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NeuroTypical

Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

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Anyone else a Dune fan?  (If you're not, it's a sci-fi series of books created by Frank Herbert, and expanded by his son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.  Fremen are the sand-dwelling folk, who live in seitches, and if you don't care, you can probably stop reading.)

Anyway, I've been jumping so thoroughly into the fandom, that I am at risk of becoming known as "that one poster who can't shut up about Dune".  I know I'm not alone, so here's a thread for us.   Agree or disagree, argue or contribute, feel free to participate.  Expect lots of good-natured back-and-forthery, and lots of brilliantly zingy jabs at other groups.

I've been enthralled by the Dune universe since I read the first 3 books in elementary school so I could keep up with my smug buddy who thought he was a better reader.  Frank Herbert had definite opinions about what drives humans, planets, religion, and politics, and from where I'm standing, a full 66.67% of them are in harmony with the gospel.  And the rest are worth thinking about, in order to be able to clearly articulate why I disagree.  As I binge-read my big stack of Dune books in preparation for the new movie coming in 2020, I'm being reminded of how much of an impact those books had on me.

Plus, being a Dune fan keeps me on that "I'm cooler than you because I like something less popular" pedestal which I value so deeply.  I'm firmly convinced in the lost 116 pages of the BoM, it has a broader "tree of life" vision, in which the iron-rod holders look one way and see the great and spacious building, and look the other way and see me standing there on my smug pedestal, not deigning to notice you people.

 

Anyway, to kick the thread off proper:

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I, too, have long enjoyed Herbert's universe. I have also, long been the subject of mockery for bringing the first Dune movie home, since it just failed to capture what Herbert put together. I am cautiously optimistic that the new movie will be worth seeing. Until then, I occasionally pick up the books (or audio books) and re-read them. (Currently on the verge of picking up God -- Emperor of Dune again).

I will note that I have not read past Herbert's original five books into the extended books that his son wrote. Something "purist" in me did not want to go beyond Herbert's own writing -- even though I know Brian used notes and such from his dad to write the books.

Every once in a while, I entertain the notion that Tatooine was a distantly pre-Butlerian jihad Arrakis. The almighty Sarlak (or a mobile cousin) would become Arrakis's great worms. I never get much beyond that.

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I don't know if it is NT's misspelling of sietch in the thread title, or my pathetic attempt to connect the Dune and Star Wars universes (I will gladly edit my previous post to remove the reference, if need be), but this did not get very far.

To give it another chance, as promised I picked up and recently finished God Emperor of Dune -- the 4th book in the series. (Spoilers will follow, if anyone wants to avoid them, stop here). I find this one an intriguing extension of the storyline. I won't summarize the story (unless those who have not read it want me to. The things that have always intrigued me in this story:
Leto II's transformation into a sandworm/human hybrid. Perhaps it is just an extension of the previous books. Paul become the Kwisatz Haderach, Alia becomes "abomination", Leto II and his sister become something like abomination, but not quite. But this transformation seems grander than the others.
The near continuous presence of the Duncan Idaho gholas throughout Leto II's reign. I'm not sure I understand why, but something about Idaho causes him to come back time and time again.
I can recall the first time I read this how Leto II's death towards the end took me by surprise. Maybe I was too young to pick up on the foreshadowing the first time, but I did not expect him to be killed at the end, and the manner of his death was very memorable.

Next up is Heretics of Dune. I have a couple of books in between, so it will be a little bit later this fall, maybe winter, before I get to it. Another book that has memorable moments, and I will enjoy being reminded of the many forgotten details from this next chapter in human future history (what kind of contradiction is that?).

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I liked the original Dune, which I have read twice and loved both times. I also like the David Lynch movie - though you have to accept that it is NOT a totally faithful retelling of the original novel. (I have never seen the miniseries - though I want to.)

I have read Dune Messiah and Children of Dune only once, and didn't like them so much. I think my problem is that I didn't much care who won in the end. If it's a choice between the Atreides (who at least brand themselves as being the good guys) and the horrible Harkonnens and their disgusting Baron, its easy to know what side to root for. In the second two books the Atreides are almost as bad as anyone else. Children of Dune does pick up towards the end: I have some sympathy for Leto and Ghanima (they are only kids after all) and I liked the way the prince (forgotten his name) put his horrible mother in her place once he discovered what she was up to.

Having said that I suppose the stories do teach us something about real life: how things are never black-and-white and that politics is a dirty back-stabbing business most of the time - and that the best of our historical heroes - Nelson (Horatio, not Russell M), Washington, Wellington - likely used nasty methods at times. I have yet to read God Emperor of Dune - so I averted my eyes to your second post, MrShorty - but I'll probably give it a try sometime if I happen to find it in a charity shop!

Edited by Jamie123
Got prophet's middle initial wrong

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8 hours ago, MrShorty said:

The near continuous presence of the Duncan Idaho gholas throughout Leto II's reign. I'm not sure I understand why, but something about Idaho causes him to come back time and time again.

