Let’s Get Weirding
June 20, 2020 11:54 PM   Subscribe

If you are waiting impatiently to see whether Denis Villeneuve will manage to translate Frank Herbert’s “Dune” to the big screen, or fall short of the mark as David Lynch and the SyFy channel have (yes, those opinions are controversial), you can while away the hours by listening to Megan Sunday and Beau North discuss the first book in the series over 48 podcast episodes.

The movie adaptation, previously; and "Dune", several times previously.
posted by Grinder (53 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm I the only one that liked David Lynch's Dune?
posted by jmauro at 12:14 AM on June 21 [20 favorites]


I'm I the only one that liked David Lynch's Dune?

I loved it. Wore out my VHS copy. That book is crazy, and you have to have some craziness in any adaptation of it. And it’s visually just gorgeous. Sometimes I’ll still sneak up behind my sister and say, “MY BROTHER IS COMING, WITH MANY FREMEN WARRIORS” in that creepy voice.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:29 AM on June 21 [25 favorites]


I'll be interested to see yet another version but ... the story is just a lot more than two hours long. The SyFy dutiful-but-uninspired take at least had time to include the important bits.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:40 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Ooh, this might be just the thing I was looking for, I've been planning to reread the first book again. I recently listened to the first three parts of Alzabo Soup, which is a similar close-reading-via-podcast of Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.

I'm I the only one that liked David Lynch's Dune?

No. There are so many of you. (Not David Lynch, though.) Personally there are things I liked a lot in his film, but I don't think it holds up all that well, and as a fan of the books I can't regard it with anything more than bemused disappointment.
posted by whir at 12:56 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


If you’re going to try to faithfully use everything from the novel, even a miniseries like the SyFy one isn’t really enough time. If it needed another remake, I think I would have liked to see what someone like HBO could have done in making it into a full-length prestige series, with the same kind of budget as Game of Thrones.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:02 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I'm I the only one that liked David Lynch's Dune?

I'm always surprised how many defenders of it there are! I really didn't care for it for a lot of reasons, but I feel out numbered by people who really do like it.
posted by Carillon at 1:16 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I love it. And the books.
I have several different edits of it.

I'm looking forward to the new movie, but Game of Thrones Style is the the only way to do the story justice.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:31 AM on June 21


Am I the only one who thinks an animated series would be much better ?
posted by Pendragon at 1:39 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


Clone Wars, but Dune... hell yeah!
posted by zengargoyle at 2:46 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I love LynchDune, and I love the music by TotoEno.
Anyone else worried about the casting of Chalamet in the new one? He seems a bit...wet? Wimpy? I've only seen him in Little Women, which I found saccharine, and was not impressed by him at all.
posted by conifer at 2:55 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


He’s Henry V in “The King,” and that’s all I’ve seen him in, and it sold me on his ability to play Paul.

I love the hell out of the Lynch movie for all its faults. You can take almost any minute of it and use it as a trailer for the movie.

I am excited for a new movie of Dune, even though I know nobody can really condense all the stuff in that book into a reasonable sub-three-hour film. I’m excited to see people try.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:54 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


There are going to be two films that cover the first book. They've only shot the first, so far.
posted by papercake at 4:29 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Previously, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune
posted by otherchaz at 4:54 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


You could probably actually make a good Dune adaptation if you were to distill it instead of condensing. You figure out what Dune is about to you on the deepest subjective level, and then choose the components that make that meaning work. A non-linear narrative could then be woven around that. You'd emerge with a coherent original auteur adaptation/interpretation/remix and you would give the original respect by not copying and cramming it all into a burning dumpster fire.

And by those terms my beloved underrated Dune adaptation will always be Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice"

It's Ridley Scott who's Villenueve's boss though, and we're talking about a huge product that has to make bank. What we're gonna get is something along the lines of the signature epicness of the new Alien films and Blade Runner 2049:

* Generic early 21st century sci-fi aesthetics and costumes.
* "Totally amazing" IRL SFX with EPIC "can you believe they did that" sets.
* A coherently developed script with fairly solidly worked out dramatic tension.
* A generic *womp-womp* sci-fi soundtrack/theme
* A few surprises we did-not-see-coming so we have things to talk about online.

