REVIEW: The new DUNE graphic novel is a stunning but very streamlined introduction to the world

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/08/review-the-new-dune-graphic-novel-is-a-stunning-but-very-streamlined-introduction-to-the-world.html

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" Baron Harkonnen evilness is uncomfortably correlated with his weight and sexuality (seriously, WTF)."

Indeed, how could someone working on a novel almost 60 years ago not get our contemporary enlightened values?

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au contraire. Let Princess Irulen explain

It is the year 10191…

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It’s still a pretty dry read.

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Does it have pugs?

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Eh, I think Herbert demonstrated enough of a deftness for nuanced humanity and progressive values in so many other ways that I am absolutely comfortable saying “Yeah that was a WEIRD choice that was also kinda lazy writing.”

His flaws around gender, I’ll chalk up to generational issues (though I’m also happy to hear peoples’ arguments about that, because yeah, it’s glaring and present and weird).

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My personal history with Dune (time scale mostly omitted):

  1. a buddy tries to tell me what an awesome book it is
  2. saw the David Lynch movie: ok if weird
  3. years later, read the book. Didn’t hate it. Meh.
  4. years later, based on how people still rave about it, wonder if I missed something in the book, and re-read it. No, I didn’t.
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I once made the mistake of buying one of Brian Herbert’s prequels, then compounded the mistake by trying to read it.

I might give this graphic novel a miss.

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Pedophilia is not sexuality.
Rape is not sexuality.
Incest is not sexuality.

And along those lines, I always read the Baron’s obesity being due to his excesses.

ETA: Positive representation is a thing and any representation of Dune would be wise to make a point of inclusion.

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Perhaps not even bulldogs (?)… as seen in the House Corrino throne room of Lynch’s Dune. Brilliant move on Lynch’s part, though.

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Yep, couldn’t agree more. His writing is so simplistic compared to his fathers’, it is jarring. I hung on as much as I could because I was interested in the back-story, but didn’t continue after his second book.

I may pick up the comic only for the imagery, though.

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It was a favor for Toototabon.

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It’s anyone’s guess as to how much of the prequels’ writings are attributable to Brian Herbert. Dune prequels and otherwise were all collaborations with Kevin Anderson. I read BH’s Sidney’s Comet, and left with zero desire to read any of his personal efforts. My guess is that BH’s name on the collaborations is mainly intended to keep the Herbert name up front and attract readers. The franchise must… flow.

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Another depiction of homosexuality in Dune was when it was revealed that the “Fish Speakers,” the elite all-female military force depicted in God Emperor of Dune, was rife with lesbianism—a revelation that made the Duncan Idaho Ghola freak the hell out.

So yeah the series isn’t especially progressive in its depictions of LGBTQ people but not exactly an outlier for its time either.

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OTOH, its stance on necrophilia is very progressive. Some might even say too progressive.

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But if you or someone you know is intrigued by the world, and feel hesitant about investing in 500ish pages of dense economic treatise

For those people I highly recommend the now out of print (print?) unabridged audiobook narrated by George Guidall. His performance is masterful, and not having to puzzle out the pronunciations of words like kwisatz haderach, gom jabbar, Muad’Dib, etc. make it much more accessible. If you look online you might find someone who ripped the CDs and made it available.

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I was just wondering about the old Dune comics the other day. I had no idea that Sienkiewicz worked on them too, I’ll def have to check those out.

Agreed, the previews look enticing.

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