoD at the moment, and I can understand why there is a small, but vocal, group claiming it to be the best of the series.

Sometimes I think there should be a warning on the cover of Dune Messiah telling readers that this is NOT the Dune you're expecting.
 

Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
Joined
Oct 5, 2011
Messages
17,057
Location
blah - flags. So many flags.
I adore Dune Messiah - way, way more than Dune.

I love how it develops complex relationships. How it introduces the concept of living with being Muab’dib - and living with being part of his legend. The complexity of understanding and the personal impact of belief. The impact on Alia was so well done.

Of my fav sff books it is probably number one.

But Paul was what I read the series for - and in this book it developed his legend than any other.

Did I say how much I loved it :D?
 

Vince W

Towel Champion
Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
2,660
I adore Dune Messiah - way, way more than Dune.

I love how it develops complex relationships. How it introduces the concept of living with being Muab’dib - and living with being part of his legend. The complexity of understanding and the personal impact of belief. The impact on Alia was so well done.

Of my fav sff books it is probably number one.

But Paul was what I read the series for - and in this book it developed his legend than any other.

Did I say how much I loved it :D?
I love it now, but at 14 I wanted MOAR Dune. :)
 

Stephen Palmer

author of novels
Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
4,442
Location
Shropshire
I quite liked it, but liked Children Of Dune much more. He seemed to reconnect with his amazing imagination for the third volume. I do think Dune Messiah does deal with the messy aftermath of power change well though.
 

philzilla

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2005
Messages
36
Dune Messiah is just the set up for Children of Dune, and ultimately God Emperor. But I dig the first six, Frank really knows how to make a sentence.
 

Parson

This world is not my home
Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
8,101
Location
Iowa
I've read all 6 and I grew progressively disillusioned with the stories. When I read them I wouldn't have been able to say what it was that I liked less and less about them, but now I would say they seemed more and more contrived. They did not have the purity of story or gripping world view of Dune.
 

Stephen Palmer

author of novels
Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2009
Messages
4,442
Location
Shropshire
I've read all 6 and I grew progressively disillusioned with the stories. When I read them I wouldn't have been able to say what it was that I liked less and less about them, but now I would say they seemed more and more contrived. They did not have the purity of story or gripping world view of Dune.
This is pretty much how I felt. I did think volumes 5 and 6 "had something" but, on reflection, I was never sure what that thing might be... :/
 

Onyx

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,000
Dune is an adventure with good guys and bad buys. Messiah, Children and God Emperor are not. That is probably the missing magic element. Heretics and Chapterhouse go back to cops and robbers.
 
Top