Dune to me will always be a fascinating meditation on the interplay of mysticism, statecraft and resource exploitation by civilizations. I don't think anything can capture it quite as well as the original medium - a book.
posted by mit5urugi at 4:58 AM on June 21 [12 favorites]


And by those terms my beloved underrated Dune adaptation will always be Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice "

I'm shocked at how long I've wanted a sequel to that video with a God Emperor Christopher Walken, and until this moment didn't consciously know it.
posted by otherchaz at 5:06 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


Liking Lynch's "Dune" and the two SyFY miniseries is like liking Reb Brown as Captain America or Nicholas Hammond as Spider-Man. They placate your hunger at the time, but also leave you wanting more, wanting better and test your patience as you wait. Decades later, you get the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I'm not saying this adaptation will be the bee's knees, but any Dune is good Dune to a starving fandom.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 5:11 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


There are going to be two films that cover the first book. They've only shot the first, so far.

That's a problem, Dune is a legend (production wise) in the SF and genre communities, does that translate to Star Wars box office? Also, will be blockbuster films until a vaccine is demonstration effective over a number of years. Just bad timing for a sometimes-cursed property.
posted by sammyo at 5:27 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I find it hard to think that any big movie will make enough money in the next couple of years. There a host of big budget films already completed that they keep pushing back hoping against hope that people will go to the movies again. There's a ton of blockbusters that I was excited to see (Bond, Wonder Woman, Tenet) but I'm not going into a theater for the duration.
posted by octothorpe at 5:44 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Dune’s story is on the surface simple: Atreides clan take over Dune in an obvious trap, trap comes from sideways, Jessica and Paul escape and plot revenge within local population.

The value of Dune lies in its details, and I remain sceptical that my fellow Québécois Denis Villeneuve is able to do it justice. He’s done one brilliant movie after another. He’s without a doubt our best hope. Incendies, his last French-language film, is a testament to how he could do Dune.

But I fear that like Blade Runner 2049, he will make a movie that is fun to talk about and discuss, but that will not resonate with the wide audience that Dune otherwise attracts.
posted by papineau at 6:47 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Villeneuve’s adaptation of Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life – something I believed would be impossible to turn into a movie – was one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen (Arrival). So despite being disappointed by Blade Runner 2049, I’m still excited to see what he does with Dune.
posted by adrianhon at 7:07 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


I remain sceptical that my fellow Québécois Denis Villeneuve is able to do it justice. He’s done one brilliant movie after another. He’s without a doubt our best hope.

I don't hate the choice of Villeneuve, but I'll always be a little sad that we don't live in the timeline where they gave Dune to George Miller.
posted by Mayor West at 7:24 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


God Emperor Christopher Walken

Now all I can see is a sandworm with Walken's face and diction.

The value of Dune lies in its details

I don't feel this gets at what's hard to portray. It's not a matter of details so much as how masterfully Herbert drove the big themes with them--hydraulic despotism, the trap of prescience, the art of governance, machine thinking, etc. These are hard themes to explore visually, and like mit5urugi says, a book does much better with them. Books allow for gentle enough info-dumping for the reader to connect the details to the through-lines. No movie or short mini-series has enough time to spare, and info-dumping is even worse when it's Virginia Madsen lecturing us portentiously.

I don't know if Dune alone has an eight season story in it, but when I think about how well the recent Watchmen worked across nine episodes, that feels like the necessary amount of space needed.

There's an interesting question about how far you could usefully go into the sequels and still have a great story. Dune stands alone as a novel; the next natural stopping point is the end of God Emperor. Dune Messiah was literally the leftover bits of Dune, and Children of Dune's climax is nonsensical without God Emperor. If you had eight seasons you might do the whole thing justice: one for Dune, one for Dune Messiah, two for Children, and then the rest for however long it takes. And the tragedy there would be that Heretics and Chapterhouse would have to wait for a spin-off series.
posted by fatbird at 7:34 AM on June 21


To echo Pendragon, Dune needs to be animated. When I read the book, I picture it in the style of Avatar: The Legend of Korra. In fact, I think Michael D. Martino and Bryan Konietzko would do a bang-up adaptation if given the chance.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:00 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


the only one that liked David Lynch's Dune?

