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Dune

The story opens with a woman telling a portion of her people’s history on the desert planet, Arrakis. She explains that since before she was born the planet has been ruled by the cruel Harkonnens who have grown enormously rich harvesting the psychogenic substance “melange” also known as the spice. Recently, however, the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV has ordered the Harkonnens to leave Arrakis. On the planet Caladan, Paul Atreides eats breakfast with his mother, Lady Jessica, Duke Leto’s concubine. A member of the quasi-religious order of the Bene Gesserit, Jessica has been trying to teach her son the special powers of her order. Leto Atreides, along with soldier Gurney Halleck and mentat Thufir Hawat, receive an imperial envoy who formalizes the awarding of Arrakis to House Atreides. Leto recognizes that his appointment to oversee Arrakis is a trap of some kind, but cannot refuse an imperial offer. Paul confides that he’s been having dreams about Arrakis and the Fremen, including one where Duncan falls in battle. Duncan dismisses this as merely a dream, telling Paul that “Everything important happens when we’re awake”. Paul discusses his wish to travel to Arrakis early with his father, but Leto refuses, saying that he needs Paul by his side. Leto instead intends to strike an alliance with the Fremen in order to harness their “desert power” to his own and outwit the Emperor. Leto confides his own doubts when he was young and insists that Paul will find his way to leadership, just as he did. Jessica’s Bene Gesserit superior, Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam arrives on Caladan to test Paul. Before the meeting he is inspected by Suk doctor Wellington Yueh, who warns Paul that the Bene Gesserit have their own agenda. Afterward, Mohiam berates Jessica for producing a son for Duke Leto, rather than the daughters she had been ordered to produce. She accuses Jessica of thinking that her son might be the Kwisatz Haderach, the fulfillment of a Bene Gesserit messianic prophecy. Jessica confirms this belief and Mohiam warns her that Paul’s abilities are not fully developed and that he might die in the coming trials. Jessica explains that the Bene Gesserit have spent hundreds of years engaged in a selective breeding program to produce an unparalleled mind who can see both the past and the future. Paul asks his mother and she explains that it’s a local prophecy of the Lisan-al-Gaib, the “voice from outer world”, a prophesied messiah on Arrakis. Jessica says that they think Paul might be this figure, but Paul dismisses it as mere superstition spread by the Bene Gesserit.Jessica hires a Fremen servant, Shadout Mapes. Mapes sees Jessica and Paul as a fulfillment of the Lisan-al-Gaib and gives Jessica a dagger made from the tooth of Shai-halud, the immense sandworms which make the desert of Arrakis so dangerous. Duncan Idaho returns from several weeks living with the Fremen. He reports to the Duke that the Fremen are unparalleled fighters who live in communities known as “sietchs” in caverns beneath the desert. Duncan confirms Thufir Hawat’s belief that there are many more Fremen than previously believed. The leader of one of these sietchs, Stilgar, has come to meet with Leto. Leto refuses but insists that the sietchs will remain inviolate and that Fremen will not be hunted while the Atreides rule. Duncan introduces the Atreides to some Fremen technology, including the moisture saving stillsuits and thumpers which are used to attract sandworms. Leto’s party meets with Liet Kynes to investigate the spice mining operations. When a flying carry-all fails to remove the mining vehicle, Duke Leto lands his small squad of ornithopters nearby to rescue the miners. When Paul gets out to guide the miners inside, he is hit with a massive dose of spice and has a series of visions including one of himself with Chani. Yueh reveals to Leto that the Harkonnens secured his compliance because they have his wife held captive. He replaces one of Duke Leto’s teeth with a poison capsule which he hopes the Duke can use to kill the Baron. Duncan kills several Sardukar, takes an ornithopter and tries to rescue Paul and Jessica but finds them already gone. Baron Vladimir Harkonnen has promised Mohiam and the Bene Gesserit that he will not harm Paul or Jessica so he sends some of his men to take them to the desert to die of exposure. Paul, not fully secure in his Bene Gesserit abilities, is still able to use the Voice to order one of the men to remove his mother’s gag. Jessica immediately orders one of the men to kill his comrade. Riding out a storm in a survival tent, Paul continues to have visions from his spice exposure. However, they quickly change to visions of bloody conflict and religious zealots, operating under the Atreides flag and in Duke Leto’s name, spreading across the galaxy “like and unquenchable fire”. Paul and Jessica are rescued by Duncan Idaho, who managed to escape the slaughter.Duncan brings them to Kynes, who has set up in an abandoned terraforming station occupied by Fremen. The Sardukar track them there and attack, with the Fremen killing many of them. Duncan sacrifices himself in a last stand to allow Paul, Jessica, and Kynes to escape. Paul and Jessica flee in an ornithopter. Kynes sets up a thumper, intending to call a sandworm and ride it away, but she is mortally wounded by the Sardukar. While piloting the ornithopter through a powerful sand storm, Paul has a vision of a Fremen man giving him advice, telling him that survival in the desert is a process and that he must move with the flow of the environment. Jessica and Paul make their way toward where they believe the Fremen sietch is. Stilgar is with them and recognizes Paul, saying that they can’t touch him. Another Fremen, Jamis, dismisses Stilgar’s belief and wants to kill Paul and Jessica and loot their bodies. Paul recognizes Jamis as the man from his visions. Jessica asks for help returning to Caladan, saying that they will be well rewarded, but Stilgar dismisses any reward they’d give as pointless. Stilgar offers to allow Paul, who is still young, to join their sietch, but says that Jessica, who he deems too old to learn to fight, must be left behind. Jessica and Paul use their Bene Gesserit training to disarm most of the Fremen and hold Stilgar at knife point. Stilgar, realizing that Jessica is a Bene Gesserit, relents and decides to take both of them to the sietch. Chani, who is among the party, takes pity on Paul, who she believes will die at Jamis’ hand, and gives him her crysknife, a dagger made from the tooth of the sandworm, a moment from one of Paul’s visions. Stilgar informs him that Fremen duels are to the death, and Jessica says that Paul has never killed anyone before. Satisfied, the Fremen take Paul and Jessica back to their sietch. Paul and Jessica see a Fremen impossibly riding a live worm. As they begin their journey into the desert, Chani tells Paul that “this is only the beginning”.

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