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Listen&Learn: Dune

Posted by: Jaksyn Peacock
Learn about one of the most influential sci-fi novels
Dune

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • science fiction: a genre of stories that deal with technology and futuristic ideas
  • occupy: to control and live on an area of land
  • enhance: to make something stronger
  • cognitive: relating to brain activity
  • heir: the child who will inherit a family’s wealth or power
  • idol: someone who is admired and treated like a god
  • serialized: published in multiple parts

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Dune is a 1965 science fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert. It tells the story of a human civilization set thousands of years in the . In the Dune universe, humans have expanded into space, occupying many . They have intentionally destroyed most of their , and they depend on a substance called “spice” that enhances cognitive abilities. Powerful families, called Houses, control and resources. The story follows a young heir named Paul, who becomes an idol on the desert planet his House has occupied. The novel was originally published as two serialized stories. After its release, Herbert wrote five more books set in the Dune universe, and his son Brian Herbert continued the series after his death. The first book won two sci-fi awards. It has been adapted into multiple and a television series.

Comprehension questions

See answers below

  1. Dune is set
    a. in the Middle Ages
    b. in the near future
    c. in the far future
  2. The civilization in Dune depends heavily on
    a. futuristic technology
    b. a substance called “spice”
    c. help from the gods
  3. Frank Herbert’s original series includes
    a. five books
    b. six books
    c. more than 20 books

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Dune has been very influential in the sci-fi genre. In fact, some people have argued that the Star Wars film series reuses many of Herbert’s ideas. How important are original ideas in stories?
  2. Dune was inspired by multiple cultures, including Indigenous American and Islamic cultures. However, the story has been criticized for its portrayal of these groups. Do authors have a responsibility when writing about different cultures? What do you think that responsibility is?

Transcript

Dune is a 1965 science fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert. It tells the story of a human civilization set thousands of years in the future. In the Dune universe, humans have expanded into space, occupying many planets. They have intentionally destroyed most of their technology, and they depend on a substance called “spice” that enhances cognitive abilities. Powerful families, called Houses, control land and resources. The story follows a young heir named Paul, who becomes an idol on the desert planet his House has occupied. The novel was originally published as two serialized stories. After its release, Herbert wrote five more books set in the Dune universe, and his son Brian Herbert continued the series after his death. The first book won two sci-fi awards. It has been adapted into multiple films and a television series.

Answers to comprehension questions

1c 2b 3a

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub
© EnglishClub.com

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