Lynch's Dune is a mess which nevertheless gets an awful lot right from overall design to casting to contracting Brian Eno to come up with the Prophecy Theme, which sets the Lynch vision free to conjure a sense of the high and profound weirdness that underlies the universe in question (the SyFy version completely failed in this regard) ... but if you're looking for a sense of what's also very wrong with the movie, look to the rest of the score.

Toto!?

But mostly, the problem is too much story, too many characters, too much everything for a movie that wasn't allowed to be as long as it needed to be. A problem which Villeneuve addresses here:

"I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” says Villeneuve. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details."[66]

So here's hoping. And meanwhile, something I linked to the last time I noticed Dune being discussed here:

Frank Herbert on the origins of Dune



I wholeheartedly disagree that Dune needs to be animated. I might enjoy an animated take, but the Shakespearean levels of drama and intrigue want actual humans doing the emoting
posted by philip-random at 8:16 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


The story really doesn't fit into two hours, so the ScyFy series makes more sense - but the design and art direction of Lynch's version will always be the best. When I first saw it, I loved it, though I had no idea what had actually happened in the story.
posted by jb at 8:23 AM on June 21


I liked Lynch's movie of Dune a damn site better than I liked Herbert's novel. The production design is amazing. The over the top writing and acting is perfect for a space opera. It's got style, and beauty. I even like the shorter theatrical edit. Admittedly it's a little hard to follow for all the stuff that got cut, but it is at least not boringly paced. The longer "director's cut" (that isn't) that is often watched these days really is very very long.

Sort of excited to see Villeneuve's swing at it, but if he doesn't create the same sense of a grand and corrupt empire it's going to be disappointing. The books are not in any way sacrosanct for me, makes the adaptations easier to enjoy.

Some friends of mine are making their own Dune podcast: DunePod. One of their sources is an unlikely book that Tim O'Reilly (yes, the tech publisher) wrote about Frank Herbert in 1977. The whole book is at that link.
posted by Nelson at 8:40 AM on June 21 [7 favorites]


For the past 7 years I've been wondering why HBO ( or someone else who'd do it well ) didn't do a trilogy series. One season per book, first 3 books.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:09 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I've re-read the book several times since the early 70s. I've long admired Herbert's creation of not just a great story, but an entire future history, giving the reader an expansive centuries-long POV populated with utterly fantastic characters who are still recognizable humans. He foresaw the possible consequences of the plight of an exploited desert people living atop a resource that makes the entire economy run. He taught me what jihad could mean. And this statement is prescient for our time: "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind." I only regret the sexuality he assigns to the villain as shorthand for how very bad a villain he was. I have to overlook that now, but it's still an amazing achievement. I still learn from it more than 40 years later.

I looked forward to Lynch's version very much... but two production stills told me all I needed to know to avoid.

1.Fremen in black stillsuits. The Fremen are amazing badasses who literally squeeze every drop of sustenance from their environment through discipline, creativity, and cunning. Lynch takes their most essential technology, the very skin they assume that symbolizes their creativity under oppression, the camouflage they have carefully adapted to survive in the freaking desert while being hunted for sport, and makes it black. This told me the director had no idea. Just wrong.

2. The makeup for Kenneth MacMillan as Harkonnen. Wrong. So wrong. Instead of the smooth subtle corpulent decadent Baron of the book, we get an obvious pustulant buffoonish blowhard. Also wrong, wrong, wrong.

Avoid.
posted by conscious matter at 9:10 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Conscious Matter is entirely entitled to their position, but to decide on the strength of two minor visual choices to avoid the entire Lynch film is really a distillation of a LOT of what's wrong with SF fandom, and why many folks call it toxic.

If you go through any adaptation with a fine-tooth comb, you will find choices made that you disagree with, or changes that irk you. If you're not able to get past that, you will never be happy with any adaptation. Films are not books. Changes will be made. It's a different work.

