What is the single best science fiction novel of all time?

That I think is Herbert's message in part, one person should not direct (dictate) the fate of an entire species. I gave your post a like because Paul is a semi-immortal, (prescient) white nepo baby, (no offense to any nepotism babies who frequent this forum).
What about people called Paul?

Although I don't remember if the book makes it explicit that Paul is white. But clearly he is a member of privileged (pseudo-British) elite. Taking into account that the author is an American, this would seem to be a deliberate choice to make the protagonist less relatable. Unlike the more accidently posh Frodo Baggins. The author wants the reader to question his privilege.

Paul is both a manipulator and manipulated, and he uses religion in order to do so. So, whilst in the surface narrative, he is a classic white saviour hero, the author is actually asking the reader to question his actions, and look deeper. (and to be fair, Paul questions himself). It wasn't a coincidence that I brought up Starship Troopers (movie). The same goes for Leto II. But the author doesn't want to impose his own version of right and wrong, he wants the reader to think, consider the options, and make up their own minds.

Interesting comparison: Dune and The Life of Brian.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
@payn

Sorry, been meaning to reply to you about Hyperion.

Have you read it?

If yes, then there's nothing more I can say. You don't like it, that's fair.

If no (or haven't read it all the way through) it appeals to me on several levels. I love a bit of grand scale in my sci-fi and it has that in spades: galactic scale and thousands of years. There's transhumanism. There's AI running our lives and people living in artificial realities. There's quantum tunnelling. There's Romantic poets and some Chaucer allusions. There's even a little reference to Buddhist philosopher Linchi (aka Linji and Rinzai.) All the references in the book sent me happily down many rabbit holes.
I did read it, and didnt like it as a whole. I do think it had a lot of good ideas and could have been a much better novel given some more time and edits.
Add to that a well thought out plot, interesting central characters, and a generally optimistic tone.
This is where we depart. I did not care for the meta plot or its characters. Did not seem well thought through. The tone was not optimistic at all. A group marching to their inevitable doom. Not saying that's bad, I just don't see how its optimistic? I thought overall the entire book was simply a mess that never comes together.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Fair, though I don't even consider the sequels: the flawed and Doomed nature of all these tropes is pretty clear just from the original text, amd Paul can see it, too.
That's my recollection as well. I've only read Messiah once, but I've read the original at least two or three times and I remember from it that Paul sees the future where he conquers as a dark and horrifying one, and spends a while trying to figure if he can avoid that any way other than by dying.
 

Queer Venger

Dungeon Master is my Dad
What about people called Paul?

Although I don't remember if the book makes it explicit that Paul is white. But clearly he is a member of privileged (pseudo-British) elite. Taking into account that the author is an American, this would seem to be a deliberate choice to make the protagonist less relatable. Unlike the more accidently posh Frodo Baggins. The author wants the reader to question his privilege.

Paul is both a manipulator and manipulated, and he uses religion in order to do so. So, whilst in the surface narrative, he is a classic white saviour hero, the author is actually asking the reader to question his actions, and look deeper. (and to be fair, Paul questions himself). It wasn't a coincidence that I brought up Starship Troopers (movie). The same goes for Leto II. But the author doesn't want to impose his own version of right and wrong, he wants the reader to think, consider the options, and make up their own minds.

Interesting comparison: Dune and The Life of Brian.
ha ha, never considered Dune and Life of Brian!!
 

Queer Venger

Dungeon Master is my Dad
That's my recollection as well. I've only read Messiah once, but I've read the original at least two or three times and I remember from it that Paul sees the future where he conquers as a dark and horrifying one, and spends a while trying to figure if he can avoid that any way other than by dying.
yes, the Golden path, he realizes he is very much a product of inevitable forces that he started. Like with most leaders their intentions are pure in the beginning until it becomes corrupted. I don't remember who wrote this but it goes "power doesn't corrupt, it is the fear of losing power that corrupts." This doesn't apply just to Paul, but to the BG, the Guild, a lot of the forces that manipulate the Imperium.
 

nevin

Hero
Thank you for explaining what I didnt feel the need to. Most modern sci-fi purports to be sci-fi (Star Wars is NOT sci-fi). Dune set the standard (yes, most modern day "sci-fi" flat out borrows and steals from it) and continues to be the benchmark for what the genre truly is.
That's an arguable statement at best. Heinlein, Niven, Asimov and a whole list of other writers have done large story arcs that were arguably far more impactful on modern scifi than dune. Don't me wrong I love dune but saying it sets the standard for modern Scifi is simply wrong. The first three books are simply a greek tragedy in 3 acts. Herbert didn't even try to disguise that that's what it was. House Atreides being the primary house.
 

nevin

Hero
That I think is Herbert's message in part, one person should not direct (dictate) the fate of an entire species. I gave your post a like because Paul is a semi-immortal, (prescient) white nepo baby, (no offense to any nepotism babies who frequent this forum).
Herbert's message is that no matter how hard you try to control the future it splinters like Glass, even when you are the God Emperor. Fate trumps all and no person or group of persons can out-think all the variable the universe will throw at us.
 

DollarD

Long-time Lurker
Sort of inverting the question, I'm thinking about Peter F. Hamilton, who has written tons of amazing SF novels (with a very peculiarly British worldview a lot of the time, sometimes excessively so), but none of them are close to being the single-greatest, in part because they're all duologies or trilogies or just get a little bit too silly. Pandora's Star, for example, is amazing in a lot of ways, but has some clunky elements, and being a duology, is outside consideration.

Though I would say his Fallen Dragon could be argued to be his best single standalone novel. Even though I myself enjoyed Great North Road more myself.
 
Last edited:


Remove ads

Top