Do You Have The Dune Encyclopedia? ... I Do!!!

Thank you to The Bookman of Orange for allowing me to whittle down their asking price for this out of print oddity I've had my eye on since I was a teenager in the Eighties.  Note that the compendium spanning 19,000 years of galactic history preceding The Spacing Guild's rise to power in the imperium, through their then ensuing 10,000 year reign that ended with the messianic arrival of Muad'Dib (a.k.a., Paul Atreides, who conquered the evil Harkonnen empire when he liberated the planet Arrakis, otherwise known as the planet "Dune"), as well as a further 5,000 years of continuing space opera and planetary conflict, was not authored by Frank Herbert (excepting a brief preface to the text in which he gave his blessing to the book in November, 1983, two-and-a-half years before he died), but rather "compiled" and further extrapolated upon the known fiction and passing factoids of Frank Herbert by the late Dr. Willis E. McNelly.  It is an unbelievable acquisition for any Dune Diehard; a veritable Mecca of arcana for any Dune Dork or Dune Dweeb still inhabiting the galaxy and still making regular pilgrimages throughout their lives to the sacred pages of Dune, like yours truly.

Published in 1984 and not reprinted since, The Dune Encyclopedia encompasses only the inimitable universe of Frank Herbert's first four novels in the Dune Chronicles: the original Dune (1965); Dune Messiah (1969); Children of Dune (1976); and God, Emperor of Dune (1981).  Which for my money were the best books of the bunch.  Herbert's final two Dune novels -- published after The Dune Encyclopedia hit bookstore shelves but released just in time for David Lynch's truly terrible film adaptation of Dune -- Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1986), lost me somewhat in their denser philosophical leanings, big novel-of-ideas slim on the action adventure, heroics and exciting narratives that mostly comprised the first four sagas in the series and kept this teenager up reading late into the night.

The Dune Encyclopedia is 526 double-margin pages of teensy print, with elaborate illustrations; statistics; diagrams; genealogies; charts; calendars; Dune Tarot cards(!); selected translations of the Fremen's Arabic-influenced vocabulary; "sound and morphology changes" in the history of the Galach lexicon; Gurney Halleck's music scores and lyrics; excerpts of never-before-published Fremen poetry; castle blueprints; extended biographies of little-known characters; the chemical composition and molecular structure drawing of melange or "the spice" that made planet Dune so politically volatile as the Great Houses constantly vied for its acquisition with never-ending violence, much like countries here on Earth do for oil!; voluminous footnotes; various faiths under the jurisdiction of the "Orange Catholic Bible"; a litany of "further references", and a fabulous faux-bibliography "cataloging the Rakis finds" that includes over 360 book and/or article citations, all of it reminiscent of those old World Book Encyclopedias from the Sixties and Seventies -- every letter of the alphabet it's own tome! -- that showed me the world, in abbreviated summary form, one alphabetized entry at a time, and so fascinated me as a boy.

Here's to encyclopedias!  Here's to Dune!  Long may they both live.


  1. OMG are you kidding? My husband would have an asthma attack if he saw this.

  2. Oh dear, Marie! I recommend a fast acting Albuterol inhaler for the sudden onset of asthma symptoms in your husband. May he never see this post!

  3. As I have yet to read any of the Dune books, I am still an aspiring Dune Dweeb. But one day.

    However, I did see the most excellent movie version (and I can't imagine the book being any better!) with one of the greatest part-time thespians of recorded time.

    You know, that that I think about it, he should've been cast in one of the Ring movies. Ah, Ring, where was thy Sting?

  4. Did you really just say, you goddamn devil, that you can't imagine the masterpiece novel, Dune, being any better than that cinematic monstrosity Dune?

    Like Sting (who couldn't sing) said, "I'll be watching you".

  5. @Bubba, please, run, nay SPRINT, to the book store and read Dune! The original Dune movie, albeit a cult classic, frankly sucked! The Sci-Fi channel remake was better, but not by much. READ THE NOVEL!!!

    @Enrique, I have a question concerning 'The Dune Encyclopedia.' I came across a very very good copy at a garage sale (got it for free!!!) and have been asked repeatedly what my copy is worth. I don't know. It's a trade paperback with little wear, obvious discoloring of the paper considering it's age. Should I take it to the local used book-store and ask them? Thank you so much in advance!

    And Bubba... my God,forget the movies and just read the darn books already!


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