The Lynch film was astonishingly faithful in a time when most SF properties were utterly butchered en route to the screen. I was amazed at how close it was, and how many of the critical themes and events survived unmolested. A big-budget and largely faithful adaptation? HOLY CRAP!

I'm optimistic about what DV can do here, in an era where SF is just assumed to be enormously bankable.

(For the record, I agree that a multi-season HBO Dune project going through God Emperor makes more sense, but we get what we get.)
posted by uberchet at 10:06 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


I'm reading Dune now, and I'm wondering, in 2020, why there isn't more talk of Herbert's appropriation of Sunni, Bedouin and other muslim mythologies. It's obvious that he didn't make many of these things up out of whole cloth. He's a great world-builder, but he's also taking full advantage of an audience that would find these cultures alien enough to be fully fictional.

The depth of Dune is in the myth-making. The B-G have seeded the galaxy with Missiona Protectiva myths, and the Fremen have incorporated them into their messianic longings. Paul, born a Duke but without his Duchy, is gifted a vision that he can fulfill this prophecy. "They have denied us our Hajj" is a Fremen rallying cry.
Muad'Dib becomes Prophet and realizes that the power of the Sardaukar is myth, and that his own fighters have been created in a crucible every bit as formidable as the emperor's. He is aware that he is creating his personal mythologies even as they occur, and through his interanal dialogue we are witness to it.

I have affection for Lynch's Dune. He tried too hard to recreate the book scene by scene and failed, IMO, by relying too much on the inner dialogue that is so powerful in the book. The voice-overs become almost comical.

I truly good adaptation would have David Lean's sense of cinematography, and would recognize the real-world parallels in ISIS and the Taliban, and would cast the Fremen appropriately.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:32 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


he's also taking full advantage of an audience that would find these cultures alien enough to be fully fictional

I would be more concerned that readers would think zensunni was accurately describing either zen or sunni Islam.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:43 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


He tried too hard to recreate the book scene by scene and failed, IMO, by relying too much on the inner dialogue that is so powerful in the book.

The monologuing of inner dialogue was apparently a post production hack job done to get the four hour film down to two. Lynch's full version apparently has none of it, and is a far more cohesive, detailed and faithful adaptation. I actually think I need to watch it now.

There were a lot of excellent details in Lynch's version, some not in the book (like the Harkonnens all having heart plugs that can be pulled in an instant), but there were also weirdly discordant details that seemed really off: the black stillsuits, noted above by conscious matter; the boxy, floating-by-camera-movement ornithopters that were clearly supposed to fly like large birds, requiring great piloting skill to match the movements; the whole guns-triggered-by-sounds thing ("weirding modules") that's nowhere in the books and seems really silly.
posted by fatbird at 10:59 AM on June 21


I'm not exactly wrong, but I'm not very right either, about "Lynch's version". His rough cut was 4 hours; his delivered version was 3 hours. Dino de Laurentis and his daughter cut it to two by adding voiceovers and other simplifications. Lynch disavowed the whole thing.

There's a three hour "extended edition" that was shown on TV over two nights, that restores some cut footage. Lynch demanded his name be removed from the credits, refused an offer to do a director's cut, and won't talk about Dune in interviews. There is no "Lynch version" to view.
posted by fatbird at 11:10 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I saw the three hour extended edition and it honestly didn't feel like an improvement. It was just longer. It was quite a while ago but I remember assuming that I was finally going to get to see Lynch's version ... and being disappointed, then discovering that no, it was just the original theatrical release padded somewhat to allow for two nights of prime time TV.
posted by philip-random at 12:44 PM on June 21


Thank you for that podcast, it might be just what I need to listen to right now!

OHenryPacey, you may be interested in this episode of imaginary worlds which discusses perceptions of dune from arab, muslim and israeli readers. I think that part of my fondness for dune was that it was the first fiction book I read that had a link to the arabic language.
posted by motdiem2 at 1:52 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Also, not to derail, but there have been numerous FanEdits of LynchDune. The most well known one is SpiceDiver's "Alternative Edition Redux", and the other is Michael Warren's "Dune: The Complete Saga".
The second can be viewed here, on the Internet Archive.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 2:16 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


"he's also taking full advantage of an audience that would find these cultures alien enough to be fully fictional."

