October 12, 2022
Kara Kennedy (aka Dune Scholar) announces the release of her book Frank Herbert’s Dune: A Critical Companion, a new scholarly study published by Palgrave. Part of the 'Palgrave Science Fiction and Fantasy: A New Canon' series, the book brings together previous scholarship and new approaches to Dune (1965) to give fresh insights into the complexities of this science fiction classic.
“While Herbert created an entertaining story that has stood the test of time, he also spent years of research for Dune which helped him build a world with significant depth and complexity,” said Kennedy. “I wanted to write an overview of his life and influences and some of the key themes in Dune for those interested in understanding more of the many layers of this universe.”
The book justifies why Dune deserves a place in the science fiction and fantasy canon by looking at the novel’s multi-faceted nature as well as its wider cultural impact. It first provides an overview of Herbert’s life and the historical context of the U.S. and science fiction genre in the mid-20th century. Then it dedicates a chapter to each of five key themes in Dune: politics and religion, environment and ecology, mind and consciousness, heroes, and women’s influence. Its conclusion points to other ways to interpret the novel, and it closes with a comprehensive bibliography of scholarly publications on Dune.
Kennedy’s study shows how Dune remains relevant in the 21st century due to its classic themes and its concerns about humanity’s future, in addition to the ongoing presence of issues such as ecological disruption and conflicts over resources and religion.
Frank Herbert’s Dune: A Critical Companion is available in hardcover and ebook. For more information and how to purchase to support the author, visit DuneScholar.com/publications.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kara Kennedy, PhD, is a researcher, writer, and educator in the areas of science fiction, digital literacy, and writing. She is the author of Women’s Agency in the Dune Universe: Tracing Women’s Liberation through Science Fiction (2021) and has lectured and published on various aspects of Dune, including world-building, names, social sciences, and spice. She posts analyses for a mainstream audience on her blog at DuneScholar.com.