Frank Herbert’s novel Dune is one of the finest science fiction stories ever written. The novel immediately captured the imagination of readers across the world when it was published in 1965. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, as well as the inaugural Nebula Award for best novel. Herbert went on to write five sequels to Dune, and his son, Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J. Anderson, have written twenty Dune novels and collections of stories, with another to be released next year.
With the arrival of a high profile film adaptation arriving in October 2021, Dune is sure to have a surge in popularity. But this is only the most recent wave of interest; the novel has never ceased to inspire. Not only was it incredibly influential on writers for decades, there were attempts at adapting it to film starting in the late 1960s. The teams brought together for these attempts revolutionized movie making, and went on to make such pop-culture phenomena as Star Wars, Alien, and Blade Runner. Eventually Dune itself found its way to the screen, first with David Lynch’s polarizing 1984 version, and a popular Sci-Fi Channel miniseries in 2000.
Those unfamiliar with the book may not understand the devotion Dune has won with its fans. Much of the devotion comes from its complexity. On the surface Dune captivates with its depiction of space travel, superb world building, compelling characters, and feudal warfare in a far-off future. But the novel transcends genre. As a work of literature, Dune is a fascinating examination of humanity. everything from ecology and colonialism, to politics, economics, and religious fanaticism.
Whether you’re new to the world of Dune, or a hardcore fan, here are some works that inspired Dune, some that were inspired by Dune, as well as some similar titles to hold you over until the big film release.
By Frank Herbert
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics.
By Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations
By Ursula K. LeGuin
Shevek, a brilliant physicist attempts to reunite two planets cut off from each other by centuries of distrust.
By Dan Simmons
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the reach of galactic law, waits a creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.
By Octavia K. Butler
An alien race calls on one woman to revive mankind after Earth’s apocalypse in this science fiction classic from the award-winning author of Parable of the Sower.
By Iain M. Banks
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction—cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.
By Anne Leckie
Now isolated in a single frail human body, Breq, an artificial intelligence that used to control of a massive starship and its crew of soldiers, tries to adjust to her new humanity while seeking vengeance and answers to her questions.
By Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius
When private investigator John DiFool inherits a powerful crystal called the Light Incal from a dying alien, various political factions pursue him across the galaxy, intent on securing the crystal for themselves.