The spice must flow. But it also has to wait.
Denis Villeneuve’s first Dune film kept getting delayed by the panacea, and as of writing this, Dune: Part Two is scheduled for October 2023. Which means we’re back to waiting.
Luckily, there are plenty of great space operas to tide you over until then. 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:
You should read: Dune: The Heir of Caladan by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
When you need Dune, you need Dune! Dune: The Heir of Caladan is the conclusion of a prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and science fiction legend Kevin J. Anderson. This saga tells the story of the Atreides family’s rise to power, and this particular volume details how Paul becomes the leader he needs to be before the events of Dune. While The Heir of Caladan doesn’t land in stores until 11/22/22, the previous two books in the series Dune: The Duke of Caladan and Dune: The Lady of Caladan are available now.
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. Plus, Paolini has more coming in this same world, so stay tuned!
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 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 should read: You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo
Perfect reading 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. A group of retired space soldiers gets dragged back into war when they’re forced onto a sentient ship that’s convinced it’s being stolen, and in addition must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king.
You love space politics:
You should read: The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang
If you can’t resist competing galactic empires and political machinations in space, dive into The Genesis of Misery. A nobody from a nowhere mining planet becomes the center of a power struggle between dangerous players and royal families because of their forbidden powers. Plus, like Dune it’s full of prophecy and space magic. It doesn’t release into stores until 9/27/22, but you CAN pre-order now if space politics are of particular interest!
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 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 scenes between Paul and Chani, then as soon as it’s on sale you need to get your hands on this romantic space opera. Two neuromodified psychics, a flirty socialite and a duty-bound soldier, find themselves at the center of a decades-old power struggle and a dangerous treasure-hunt. If they sync their minds, they might avoid life under military control, but they’d be giving up their free will. And what are these FEELINGS they’re having for each other?
What are you reading while you wait for Dune? Something not on this list? Let us know in the comments!