New Wave Sci-Fi 75 (4)
October 22, 2017
One in a series of posts about the 75 best science fiction novels published during the genre’s New Wave era (from 1964–83, according to HILOBROW’s periodization schema). For our complete New Wave Sci-Fi 75 list, click here.
Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965).
In the far future, interstellar travel is made possible thanks to the spice melange — the psychoactive properties of which allow pilots to safely route faster-than-light travel. Melange is also responsible for the witchy powers of the Bene Gesserit, an ancient sisterhood that has carried out a breeding program designed to produce the Kwisatz Haderach (a messiah-like figure). Dune, the first in a series of six best-selling novels, recounts how young Paul Atreides arrives on Arrakis, the only planet where spice is mined, only to see his father — the new governor of the planet — killed and his family’s (awesome) retainers scattered. With the help of his Bene Gesserit mother, not to mention the Fremen, the planet’s giant-worm-riding natives, Paul seeks revenge against the evil Baron Harkonnen… while discovering the truth about the Kwisatz Haderach. Dune is… potboiler about a family’s declining empire, a fantasy about the founding of a new social order, a band-of-brothers yarn, and a criticism of humankind’s despoliation of nature. Phew!
Fun fact: Science fiction’s first hardcover bestseller; parts of it were first serialized in Analog. Dune was adapted into David Lynch’s cult 1984 movie of the same title. It won the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel.
NEW WAVE SCI-FI at HILOBROW: 75 Best New Wave (1964–83) Sci-Fi Novels | Back to Utopia: Fredric Jameson’s theorizing about New Wave sci-fi | Douglas Adams | Poul Anderson | J.G. Ballard | John Brunner | William Burroughs | Octavia E. Butler | Samuel R. Delany | Philip K. Dick | Frank Herbert | Ursula K. Le Guin | Barry N. Malzberg | Moebius (Jean Giraud) | Michael Moorcock | Alan Moore | Gary Panter | Walker Percy | Thomas Pynchon | Joanna Russ | James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon) | Kurt Vonnegut | PLUS: Jack Kirby’s Golden Age and New Wave science fiction comics.
ALSO SEE: 50 Best Scientific Romances (1864–1903) | Radium Age Sci-Fi: 100 Best Novels of 1904–33 | Golden Age Sci-Fi: 75 Best Novels of 1934–1963 | 75 Best New Wave Sci-Fi (1964–83) Novels | The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time | 101 Science Fiction Adventures