Friday, May 25, 2012

"You cannot back into the future."



5 out of 5 stars

I think most people don't particularly like this book, but I'm not sure why. Is it because Paul-Muad'Dib, Messiah, Emperor, God, is shown as a flawed human? Is it because we see that even with his awesome powers, he's still unable to map the future, to escape the future, the same as any ordinary human? We know Paul was never going to be perfect, was never going to be an angelic being or benevolent emperor; Frank Herbert told us that in "Dune." We know that Paul knew his destiny, knew the consequences of his actions, from the earliest moments; we can speculate that he might've even had the power to change the outcome, to escape the jihad fought in his name, to fling off the mantle of power that weighed upon him and turned his friends and companions into slavish minions, willing to do anything in the name of Muad'Dib. And yet he didn't. He continued on his course of actions, perhaps because, in his arrogance, he began to believe too much in his own mythology--Muad'Dib, the Kwisatz Haderch, the Lisan al-Gaib; perhaps he even grew to enjoy the trappings of power, underneath his disdain. And perhaps that is what truly destroyed him, in the end: recognition of his human-ness underneath the godhead. I found this book to be just as powerful as "Dune" as it explores what happens to the messiah once he is accepted and the changes he's wrought become routine and ritualized. It wasn't about the world-shaking changes he brought to everyone else; it was about the psyche-shaking changes his role brought to himself, the dark side of power that defines who and what we become.

Read August, 2009
Originally reviewed on Goodreads August 30, 2009      

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