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Time for a Group Reread of the original Dune Series

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23 Nov 2016 13:12 - 23 Nov 2016 13:15 #239044 by boothwah
I've never read the books - Never even had the slightest interest. I think my mid-high school reading curve went Belgariad, into Piers Anthony and thinking Apprentice Adept was Clever, and by the time my friends were bugging me to read Dune senior year.....I had recently read Donaldson's Ill Earth stuff and was in no mood for thick dense prose. I found Vonnegut and left sci-fi and fantasy for a while - College fun reading was Tom Robbins and Pynchon and John Irving and a brief craptastic year of reading new age garbage like Johnathan Livingston Seagull. When I finally got back to sci-fi fantasy, I went straight back to the pulpy stuff (Moorcock, Jose Farmer, Niven, etc) and a brief love affair with Raymond E. Feist.

Nowadays, I'm rereading my Pratchett collection for fun time reading.

I did watch the movie as a tween and though it was as weird...like Krull.

Maybe this'll be the year I give Dune a shot - but only the first book.
Last edit: 23 Nov 2016 13:15 by boothwah.

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23 Nov 2016 13:18 #239047 by Gregarius

stoic wrote: The Bene Gesserit use religious superstition on primitive worlds, such as Arrakis, to protect members of their order. Those sisters who find themselves endangered can use these superstitions or prophecies to manipulate this populous since the sisters know the codewords and patterns of these implanted superstitious mores--they've already conditioned the populous to obey them and they have the keys to unlock behavioral patterns. For the Bene Gesserit, religion is only a means to an end and the opium of the masses. They don't actually believe in religion, instead, they're Deists, attempting to elevate themselves to achieve the same level of consciousness as their Creator (very Kabbalistic in design). Their ultimate goal is to create an oberman or Kwisatz Haderach through selective genetic breeding and by intensive mental and physical discipline and internal exploration.

Is this a "Yes"?

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23 Nov 2016 13:21 #239048 by Shellhead
Ernest Hemingway would have hated Dune.

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23 Nov 2016 13:30 #239050 by Vlad

Bojack wrote:

Vlad wrote: I am not a big fan of Lynch's Dune,

That's why I take Jackson's LOTR as a comparison - he had his own vision of the world and the story, and that's the vision he went forward with. It is easy to forget how different the movie trilogy is different to the books. As long as there's such unique vision behind the movie (or TV series),.


I find these comments a bit incompatible. For all its flaws, the Lynch Movie is chock fucking full of his own vision of Dune, many of which were absolutely fantastic and indeed are difficult to disassociate from if you go back and read the books afterwards.


That´s something I kind of addressed later. I don't like Lynch's film because the second half of it is a complete and utter mess. There's just no way around it. And it is not for Lynch'slack of talent or vision - but obvious budget constraints and some serious editing that was, for all we know, done without his consent (he pulled his name off the credits at some point, didn't he?). But, I absolutely agree with you - Lynch had his vision of Dune and it was consistent both thematically and visually (again, those wardrobes are possibly the best sci-fi clothing this side of Fifth Element). If only he could have sustained that first hour throughout the rest of the movie.

But, most importantly for present times, Lynch's "Dune" proves that Dune is not "unfilmable". It needs budget, running time in excess of 3 hrs, and crucially a talented team behind it.

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23 Nov 2016 13:36 #239051 by stoic

Gregarius wrote:

stoic wrote: The Bene Gesserit use religious superstition on primitive worlds, such as Arrakis, to protect members of their order. Those sisters who find themselves endangered can use these superstitions or prophecies to manipulate this populous since the sisters know the codewords and patterns of these implanted superstitious mores--they've already conditioned the populous to obey them and they have the keys to unlock behavioral patterns. For the Bene Gesserit, religion is only a means to an end and the opium of the masses. They don't actually believe in religion, instead, they're Deists, attempting to elevate themselves to achieve the same level of consciousness as their Creator (very Kabbalistic in design). Their ultimate goal is to create an oberman or Kwisatz Haderach through selective genetic breeding and by intensive mental and physical discipline and internal exploration.

Is this a "Yes"?


No. The Bene Gesserit don't actually believe in messiahs. That's the religion for the masses, and, for them, superstition. On the other hand, the Fremen do believe in a messiah, one, ironically seeded by the Bene Gesserit. Jessica uses this seeded superstition to fuel Fremen beliefs on behalf of her son, Paul, who also carries it even farther. But, it's a double-edge sword since it releases the wolves and starts a galaxy-wide Fremen jihad which retards humanity and brings it farther away from Deity (the reason for the Golden Path). Paul and Leto II, the God Emperor, become demiurges, barriers to humanity's reunification with its Creator. Herbert borrows much from neoplatonism.
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23 Nov 2016 13:57 #239054 by Vlad
For all the religious/mystical themes, I don't think that there is an actual "God" in Duneverse - at least I have not caught glimpse of any so far. And hence there are no actual messiahs.
As Gregarius pointed out, Paul is a messiah for Fremen, but because they have been conditioned by Bene Gesserit to expect one. But he is not a messiah, he just got superpowers. Leto II has even more superpowers and is a worm, but he is not God, a god, or even a link to one.

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23 Nov 2016 16:13 #239061 by Thrun

Msample wrote:

Bojack wrote:

Vlad wrote: I am not a big fan of Lynch's Dune,

That's why I take Jackson's LOTR as a comparison - he had his own vision of the world and the story, and that's the vision he went forward with. It is easy to forget how different the movie trilogy is different to the books. As long as there's such unique vision behind the movie (or TV series),.


