Dune - The Book and the 1984 film *spoilers for both*

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aldo, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. InklingStar

    InklingStar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I read the Silmarillion prior to the Hobbit or LotR, and I was at first disappointed by the narrative structure of the later books. But then again I am something of a history nerd so there is that.

    While the first three Dune books are my favorite, I have a special place in my heart for God Emperor. It goes beyond most epic sci-fi tales in telling the story of a single person who makes a conscious decision to guide human destiny, not for a few decades or a few centuries even, but for millennia. There is a not a human who has ever lived who could comprehend what it was like being Leto, a fact he tried to explain to both Duncan and Siona. God Emperor gets to the heart of what the Dune series is about: Unlike most sci-fi, which is about technology, or robots, or starships, the Dune series is about what it means to be human, what it means to be truly sentient. In a way, this is all laid out in the first chapter of the first book, when Reverend Mother Mohiam tests Paul. Are you really a human being? Can you rise above your animal instincts? Can you live at a higher level than mere existence?
     
  2. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For me, the core of Dune was all about relationships. Not between the characters, but between society, ecology, politics, history and religion. It blows me away that Herbert was able to capture such a nuanced world, where every element is affected by another. Shaped my world-view considerably.
     
  3. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's kind of surprising that David Lynch didn't appear to get it -- or maybe that was studio interference.

    ETA -- IMO the audio book versions, which are read by a cast, are the best dramatic version.
     
  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    All I remember is that House Atreides has an introduction or some sort of note from Brian Herbert claiming that he read one of KJA's Star Wars novels to help him decide on working with him.

    Unfortunately, House Atreides is the one Dune novel I don't own (I borrowed it from the library). Anyone with a copy of the novel hand able to clarify this matter?
     
  5. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Forgive the slight shift of topic, gang, but I have an "in story" techno-babble (or would that be a spice-babble?) question.

    Like several of us in this discussion, I read the novels before seeing the Lynch adaptation. Actually, I felt motivated to read the original novel when I learned the film project was finally underway. (There were several false starts including one that would have involved H.R. Giger providing the major designs...and we did get a few paintings from that failed attempt.) I was 21 or 22 at that time. I can't remember whether I read the next two in the series before or after I saw the movie. Hey, I'm 50 now and I've always been a tad absent minded, anyway. I'll be lucky to remember my own name by the time I hit 60.

    Sorry, going on a tangent within my own post. Back to the point.

    David Lynch gives viewers the impression that melange gave the Guild Nagivators the literal ability to "fold space" (as the phrase goes). In effect, they are biological "jump drives" or "warp engines". And it's the melange discovered on Arrakis that gave them this ability. Well, that's the impression he gave me.

    But I inferred a very different concept from the books. The Spice doesn't give the Navigators the ability to teleport themselves and a portion of their surroundings (namely, the Guild highliners and their contents). Rather, it just gives them the ability to far enough into the near future to know where they need to be. They relay this information to "armies" of Second and First Stage Navigators who interpret this information into mathmatical formula, numbers that allow them to manually "tune" hardware akin to particle colliders. When finally activated, these colliders or engines creates a space-time distortion that teleports the highliner from star system A to star system B in the wink of an eye. Before the Butleran Jihad, the "tuning" (read: programming) of the engines was done by computers. Afterwards, when computers were outlawed, huge numbers of humans "hopped up" on Spice solved the equations and adjusted settings upon "dumb" hardware. When fully "tuned", somebody would "throw the switch" and the ferry would vanish from orbit around Corrino (or wherever) and reappear high over Arrakis.

    But some with whom I've communicated feel the Navigators invoked the granddaddy of mentally assisted teleportations. If so, how did they do it before Arrakis was discovered and the infamous Spice?

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  6. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the books, spaceships had their own FTL drives that they used to go everywhere. Problem was, they needed thinking machines to do the navigational computations for such space jumps.

    The Spice gave the Navigators the ability to duplicate the Thinking Machines navigational abilities in humans. That's what they do, the extremely advanced mathematics needed for Spaceflight.
     
  7. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Anderson has admitted he pretty much harassed Brian into letting him work on the novels with him.
     
  8. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Doesn't it also give the navigators a limited prescience to they avoid any obstacles that might lay along their path?
     
  9. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^That is how it basically worked. It allowed them to find the "safest path" to the destination.
     
  10. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    As I've said in the original post, I've still only read the first book. But I do have a question, and I hope it could be answered with out spoiling future books too much:

    After Duke Leto and his family arrived on Dune, I found it odd (for me) that they were acting like they would never see Caladan again. So I suppose my question is this: How common is space travel in the Dune universe? Because you'd never see something like that in a Star Trek movie (or book) where someone is worried they'll never see their old home planet again.
     
  11. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Space travel is expensive but not insurmountably so. I suppose they were approaching it like moving to a new house, more than as a real one-way trip.
     
