First you thought you were waiting until October 2020 for the new Dune movie. Then December 2020. Well, we’re pretty sure you’ll be getting to finally see the new Dune film this year, but one thing is for certain, you need some books for that Dune-shaped void in your life. But what’s that you say? You’re not just looking for any space opera, you’re looking for the particular space opera that’s going to satisfy the exact reason why you’re looking forward to Dune? Fear not! Our recommendations are sorted by why you’re excited to see Dune!
By Julia Bergen
If you’re excited to see Dune because:
Dune seems really cool:
You should read: Dune: The Lady of Caladan by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Whether you love the world of Dune, or you’ve never read a Dune book but are intrigued by all this talk of gigantic sandworms, sci-fi witches, and space daddies, read Dune: The Lady of Caladan while you wait for the Dune movie. This prequel was written by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and science fiction legend Kevin J. Anderson. The saga tells the story of the Atreides family’s rise to power, and is the perfect setup for the Dune movie.
You love crazy space monsters:
You should read: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
The sandworms in Dune are definitely some of the creepiest monsters in SF, and their connection to the spice is shrouded in mystery. While you wait to see sandworms on the screen, you can dive into the mystery of the creature discovered by a xenobiologist during what was supposed to be a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet.
You love vintage SF set on a desert planet:
You should read: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burrows
First serialized in 1912, waaaay before anyone actually knew what Mars was like, Burrows based his fictional Mars off of scientific ideas of the time. So, his Mars is a desert, populated by Tharks with green skin and six arms and more humanoid Red Martians.
You love dudes fighting in suits in space:
You should read: Red Rising by Pierce Brown
If you’re most looking forward to seeing how Villeneuve envisions the stillsuits necessary to survive on the desert planet Arrakis, and to see some sweet suit fight scenes, calm you suited bloodthirst with a book about genetically perfected superhumans wearing futuristic body armor battling it out in a Hunger Games-esque competition for the solar system’s best job opportunities.
You love PEW PEW PEW space battles:
You should read: The Last Watch by J. S. Dewes
If you want to be able to practically hear that “PEW PEW PEW” noise, and maybe even a Wilhelm scream or two, while you’re reading your science fiction, this book will give you a galaxy worth of epic space battles. Best described as The Expanse meets Game of Thrones, this book follows a group of recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military at the edge of the universe as they try to save humanity.
You love space politics:
You should read: Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliot
We got you. You need even MORE space politics in your science fiction. That’s no problem. Just check out Unconquerable Sun, a gender-swapped retelling of Alexander the Great in space. Princess Sun is the daughter of a powerful queen who built up the greatest republic ever seen. Now she’s come of age, and must out-maneuver her political rivals to preserve her mother’s legacy.
No, seriously, you LIVE space politics:
You should read: A Desolation Called Peace Arkady Martine
Oh, so you’re one of those, huh? No judgment, just book recommendations here, my friend. And you definitely need to feast your eyes on A Desolation Called Peace, which should give you all the space politics you could possibly want. An ambassador from a backwater planet must untangle the webs of subterfuge at the center of the Teixcalaanli Empire.
You love space politics, but not as much as you love love.
You should read: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
If you can’t wait for Dune’s space politic glory, but you’re also looking forward to cute scenes between Leto and Jessica, and Paul and Chani, then get your hands on this romantic space opera. A prince marries for political reasons but finds himself solving a murder mystery alongside his new husband with the fate of the empire at stake. It’s got all the classic romance tropes (only one bed, we have to huddle together for warmth, etc.) plus massive political maneuvering in space.
What are you reading while you wait for Dune? Something not on this list? Let us know in the comments!