I read Dune when it came out and, having read a lot of SF up to that point, I thought that stuff was half-baked BS - it was a pretty good story though. It's too bad he didn't go one step further and just remove the Arab sounding names, because the rest of the "alien culture" is pretty thin but would have been entirely acceptable by the standards of the day.
posted by sneebler at 3:44 PM on June 21


OHenryPacey, you may be interested in this episode of imaginary worlds which discusses perceptions of dune from arab, muslim and israeli readers. I think that part of my fondness for dune was that it was the first fiction book I read that had a link to the arabic language.

Thanks for this, it's exactly what I wanted to listen to and addressed many of my questions from several perspectives.
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:29 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I don't hate the choice of Villeneuve, but I'll always be a little sad that we don't live in the timeline where they gave Dune to George Miller.

I think they should keep giving Dune movies to weird auteurs. Give me the Panos Cosmatos version. Then Ben Wheatley and Shane Carruth get a turn.
posted by rodlymight at 8:03 PM on June 21 [9 favorites]


uberchet, your reply brought me up short, in a good way. I rarely have or express such strong opinions about books/movies/art on such limited info, and even more rarely online. In this case I value the book so much, and the images I saw were just so distant from how I envisioned the book that they were complete turnoffs. My comment above is more vehement than it needs to be. I don't regret my opinion, but I do regret that my how I expressed it exemplifies toxic fandom to you and that they may turn away some who might really enjoy the film.

In future when I have negative opinions to express, I'll be less glib and more thoughtful.
posted by conscious matter at 8:34 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


1.Fremen in black stillsuits. The Fremen are amazing badasses who literally squeeze every drop of sustenance from their environment through discipline, creativity, and cunning. Lynch takes their most essential technology, the very skin they assume that symbolizes their creativity under oppression, the camouflage they have carefully adapted to survive in the freaking desert while being hunted for sport, and makes it black.

Well, stillsuits are a fucking stupid idea on the first place, so they might as well paint them black. Or pink. Or dress them like Power Rangers.

It's basic science any junior high skill student should understand: Humans keep cool via evaporative cooling. In other words, sweat evaporating. What do stillsuits do? They PREVENT evaporative cooling. More than being completely unusable, they would kill the wearer.

But y'know, Herbert not being able to understand basic biology is par for the course. (God don't talk to me about the sandworms.) Biogy is the red-headed stepchild of SciFi.

What I don't get is why this goddamn novel is like the holy writ of SciFi geeks. It's basically just Lawrence of Arabia combined with Star Wars, with an extra - special dose of racism, sexism and homophobia. In guessing that Orientalism and "What these people need is a honky" stories just had that much cachet in fandom.

I mean the basic background of the story is a bunch of brown people don't know shit about their planet until a white European styles SCIENTIST tells them how to make it a paradise. And even when decades of stories about colonialism in aid projects, people just miss that.
posted by happyroach at 10:46 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


Conscious Matter, I'm very glad that my reply wasn't vexatious to you.

In SF, we often bind very tightly and fundamentally to books, maybe because when we first encounter them they made us feel less alone (I know that was true for me growing up in the 70s and 80s), and seek to defend them from all comers, and this bleeds into hostility to the changes that happen in any adaptation. It's understandable, but in aggregate I think can become destructive. That's what I meant.

OTOH, we also get things like happyroach's comment, to which I say: Let people enjoy things.
posted by uberchet at 11:23 AM on June 22


OTOH, we also get things like happyroach's comment, to which I say: Let people enjoy things.

Yeah, we tried that with Lovecraft and J.K. Rowling. How well did THAT work out?

I mean, we still don't have a Left Hand of Darkness, Downbelow Station or Gate to Women's Country movie. Hell, we don't even have a Pern movie, which puts a really low bar. But we do have yet another goddamn try at Dune. With its really problematic portrayals. Hmm. Wonder why.

