The following text contains spoilers for the book God Emperor of Dune
The Dune Encyclopedia is a 526 page encyclopedia of the Dune universe. It was compiled in 1983, after God Emperor of Dune but before Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune. With this in mind, it is written with a post-scattering perspective, complete with a foreword by the fictional editor Hadi Benotto in 15540 (1800 years after the death of Leto II).
The articles in the Encyclopedia range are written by fans of the series, and range from factual articles about persons and technology mentioned in the series, to fictional anecdotes from the Dune Universe and pure speculation, reflecting the state of the universe 1800 years after Leto II. Some of these articles are quite amusing, as the writers are writing from the viewpoint of 5350 years after the original Dune book, and it seems that history has been somewhat distorted.
Not being written by Frank Herbert, the Encyclopedia does not belong to the canon of the series, but is a great companion for fans of the series. Regrettably, the book has been out of print for a while now, and Dr. McNelly says that a reprint is unlikely because of the copyright difficulties involved with a work with so many authors. Luckily, it seems to be available through a lot of libraries.
The Dune Encyclopedia
The complete, authorized guide and companion to Frank Herbert
's masterpiece of the imagination
Compiled by Dr. Willis E. McNelly
Corgi Books 1984, ISBN
Here is a rich background (and foreground) for the Dune Chronicles, including scholarly bypaths and amusing sidelights. Some of the contributions are sure to arouse controversy, based as they are on questionable sources. Others round out long speculation. Specialists have had their field day here with problems geological, biological, astronomical, and mystical, with pronounciations, major biographies, histories and accounts of little-known figures. The range of topics is catholic: cf. from games for amusement to games of life and death (Cheops of Pyramid Chess to "The Assassins' Handbook").
The history of the Financial Synod which spawned CHOAM gets its first airing in these pages. In fact, many secrets hidden in the Dune Chronicles are answered here.
How did Irulan first gain and then arouse the displeasure of Ghanima? Who was Jehanne Butler and why does the Butlerian Jihad carry her name? What are the hidden origins of the Spacing Guild? Where did spice-trance navigational techniques develop? What was Leto II's private opinion of Holy Sister Quintinius Violet Chenoeh? Does Cheops have something in commmon with the three-body problem?
I must confess that I found it fascinating to re-enter here some of the sources on which the Chronicles are built. As the first "Dune fan", I give this encyclopedia my delighted approval, although I hold my own counsel on some of the issues still to be explored as the Chronicles unfold.
Frank Herbert, Port Townsend, WA, November 1983