Paul Atreides is not merely a "white man who fulfils a persistent colonial fantasy", he didn't arrive in a vacuum. Fremen culture has been shaped by the oracles, their religion, traditions and prophecies were planted to suit the aims of the oracles. Paul recognized first that Dune is not merely a central position worth holding, but _the_ source of power in that universe, control over Dune means control over the universe. So it's very much a story of hydraulic despotism, of the natural resource curse. How do you break the curse? Herbert's answer is 'technology'. Technology created the problem but it's also ultimately the solution.
That is exactly what Herbert set out to write. In his own words:
> I conceived of a long novel, the whole trilogy as one book about the messianic convulsions that periodically overtake us. Demagogues, fanatics, con-game artists, the innocent and the not-so-innocent bystanders-all were to have a part in the drama. This grows from my theory that superheroes are disastrous for humankind. Even if we find a real hero (whatever-or whoever-that may be), eventually fallible mortals take over the power structure that always comes into being around such a leader.
> Heroes are painful, superheroes are a catastrophe. The mistakes of superheroes involve too many of us in disaster.
From Dune Genesis by Frank Herbert:
However, it's also the kind of book that should never have had a sequel; other books in the series not only don't measure up, but actively undermine what made the original interesting. It's possible that other good stories could have been written in that universe, but they weren't. I highly recommend reading only the original.
If you mean the sequels, prequels, interquels made by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, then those are of a lower quality. They had the good fortune to inherit an IP and just ran with it. They may not be so bad as far as the genre goes (except for Sandworms), but they create a somewhat wider context. It's not for everyone, while I feel the originals of Frank Herbert may be, at least to people with a taste for sci-fi.
The prequels shouldn't have been written.
I'll admit to not having gotten that far; two bad sequels was enough for me to give up.
My English is a bit better now, and I like to think I've become a bit more patient ;) So perhaps I could attempt it again and see if I appreciate it more.
Incidentally I agree, while the first two sequels are interesting they are a bit of a slow read and they don't feel as well written as the later books. Frank Herbert really starts to get into his stride with the Emperor God of Dune.
The books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson are better avoided like all works by Kevin J Anderson (who is IMO a very mediocre writer)
I quite enjoyed the Jedi Academy trilogy, both for its own sake and for its detail on several bits of the universe.
A lot of people think Dune is a straightforward hero story, with Paul Atreides the "good" hero, but actually (edit: I should say, according to Herbert and taking into account the later novels) it is the story of the terrible damage a "hero" can cause to a culture and society.
"No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero." - Frank Herbert
This is similar to Cryptonomicom, which people think is the story of Avi and Randy's success, but is really the story of their misguided quest which is doomed to fail.
But my enduring memory was of a flawed young man becoming overly enamoured with his new messianic role, and making some choices that were questionable.
However, while the first novel was the most digestible and most intriguing plot-wise, it is the sequels that explore the philosophical, political and social subjects of the original much more deeply. In a way the sequels are sometimes more like (huge) essays on various philosophical topics that merely use the original story as a backdrop.
The start of the book is maybe a bit slow but it does pick up pace rapidly after a point. The best advice I got was to just push on, I'll understand why later. I don't regret it.
It's depth barely scratches what comes next, especially in the 4-5-6 books. Even though there are inconsistencies the last 3 books are much much better in my opinion, especially the fourth.
The first book is just an (almost boring) introduction.
The first two books are meant to be read as one. I recommend, at minimum, Dune and Dune Messiah.
Obligatory XKCD link - https://xkcd.com/304/
Enders game is a space battle thriller with a great twist.
Speaker is all about what do you consider "human" and what do you consider "alien". It was very mind expanding when I was 14.
The original Dune books mentioned, as part of the past, a war against AIs called the Butlerian Jihad, which humans somehow won. Frank Herbert's son later wrote it up in three prequel books.
This is very much against the grain of 1960s and later SF, which, when not ignoring the issue, largely developed into a range of AI friendly views going from blithely assuming machine submission (most SF) up to admitting that humans would be the amusing pets of AIs (e.g. Iain M. Banks and Neal Asher).
On the hostile side, there were dystopian stories that posited human persecution and extermination by machines, but I can't remember off-hand another major SF setting where AI was achieved and beaten back.
