As The Worm Turns:

reflections on

Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga (1965-85)


by Gary W. Wright


        After too many years, I recently re-read the allegorical and implicitly Philip K. Dick toasting and Robert A. Heinlein roasting Franklin Patrick “Frank” Herbert jr. indie docufiction novel Dune [December 1, 1965] and was pleased to discover that it was better and more timely than before.  Indeed, after too many decades of exuberant nonsense about the arrival of neo digitally enhanced “cyberpunk” people, and of the birth of an “artificial intelligence” that was about as likely as the birth of intelligent toasters, it was very refreshing to read a novel that summed up and dismissed the computer age in two succinct and sarcastic sentences-“…Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them [Herbert 17]”-spoken shortly before the end of Chapter One by the commanding, duplicitous and Wicked Witch of the West evoking and possibly linked Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam.  Two succinct and dismissive sentences that hopefully accurately foretold that the “magical” computer age that humanity was currently suffering through would be as brief, mistaken and tragicomic as the one that humanity suffered through in the novel before coming to its collective senses, overthrowing computers and computer people in a religious and sociocultural revolution called the Butlerian Jihad and creating a better and more devout, aware, sensitive, developed, intuitive, imaginative, insightful, intelligent, emotional and vital humanity that just kept on going for five hundred more riveting pages into an ancient future that revealed what that expanded and heightened humanity would think and feel like some eight thousand years from now after humanity had long fled a nuclear ravaged Earth and spread across the universe.  How refreshing and reassuring to also find in this ancient future that books, many of them written and/or edited by the jilted, embittered and pensive Bene Gesserit Princess Irulan, were still around and as important as ever and written on real paper.

        Curiously, here in this ancient future, an Emperor and his court and minor aristocrats had returned, leading to an oppressive neo-imperialist era that caused a hard pressed but ultimately triumphant Orange Catholic fused neo-Islamic “Zensunni” uprising to break out on a desert world called Arrakis that was nicknamed “Dune”, a desert planet that reminded us that Mars had long symbolized the world of the sly fi establishment by the publication of Dune but whose indie status implicitly affirmed that Arrakis symbolized indie sly fi writers like Dick and Herbert who were not a part of the sly fi establishment in those days.  Significantly, this religious and sociocultural uprising was led by a mysterious, visionary and prescient adolescent messiah named Duke Paul Atreides, also known variously as Paul-Maud’dib, Maud’dib or Usul.  Interestingly, Duke Atreides was initially born and raised as an oxymoronic Orange Catholic on an Earth-like and Canada cadenced world called Caladan before emigrating to Arrakis and leading its devout, tenacious, fearless and indomitable Fremen tribes to victory over its brutal and hated planetary Governor Rabban Harkonnen, his twisted and pedophilic uncle, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, and the House Harkonnen military; their allies, the proud and haughty Galactic Emperor, Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, his impious imperial legions of Sardaukar terror troops and the ambiguously religious all female Bene Gesserit “Sisterhood” that supported him; and, at a wary remove, the other titled aristocracy and the even more wary and mysterious Spacing Guild that actually preferred spice travel to space travel and quietly controlled them all, an exultant triumph helped along by the addictive spice melange that was treasured by all of the players of Dune

A treasured spice melange that was fittingly named, as Dune was an inspired and inspiring mixture of elements and themes taken from sources as diverse as the allegorical, despairing and implicitly age of Empire battling Herman Melville indie docufiction novel Moby Dick (1851), the allegorical, Victorian England roasting and machine hating Samuel Butler indie docufiction novel Erewhon (1870)-from which author the machine hating Butlerian Jihad presumably took its name-the allegorical H.G. Wells indie docufiction novel The War Of The Worlds (1898)-which established Mars as the de facto home planet of the sly fi establishment to this day-the allegorical John Carter, Warlord of Mars, and John Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes indie docufiction novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs-with the John Carter books reaffirming the implicit link of the sly fi establishment to Mars-the allegorical Ray Bradbury indie docufiction novel The Martian Chronicles (1953), which also affirmed the implicit link of the sly fi establishment to Mars, and more than a dash of the allegorical T.E. Lawrence book Seven Pillars Of Wisdom (1920) and the allegorical David Lean docufeature film LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) .


“‘I have been a stranger in a strange land,’” Halleck quoted.