I think the only reasons Duncan was so valuable that they kept bringing him back, was his unparalleled loyalty to the Atreides, and he was really good at his job.  Herbert was expounding on principles through his books, and I think his main point is loyalty and dedication are of timeless use, not easy to come by. 

 

3 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

I think my problem is that I didn't much care who won in the end. If it's a choice between the Atreides (who at least brand themselves as being the good guys) and the horrible Harkonnens and their disgusting Baron, its easy to know what side to root for. In the second two books the Atreides are almost as bad as anyone else.

[More spoilers Jamie!!!]

Indeed. The whole Herbert universe was one big exploration of human nature.  To Herbert, "us good/them bad" is often little more than a genetic survival urge built in to our DNA to help propagate the species.

It's important to note (and quite hard to find in the book), that Leto II's justification for all the horrible things he did, was it was the only way for the human race to not go completely extinct in the next few thousand years.  His Golden Path would ensure humanity's continued survival - and if you were going to question the nobility of that, well, the whole human race was your enemy, not Leto II.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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I love Dune and enjoyed Dune Messiah and Children of Dune (I still want my own personal crysknife just so I can say cool things about it needing to taste blood to be sheathed😃). I am fascinated by the idea of a society having hyper advanced technology, but an archaic fedual governing system. Herbert does a great job of creating a fascinating universe, and it's one of my all time favorite Sci-fi settings. However, I stopped enjoying the series at God Emperor of Dune. That book, for me, was a long frustrating slog through Herbert's philosophy and became less about the characters and more about his random musings on human nature. I tried to read Sisterhood of Dune, and I will get to it, I'm just worried about it being more of the same so I haven't mustered up the courage to try my hand at the series again. Maybe that's why (a bit of Dune heresy coming beware) I actually love the prequel series created by his son. He gives me more of the conflicts between the great houses and the weird feudal, advanced but technophobic society that always attracted me to Dune in the first place. Anyways, I thought I'd chime in, given that I don't run into to many Dune fans on a regular basis. Remember, fear is the mindkiller.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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4 hours ago, Midwest LDS said:

I stopped enjoying the series at God Emperor of Dune. That book, for me, was a long frustrating slog through Herbert's philosophy and became less about the characters and more about his random musings on human nature.

Yep, stopping at God Emperor is a good move.  Chaptehouse has an entire chapter consisting of Reverend Mother Superior staring at a painting and thinking about humanity.  The high point of the chapter is when we learn the impact her musings have on her menu selection for lunch.

You'll also not be subjected to chairdogs and Futars.

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Initially I liked the first Dune book - but I was younger.  As I became older I have become more disappointed in science fiction because there has become an overabundance of fiction and an alarming ignorance of science.

Here is an interesting thought for science fiction.  What the earth thinks is a first contact with a super intelligent interstellar society with nothing but benevolent intentions but then comes to realize that they are coming to earth to destroy all the wicked and preserve the righteous and how they distinguish between the two does not quite fit with the human paradigm.

 

The Traveler

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1 hour ago, mikbone said:

How are his son’s books?  Any you recommend.  I’m interested in the Butlerian Jihad.  Big fan of Man vs. AI flicks.

I love the initial trilogy created by his son (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Corrino). It does a great job of exploring how the characters end up in the positions they are in at the start of Dune, and explores a lot of areas of interest including what it means to be a swordmaster, the events that lead to the Atreides takeover of Arrakis, the Fremen effort to terraform Dune, and a lot of other fascinating storylines. They aren't perfect but they are a really enjoyable read. I liked the Butlerian Jihad books as well. Some thought the conflict was too on the nose, but I like man vs. robot stories, and I think he does a great job demonstrating why mankind is terrified of computers. You may get some dissenting opinions on this as the prequels do seem to be divisive with fans, but I really enjoyed them.

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2 hours ago, mikbone said:

How are his son’s books?  Any you recommend.  I’m interested in the Butlerian Jihad.  Big fan of Man vs. AI flicks.

I "read" many of them in the bookstore, because for a while with fairly young kids, date night consisted of going to the bookstore for several hours.  But from what I remember breezing through them, I like them.  Many hate them with a passion, figuring the son and co-writer are not good authors and only are trying to cash in.

But for me, who loves a good universe and epic, most anything that adds to the richness and history of the epic is good enough for me.    I'm re-reading them now, enjoying House Atreides just fine.

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I picked up Chapterhouse this week to start it. The copy I got from the library included an introduction by Brian Herbert, that had a couple of interesting pieces of trivia that were new to me:

Lady Jessica was based on Frank's wife Beverly.

Brian claimed that more than 20 editors turned Dune down for publication before a Sterling Lanier "took a chance". I know there are a lot of those kinds of stories, and hindsight is 20/20, but I couldn't help but think there are a lot of editors and their publishing houses looking back and thinking about missed opportunities.

