Dune 2018 (19,20,21...)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by wayoung, Dec 22, 2016.

  1. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mangling the ancient history of our time was probably a deliberate joke on Frank Herbert's part. In his books, other memory revealed the truth to those with that ability but they probably saw no value in trying to set matters straight as such memories were more useful kept concealed. On the other hand, mangling Frank Herbert's work to make money is no joke.
     
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  2. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Frank Herbert didn't write the Encyclopedia. There's some odd stuff in it, though. I have to admit that I didn't read this stuff about the Romans, but there are other weird things, like the two Bene Gesserit sisters who win a trip for two to Gamont. And there's sheet music for a couple of Gurney Halleck's songs (I transcribed them for the organ and tried playing them).
     
  3. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My recollection is that it the writers were grad students of McNelly's, He then edited and compiled into one book. Irulans character assassination in it was the weirdest bit to me. Whomever wrote the Ghanima article did not like Irulan.

    And, as discussed earlier, then McNelly and Herbert were going to write a single novel based on the DE's Butlerian Jihad, the first two chapters of which are available on Reddit (McNelly left them to a school, they are publicly viewable to anyone who goes there, and professor who was friends with McNelly went to see them, and transcribed them online).

    Note: FH did not actually write any of those chapters, McNelly wrote the first draft and FH was to re-write, but at that point he was too sick, which is why the project died.
     
  4. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Actually, Irulan never got a decent break until the TV miniseries (It's my understanding that FH originally intended to kill her off at the end of Dune Messiah, but changed his mind). When you consider that she was basically an Imperial puppet used by both Shaddam IV and the Bene Gesserit, she didn't get to say much for herself except in the little bits at the start of each chapter.

    It took the miniseries and Julie Cox's interpretation to make me like this character and feel some empathy for her.

    Link, please? I'd love to read that, and have no familiarity with Reddit.
     
  5. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's interesting to watch Irulan's growth and change in different adaptations. I recall doing a book report and study in high school on Dune, and looking at the miniseries vs. novel in terms of characters and growth. It was interesting to see just how much the miniseries brought to that character.
     
  6. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's a difference between not getting a decent break and being turned into a pedophile, which the DE did to her:shrug:
     
  7. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Didn't it also do a similar thing to one of the Duncans?
     
  8. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Frank Herbert did that himself, with middle aged Hayt kissing 14 year old Alia (who Stilgar sees naked and says needs to get laid) against her will.

    Frank was a great writer, but he was, at best, problematic. Both in his writing and in real life.
     
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  9. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sorry mate the link for the online copy is dead. Cal State is the school that has it if, by some weird coincidence, you live close by.
     
  10. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well let's be honest, Alia wasn't really 14, only her body was.

    As for Stilgar's attitude: sure by modern standards that's WAY out of line, but one ought to at least consider the context of *that* world and *those* characters.
    Stilgar was a Freman chieftain. Someone who was raised in a tribe always on the razor's edge of survival, with a deeply ingrained sense of pragmatism, in which tribespersons are expected to put always put the tribe first, which includes getting about the business of making new tribespersons just as soon as they are biologically capable. As I'm sure any anthropologist would confirm, such attitudes were and still are common in hunter-gatherer cultures, and honestly weren't all that different in agrarian cultures either (including most western cultures) up until just the last century or so.
    Add to that that fact that between the cramped, dense, living arrangements that is sietch life where everyone is living on top of each other leads to two basic realities: Fremen cannot be especially prudish about physical intimacy, and personal issues need to be settled FAST before it starts to affect the tribe. As a chief it's literally his job to very quickly identify such issues and solve them.

    So yeah, when he sees Alia's reckless and very public display (as public as it can be within the Palace at anyway) his reaction is that of a Fremen chief: get her a mate before *this* becomes even more of a problem. The notion is indeed very much out of order by modern standards, but would be entirely unremarkable just a few generations ago.
    I honestly don't think Frank crossed a line here...though he got WAY closer with that whole thing with the Teg ghola and Sheeana.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Or commentary on the nature of history.
     
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  12. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Which shows it's a pattern on Herberts part. Alia is just one example. Sheena and Teg another. And they are not the only ones. He has teen girls and adult men (and, occasionally, the opposite) with some sort of external validation of why it's OK middle aged people are banging teenagers. There are no reasons Messiah/chapterhouse couldn't have been set later and featured older characters, especially with the lifespans involved, other than FH wanted them that young. The dude was in his mid 60's sleeping with a 20 year old while his wife died of cancer (I read one place she was his rep at Putnam, others she was his wife's nurse, or perhaps two different women that got combined into one). People try to say Dune & GEOD aren't homophobic either, ignoring that in his personal life Herbert disowned his son for being gay.

    The man had flaws, and his works contain those flaws.

    Edit:. To be clear, I'm not accusing FH of anything. I'm saying his works have problematic elements, especially from a modern viewpoint, which shouldn't be ignored/whitewashed.
     
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  13. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly I know next to nothing about Herbert outside of his works, other than the broad strokes so I really can't comment intelligently on the subject. I guess having read Heinlein's later works, my reckoning for what constitutes creepy old man writing is skewed a little more towards the...well not "extreme", but for want of a better term let's just call it "dodgy".