        Significantly, however, below the surface of the novel’s desperate and determined battle to have a devout, expanded and vital humanity triumph over small minded, greedy and cruel imperial control lay an equally and implicitly desperate and determined battle to have more devout, expanded and human indie sly fi triumph over the equally small minded, cruel and controlling sly fi establishment.  For Duke Paul Atreides aka Paul-Maud’dib aka Usul, the messianic Lisan al-Gaib and Kwisatz Haderach-was implicitly linked to Dick, an implicit link affirmed by the novel’s allusions to the allegorical Dick indie docufiction novel Martian Time-Slip (1963) and by the novel’s obsession with proving and maintaining a vital humanity, a favourite theme of Dick; the loyal Atreides right hand man Gurney Halleck was implicitly linked to Alfred Bester, an implicit link to Bester affirmed by the novel’s allusions to the allegorical Bester indie docufiction novel The Stars, My Destination (1955); the loyal Atreides swordmaster Duncan Idaho was implicitly linked to Harlan Ellison; and the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV was implicitly linked to Heinlein, an implicit link to Heinlein affirmed by the novel’s allusions to such allegorical Heinlein indie docufiction novels as The Puppet Masters (1951), Starship Troopers (1959) Strangers In A Strange Land (1961) and Farnham’s Freehold (1964).  Herbert also implicitly roasted Heinlein’s good friends Isaac and Janet Asimov in the form of the Emperor’s good friends, the eunuch Count Hasimir, and his Bene Gesserit wife, Lady Margot Fenring, in Dune, an implicit interest in the Asimovs affirmed by the novel’s allusions to the Foundation Trilogy (1951-53). 

Curiously, Vladimir Nabokov was also implicitly roasted in the form of the Evil and pedophilic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, an implication affirmed by the novel’s allusions to the allegorical and implicitly Alfred Hitchcock roasting Nabokov indie docufiction novel Lolita (1951), making it fitting that the Baron was killed by Paul Maud’dib’s kid sister, the “weirding abomination” girl Alia Atreides, shortly before the end.  Last but not least, Stanley Kubrick was also implicitly roasted in the form of the Baron’s ambitious nephew Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, an implication affirmed by the novel’s allusions to the allegorical and implicitly David Lean addressing Kubrick docufeature film SPARTACUS (1960) and the allegorical and implicitly Hitchcock roasting Kubrick indie docufeature film LOLITA (1962). 

Thus, given these literary implications, the triumph of Atreides, his Fremen dream girl, Chani, his rebel Bene Gesserit mother, Lady Jessica, his “abomination” kid sister, Alia, Halleck and the fanatical Fremen over the Emperor, the Count, the Harkonnens, their legions of callous and brutal Harkonnen soldiers and remorseless and implacable Sardaukar terror troops and their staid, uncreative, status quo supporting and all female editor/writer Bene Gesserit Sisterhood and all male Spacing Guild allies implied a triumph of brilliant and innovative but mostly ignored and unknown, poor and struggling indie sly fi writers like Bester, Dick, and Herbert and their equally ignored and despondent but fanatical fans over established and successful sly fi Titans like Asimov and Heinlein, their legions of callous and stodgy fans and their staid, uncreative, status quo supporting and all female editor and all male publisher allies of the era, an exultant triumph helped along by those elusive and amorphous “sandtrout” ideas that crawled around in the subconscious beneath the conscious surfaces of the minds of writers and slowly but surely grew and transformed into larger “sandworm” short stories, bigger novellas and huge and heady novels that, if successful, would produce lots of money like the sandworms produced lots of addictive and valuable melange along as the writers, like the sandtrout and sandworms, avoided the water of death, alcohol, that so often plagued them. 

