When The Folio Society released a 50th anniversary edition of Frank Herbert's space opera Dune featuring these stunning illustrations by Sam Weber in April, it sold out in less than three weeks.
Now the publisher of beautiful hardback editions has released a second edition, and you can see some of Sam's wonderful art for the Dune hardback here. His paintings are beautifully rendered – photorealistic but incredibly expressive of what they're representing, whether the corpulent cruelty of the book's main villain Baron Harkonnen or the gargantuan power of the sandworms that live throughout the deserts that cover the planet Arrakis (where most of Dune takes place).
The cover art is unusual for an edition of Dune, as it focusses on the messianic central character Paul Atreides. Most cover artworks for Dune focus on the landscape of Arrakis's deserts and giant worms – likely to sell the book of sci-fi genre fans on its vividly imagined alien worlds. The Folio Society's edition is likely aimed also at a literary crowd, for whom the story of religious mythology and feudal clashes of medieval-type personalities is better represented by portrait (though of course the cosmic placement of the story is directly referenced through the stars seen within the Paul, which also hint towards the power within him).
The works were painted using oils on illustration paper.
>> Read on to see more of the illustrations.
Sam's depiction of tyrannical Baron Harkonnen perfectly encapsulates his malice, cruelty, love of power and the trappings that come with it.
Towards the end of the book, Paul – now known as the messiah Muad'Dib – calls on the biggest worm on the planet, the Great Maker. In this painting, it's clear the power that Paul can summon, but perhaps not control.
Paul's sister Alia is very much a figure of mystery.
The Slave concubine before the Padishah Emperor
Stilgar is the leader of a community of Fremen, inhabitants of Arrakis' desert and the first followers of Muad'Dhib.
Of all of Sam's works for Dune, this painting of Guild Ships in the sky above Arrakis is the nearest of in feel to the novel's cover art in the past.