  12. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just find it to be unreadable. Its not set up or written like a book. I can't even really describe it. I consider myself a good reader, I'm not easily confused by a book. If you took Silmarillion by itself, you'd assume the author just didn't have the ability to write a novel that people could actually read. Tolkien obviously could, because he wrote four awesome books. I could probably class the Silmarillion as one of the worst books I've tried to read, because even the few books I've read that were truly horrible were atleast readable, which would put them over The Silmarillion in the most important category for a book, wether or not its written so that someone can actually read it.

    Thats not something that usually comes up. Usually, if a book is written in a language you can read, 99% of the time its probably going to be atleast technically readable, even if it sucks. The Silmarillion is the only book I've encountered that I basically can't read. It technically has words written in english and put into sentences, yet I'd probably have an easier time reading a book in another language (and since I only speak/read/write english, thats saying something). I like Tolkien and think he was a good writer, but I wish he had written more than four actual books and hundreds of pages of almost gibberish.
     
  13. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Caladan was lost to them. It was given to the Fenrings by the Emperor. They probably wouldn't have been allowed back.
     
  14. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Its writing style is almost always compared to that of the Bible. Which is a book ;).

    Maybe give it another chance? I wasn't too keen on it when I was a kid, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. It's obviously a work from a master of language, and I find it hard seeing it being dissed as worse than Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert's Dune milking process.
     
  15. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, they weren't just travelling to Arrakis for a visit, they were moving their whole operation off Caladan. Given the time consuming duties involved in running a noble house *and* managing the production of the single most valuable commodity in the known universe *AND* the fact that they knew full well they were walking into a trap, the assumption that they'ed never personally see home again was a fairly safe one.

    Saying that though, yes I think for the vast majority of humanity, space travel is a very rare thing experienced only by the nobility, Choam trade reps, Imperial Diplomats, and of course soldiers.

    As for exactly what navigators do, I think it's worth keeping in mind that Herbert's ideas changed a bit between Dune & Messiah, just like his ideas of what the Tleilaxu and their face dancers were about appeared to evolve between Messiah & Heratics.

    Really? I must have missed that. I had always thought they'd left Caladan under the stewardship of a vassal house or some such.
     
  16. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm almost 23 years old, and my last attempt at the Silmarillion was a year ago, its not like age has anything to do with reading it anyway. Heck, I first read LOTR and Dune when I was in the fifth grade. When it comes to The Silmarillion being like the bible, that is really not a good thing. I've never read the Bible myself, but I've seen parts of it. The Bible really isn't a book, either, atleast not in the way that you can read it from beginning to end like a novel. But, its not supposed to be a novel that you read like a normal book, unlike Tolkien's later stuff. Writing a fiction book like an old religious text is not the way to write a book that people can/want to read, it seems more like a style over substance way of doing things, which The Silmarillion has always gicen me the impression of. He seemed to care more about how he wrote it than if it was readable to people.

    As for comparing it to Dune stuff, Brian Herbert/KA stuff is far superior to The Silmarillion or any of the other Tolkien stuff that isn't the 4 main LOTR books. Besides the fact that just being readable puts them ahead of Tolkien's lesser known work, they're just good stories (well, mostly, I didn't like the Butlerian Jihand books but besides that the Herbert/Anderson stuff has been solid). They obviously don't compare to the main LOTR books, but Herbert and Anderson have written over 7 good books just in the Dune series, JRR Tolkien wrote four amazing books in his entire life and a lot of unreadable gibberish.

    Still, thats not meant as an insult to Tolkien. As much as I enjoy them, none of the BH/KA books match up to the LOTR books, but BH/KA are much more consistent with their work. Tolkien's stuff is either amazing or unreadable, there is no middle ground. I'm not saying their aren't good ideas in his later work, he just wrote them like he forgot how to write a book. Give some good modern authors a chance to translate his work into something that resembles a novel, and it could be very interesting. As it is, its something i couldn't read if I spoent every day of the rest of my life trying.
     
  17. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think it had more to do with them knowing they were waling into a trap but they also didn't have a choice.

    They also nearly made it.. if they had some more time to get deeper contacts with the Fremen and recruit them to their cause they would have wiped the floor with the invading Harkonnen and Sardaukar troops.
     
  18. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So people should never write complicated books written in interesting new ways, and be content to settle for only pulpy, dumbed down action novels?

    I think every author of literature should think like this.
     
  19. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought the Lynch film conveyed this really well. I imagined it was like those British families who moved out to the colonies for years, perhaps decades, but still kept a place back home.

    I must have missed that too. Perhaps he meant given to Fenrigs as reward, considering the Atreides were going to be wiped out anyway. At least, that was the plan.
     
  20. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished 'World War Z' this afternoon. Which means I'm going to start 'Dune Messiah,' tonight. I imagine I'll get to at least the first two chapters.

    I honestly can't wait, I've hard good things about 'Messiah. And some negative things too, but I enter into everything with an open mind.