Indeed, the fact that Paul’s parents, Duke Leto Atreides and his Bene Gesserit concubine, Jessica, moved the teenaged Paul from the green and fecund planet of Caladan to the desolate desert planet of Arrakis before the brave and unflinching self sacrifice of Leto II left Paul alone with his mother affirmed that the novel was addressing Dick on one level, reminding us that Dick’s parents moved him as a child from green and fecund Chicago to desolate desert California before their separation and Dick’s life alone with his single mother.  Dick certainly seemed to think so, for he implicitly replied to Dune by implicitly linking Herbert to post-apocalyptic San Francisco Police Department runaway android hunter Rick Deckard in the indie docufiction novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (1968).  Indeed, the novel’s Voigt-Kampff empathy test to distinguish between androids and humans evoked the Reverend Mother Mohiam’s pain box test for humanity in chapter one of Dune, affirming the implicit Herbert addressing intent of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?  The fact that Deckard was caught between his wife Iran and his adulterous android luver Rachael in the Dick novel reminded us that Atreides was caught between the Emperor’s beautiful blonde daughter, Princess Irulan, and his fearless Fremen dream girl Chani in Dune.  The fact that Deckard met Rachael on a trip to Seattle reaffirmed his implicit link to Herbert, reminding us that Herbert was living in the Seattle area by the time of the release of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?  Thus, the fact that Deckard found it hard to differentiate a new version of android and a low functioning man from a regular human being with his Voigt-Kampff empathy test implied that Dick doubted that it would be as easy to test for humanity in reality as it was in Dune


“You will feel pain in this hand within the box…

[a pain designed] to determine if you’re human.”


Significantly, this implicit allegorical intent of Dune explained the creepy and symbolic “rape” of young Atreides by the Reverend Mother Mohiam on Castle Caladan in Chapter One.  For Paul was forced to put his right hand into a vagina evoking pain amplifying box by the Reverend Mother in order to test his humanity and to see if he was the messianic male “Kwisatz Haderach” that the Bene Gesserit was always trying to breed and control, reminding us that then and now most editors for publishers are women, thus making them the first to read manuscript submissions from male authors to determine if these submissions were sufficiently courageous, sensitive, imaginative, intelligent, insightful, strong and human enough to be published as books and the first to determine whether a new Cooper, Dickens, Twain, Verne, Wells, Hemingway, Kerouac, Tolkien or Herbert had arrived to their surprised delight who would be the latest bestselling male author and, in this case, a sly fi writer-the !Kwisatz Haderach!-who would be read just as eagerly by male and female readers in the mainstream world as by male and female readers in the sly fi world, given that readers tended to be female.  !Shai halud! 


““Grief is the price of victory,” Jessica said.”


        Curiously, Dune also eerily and presciently anticipated the arrival of the righteous and indomitable Gardevil.  For like Usul’s top and John the Baptist evoking Fremen commander, I am still Gar after all these years, and still ready and eager to leap into frenzied battle with my favourite crysknife and a fanatical shout of “Maud’dib!” roaring from my lips.  !Kull wahad!  And as befitting a novel that featured such assertive, bewitchingly beautiful, confident, educated, intelligent, and physically strong women trained in all of the latest fighting and writing techniques, Dune also implicitly inspired Ursula K. LeGuin to respond to the book in the allegorical and implicitly Dune and Herbert roasting indie docufiction novel The Left Hand Of Darkness [March 1969], reminding us that the first name of Ursula evoked that of Irulan, perhaps implying a link between Irulan and Ursula, whose writing Herbert implicitly did not like, given that Irulan was an anagram of “urinal”.  No doubt inspiring Herbert to finish the allegorical and implicitly Dick and Ellison toasting and Heinlein roasting indie docufiction novel Dune Messiah [October 1969].


“They are surface truth.

As well ignore what lies beneath that surface as…”


        Significantly, we soon discovered that, while overthrowing the implicitly Heinlein linked ex-Emperor Shaddam IV, the neo and implicitly Dick linked messianic Emperor Paul-Maud’dib Atreides had left Shaddam alive and embittered on his prison/Sardaukar training planet of Salusa Secundus.  We also soon discovered that Paul-Maud’dib’s visions in Dune of his victory on Arrakis and his ascension to the Imperial lion throne setting off a bloody Fremen led jihad that swept the universe and killed untold billions of people had come true, to the shocked, embittered, conflicted and haunted dismay of the new Emperor, implying that Herbert was warning Dick and his most devoted readers that the emergence of a writer who would lead indie sly fi to be accepted by the sly fi establishment and mainstream readers and lead its writers to greater success would be an equally wrenching and catastrophic experience that would change that pathfinding author and sly fi forever. 

