Dune Reading Order, Your Guide to Frank Herbert’s Universe

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Written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965, Dune is considered one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time and is often cited as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel. It’s also the first installment of the Dune Saga, a science fiction media franchise set thousands of years in humanity’s future.

Humans have conquered a number of worlds but have also banned computers, robots, and artificial intelligence. Forget Instagram or your vacuum machine, there is a ban against technology. Instead, humans have chosen to develop their mental and physical disciplines.

This is also why “the spice”, a special life-extending drug, only found on the desert planet Arrakis, is the most valuable substance in the universe. it enables some humans to perform complex calculations without the aid of computers, pilots to navigate folded space and travel the distances between planets, and creates the visions and powers of a religious group that secretly seeks to control the direction humanity takes.

The Dune universe created by Frank Herbert (and still expanding with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson) is rich and complex, has fascinated millions of readers, inspired some traditional games, a series of video games, and two movie adaptations and a miniseries.

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

– Frank Herbert, Dune

The Complete Dune series in Order

The Dune universe can be divided into distinct works: the first and essential is the original series written by Frank Herbert. The rest, also known as the expanded Dune universe, is written by his son Brian Herbert and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson.

Classic Dune or The Original Dune series in order (by Frank Herbert)

Also called The Dune Chronicles, the Classic Dune refers to the original six Dune novels written by Frank Herbert. It’s possible to only read the first three books, forming The Great Dune Trilogy.

Dune (1965)
Dune Messiah (1969)
Children of Dune (1976)
God Emperor of Dune (1981)
Heretics of Dune (1984)
Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)

Chapterhouse: Dune ends with a cliffhanger. Frank Herbert was working on a seventh Dune novel when he died in 1986.  Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson wrote the two sequels (see below) that offers a conclusion to the Saga, based on notes left behind by Frank Herbert. But those two books are not considered part of the Classic Dune, but part of the Expanded Dune canon…

The Expanded Dune

The Expanded Dune referenced all the books written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

The two Sequels of Dune

The two books that conclude the original series, and offer then another possible ending, meaning you can choose not to read more after that.

Hunters of Dune (2006)
Sandworms of Dune (2007)

Heroes of Dune (interquels)

These two books are known as “interquels”, as the story takes place between Frank Herbert’s original novels and flashbacks to events in Paul’s childhood.

Paul of Dune (2008)
The Winds of Dune (2009)

Legends of Dune

The first prequel trilogy chronicling the universe-spanning war against thinking machines that would eventually become known as the Butlerian Jihad. The series takes place over 10,000 years before the events of the first Dune novel.

The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
The Machine Crusade (2003)
The Battle of Corrin (2004)

Great Schools of Dune

A direct sequel to the Legends of Dune trilogy that takes place nearly a century after the events of Dune: The Battle of Corrin, still during the Butlerian Jihad period.

Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
Mentats of Dune (2014)
Navigators of Dune (2016)

Prelude to Dune

We enter what is known as the Corrino-led Imperium, with this series that takes place a generation before the birth of Paul Atreides, and mostly follow the life of Leto Atreides I. The duology Heroes of Dune also takes place during this era.

House Atreides (1999)
House Harkonnen (2000)
House Corrino (2001)

The Caladan Trilogy

The world of Dune is still expanding, right now with the Caladan trilogy, which relates a story focused on Duke Leto, Lady Jessica, and Paul, leading directly to the events in the first novel Dune.

The Duke of Caladan (2020)
The Lady of Caladan (2021)
The Heir of Caladan (2022)

Others Books

Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert (2003)
The Road to Dune (2005, companion book)
Tales of Dune (2017, short stories)
Sands of Dune (2022, novellas)
Dune Encyclopedia (1984)

