While other pubescent boys were discovering their interest in girls, my heart was occupied by Dune. Without reservation, it was my favorite book between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Too bad about most of the sequels, not to mention every attempt to translate onto the big screen.
A couple months ago, the first time Dune: The Dice Game (also known by its much cooler nickname The Dice Must Flow) hit my table, a newcomer to our group announced that he’d never read Frank Herbert’s 1965 masterpiece. Somewhat interrupting my explanation of the rules, he asked, “So what’s it about?”
There’s a chance I was a bit curt in my response. I think I mumbled something about Lawrence of Arabia and went back to explaining how to play. Because anyway, what is Dune about? There are any number of things I could have said. It’s about the allure and danger of messiahs and heroes. About addiction to a dwindling resource. About the decline of the status quo, about revolution, about religion’s role in both. The transformative nature of knowledge, violence, sex. It’s about finding yourself and realizing you’ve lost yourself in the process.
Or maybe those are just the memory of my teenage hormones talking. Lots of things seem double-plus profound when your pituitary gland has declared war on the rest of your body.