We also quickly discovered that the bloody and brutal jihad and Emperor Paul-Maud’dib’s divine imperial reign had inspired the Bene Gesserit, represented by the implicitly LeGuin linked Princess Irulan and the Reverend Mother Mohiam; the “dirty” and implicitly homosexual literati linked Bene Tleilaxu, represented by Scytale, who implicitly affirmed the homosexual nature of the Bene Tleilaxu by disguising himself as a young Fremen woman throughout much of the novel; and the Spacing Guild, represented primarily by a fish-like third stage Spacing Guild Navigator named Edric, to conspire to overthrow him.  A malevolent and multi-layered plot that failed and led to the deaths of almost all of the plotters and, alas, to the loss of the eyes of Emperor Paul-Maud’dib and to him being forced to rely on his extrasensory visionary sight to “see”, in the end.  With the noticeable and significant exception of Princess Irulan, who was won over to the cause of Emperor Paul-Maud’dib, leading to a triumph of writing and books as well as a triumph for Emperor Atreides and his vast universal Empire, in the end, for the literate and literary princess continued to write books, continuing the pleasing importance placed on books, reading and knowledge in the far ancient future and the open link of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood to writing and editing books.

        Curiously, the main difference between Dune and Dune Messiah was the return of the implicitly Ellison linked and loyal Atreides man and swordmaster Duncan Idaho.  For the body of Idaho had been carefully preserved and brought back from the dead as a ghola with eerie metal eyes by the wily Tleilaxu after he was killed fighting the Sardaukar during the Harkonnen and Sardaukar invasion of Arrakis that decimated House Atreides and replaced them with the cruel and violent planetary rule of House Harkonnen in Dune.  During the reviving process, the creepy Tleilaxu implanted the ghola Idaho with a mnemonic command that would trigger him to kill Emperor Atreides when a certain phrase had been uttered.  Then they changed his name to “Hayt” and sold him to the Spacing Guild, confident that the Guild would give the ghola Idaho as a gift to Emperor Atreides, which they did.

        Luckily for Paul-Maud’dib, he overruled Hayt’s buried mnemonic command to kill the Emperor, defeating his “haytful” and inhuman ghola side and transforming him back into the Emperor’s luving, loyal and fully human companion and protective swordsmaster Duncan Idaho in one of the most moving scenes of the novel.  A closing climatic scene that was the epitome of the emphasis on developing a full, vital and devout humanity devoted to the principles of the Butlerian Jihad first seen in Dune that continued in Dune Messiah.  For it was the Emperor’s soothing and inspiring words to Hayt-“…free yourself from the ghola, Duncan…You’re human.  Do a human thing [Herbert 308]”-that liberated Idaho forever.  Thus, with Idaho freed from hate and liberated to luv and live freely as a fully human being, Herbert implied that Ellison needed to stop hating in order to be truly luving and human, as well. 

        Surprisingly, Dune Messiah ended with Chani dying after she gave birth to the twins Ghanima and Leto II, messianic and J.D. Jedi anticipating twins that reminded us that Dick had a twin sister named Jane who died six weeks after they were born to reaffirm the implicit link of Atreides to Dick.  A death in birth that traumatized Emperor Paul-Maud’dib Atreides and encouraged him to sneak out of Sietch Tabr and wander off into the desert alone, consigning the blind to the desert in keeping with Fremen tradition so that the Fremen would accept Alia as the new temporary Regent and his son Leto II as the new Emperor, in time.  And so young Atreides rose from married hero to widowed zero in two novels, again implying that Herbert was warning Dick and the sly fi community to be wary of wishing for a sly fi messiah who would lead to the genre being accepted by the mainstream, for fear that they just might get their wish and their beloved and quirky little literary club would lose its sense of a special and unique community, as unique and special as a Fremen sietch community. 

Making it ironic indeed that Herbert was soon seen as that sly fi Messiah, given that Dune and Dune Messiah slowly became more popular over the Seventies and were embraced by both the sly fi establishment and the mainstream.  A swelling popularity and mainstream embrace that led to Herbert being awarded a one million dollar advance for a novel that would complete a Dune Trilogy, the largest advance ever given to a sly fi writer at that time.  A huge advance that inspired a wary Herbert to bring the Dune Trilogy to a fitting trimax and implicitly reply to The Left Hand Of Darkness in the allegorical and implicitly Dick and Ellison toasting Herbert indie docufiction novel Children Of Dune [April 1976].


How simple things were

when our Messiah was only a dream,

he thought.”


