God Emperor of Dune

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See God Emperor for the general concept.

God Emperor of Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert published in 1981, the fourth in the Dune series. It was ranked as the #11 hardcover fiction best seller of 1984 by Publishers Weekly.[1]

Contents

Plot introduction

Thirty-five hundred years have passed since Paul Atreides had become the messiah of the Fremen and the Emperor of the known universe at the end of the novel Dune. His son, Leto Atreides II, sees the path that his father Muad'Dib had also seen, a future that secures the continuation of human life throughout the universe. That future, however, requires an aberrant act of selflessness: becoming a hybrid of man and sandworm. At the end of Children of Dune, Leto II accepts this mantle of godhead from the Fremen and transforms himself into a monster of the desert, a sandworm, that will dominate the ecology of the planet Arrakis (known as Dune) for millennia. This is an act his father had been unwilling to do. Leto essentially accepts the terrible price of saving humanity which his father had rejected. God Emperor of Dune chronicles Leto's attempts to consummate the Golden Path, which delivers the volition of humanity by scattering it beyond the perceived safety of the Imperium's known universe, and also by destroying the possibility of the Imperium's control by any single entity, including himself.

Plot summary

The seemingly immortal God Emperor Leto II has ruled his Empire for more than 3,500 years, his lifespan lengthened due to his decision in Children of Dune to merge his human body with sandtrout, the haploid phase of the giant sandworms of Arrakis. His continued evolution has slowly transformed him, altering his human form into what he calls a "pre-worm." His body has come to resemble a small version of the ancient sandworms of Arrakis — ribbed, elongated, and covered in scaly sandtrout; his face remains, as do his hands and arms, but his legs and feet have atrophied to be of no use whatsoever. He moves from place to place on a large cart of Ixian manufacture that shields him from harming moisture and bodies of water, and it is later revealed that his brain has gradually diffused into the rest of his body, becoming a series of nodes throughout his whole form. The sandtrout skin makes him virtually impervious to harm, even allowing him to survive lasgun fire.

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