I find these comments a bit incompatible. For all its flaws, the Lynch Movie is chock fucking full of his own vision of Dune, many of which were absolutely fantastic and indeed are difficult to disassociate from if you go back and read the books afterwards.


Yes, I am sure a lot of people thought the Weirding Way consisted of strapping an amplifier to your neck and yelling at stuff to kill/destroy it.


definitely!, though, did you remember to watch the other 2 hours of the movie as well?

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23 Nov 2016 16:18 #239062 by Thrun

Vlad wrote:

But, I absolutely agree with you - Lynch had his vision of Dune and it was consistent both thematically and visually (again, those wardrobes are possibly the best sci-fi clothing this side of Fifth Element). If only he could have sustained that first hour throughout the rest of the movie.

But, most importantly for present times, Lynch's "Dune" proves that Dune is not "unfilmable". It needs budget, running time in excess of 3 hrs, and crucially a talented team behind it.


Absolutely agree with you as well. Jodorowsky seemed like he could have had a decent run at it, if he'd somehow also managed to find a few billion dollars hehe. It doesn't matter to me that Lynchs Dune is a mess, I still love it, still feel like it captured a lot of the essence of whatever also made the books/universe spectacularly awesome. Probably a softer spot due to seeing the film first and reading the book second perhaps. Yes, Lynch was definitely off the ticket by the end, but some of the visuals in the movie are still among the best and most iconic in all of sci fi cinema. IMO.
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23 Nov 2016 17:34 #239064 by stoic
Attachments:
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23 Nov 2016 19:07 #239068 by Erik Twice
I actually read Dune Messiah the other day. I didn't like it very much, after a while having Paul wallong in angst gets boring and the book as a whole feels very repetitive. I think the beginning and the last few pages are great, but I could have done without the middle chunk.
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24 Nov 2016 11:44 #239087 by drewcula
I guess I'm the outlier again - I think God Emperor of Dune is the 'best' Herbert Dune sequel.

But in my opinion - that ain't saying much.

Messiah read like an indulgent epilogue. I enjoyed it, but it seemed more of a footnote than a novel.
Children seemed pedestrian in comparison.
God Emperor may have a slow pace, but the emperor and his evolution of body and mind still resonate with me.

Heretics and Chapterhouse truly capture the "law of diminishing returns." I suppose you could argue the entire Dune series captures this law.

I refuse to touch anything with Anderson's name on it, regardless of how much involvement Brian Herbert is involved. Anderson is a hack. Period.

I love Dune. Great stuff. Everything else to me is either "meh," "lost opportunity," "kind of neat," or "hell no."

And I'll say it: I DO NOT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT DUNCAN IDAHO.
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24 Nov 2016 21:56 #239097 by Vlad
I might agree with you here, but as you said, "that ain't saying much". All of Dune sequels are undeniably weaker. You can enjoy them more or less, but that's largely because you really enjoyed the first one and are hooked on the world and want to learn more about it.
Actually, if Dune becomes a big thing as film/TV franchise, I almost hope that they significantly deviate from the source material once past the material of the first book. Keep the world, ditch the story kind of thing.

Ideas-wise, God Emperor is definitely most interesting, but more like a thesis than a sci-fi/fantasy fiction. My favorite scene of all sequels has to be in the Children of Dune, when Leto II decides to become that thing. I remember reading it three times because my mind was absolutely refusing to process the words. It was such a batshit crazy twist, that I am still surprised that the franchise has survived it (albeit, arguably, that was the beginning of a long end).
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25 Nov 2016 09:33 #239113 by Delobius
My take on the 6 Dune books, in the form of pithy alternate titles:

Dune - Dune: The Good One
Dune Messiah - Dune: This One Should've Been an Appendix
Children of Dune: Dune: Now It Really Starts to Get Weird
God Emperor of Dune: leto2.blogspot.com
Heretics of Dune: Dune - the Anime (part 1)
Chapterhouse: Dune: Dune - the Anime (part 2)

Messiah is the worst. It shouldn't have been its own book. The Alia shit was dumb and everyone knew who the Preacher was (SPOILERS!) and just ugh. Children was good. God Emperor had some good ideas, but despite its weirdness felt like the scale wasn't large enough - the events of the book cover a very small time span, in contrast to Leto II's long life. Chapterhouse and Heretics are stupid in a lot of ways - a far cry from the high concepts of the first book - but I love them anyway for their pulpy charm.
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25 Nov 2016 10:13 #239115 by xthexlo

Mad Dog wrote: Paul wasn't the Kwisatz Haderach. He was just close enough to pass. Jessica used the Fremen myths but she unwittingly had created a different and unexpected messiah.


I always interpreted Paul to be the messiah sought by the Bene Gesserit, but because he was born a generation early he was not controllable. I envisioned that had he been born a generation later, he would've had the same abilities, but been under BG control.

And, for what it's worth, Dune is my favorite novel. I did not appreciate the Lynch film, although I liked their portrayal of the sardaukar and Feyd. I did enjoy the BBC miniseries in many ways, especially Jessica.
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25 Nov 2016 18:35 #239137 by Vlad

Delobius wrote: Heretics of Dune: Dune - the Anime (part 1)
Chapterhouse: Dune: Dune - the Anime (part 2)


This is a hilarious comparison. But yeah, Heretics has a convoluted plot, tons of internal monologue, repetitious expositions delivered in such a humorless and solemn way that it is kind of funny, and every second scene concludes with some kind of bullet-time martial arts display. Add kids with superpowers, weird sexual innuendos... I already picture every character disproportionately big-eyed and spike-haired and there's no going back...

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