MENTATS OF DUNE

Posted: October 14, 2016 in Book Reviews

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Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson

445 pages

Dune is a vast universe set far into the future. Humanity has evolved so far beyond a single world to the point that earth is virtually a myth and legend as the birthplace of humanity. It is over 8,000 years ahead of our present time and humanity is the only sentient species in galaxy. Hundreds of planets make up the known universe with a single Emperor who rules it all.

Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only known source of spice in the known universe. Spice, known as melange is the only source for safe space travel. As a drug it opens the minds of the Navigators so that they can plot the only safe course through fold space and is essential for trade, transport, commerce and civilization in the galaxy to exist without isolation of worlds.

In the aftermath of the machine war many schools have been set up to advance humanity to reach its greatest potential. The school of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, the suk doctors school and the Mentat school. This Mentat school is set up to teach humanity how to in effect become living, breathing, computers.

A conflict has arisen that threatens to tear apart and destroy the vast empire and destabilize civilization as we know it. Manford Torondo is the leader of the Butlerians, a fanatical group of religious extremist who are waging a war to destroy all technology who fight with the mantra “the mind of man is holy.” This movement is named after Serena Butler whose baby was mercilessly killed by the thinking robot Erasmus, which was the spark that ignited the machine crusade against thinking computers and technology.

Joseph Venport, head of Venhold spacing fleet, who has a virtual monopoly on commerce in the galaxy has reached his limit and vows to cut off and end all commerce with any world that sides with the Butlerians. A war of ideals is waged with escalating conflicts between Venhold and the Butlerians. Worlds are starved for spice, goods, and everything they need and are becoming desperate. The Butlerians continue to escalate their acts of terrorism in an effort to maintain control and rid the universe of the evil of thinking machines. The Emperor Corrino is caught between two very powerful and extreme leaders. Siding with either one will rip civilization apart at the seams.

Gibertus Albans, Head of and founder of the Mentat school, secretly has been hiding away the memory core of Erasmus who is essentially a mind without a body. Erasmus he sees as a father, and the only one he has ever known. He has been living his life desperately trying to maintain a balance between his devotion to the robot who raised him and was also the trigger for the machine crusade and butlerian movement and appeasing the butlerians while having Erasmus in hiding for decades. His true identity is discovered by the Butlerians and Manford Torondo and everything comes to a head.

I have always loved Dune and can honestly say that there is not a single Dune book that I have not just absolutely loved!. The writing and world creation is just amazingly well done. The entire Dune universe is extremely complex, intriguing, deep in both ideology, and politics. Dune is not a simply a science fiction story it is so much more than that. It is a story of humanity which speaks to the very nature of the human psyche. The constant struggle between opposing ideology and the very real struggle between right and wrong, morality and ethics, and all those gray areas in between that we just do not know which way is the right way. There are no good guys, there are no bad guys.

What is the best way to achieve our greatest potential as a species? Do we train our minds to be computers like the mentat school? Do we use the genetics of the human species to manipulate and artificially control the evolution of the species like the Bene Gesserit sisterhood? Do we consume mind enhancing drugs to open our minds to the vast and infinite possibilities within the universe like the navigators do with the Spice of Dune? Do we rid ourselves of all advance technology and live with the mantra of “The mind of man his holy”? Are all these equally correct paths?

What I love about these books is that at the beginning of each chapter there is a quote to start, usually asking a question or presenting the reader with an idea or thought designed to make you think about the implications of said idea. I would like to share some of them with you that I really liked

“Blind adherence to foolish ideas makes people act in ways that are demonstrably against their own interest. I care only about intelligent rational human beings”

“A name is a private thing, not given lightly. Have you earned it?”

“Is anything as we perceive it? What are the filters to our perception? The most honest among us will look deeply to examine how our opinions are skewed by our own delusions”

“There is strength in numbers, a raw and primal power. But as the crowd grows and grows, its ability to reason diminishes”

“Just repeating a statement often and with great vehemence does not make it a fact, and no amount of repetition can make a rational person believe it.”

“Our teachings are vital. We teach you how to think, not what to think. The mind of man is holy. It cannot be battered into submission by threat of violence. Absolute rules are for unthinking people. Sheep require fences – humans do not.”

This book easily gets 9/10 book worms. Just a fantastic read as all the dune books are

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