Dune Messiah

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To be sung to the tune of "This Old Man":

Kwisatz Haderach
Give a worm a bone
Paul Muad'dib is going home

So anyway: two down on my Dune reading project. (Frank Herbert novels only.)

This installment is pretty grim. Paul defeated the evil Harkonnens in the first book, but now it's twelve years later. He's become the emperor of the known galaxy, but this has only caused him grief. Jihadists operating under his name have killed about sixty billion folks; he is not consoled by the (apparent) fact that his visions say that this is probably the best outcome that could have been expected.

Worse, he's opposed by a coalition of enemies: the spice-addicted Spacing Guild, the shape-shifting Tleilaxu, the Bene Gesserit (represented by the crone Gaius Helen Mohiam, who caused Paul a lot of grief in the first book), and Princess Irulan, Paul's loveless wife. The key is a ghola of the dead mentat Duncan Idaho, reanimated and reprogrammed for an evil purpose.

Paul's allies are only semi-reliable: consort Chani (who'd like to bear his child, but is being fed contraceptives secretly by Irulan) and sister Alia (who's even wackier than Paul).

So there's a lot going on, and (if anything) Herbert's portentious, gassy prose from the first book is even more pronounced here. Still, it's short.