About the Author

Frank Herbert was born on October 8, 1920, in Tacoma, Washington. He began his career as a journalist when he was seventeen. From 1946 to […]


In 1965 Dune received the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula award for best novel, and in 1966 it received the World Science Fiction Convention’s […]


Most of the novel is set on Arrakis, a desert planet known as “Dune” and inhabited primarily by sandworms and a martial people called Fremen. […]

Themes and Characters

Herbert maintained that Dune was about the destructive nature of charismatic leaders. In this sense, Paul Atreides is an allegorical figure: a good man whose […]

Literary Qualities

Paul is a charismatic leader who can foresee some of the results of his actions. However, a character’s ability to know the future presents significant […]

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 […]

Topics for Discussion

1. Paul Atreides’s psychic powers are aided by a drug produced on Dune. Are drugs good or bad in Dune? Given the terrible effects many […]

Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Study the critics’ objections to the anthropological content of Dune. To what did anthropologists object? Are any of their objections valid? Are there any […]