The Butlerian Jihad was very intriguing to me, as well. As a youth I found it hard to imagine such extremes that would bring about such a rejection of technology and it's benefits. At 45yo, however, I find the drawbacks of modern systems have become too 'costly' to my person and am embarking upon my own cleansing of over-bearing, insinuating devices in my life. Cupertino, Redmond or Mt. View(any Corp, for that matter) will never be allowed to become my masters, my moocher bff nor my nanny beyond a static, transactional relationship. Despite what the marketeers would have me believe, they are doing me no favors entrenching further dependence to their systems. Long live the fighters!
In terms of distraction, privacy, nudging or something else?
> cleansing of over-bearing, insinuating devices in my life
Are you eliminating apps which send data to 3rd-parties, with something like ownCloud or Synology?
Lost Eden follows a similar concept but it's nowhere as good.
Dune 2 by Westwood which came out around the same time was also very innovative for the time and is really the father of all RTS.
I believe all the books in the Dune series are valuable and even enjoyed the prequels since they gave a background to the story that was just lightly touched in the originals. For me, they completed the Universe and helped me answer the "Why did they do/think...?"
P.S. The Dune 1 game also ruled! It was the first game on my 486 and boy did it help me get a lot of ladies :)
It is all about "religion" fundamentalism, movement/revolution creation and philosophy. Really great book, highly recommend.
Just curious, what did you like about it that it changed your life. Did you mean the how it was shot (i.e. impressed by director's work), Jodorowsky as a person, his story how he worked on Dune with other people (the complexity, dedication, the obsession), or Dune itself?
I found interesting how Dune influenced all these other blockbusters that came after, most importantly Star Wars. It was also fascinating how Jodorowsky never actually read Dune.
EDIT: that is not correct as someone pointed out by Nemcue, I (and others apparently) misremembered. It was both the financier, Michel Seydoux and the illustrator Chris Foss who hadn't read it.
Or say, why anyone thought Jodorowsky, based on his previous track record of making surrealist films, would be a good candidate to make Dune. I just don't see the obvious connection from "Holly Mountain" to blockbuster "Sci Fi" for the masses. Now, of course in a funny twist, David Lynch, another surrealist author, actually made the American (Universal Studios) version, and it was terrible I thought.
It's so bizarre how people keep saying this, because you're far from being the first; like you all fell asleep during the exact same segment.
He _did_ read the book. He clearly says so in the documentary.
He hadn't read the book before he got the go-ahead from the producer.
The movie invariably invokes a feeling of pure creativity in me. It puts me in a fury, like some sort of creative berserker. I like watching it to conjure that feeling.
At the core it's Jodo's intensity that I love. He approaches every part of making this movie like it's the most important thing in the world and gets everyone around him to rise to that challenge.
His ability to put together a team of world-class people was also inspiring. I have tremendous respect for everyone he picked but I also find the subtext of his quest fascinating. It's never overtly mentioned but each person he convinces to join has a desire that he exploits. Pink Floyd wants fame, Dali wants money, Orson Welles wants food, etc. There's something powerful about aligning a creative team while being conscious of each individual's desires.
There are many great quotes throughout the movie. Two stick out: "Have the greatest ambition possible" which is always worth reminding yourself of. The second occurs near the end, when he realizes the movie won't get made. I forget the exact words, but roughly: "We make the movie: GREAT. We don't make the movie: GREAT." We all suffer crushing defeats, when something we wanted doesn't happen. I love that Jodorowsky approaches this failure with equal creative intensity, and drives that creativity into new outlets (e.g. The Incal). It's a great philosophy for dealing with failure.
There's a lot more I love about the doc, but I'll end on a personal note. The movie also hits a soft spot because I grew up living in Paris and now live in Los Angeles. Two cities where most of the action takes place. I always enjoy multilingual/multicultural movies especially when they engage both my French and American sides.
I can't decide if Jodorowsky is bit crazy or genius. Probably both.
Thinking back, yeah I did find he dedication fascinating.
I remembered him of course from his films -- Fando Y Lis, Santa Sangre, Holy Mountain. Most Americans have heard or seen a David Lynch movie, well Jodorowsky is more out there if you wish. Even if Jodo's Dune was made, I doubt it would have gained international success and become a "Star Wars". It would have been an awesome and fascinating movie but not for everyone's tastes.
Didn't it bring Geiger to the attention of Ridley Scott (Geiger's art sets the ascetic for Alien and its sequels)?
I am a long-time Dune fan, and this book and the background information it provides makes me read it and Dune again, and again.
