Off the Shelf: World-Building DUNE Read-A-Likes

Posted February 16, 2022

By Elizabeth Glasgow
Warren-Trumbull County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Center supervisor

If you enjoyed the recent movie Dune, you may be interested in reading Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel that inspired the movie. Happily, Dune is just the first book of Herbert’s “Dune Chronicles.”

The following titles, which are just a few in the series, can be found in our library system in various formats including print, e-books and audio books.

Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles #2) – Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, facing the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne, and victim of a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence.

Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3) – The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, disappeared in the desert wastelands of Arrakis, leaving their manipulative aunt Alia to rule the Empire in the name of House Atreides.

God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4) – Millennia have passed on Arrakis, and the once-desert planet is green with life. Leto Atreides, the son of the world’s savior, the Emperor Paul Muad’Dib, is still alive but by merging with a sandworm, has become nearly immortal and God Emperor of Dune.

Herbert was an accomplished world builder, able to create complex planets such as Caladan and Arrakis, and societies like the Fremen. The following are more authors skilled at world building.

Marion Zimmer Bradley,The Mists of Avalon (series) – Adding a twist on the classic Arthurian legend, Bradley re-tells the story of King Arthur and his court from the point of view of his sister, Morgaine, disciple of the Great Goddess, and Camelot’s other principal women – Viviane, Gwenhwyfar, and Igraine.
Leigh Brackett, The Long TomorrowAfter nuclear war topples American cities, the people blame technology and outlaw the growth of urban centers in order to inhibit reconstruction. Len Coulter, a young man from a religious sect strongly opposed to the technology he finds intriguing, finds a banned radio, and it sets him on a path of discovery.
Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s EndAfter an alien invasion, mankind is subjugated by a more powerful alien race that controls it in some ways while saving it from itself.
Philip José Farmer, Riverworld and Other StoriesRiverworld is a large planet resembling Earth, dominated by a seemingly endless river that flows all over its surface. It is home to humans who have been artificially resurrected from every time and culture, antiquity to the present, for reasons unbeknownst to them.

Farmer’s Riverworld is a collection of stories of discovery.

Kameron Hurley, The Stars are LegionA galactic war has been raging for centuries, causing world-ships to deteriorate and die. Anat, leader of the powerful Katazyrna world-ship, wants peace, and offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her family’s greatest enemy. Jayd’s sister Zan leads a band of warriors to rescue Jayd, but her plans go amiss.
N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth SeasonEssun is a young school teacher who lives on a world that oppresses its inhabitants through constant, violent planetary change. When personal tragedy destroys her family and puts her daughter at risk, she sets on a rescue mission that becomes something larger, during the most recent geological upheaval, The Stillness.
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia The Dispossessed, one of the books in Le Guin’s Hanish Cycle, tells the story of the physicist Shevek, who attempts to further his General Temporal Theory by travelling from his isolated moon Anarres, to the dominant planet, Urras. The people of Anarres seceded from Urras about sixty years prior, and exiled themselves on a planet where they have set up a Utopian society. Tensions are strong between the planets, and Shevek quickly has difficulty adjusting to the hierarchical capitalist culture of Urras, especially once he discovers that his theory will be used by the Urrasti for combat, not for the benefit of society.

Happy Reading!

Want to read more?

Use the library’s Novelist Plus online research resource and type in a keyword. It will offer up a huge list of similar books about your topic.