Dune may be the greatest science-fiction novel ever written, and without it, many of our beloved sci-fi stories may never have existed. Here are 50 Dune quotes from the classic novel.
Frank Herbert was a freelance writer, who, in 1959, was commissioned to write an article by the US Department of Agriculture that led him to research sand dunes. Little did Herbert know at the time that this research would soon inspire a science-fiction novel that would change the genre forever.
Dune is set far into the future, after the discovery of interstellar travel, and warring noble houses are controlled by a fierce galactic emperor. Originally published as two parts in a science-fiction magazine, Herbert later reworked his story to become a single 400-page epic. The novel would go on to inspire other sci-fi classics like Star Wars, Stargate, and Mad Max.
Classic Dune quotes
1. “Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.” — Frank Herbert
2. “When one has lived with prophecy for so long, the moment of revelation is a shock.” — Frank Herbert
3. “We make our own justice. We make it here on Arrakis—win or die.” — Frank Herbert
4. “My duty is the strength of the tribe.” — Frank Herbert
5. “Treachery within treachery within treachery.” — Frank Herbert
Wise Dune quotes
6. “A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.” — Frank Herbert
7. “The proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger.” — Frank Herbert
8. “The whole theory of warfare is calculated risk.” — Frank Herbert
9. “Anything outside yourself, this you can see and apply your logic to it. But it’s a human trait that when we encounter personal problems, these things most deeply personal are the most difficult to bring out for our logic to scan. We tend to flounder around, blaming everything but the actual, deep-seated thing that’s really chewing on us.” — Frank Herbert
10. “If you rely only on your eyes, your other senses weaken.” — Frank Herbert
11. “A stone is heavy and the sand is weighty, but a fools wrath is heavier than them both.” — Frank Herbert
12. “But it’s well known that repression makes a religion flourish.” — Frank Herbert
13. “Nothing about religion is simple.” — Frank Herbert
14. “When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong—faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.” — Frank Herbert
Profound Dune quotes
15. “There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times to develop psychic muscles.” — Frank Herbert
16. “Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.” — Frank Herbert
17. “What do you despise? By this are you truly known.” — Frank Herbert
18. “No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero.” — Frank Herbert
19. “To save one from a mistake is a gift of paradise.” — Frank Herbert
20. “Hard tasks need hard ways.” — Frank Herbert
21. “There should be a word for memories that deny themselves.” — Frank Herbert
22. “The universe is full of doors.” — Frank Herbert
23. “The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows—a wall against the wind. This is the willow’s purpose.” — Frank Herbert
Inspirational Dune quotes
24. “Given the right lever, you can move a planet.” — Frank Herbert
25. “Speak only of possibilities.” — Frank Herbert
Which Dune quote is your favorite?
Dune heavily influenced the genre of science fiction, but it was not an immediate success. The completed novel was more than 400 pages at a time when science fiction readers were only reading short stories and novellas. Dune was rejected by more than 20 publishers before finally being accepted by Chilton.
The novel won the Nebula and Hugo awards in the 1960s, but it took more time to convince readers. Slowly, through the 1960s and ‘70s, Herbert began to accumulate a fan base until, now, more than 55 years later, it is considered the greatest, most influential science-fiction novel of all time.
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