I would love to see a modern cinema adaptation, but with the current political climate it might be impossible to make a movie about a messiah leading religious fanatics on a jihad against an empire for control of the commodity on which all civilization is dependent.
I also thought they got the tone of Paul's character completely wrong. To me he came across starting off as an arrogant thug whereas my perception of him from the books was a very thoughtful if not perhaps demonstratively emotive young man. (Obviously subjective viewpoint, but it put me off right from the start.)
OTOH, the audiobook produced by Audible I thought was very good. I've probably read the book four or five times, the last time well over a decade ago. I listened to the audiobook recently and really enjoyed it and reminded me how much I liked the first book.
 Have not seen the Children of Dune miniseries.
 I'm in the "first book was good, the rest was crap" camp. I read through 'til about halfway through Heretics of Dune before asking myself why I was still reading and stopped.
I prefer this to Lynch's film which has great costumes and design but you can't tell Dune in less than 2 hours, like one cannot tell lord of the rings in one movie.
However,there is certainly room for a real trilogy movie. I'm sure it will happen in the next 10 years.
I would say that Paul was throughtful, but very emotive - remember the lecture about mood being a thing for cattle? - and not keen enough on acting initially.
From the get, Paul is depicted as a petulant, unthoughtful child with no desire to move off-planet - which is the exact opposite of who he is in the books.
The fact that Paul is mature for his age is precisely why he takes the courses of action he does in the books.
David Lynch nailed that aspect.
To be honest I found CoLaD too much "experimentalist" for my taste (I read both when I was much younger, so it probably went over my head, while LoL I reread and enjoyed through subsequently rereadings).
"Actually, the great Dune film did get made. Its name is Star Wars."
This would be a better essay if I could take it seriously.
Which it isn't, as Tolkien makes clear in the foreward.
But authors are necessarily a part of their environment. It is -- literally -- inescapable. The good Professor was directly involved in the first World War, and the second was at his doorstep. His aversion to modernity could have led to him simply denying a a conscious connection between those real world epics and those created by his own mind.
But the works themselves put doubt to his claim. If we take him only at his word, and stop there, then that is the end of it. But if we recognize the imperfect ways we self-assess, well...
Really LotR is about mortality and power.
The power of the ring is primarily to delay the inevitable and it corrupts all who cannot accept that.
It hardly takes more than a smidgen of familiarity with the author's history to see it's deeply rooted in the experience of the first world war, not the second. As Tolkien notes, the themes flat out don't make sense for the second.
- He dislikes allegory in all its forms
- The relationship between any author's experiences and his writing are amazingly complex.
- The story is meant to provide a good long tale that would move, delight and surprise readers. It is not meant to have a deeper meaning by intention.
- Parallels between WWII and LoTR simply don't work.
- The key parts of the story are by far the oldest.
- The old miller had a black beard and his name was not Sandyman (his final dig).
He was far more influenced by his classical background and philology than current affairs.
WWI saw a lot more walled fortifications where bunkers where the preferred WWII due in no small part to increase aircraft use.
LoTR used walled fortifications, some ranged combat but a lot of hand to hand combat, artillery where there but of minimal value, you can even think of the eye as eairly aircraft useage, where you can't really hide, but aircraft can't Effectivly attack. Etc.
How do bugs/mistakes change the intent and meaning of the actual work by the person creating it? When I create a software program, I don't expect people to come along and point out that I'm actually creating it for different reasons or a different purpose.
You must be new. :) It happens all the time.
Often a bug comes into being because our ability to translate our intents into language is limited by our perceptions.
In code, this works out that we think we told the machine to do one thing, but in practice our instructions have side effects or unforeseen meanings in corner cases.
In language, this could be seen in two way. On one hand, even the best of us can't grasp all the possible meanings of our language and stories, especially given the fact that they will be read in a future that might create a whole new context for those words.
And, on the other hand, sometimes we are strangers to ourselves and are, to over simplify, acting on subconscious impulses that we don't fully understand.
Every reader can get a different meaning because of something specific to them, but I don't see how that would change the author's intentions. He/she can absolutely state exactly why they wrote something and what the meaning is, without contest.
My point: meaning is subjective and we should leave it as such, ie: "I think this story is a nice fit for this scenario" instead of "the author meant this even though he clearly states he didnt."
While I'm not sure I agree with the Tolkien assessment above, I understand the sentiment of being too close to one's work.