        Indeed, Herbert quickly implied that he was responding to The Left Hand Of Darkness on the third page of the novel.  For as Stilgar reassured himself that Leto II and his twin sister Ghanima were sleeping peacefully in their chambers one restless and pensive night in Sietch Tabr nine years after Paul-Maud’dib disappeared into the desert, he also reassured himself that some of his more bitter and Dark thoughts, like wondering if he should kill the twins for the betterment of the universe, “…came from the left hand of the damned, not from the right hand of the blessed [Herbert 3]”.  Herbert also quickly and implicitly affirmed that he was indeed warning Dick and the rest of the clubby and chummy sly fi community including himself to be careful what they wished for, for during his sleepless and worried patrol of the chambers of the twins Stilgar mused wistfully and bitterly over the changes brought by Paul-Maud’dib that ended the familiar and traditional Fremen way of life hidden away on Arrakis and led them off planet to conquer the universe, a loss of the old ways that was in many ways the main theme of the novel.

        However, while old ways were being left behind, old and familiar characters like Stilgar returned in Children Of Dune.  Like the Lolita evoking Alia, the younger sister of Paul-Maud’dib and imperious goddess Regent of her elder brother’s Empire until Leto II came of age, who, alas, revealed that her inner world was not as strong as her outer persona, for she quickly allowed herself to be conquered and controlled by the inner malevolent and manipulative ghost of her uncle Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, another familiar character whose haunting and implicitly Nabokov linked presence fittingly evoked and linked the novel to Dune to affirm that Herbert was bringing the Dune Trilogy full triangular circle, perhaps in response to a Nabokov novel released since the publication of Dune that implicitly roasted Herbert.  The implicitly Ellison linked Duncan Idaho, the ghola mentat, also soon reappeared, now the husband of Alia and horrified by her possession by the Baron and her inability to understand how easy it was for others like himself to see and despise that possession.  The implicitly Mrs. Dick linked Lady Jessica and her new husband Gurney Halleck also returned from self-exile on Caladan to confront and defeat the Baron possessed Alia with the help of the implicitly LeGuin linked Princess Irulan. 

Even Paul-Maud’dib returned in the form of the mysterious Preacher, a wizened and weathered prophet with burnt out eyes who wandered into Arrakeen from deep in the desert to rail against Alia and the rule and power obsessed Empire and to preach in favour of a return to a devout and vital humanity to reaffirm the novel’s link to Dune.  Heck, Idaho died again and Halleck even fled into the desert again to escape another impious Imperial plot to kill him, found sanctuary again with smugglers and Fremen, and was shocked again to discover that Paul was still alive when he met up with the Preacher in the desert late in the novel, reaffirming that Herbert was bringing the Dune Trilogy to another triumphant trimax.  But not simply a trimax that would repeat the end of Dune, for Paul the Preacher was murdered with a crysknife and a courageous Alia committed suicide to save her vital and expanded humanity and kill the Baron a second time, thus also implicitly killing Nabokov a second time, in the end.

Ghanima “Ghani” and Leto II Atreides also played a significant role in the downfall of Alia and the death of Paul the Preacher that dramatically changed the arc of the story and allowed for an entirely different ending and beginning to Children Of Dune.       An ending that saw Leto II create and wear a living symbiotic super suit composed of sandtrout that gave him super powers, allowing him to defeat all of his enemies, take over the Empire, and take it down his four thousand year Golden Path.  Curiously, as the elusive sandtrout were again implicitly linked to equally elusive ideas that, if nurtured properly, would grow on to become huge and powerful sandworm novels, by wearing a sandtrout supersuit, Leto II became one with allegorical sly fi literary art, implying the hope of Herbert that the Boomer brats would inevitably produce sly fi writers who would be implicitly accepted by the mainstream and live more peaceful and prosperous lives than Boomer sly fi writers. 

Indeed, Children Of Dune included the most open implication yet that Paul-Maud’dib and Leto II were implicitly linked to sly fi writers.  For 4/5 of the way through the novel, the Lady Jessica kicked off a chapter while instructing Shaddam IV’s son and possible heir Farad’n on Salusa Secundus by saying “…[Paul] didn’t really see the the future; he saw the process of creation and its relationship to the myths in which men sleep”, a shrewd and honest implicit insight into the sly fi writing process that held true to this day.  But perhaps Leto II summed up the artistic process best when he thought to himself late in the novel “…the only rule governing creativity is the act of creation itself” [Herbert, 563].  A fitting conclusion and emphasis on Ghanima and Leto II Atreides, for the intelligent, imaginative, able, courageous and restless children presciently foretold the arrival of the equally intelligent, imaginative, able, courageous, restless and innovative Boomer brats who did indeed luv reading and creating sly fi film and literary art and who openly challenged the Boomer dominance of the art, intellectual and everyday scene.

