Reviews: Herbert, Frank

Like the Stars Above

Whipping Star — Frank Herbert
ConSentiency, book 1

1970’s Whipping Star is the third piece and first novel-length work in Frank Herbert’s ConSentiency series. I hope I’ve worked out how I am going to number Whipping Star by the time I post this review.

The ConSentiency spans the Milky Way. While faster than light drives exist, all are too slow for galactic travel. What made the ConSentiency practical was the jumpdoor. Jumpdoors allow people to step from the surface of one planet to the surface of another. Jumpdoors were so clearly useful that nobody questioned their enigmatic Caleban creators too closely about how exactly they worked.

Jumpdoors have some interesting undocumented features. For example, someone who knows their jumpdoors can use them to kill an astonishing fraction of the population of the ConSentiency in one go.

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What these people need is Kwisatz Haderach!

Dune — Frank Herbert
Dune, book 1

Frank Herbert’s 1965 fix-up novel Dune is the first novel in his ongoing (and thanks to necrolaboration, undead) Dune series. While the original novel may be overshadowed by the feculent dribblings of Brian Herbert and pen-for-hire Kevin J. Anderson, in its day Dune was pretty highly regarded. Awards include

Place

Year and Award

Category

Win

1966 Hugo

Best Novel

Win

1966 Nebula

Novel

Win

1974 Seiun

Best Translated Long Story

1

1975 Locus

All-Time Best Novel

1

1987 Locus

All-Time Best SF Novel

1

1998 Locus

All-Time Best SF Novel before 1990

Not bad. So how does it stand up more than a half century later?

The planet Arrakis! Also known as Dune! Sole source of Spice, the mysterious substance that grants longer life and enhances awareness, even allowing a lucky few to see into the future itself! Life extension alone would make it valuable, but its role as psychic steroids makes it a necessity for interstellar trade. Without spice, ships would be lost to unforeseeable dangers in the interstellar deeps.

Whoever controls Arrakis control the Spice. Whoever controls Spice controls trade. Whoever controls trade controls the Empire itself.

That’s the theory, anyway. As the Atreides family is about to find out, theory and practice often differ.

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