19 thoughts on “Dune”

  1. First book was ok – but only ok. The promise of “plans within plans” was never fulfilled as were lots of other plot teasers.

    The rest was unreadable.
    The movie was execrable.

    I won’t go see this version.

  2. The books are ugly. And they got worse as the series continued, they made no sense.

    For example, supposedly the master commandment, and justification for banning “thinking machines” is : “Don’t disfigure the soul” and yet it’s a society where everyone is manipulated (mentats?, Suk doctors? Guild navigators?) and stuck in a caste system worthy of India.

    Or, you have the assassination plot using banned “atomics” whose purpose isn’t to kill, but to blind the target so that he has to commit suicide because of his cultures absolute rules. (But it was a “stoneburner”, the fan shouts, “those are legal.”)

    And the interminable post Herbert books make fan fiction look polished and reasonable.

    But the best part was how the movie made the books even uglier and stupider (“weirding modules?”).

  3. The success of Dune apparently led to a flood of “epic” science fiction where readers found themselves flipping page 1,213 in book #7.

    However, I highly recommend watching a documentary called “Jodorowsky’s Dune”, about a movie version that never got made but whose stunning storyboards influenced a huge number of Hollywood blockbusters like Blade Runner and Alien.

    1. He also wrote a book on programming. Most interestingly to me, he opposed the conventional flow charts because the showed parallel branches in parallel, whereas code isn’t actually like that because memory is linear. So he’d use his arrows to show how code would really jump, just as you might draw arrows on your assembly language printout. I guess such a technique would make it easier to hammer out all your lines of “IF A > B THEN GOTO 13100 ELSE GOTO 1200”

  4. I thought Dune was fantastic the first time through. It didn’t hold up as well on rereading (actually, each time I reread it I liked it less, so I stopped). Even so, it’s the best Herbert book I’ve read.

      1. Yep. Enough so that there were persistent rumors that Herbert had some help in writing Dune, as he apparently didn’t have the chops to pull it off by himself.

      2. I always thought that he was a better short story writer (some authors just are better at one or the other).

        I always liked his “Bureau of Sabotage” stories featuring Jorj X. Mckie novels: “The Whipping Star(1970)” and “The Dosadi Experiment(1978)”.

  5. The video game was pretty good for the time it was published. One of the first popular RTS’s. But I guess that had less Herbert crazy and more logical game play.

  6. Read the book(s?) as a kid and don’t have a memory of them. I really enjoyed the movie and the miniseries that were made later.

    Science fiction movies tend to be hit or miss at an individual level, even when they are well made.

  7. I tried reading Dune twice in the 80’s. I never got further than about 60 pages in. The thing is just godawful. Nothing makes a bit of sense and all the made-up lingo actually lacerates one’s eyeballs in very short order.

    Being a non-fan of the franchise, I had no preconceptions to be rubbed the wrong way by the Lynch movie. For a Lynch movie, the thing seemed fairly linear and straightforward. And it had two of the really great beauties of film history in it, Francesca Annis in a major role and Virginia Madsen in a minor, almost walk-on role near the end. Lynch sure do like him his bombshell babes.

    But that was enough Dune for me. I didn’t watch the TV miniseries version with William Hurt, et al, and I won’t be seeing this new one either.

    Never tried reading any of Herbet’s non-Dune stuff. I figured if Dune was supposed to be his masterpiece, the other stuff must be even worse. No thanks.

    1. The edition I first read had the glossary at the start–it helped a bit having read through the jargon before I got started on the story. Another edition I saw had moved the glossary to the end, which seems like a bad decision.

    2. As an adolescent, in the early 80s, I read Herbet’s “The White Plague”, in which a molecular biologist releases a biological warfare agent which kills only women, and kills every women it infects. The biologist has lost his wife to IRA terrorism, and wants the men of Ireland, the UK, and Libya (each of which he holds responsible) to suffer what he has suffered. As the plague spreads beyond those three countries, the response from the countries affected and those which are not is interesting. How are women treated in such a situation? How should countries which are plague free act to stay that way. What should happen if only one city in a large country has the plague (nuke it to save the rest of the country?) I have no idea if it would hold up if I tried reading it today (I would probably be offended by the whole thing, since I’m such a leftwing sensitive guy) but you might like it. And since it was my first exposure to a story about biowarfare, it stayed with me.

    3. Sean Young when she was still hot and sane was excellent in her role and so was Kyle MacLachlan. All of the casting was great and so were the costumes and set design. I haven’t watched it in a while to see if the effects hold up.

      I did recently re-watch Ice Pirates and the story is still great but the effects make it hard to watch.

  8. I think the first Dune book was great. Right up there with the LoTR books. The second book is also ok. The series keeps degrading as it goes on. But his son’s books, those are totally atrocious.
    The first Dune book is great and it holds on careful inspection too. No word is wasted. That is why they have had such a hard time putting it into film. The book is just that dense. Yet still very easy to read.

    The Lynch movie… I think I watched it like over a dozen times. It took me like six views before I understood the plot. I hadn’t read the book then. I think it is a masterpiece but a really flawed one. Someone put an extended version on Youtube that adds a lot of deleted scenes to it. It has a slightly better narrative. But still I think you need to make it a two part movie or it simply can’t put put into film properly.

  9. I was never much of a Herbert fan. I did enjoy the original Dune when it was serialized in Analog, but the series definitely went downhill from there. I also liked the movie — but was perturbed by the Siskel & Ebert movie reviewers’ treatment of it. When the film came out they held that a) it was the worst movie of the last ten years (!), and b) that even SF fans who were already familiar with the book were unable to follow the film — which is absolutely untrue.

    Of Herbert’s books the one I remember being particularly struck by was Hellstrom’s Hive — a novel about the supposed (fictional) maker of the award-winning (1971) film documentary (about insects) The Hellstrom Chronicle. Don’t know how well it would hold up if I tried re-reading it now….

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