        Alas, ironically, and unfortunately and fortunately for Herbert, he was indeed the mainstream seducing sly fi Messiah that the sly fi community had dreamed about and Children Of Dune was indeed the book that seduced them, for the novel easily fulfilled all of the hopes that his publisher had in it that led to that record $1 million dollar advance by being the first of Herbert’s “runaway bestsellers” and by spending weeks on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List, the first sly fi novel to do so.  In fact, according to Herbert’s eldest son Brian in the foreword he wrote for the Ace premium edition of Children Of Dune [2019], his father’s publisher at the time, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, quickly sold out of the 75,000 copies they had optimistically printed for the initial release trimax of the Dune Trilogy in April of ’76, and over 100,000 copies after the second printing only months later.  Two paperback printings of the novel the following year added some two million more body, heart, mind and soul expanding copies of Children Of Dune to the world.  A huge success that forced the obdurately indie writer to leave his secluded hideaway near Seattle and go on a twenty-one city cross nation book tour, a tour that included at least one tv talk show appearance.  The mainstream matrix had him [Herbert, pp. xi-xii].

Just as ironically, given that established sly fi Titans like Asimov and Heinlein were implicitly roasted in the Dune Trilogy, Children Of Dune paved the way for Asimov, Heinlein and other icons like Arthur C. Clarke to also become accepted by the mainstream and appear on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list in the years to come.  Clearly, sly fi was indeed leaving behind its chummy and clubby oddball club status and being embraced by the mainstream, an implication affirmed the following year when world audiences also eagerly embraced the Dune Trilogy evoking, allegorical, computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Steven Spielberg roasting George Lucas indie docufeature film STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977) and the allegorical and implicitly Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau roasting Spielberg docufeature film CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977).

        Significantly, leading the way in the eager embrace of Children Of Dune, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE were the bratty children of the Boom, making it presciently fitting that Ghani and Leto II played such prominent roles in Children Of Dune.  Clearly, a whole new generation had indeed emerged on the scene.  An exuberant new Boomer brat generation that embraced sly fi like it embraced a digital world full of computers, CGI and video games that was turning the world into a real life sly fi film or novel, causing them to embrace Herbert as their sly fi Messiah, eagerly read and ponder the heady and mind expanding Dune Trilogy, and just as eagerly rush to bookstores and libraries in May of 1981 to purchase or sign out copies of the allegorical Herbert indie docufiction novel God Emperor Of Dune [May 1981].


“A copy is worse than nothing…

I am their only hope.”


        Fittingly, the novel immediately revealed that not only had the God Emperor Leto II’s Golden Path reign lasted for almost the four thousand years that he had foreseen, but that the implicit embodiment of sly fi literature had, with the help of Ixian machinery, fittingly become an author of the allegorical two volume epic The Stolen Journals [14000], affirming the implicit link of Leto II and Paul-Maud’dib to sly fi writers.  In fact, late in the novel we discovered that the God Emperor had also written books under the Great Flood evoking pseudonym of Noah Arkwright.  Significantly, however, the preface that revealed the literary creation of Leto II also revealed that the reign of the God Emperor, a massive and dragon evoking sandworm with a human face and withered human appendages, had already been overthrown and was now being looked back upon from a Golden Path free future, preparing readers for the overthrow of the God Emperor at the end of the novel. 