    I think if there's a recurring thing here at all in Herbert's work, it's more the idea of an old soul/mind in a young body. Also; sure he could have written Messiah and CoD later on in the timeline, but if you're trying to sell the concept that these characters have thoughts and insights WAY beyond what they should have, and how disconcerting it is to everyone around them; the way you sell that is precisely with things having an eerily quiet infant with a measuring gaze, or a toddler that laughs knowingly at an overheard dirty joke.

    This may just be me, but I tend to feel that the difference between Herbert and Heinlein when it comes to this kind of thing is that the latter is going WAY out of his way to justify a desired end result, while in the case of former is just an aspect of a larger idea he's exploring; genetic memory in this case.
     
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  14. wayoung

    wayoung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I used to defend the books as not being homophobic, saying that the Baron was just to up the threat level to Paul, that Duncan is just wrong, etc. Then I learned that FH was a huge homophobe. So I had to recognize that I was making excuses because I loved the book, instead of accepting what was clearly homophobic writing.

    The old soul/young body isn't a new excuse, it's a pretty common justification for... inappropriate relationships. Maybe if it happened once it'd be like "Huh, that's weird.". But it doesn't happen just once. Or even twice.

    Jessica was a teen/barely legal when Leto bought her. But it's ok, because she was trained from birth to be really intelligent and sexually mature, so ignore how old she was when she was bought she's really just an old soul in a - oh, wait....

    Alia was just 14, but that's ok, because she has other people's memories, so she already knows intellectually what sex is despite her body being 14, so it's ok. She's really just an old soul in a - oh, wait....

    Miles is only 12, but that's ok, because he has the repressed memories of an old man buried in his head, so he's really just an old soul in a - oh, wait....

    How old is Siona again? I think she's like 20 ish, and decides to have kids with the typically 45 year old Duncan because she has to maintain the breading program. But it's ok, she's an old soul...

    Hwi is also around 20 I think. But she's the gender swapped clone of an old man, so she has an old soul...

    The Duncan ghola in Heretics is a teen when he and Murbella imprint each other, isn't he? But he's an old soul...

    Like I said, it's a pattern. And it matches with his real life, where he was a senior citizen with (a) 20 year old gf(s). Does it mean anything truly bad? I don't know, but I think it should be recognized as problematic.
     
  15. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not making excuses for anything, I just don't really see it in those particular terms. As I said with the Heinlein comparison; to me it makes a difference if I think an author is deliberately contriving a scenario purely to justify their creepy proclivities, vs. just depicting something creepy as a logical outgrowth of a central theme or idea. Maybe Herbert was being a perv; I don't know, I'm not psychic. All I know is it never crossed that line in my brain while reading it. At least not with Alia, specifically. Teg on the other hand got uncomfortably close to the line for my taste.

    As for whether or not Herbert was homophobic: again, I know nothing about the guy. All I know is we have the problematic stuff with the Baron on the one hand; but on the other we also that decidedly more broad minded exchange between Duncan and Moneo about the Fish Speakers and Alexander the Great. (Now there's an odd sentence when stripped of context!)
    Was Frank homophobic? Did his views change? Did he not see what his depiction of the Baron seemed to be saying about gay men, only to realise later and seek to correct somewhat? I have no idea.
    Again; context matters. The world of Dune, or rather I should say the society of the Imperium is clearly modelled on feudal Europe, circa mid to late renaissance. So if one were to base a story around the court of some monarch of that period, would it be over the line to have said monarch literally buy a concubine of about that age from a religious order or school? No. Depending of the county and period, it wouldn't even register as out of the ordinary for a minor noble, much less a king or prince.
    That said, the book 1) doesn't even depict it anyway so it's a bit of a moot point, and 2) makes no bones about the level of cold pragmatism that runs through Leto and Jessica's relationship. It's not supposed to be "OK". Indeed both characters inwardly lament the circumstances of their situation, and that they both have genuine feelings for each other only makes the situation worse.
    Is that what Hwi was? That book is so odd I could never figure out what she was even supposed to be about. Plus it's been a few decades and I can barely remember the details.
    Maybe, maybe not. Honestly I think you're trying a little too hard to make the pattern fit the assumption.
    Looking beyond Dune, Herbert's other works have all kinds of depictions of sexual encounters, body horror, and generally disturbing imagery (the "flower room" in 'The Jesus Incident' still makes my skin crawl.) The kind of thing you'd hire someone like H.R. Geiger to design. If there's a pattern at all here it's that he was clearly interested in the darker corners of the human psyche and sought to occasionally make his readership uncomfortable and question their assumptions...and sometimes it was just shlock for the sake of schlock or titillation. He certainly wasn't above indulging in pulp sci-fi tropes at times.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  17. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Even as someone who genuinely likes some of Brian and Kevin's Dune stuff, they should have stopped years ago. They finished off the main series probably better then Frank herbert would have (he really devolved as a writer starting with Heretics of Dune), and they did some pretty good direct prequel/mid-quel Dune books (I especially enjoyed Paul of Dune/Winds of Dune), but the well of Dune material has long past dried up, and it just feels really pointless at this point.
     
  18. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure that book's being written right now.
     
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  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I believe it is located right next to the Well of Souls, but before the Well of Ascension.
     
  20. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Movie tie-in comics are typically pointless, uninspired fluff even at the best of times. With those two writing it; Doubly so. Hard pass.
     
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