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A Muad'Dib for all seasons

I know I have said before that most books I read seem to end up with major characters dying. I've just re-read Dune, and this is certainly no exception. For those who haven't read it, I'll present my review shortly. It's been a while since I last did a book review. I have a few ideas for some, and hopefully transmission will be back to normal now. I was tempted to try to write Paul out of it, but that seemed a little too difficult. I should be able to write out a few characters, anyway. There are lots to spare. I think I'll ditch the whole messiah/religion thing too. It never quite worked for me, anyway.

The story of Dune begins shortly before the Artreides Multidisciplinary Centre, headed by Prof Leto, is forced to relocate from its premises at the University of Caladan to Arrakis University by the Padashah Government. The researchers are offered significant grants to work at Arrakis University, with particular incentive to investigate ways of improving spice production.

The story of Dune centres around a young postgrad named Paul, who is jointly supervised by Leto and Dr Jessica, who is a Commerce researcher. Leto, being an impressive and well respected man, is able to surround himself with a range of different researchers who are able to teach Paul lots of different skills. Soon after the arrival, Paul, Jessica and Leto meet with the project stakeholders. During this meeting, Leto is called away, and Paul is forced to conduct the meeting. He performs admirably, and earns the respect of the sponsors.

To Leto's shock, he finds that one of his researchers sold all of the Artreides' technical secrets to Harkonnen Industries and destroyed all of their work. Harkonnen Industries, who were a major donor to the Padishah Government - especially Prime Minister Shaddam - convinced the Government to cut all funding to the Artreides and give Harkonnen Industries concessional taxation to replace their research and an exclusive right to mine the spice. Meanwhile, the Harkonnens also launched legal action against Prof Leto for stealing their commercial secrets, which had Leto tied up for the rest of the book.

Fortunately, with the help of Leto's researchers, Paul and Jessica were able to escape, and commenced their research in secret with the Fremen, who had formerly sponsored his project. Paul quickly finishes his research, although because he has been forced to flee the University and so is unable to have his degree conferred, although the Fremen think his work is of such a high standard that they privately called him Usul, which means Associate Professor in their local language. Publicly, however, they called him Muad'Dib, which means The Undergraduate, as a means of hiding his identity.

With the Harkonnens being granted exclusive spice rights, the Fremen find themselves squeezed out due to monopolistic, anti-competitive practices such as being frozen out of any of their potential markets. Through Paul's research, the Fremen are quietly able to stockpile supplies of spice, which they processed more efficiently. Paul is given a directorship of the Fremen cooperative, and instructs all spice workers, including both the Fremen and Harkonnen's mistreated employees, to stop spice production. This strike then drops the value of Harkonnen Industries drastically while sending the price of spice soaring.

Paul then uses his training to take over and destroy Harkonnen Industries and to usurp power as the head of Government.

Ok, I may not have written out Paul, but I managed to ignore the worms, the guild, the bene gesserit, as well as most individual characters and the actual charm and interest of the story.


Gillian comments

Brilliant! Now you need to do one on the trains of "Atlas Shrugged":)

I respond

First I have to read Atlas Shrugged. I'll get to it in time, I'm sure, but at the moment I have a large pile of library books I'm gradually working through. Some of them don't even have pictures.

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