An overthrow accomplished, in the end, by a righteously furious youthful Rebellion led by another implicit Boomer brat, Siona Ibn Fuad al-Seyefa Atreides, the latest strong Dune woman and a distant descendant of Duke Paul Atreides, and a Rebellion that evoked the equally youthful and exuberant Rebellion in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy.  Indeed, the fact that the timorous and squeaky voiced Topri helped Siona and her companions affirmed the allusion to the STAR WARS Rebels, for Topri evoked the equally timorous and squeaky voiced Lucas.  However, Herbert did not imply that the closing victory of Siona and her Rebellion equated with a victory of Lucas and his STAR WARS Classic Trilogy over the Dune Saga and himself, but a victory of the Dune Saga over Lucas and the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy.  Indeed, Herbert implied in God Emperor Of Dune that the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy was just a lesser copy of the Dune Series, an implicit conviction that he began to voice in interviews at the time.  An implicit conviction that I noted in chapter three of The Wizard Of Force did not have much merit…

        Not surprisingly, after almost four thousand years, Arrakis had changed dramatically due to terraforming.  However, human society had changed little throughout the universe during that time, for the God Emperor Leto II had used his divine power and his all female Fish Speaker soldiers and priestesses that had replaced the all male Fremen legions to prevent any uprisings from disturbing the enforced peace, tranquility, boredom and stagnation of his Golden Path.  Thus, readers found that Leto II still retained the ability to not simply remember but to channel the many personalities within him like Paul Maud’dib, the Lady Jessica and Duke Leto as he had revealed in Children Of Dune; still intrigued with the literature luving Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, the implicitly homosexual Bene Tleilax, the machine luvers of Ix and the implicitly publisher linked Spacing Guild; and still retained the Atreides fondness for gholas of the implicitly Ellison linked Duncan Idaho, the stalwart swordmaster of the Atreides, for no less than two Idaho gholas returned in God Emperor Of Dune.  Gholas of Idaho created yet again by the Bene Tleilax aka the “dirty” Tleilaxu, whose implicit link to homosexuals in general was affirmed by the revelation that they were unable to reproduce.  The implicit link of Duro Nunepi, the Tleilaxu Ambassador to Arrakis, to William S. Burroughs, reaffirmed the implicit link of the Bene Tleilaxu to homosexuals.

        Curiously, along the Golden Path, the Bene Gesserit were openly linked to editing via editor’s notes in some of the reports used to advance the novel and by passing mention of their mysterious Chapter House and its archives.  Just as curiously, after a Fish Speaker named Nayla helped Siona and Duncan kill Leto II and transform him back into sandtrout, ending the God Emperor’s reign, the novel ended with a future minority report epilogue by Hadi Benotto which evoked the allegorical Dick indie docufiction short story “Minority Report” [1956], implicitly affirming the interest in Dick in the Dune Saga and bringing the novel full circle to the Benetto prologue that began God Emperor Of Dune.  Even more curiously, Herbert did not have long to wait for reaction to God Emperor Of Dune.  For the same month it was published, William “Cyberpunk” Gibson implicitly roasted him in the form of a Yakuza assassin in a “stupid” Hawaiian shirt in the presciently twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced indie tech noir short story “Johnny Mnemonic” [May 1981], an implication affirmed by the story’s allusions to Dune Messiah.  Thus, given that the Yakuza assassin was killed by the eponymous Johnny Mnemonic’s friend Molly Millions, a fittingly strong woman to rival the strong women of the DUNE series, Gibson implied his hope that success would kill Herbert, in the end. 

The following year, Herbert affirmed the implication in the ending of God Emperor Of Dune that he hoped that his literary rebellion would triumph over the cinematic Rebellion of Lucas when he implied that Lucas and his film art were as much of a plague on world audiences, particularly female audience members, as the real plague that killed only women that was released on humanity by the insidious and implicitly Lucas linked American bioterrorist John R. O’Neill in the allegorical indie docufiction novel The White Plague (September 1982), another “runaway bestseller” whose implicit allegorical intent was affirmed by allusions to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy and the allegorical Lucas indie docufeature films THX 1138 (1971) and AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973).  Another runaway bestseller that combined with the Dune Saga to inspire indie Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis and his aspiring film producer daughter Rafaella to persuade rising film artist David Lynch to create a quirky moving painting of Dune.  While the world waited eagerly for that collaboration to arrive in the Temple Theatre, Herbert stoked anticipation and surprised devoted readers yet again with the twilit and allegorical indie docufiction novel Heretics Of Dune [April 1984].



“!King Kull Wahad!”









Gibson, William.  Burning Chrome.  New York: EOS, 2003. 

Herbert, Frank.  Children Of Dune.  New York: Ace, 2019.

-----. Dune.  New York: Ace, 2019.

-----.  Dune.  New York: Ace, 2021.

-----.  Dune Messiah.  New York: Ace, 2019.

-----.  God Emperor Of Dune.  New York: Ace, 2019.