You can love the book AND think the movie is “weird, goofy, very stylish and campy sci-fi film that’s fun to watch, full of scenery-chewing actors and gorgeous production design, even if it makes zero sense much of the time.”
Maybe that’s just me. I hated Frank’s sequels and quite liked his son’s space opera prequels.
Buuuut… the messiah must be male. For some never-to-be-explained reason, the Kwisatz Haderach can’t be a woman. (Apparently only a being with a dick can be in on the great cosmic secret.) So: happy slaves, broodmares – and midwives. But never The Thing Itself. Sorry girls!
Oh totally, I can’t agree more. I’m being a bit facetious in that again and again, when the movie has come up, the people who pipe up immediately as furious haters of the film are inevitably big fans of the book, while most people I know who love the movie haven’t ever read the book. And then there’s those rare people who can cheerfully enjoy both things as separate pieces of media. I like those people best!
Looking back, the orinial book affected me profoundly. I was 14. Most of my male classmates that were into SF were pouring over Atlas Shrugged. I discovered Dune in a bookstore at the mall. I read that fucker 7 or 8 times. And the sequels. It kept me away from the clutches of Ayn Rand. Thank you, Frank Herbert.
Series theme: Charismatic leaders are always destructive to humanity. Paul sought to be such a douche that humanity would turn against him and flee into the unknown universe. He couldn’t do it, but his son did.
The history of the Roman emperors is quite full of nephews and adoptive sons. Especially the adopted ones were often considered good emperors. For example. Machiavelli had this to say a little over a thousand years later (which is a pretty short time by LoTR and Dune standards, after all, so it’s as if he was there himself):
From the study of this history we may also learn how a good government is to be established; for while all the emperors who succeeded to the throne by birth, except Titus, were bad, all were good who succeeded by adoption, as in the case of the five from Nerva to Marcus. But as soon as the empire fell once more to the heirs by birth, its ruin recommenced.
“Aristocratic” stories have the big advantage of boiling down “big” things like world history to the interactions of a few people. Which sometimes makes them more enjoyable stories. Easier to root for the hero king than for the slow, inexorable forces of democratic change. Which reminds me, I have to start another attempt at reading some of Iain M. Banks’ Culture stuff. From what I hear, he’s got the philosophy right, but last time I tried, I got stuck somewhere in the first third of Consider Phlebas.
True, and don’t even get me started on Star Trek. Sure, they talk about all the right values, but in the end it looks suspiciously much as if America won World War III and then went on to establish a military dictatorship over half the quadrant.
Even though it was the first Culture novel published, Consider Phlebas is not the best place to start in that universe. I recommend beginning with The Player of Games or the short story collection The State of the Art.
Whatever system works for stability is good, as long as, as in the case of Rome, the institution of adoption is as recognized as actual parentage. The fact is bad emperors are preferable to instability where the populace is slaughtered and starved by civil wars. GWB was a bad president, but he did not destabilize the country like the present one.
And speaking of stability of political orders, I also recommend Player of Games as a first Culture read.
That’s where I’m at. Read Dune as a teen, saw the movie, fell further in love with Lynch as a director.
Re-watched the movie twice over intervening years. In hindsight, it’s amazing the movie is as bonkers-good as it is, what with the director never reading the source material and everyone being 80s-crazy.
Re-read the entire Dune series, and found I was much more cynical in middle-age (who’d have guessed?) and then went on to the prequel stuff. I enjoyed it a lot; the scope and breadth of empire building is astonishing.
I love Dune the books like I love the Foundation series - something enormous that I can appreciate both as a teen discovering sf and different ideas than they taught me at home and in parochial school, and as a cynical old lady nodding at parallels in the past and present.
I love Dune the movie as another wild ride with David Lynch, with future stars doing fun turns and unexplained visually staggering weirdness everywhere.
I appreciate Dune the mini-series as a visual telling of the actual Dune story.
Who is it that calls for Muad’Dib?! Muad’Dib’s words are the wind! They vanish…like water on the sand! You want Muad’Dib’s words?! I’ll give you Muad’Dib’s words! I’ll rub your faces in them!! I am the voice from the wilderness…and I bring you a warning. The water we spread upon the desert has become blood. Blood…upon the land which was once clean and pure! We have provoked the desert…forsaken its ways. We have succumbed to the mindless ritual and seductive ceremony. Placed faith in those who crush dissent…enrich themselves with power…commit atrocity…all in the name of righteousness! All in the name…of Muad’Dib! We have fouled the nest…and it is killing us! But I have seen another path…a golden path! The path Muad’Dib would not take. I have stood upon the sand…and I have seen a beast rise up! And upon the head of that beast…is the name of salvation! Come to spill water upon the sand. Come to lead us back…to a dry and thirsty land. Only one blasphemy remains. And that blasphemy…is ALIA!!! Forgive me…sister.
Since the word blasphemy was already uttered: I didn’t read Dune because the sheer volume intimidated me as a teen. (And I did “read” the full (!) Karl May roughly at the same time, so it isn’t a question of shelf meters.)