Dune: 50th Anniversary Edition, by Frank Herbert

I was so excited when I was offered a 50th anniversary edition of Frank Herbert's Dune. There are so many exciting editions of this story: lurid Dune! Tasteful Dune! Minimalist Dune! Maximalist Dune! Surely, the publishers must have gone all-out for such a landmark anniversary, right?

Wrong. This edition features bland cover art, flimsy construction, and an afterword by the author's son Brian that misspells “Bene Gesserit”. And while Herbert's story—a blend of politics, environmentalism, and swashbuckling adventure—holds up astonishingly well, I object to the promotional blurb on the cover describing it as “Science Fiction's Supreme Masterpiece”. Dune is brilliant, sure, but it also features some creepy white-savior stuff and the world's most unconvincing 15-year-old protagonist. (Also, have they never heard of Frankenstein?)

Admittedly, this edition is a reasonable choice for first-time readers. In addition to Brian Herbert's afterword, there's a glossary, a map, and several explanatory notes. But for preexisting fans of the book, this was a missed opportunity. We can't all shell out $135 for the Folio Society edition, but an anniversary reprint with some colorful cover art (maybe revisiting the original cover?) and few bells and whistles—including correctly spelled references to the Bene Gesserit—would have been warmly welcomed.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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