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Title: Evolution, the messianic hero, and ecology in Frank Herbert's dune sequence
Author: Sloan, Russell Terence
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 5978
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis seeks to examine the major themes in Frank Herbert's Dune Series, in order to question why this work is considered as the pinnacle of science fiction literature. I will examine the themes as part of a response to a historical and cultural malaise within SF literature, and attempt to understand why these works are subversive to the genre whilst simultaneously representing its greatest achievement. As a work of science fiction lying between two distinct historical periods of literature, namely the Golden Age of SF and the subsequent New Wave, this thesis will examine Dune's role as a Janus-facing work that is polemic to the existing tropes of an established genre distancing itself from any literary aspirations. By the major themes of the Dune Series, it is the purpose of this thesis to examine the intention, application and execution of a number of ideas that would shape this series' deliberate and subversive nature, whilst simultaneously helping to mould its literary character. In its study of evolution and genetics, this thesis will show how Frank Herbert took his inspiration from science fiction of the late Victorian era, and extrapolated many of the questions it raised about the nature and origins of life. In turning his back on the pulp literature that SF was increasingly becoming, the study of evolution was able to inform a number of aspects to the Dune Series, and lend it a detailed and believable verisimilitude, which would in turn shape the nature of its most subversive attack against the typical SF protagonists from the Golden Age. This thesis will also examine Herbert's approach to ecology, and try to show why Dune, remains the greatest example of ecological science fiction, and how it has inspired a shaped a new genre all of its own.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available