 

From there, I guess I will dive into Chapterhouse and see if I make it out the other side.

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Finished Chapterhouse this week. And, in celebration (or something) stumbled on this somewhat amusing piece (or maybe it is just the slight possibility that there really is a sandworm actors guild somewhere out there that piqued my imagination): https://babylonbee.com/news/scarlett-johansson-under-fire-for-agreeing-to-play-giant-sandworm-in-upcoming-dune-adaptation

I decided to pick up Hunters of Dune and see what Brian and Kevin made of Frank's outlines and notes and such. Wish me luck.

Oh, and if anyone is starting to count down -- Villeneuve's flick is scheduled to release in December.

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I finished Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune to complete the series (at least, as envisioned by Brian and Kevin). More spoilers for those who want to avoid them.

Hunters was kind of a slow slog through seeming randomness. The "enemy" is nameless and faceless through most of the book, so I never quite felt the urgency of humanity's preparations and infighting that slowed preparations over the course of the book. The growing and awakening of the gholas and the other events on the no-ship likewise seemed random and without direction -- other than the constant need to run from the nameless, faceless enemy. The reveal at the end that the enemy is none other than the robots from the Butlerian Jihad took me by surprise.

Now that the enemy had a name and a face, Sandworms was more engaging. The plot still felt a little disjointed, but I was more interested in finding out how the humans would survive the robot invasion. Through the plot twists that revealed the last Idaho ghola as the ultimate Kwizatz Haderach finally revealed why, as I asked earlier, the original Leto II kept bringing back the Idaho gholas. I still wonder if Frank had this ending in mind as he was writing God Emperor or if this was a later development or even something that Brian and Kevin developed. Having the series end with another war between humans and robots with a different outcome was an interesting way to wrap things up -- kind of bringing the whole thing full circle.

I guess my question now is whether or not to read the Butlerian Jihad books to find out how Brian and Kevin envision that beginning of the saga.

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10 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

I finished Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune to complete the series (at least, as envisioned by Brian and Kevin). More spoilers for those who want to avoid them.

Hunters was kind of a slow slog through seeming randomness. The "enemy" is nameless and faceless through most of the book, so I never quite felt the urgency of humanity's preparations and infighting that slowed preparations over the course of the book. The growing and awakening of the gholas and the other events on the no-ship likewise seemed random and without direction -- other than the constant need to run from the nameless, faceless enemy. The reveal at the end that the enemy is none other than the robots from the Butlerian Jihad took me by surprise.

Now that the enemy had a name and a face, Sandworms was more engaging. The plot still felt a little disjointed, but I was more interested in finding out how the humans would survive the robot invasion. Through the plot twists that revealed the last Idaho ghola as the ultimate Kwizatz Haderach finally revealed why, as I asked earlier, the original Leto II kept bringing back the Idaho gholas. I still wonder if Frank had this ending in mind as he was writing God Emperor or if this was a later development or even something that Brian and Kevin developed. Having the series end with another war between humans and robots with a different outcome was an interesting way to wrap things up -- kind of bringing the whole thing full circle.

I guess my question now is whether or not to read the Butlerian Jihad books to find out how Brian and Kevin envision that beginning of the saga.

It depends. They weren't perfect, but I enjoyed them, and I thought they set up the rest of the series nicely. Plus I'm a sucker for political and military sci fi. However, many Dune purists will argue that Frank never intended there to be an actual robot war, and feel like the Butlerian Jihad series dumbed down something that was supposed to be more philosophical than physical (please correct me if I'm wrong fellow Dune fans like @NeuroTypical). If you liked Hunters and Sandworms though I think you would enjoy the Jihad series.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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@Midwest LDS I may read it, only time will tell for sure. So many times, it seems that I find prequels disappointing. The original Star Wars trilogy made vague references to a sequence of events that caused Annakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader. I can imagine all kinds of vague stories and events and myths that lead up to it, but something seems lost when all of that gets pinned down to one canonical story arc (that wasn't really executed that well, IMO). In the same way, I can imagine so many vague, mythical ways for the human vs. machine conflict to play out and lead to the commandment to never make a machine in the likeness of the human mind. Even if it is a good story, I fear I will be disappointed to pin it all down into one concrete story arc rather than think through the myriad plausible variations that exist in my head.

Still, with the way Sandworms ended, there is enough curiosity about Omnius and Erasmus and Serena Butler to maybe want to see how Brian and Kevin (and maybe Frank, if Frank had any notes on it) really envisioned the Butlerian Jihad.

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6 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Yay!  The announcement video for the upcoming trailer has arrived!

 

I'm not someone who watches movies regularly, or is much into the entertainment scene these days...but...

Is this just a trailer to announce another trailer which is to announce a film?

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11 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Is this just a trailer to announce another trailer which is to announce a film?

Yes.   Here's the actual trailer - hot off the presses:

 

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