Dune remains fascinating. Its universe, its clash of cultures and its eyes wide-open approach to storytelling. Reading the first chapters of Dune Messiah is basically a spoiler of the entire book. Everything is clear, it’s playing chess when you know the outcome. The book’s strength lies in playing with prescient knowledge. If you know what’s going to happen, can you still enjoy? Can you still choose? Can you still be yourself?
And thus the fascination starts anew. Paul’s trust in his abilities becomes absolute, his enemies turn him against himself, yet, the one escape left is just as terrifying. Dune Messiah feels like the epilogue that the original lacked, the indulgence of power that we expect, kept in check by terrible purpose.
It’s especially nice to read this in contrast to other ‘messiahs’ like, say, Neo in The Matrix trilogy. There the indulgence in power just upped the dials to twelve, while here we get a peek behind the curtain and the use of power is kept in check by Paul’s own humanity. My only annoyance is that this is a very short tale and its finale feels more like the end of a beat than of a book.
As mentioned earlier: it is more of an epilogue. That said, this comes recommended.