Social Sensitivity

Reviewers in the 1960s generally faulted Dune for being naive about both planetary ecology and anthropology. In recent years critics have come to regard Dune and its sequels as extraordinarily complete portraits of an alien planet and a spacefaring society. In the 1960s American society was becoming increasingly aware of the environmental problems created by modern technology. Also during the 1960s there was a growing interest in mysticism and the religions of the Far East. This interest is reflected in Dune, which touches on several important social issues of its time. The novel’s central plot focuses on Paul Atreides, who is the product of generations of selective breeding, and who has the mystical ability to see possible futures. Further, he becomes the focus of a mystical religion.