There's a lot to unpack on Dune, from the ingrained homphobia and rigidly sexist gender roles, to the Fremen Mirage. But the conversations are always just "Oh gosh, who's Dune looks prettier? ". It's frustrating that for something supposedly deep, the work gets a major pass on criticism.
posted by happyroach at 12:34 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


There's a lot about the Dune novels and the rest of Herbert's writings that was arguably revolutionary in its specific time and place (particularly his subversion of "superhero syndrome," IMO the whole point of the series), opening the door to new ways of imagining. But even as someone whose world was transformed by the Dune novels at a young age, I have a hard time now looking at them as anything but mildly interesting relics. To abstract Herbert's work from colonialism and white supremacy would be about as feasible as abstracting Lovecraft from those things, and for many of the same reasons.

I mean, I hope it all works out with the movie thing. But there's so much better, more open, more interesting thinking and writing being done now, it seems weird at best to be cycling back to Yet Another Attempted Dune Adaptation.
posted by Not A Thing at 12:34 PM on June 22


I'm not sure I'd hold up Anne McCaffrey as the poster child for science fiction without problematic elements. But I think it's also possible to enjoy work that has problematic aspects without endorsing those aspects.
posted by whir at 12:59 PM on June 22


I'm gonna call it now: I'm pretty sure the part of this thread that's actually about Dune fandom is now over, and what follows will be a traditional Metafilter round of You Should Not Like This.
posted by uberchet at 4:26 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


What I don't get is why this goddamn novel is like the holy writ of SciFi geeks.

Without dismissing anything you mention that's problematic (because you're right): Dune has a high place in the canon of sci-fi because it's relatively unique. It doesn't depend on technology; it's anti-technology. The spice isn't the subject of the books, it's the consequences of what humanity has done with the spice over the long term. It's less science fiction than systems analysis fiction. It engages with religion much more meaningfully than most scifi. Also, Herbert's a better prose stylist than a lot of scifi authors. Even today, it's still pretty unique. It's harder to imagine something like the Hyperion Cantos existing without Dune having broadened the scope of scifi as much as it did.
posted by fatbird at 7:50 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


(After reading this thread I went and watched Lynch's Dune -- the 2 hour version -- for the first time. That a film so cinematographically austerely bizarre should be at first blush so without either ultimate artistic merit or charm is quite something. It's sort of as if Mussolini had hired Robert Bresson to make a trite military propaganda film. The interior sets are beautiful though. Yep.)
posted by bertran at 9:45 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


David Lynch in a Q&A three days ago: "Well, I'm sorta proud of everything, except Dune."
posted by whir at 1:54 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


(After reading this thread I went and watched Lynch's Dune -- the 2 hour version -- for the first time. That a film so cinematographically austerely bizarre should be at first blush so without either ultimate artistic merit or charm is quite something. It's sort of as if Mussolini had hired Robert Bresson to make a trite military propaganda film. The interior sets are beautiful though. Yep.)

I watched Lynch's version years ago, though I am sure in a commercial-laden TV cut. I loved the book (though I haven't read it in 30+ years) and should give the movie another go. Is there a preferred version I should try to find?
posted by rtimmel at 3:57 PM on June 23


until a white European styles SCIENTIST

You’re making a lot of assumptions about who’s white.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:46 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I read that as "a [white European style] [scientist]" rather than "a white [European style scientist]". Not sure if that was the intent, but I think it holds up. The Pardot Kynes narrative maps pretty closely to white European colonial tropes, especially when read from the standpoint of a type specimen 1960s sci-fi buff.

Herbert would surely have expected his (presumptively white male American) readers to read the Pardot Kynes story, and Dune as a whole, through the lens of all the "enlightened Westerner visits a warlike primitive people who welcome him as a wizard/god/prophet" stories that many of them would have been familiar with from childhood on.

I would be skeptical of reading Dune itself as merely another example of that genre -- there's a lot more going on -- but the story is definitely still anchored within that tradition, with all of the limitations that implies.
posted by Not A Thing at 7:30 PM on June 23


@rtimmel: I was going by ratbird's comment above about the existence of different versions of Lynch's Dune. I watched the 2-hour one because that is what hbo max is streaming.
posted by bertran at 11:05 PM on June 24


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