Dune novels and short stories in Chronological Order

– Hunting Harkonnens (2002) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
The Butlerian Jihad (2002)
– Whipping Mek (2003) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
The Machine Crusade (2003)
– The Faces of a Martyr (2004) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
The Battle of Corrin (2004)
Sisterhood of Dune (2012)
Mentats of Dune (2014)
– Red Plague (2016) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
Navigators of Dune (2016)
– Imperial Court (2022) (novella collected in Sands of Dune)
– The Edge of a Crysknife (2022) (novella collected in Sands of Dune)
House Atreides (1999)
House Harkonnen (2000)
House Corrino (2001)
– Wedding Silk (2011) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
The Duke of Caladan (2020)
The Lady of Caladan (2021)
The Heir of Caladan (2022)
Dune (1965)
– A Whisper of Caladan Seas (1999) (takes place during Dune, short story collected in Tales of Dune)
– Blood of the Sardaukar (2019) (takes place during Dune, collected in Sands of Dune)
– The Waters of Kanly (2017) (takes place during Dune, collected in Sands of Dune)
Paul of Dune (2008)
Dune Messiah (1969)
The Winds of Dune (2009)
Children of Dune (1976)
God Emperor of Dune (1981)
Heretics of Dune (1984)
Chapterhouse: Dune (1985)
– Sea Child (2006) (takes place during Chapterhouse: Dune, short story collected in Tales of Dune)
Hunters of Dune (2006)
– Treasure in the Sand (2009) (short story collected in Tales of Dune)
Sandworms of Dune (2007)

Dune Adaptations

Dune Comics

The first Dune Comics was published by Marvel Comics in 1984. It was an adaptation of David Lynch’s film Dune.

Recently, Abrams Books released an adaptation of the novel, written by Brian Herbert and Anderson and illustrated by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín, with covers by Bill Sienkiewicz:

– Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1
– Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib
– Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 3 (Coming Soon)

Since 2020, Boom Studios published adaptations of Dune’s prequels:

– Dune: House Atreides – Volume 1 (Collects Dune: House Atreides #1-4)
– Dune: House Atreides – Volume 2 (Collects Dune: House Atreides #5-8)
– Dune: House Atreides – Volume 3 (Collects Dune: House Atreides #9-12)
– Dune: Tales from Arrakeen (collects Dune: Blood Of The Sardaukar & Dune: A Whisper of Caladan Seas)
– Dune: The Waters of Kanly (Collects Dune: The Waters of Kanly #1-4)
– Dune: House Harkonnen (ongoing)

Legendary Comics released the he official comic adaptation of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune:
– Dune: The Official Movie Graphic Novel (2022)

Dune Movies and Television Series

– Dune (movie, 1984)
Directed by David Lynch (who disowned his movie). With Francesca Annis, Kyle MacLachlan, Jürgen Prochnow, Patrick Stewart, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell, Virginia Madsen, José Ferrer, Sting, Linda Hunt and Max von Sydow.

– Dune (mini-series, 2000)
A Three-part miniseries written and directed by John Harrison which aired on Sci-fi Channel. With William Hurt, Alec Newman, Saskia Reeves.

– Children of Dune (mini-series, 2003)
A Three-part miniseries and sequel to the miniseries Dune adapting both novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. With Alec Newman, Julie Cox, Daniela Amavia, James McAvoy

– Dune (movie, 2021)
Directed by Denis Villeneuve. this new movie adaptation adapts about the first half of the novel. With Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac.

About the author of Dune

Frank Herbert, The Creator of Dune

Frank Herbert was a renowned American science fiction author born on October 8, 1920, in Tacoma, Washington.

Following his service in WWII, he studied journalism at the University of Washington, but never graduated. At this stage, he already worked as a journalist and aven has sold two pulp stories to magazines.

Herbert worked as a journalist, writer, editor, and photographer. Herbert’s first science fiction story, Looking for Something, was published in the April 1952 issue of Startling Stories, and his career as a novelist started a few years later, with the serial publication of Under Pressure later published as a book titled The Dragon in the Sea.

Herbert started working on Dune in 1959 and could devote himself to his writing thanks to his wife’s work as an advertising writer. Dune was released in 1965 and Herbert went on to create five sequels, several short stories, and other books.

Frank Herbert died of a massive pulmonary embolism on February 11, 1986, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was 65 years old.

Other Books by Frank Herbert

Dune is Frank Herbert’s most famous book, today considered a classic science fiction novel. But Herbert wrote more than books taking place in the Dune universe. Actually, he created two other fictional universes:

– The two short stories “A Matter of Traces” (1958) “The Tactful Saboteur” (1964), the short novel Whipping Star (1970), and the novel The Dosadi Experiment (1977) are all set in the Herbert’s ConSentiency universe.

– The Pandora Sequence follows the crew of a starship as they encounter strange new life forms and face various challenges to their survival. It consists of four novels: Destination: Void (1966) The Jesus Incident (1979) The Lazarus Effect (1983) The Ascension Factor (1988).

Herbert also wrote several stand-alones books including

After Dune, a few reading recommendations

The Hyperion Series by Dan Simmons
The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
The Inquestor series by Somtow Sucharitkul