Herbert deliberately suppressed technology in his Dune universe so he could address the politics of humanity, rather than the future of humanity's technology. Dune considers the way humans and their institutions might change over time. A lot of people refer to Dune as science fiction. I never do.
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I consider it an epic adventure in the classic storytelling tradition, a story of myth and legend not unlike the Morte d'Arthur or any messiah story. It just happens to be set in the future The story is actually more relevant today than when Herbert wrote it. In the s, there were just these two colossal superpowers duking it out. Today we're living in a more feudal, corporatized world more akin to Herbert's universe of separate families, power centers and business interests, all interrelated and kept together by the one commodity necessary to all.
Novelist Brian Herbert , Frank Herbert's son and biographer, wrote:. Dune is a modern-day conglomeration of familiar myths, a tale in which great sandworms guard a precious treasure of melange, the geriatric spice that represents, among other things, the finite resource of oil. The planet Arrakis features immense, ferocious worms that are like dragons of lore, with "great teeth" and a "bellows breath of cinnamon. Dune tops are like the crests of waves, and there are powerful sandstorms out there, creating extreme danger. On Arrakis, life is said to emanate from the Maker Shai-hulud in the desert-sea; similarly all life on Earth is believed to have evolved from our oceans.
Frank Herbert drew parallels, used spectacular metaphors, and extrapolated present conditions into world systems that seem entirely alien at first blush. Each chapter of Dune begins with an epigraph excerpted from the fictional writings of the character Princess Irulan. In forms such as diary entries, historical commentary, biography, quotations and philosophy, these writings set tone and provide exposition, context and other details intended to enhance understanding of Herbert's complex fictional universe and themes.
At the end of the book, he intentionally left loose ends and said he did this to send the readers spinning out of the story with bits and pieces of it still clinging to them, so that they would want to go back and read it again. Dune has been called the "first planetary ecology novel on a grand scale". Dune responded in with its complex descriptions of Arrakis life, from giant sandworms for whom water is deadly to smaller, mouse-like life forms adapted to live with limited water.
Dune was followed in its creation of complex and unique ecologies by other science fiction books such as A Door into Ocean and Red Mars In "History and Historical Effect in Frank Herbert's Dune " , Lorenzo DiTommaso outlines similarities between the two works by highlighting the excesses of the Emperor on his home planet of Kaitain and of the Baron Harkonnen in his palace.
The Emperor loses his effectiveness as a ruler from excess of ceremony and pomp. The hairdressers and attendants he brings with him to Arrakis are even referred to as "parasites". The Baron Harkonnen is similarly corrupt, materially indulgent, a sexual degenerate. Gibbon's Decline and Fall blames the fall of Rome on the rise of Christianity.
Gibbon claimed that this exotic import from a conquered province weakened the soldiers of Rome and left it open to attack.
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Similarly, the Emperor's Sardaukar fighters are little match for the Fremen of Dune because of the Sardaukar's overconfidence and the Fremen's capacity for self-sacrifice. The Fremen put the community before themselves in every instance, while the world outside wallows in luxury at the expense of others. The decline and long peace of the Empire sets the stage for revolution and renewal by genetic mixing of successful and unsuccessful groups through war, a process culminating in the Jihad led by Paul Atreides, described by Frank Herbert as depicting "war as a collective orgasm" drawing on Norma Walter's The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare ,  themes that would reappear in God-Emperor of Dune ' s "Scattering" and Leto II's all-female "Fish Speaker" army.
Due to the similarities between some of Herbert's terms and ideas and actual words and concepts in the Arabic language , as well as the series' " Islamic undertones " and themes, a Middle Eastern influence on Herbert's works has been noted repeatedly.
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As a foreigner who adopts the ways of a desert-dwelling people and then leads them in a military capacity, Paul Atreides' character bears many similarities to the historical T. Lawrence ;  his biopic Lawrence of Arabia has also been identified as an influence. The novel also contains references to the petroleum industries in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf as well as Mexico.
Paul's approach to power consistently requires his upbringing under the female-oriented Bene Gesserit, who operate as a long-dominating shadow government behind all of the great houses and their marriages or divisions. A central theme of the book is the connection, in Jessica's son, of this female aspect with his male aspect. In a Bene Gesserit test early in the book, it is implied that people are generally "inhuman" in that they irrationally place desire over self-interest and reason.
This applies Herbert's philosophy that humans are not created equal, while equal justice and equal opportunity are higher ideals than mental, physical, or moral equality. Throughout the novel, she struggles to maintain power in a male-dominated society, and manages to help her son at key moments in his realization of power.
Throughout Paul's rise to superhuman status, he follows a plotline common to many stories describing the birth of a hero. He has unfortunate circumstances forced onto him. After a long period of hardship and exile, he confronts and defeats the source of evil in his tale. Author Frank Herbert said in , "The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes.
Much better [to] rely on your own judgment, and your own mistakes. Juan A. Prieto-Pablos says Herbert achieves a new typology with Paul's superpowers, differentiating the heroes of Dune from earlier heroes such as Superman , van Vogt 's Gilbert Gosseyn and Henry Kuttner 's telepaths.
Unlike previous superheroes who acquire their powers suddenly and accidentally, Paul's are the result of "painful and slow personal progress. Early in his newspaper career, Herbert was introduced to Zen by two Jungian psychologists, Ralph and Irene Slattery, who "gave a crucial boost to his thinking". What especially pleases me is to see the interwoven themes, the fuguelike relationships of images that exactly replay the way Dune took shape. As in an Escher lithograph, I involved myself with recurrent themes that turn into paradox.
The central paradox concerns the human vision of time. What about Paul's gift of prescience-the Presbyterian fixation? For the Delphic Oracle to perform, it must tangle itself in a web of predestination. Yet predestination negates surprises and, in fact, sets up a mathematically enclosed universe whose limits are always inconsistent, always encountering the unprovable.
It's like a koan, a Zen mind breaker. It's like the Cretan Epimenides saying, "All Cretans are liars. Brian Herbert called the Dune universe "a spiritual melting pot", noting that his father incorporated elements of a variety of religions, including Buddhism , Sufi mysticism and other Islamic belief systems, Catholicism , Protestantism , Judaism , and Hinduism. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke has described it as "unique" and claimed "I know nothing comparable to it except Lord of the Rings.
Heinlein described Dune as "Powerful, convincing, and most ingenious. An astonishing science fiction phenomenon. Algis Budrys praised Dune for the vividness of its imagined setting, saying "The time lives. It breathes, it speaks, and Herbert has smelt it in his nostrils". He found that the novel, however, "turns flat and tails off at the end. Budrys faulted in particular Herbert's decision to kill Paul's infant son offstage, with no apparent emotional impact, saying "you cannot be so busy saving a world that you cannot hear an infant shriek".
Tamara I. Hladik wrote that the story "crafts a universe where lesser novels promulgate excuses for sequels. All its rich elements are in balance and plausible—not the patchwork confederacy of made-up languages, contrived customs, and meaningless histories that are the hallmark of so many other, lesser novels. Writing for The New Yorker , Jon Michaud praises Herbert's "clever authorial decision" to exclude robots and computers "two staples of the genre" from his fictional universe, but suggests that this may be one explanation why Dune lacks "true fandom among science-fiction fans" to the extent that it "has not penetrated popular culture in the way that The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have".
Up to this point, Chilton had been publishing only automobile repair manuals. Jacobs optioned the rights to film Dune. As Jacobs was busy with other projects, such as the sequel to Planet of the Apes , Dune was delayed for another year. Jacobs' first choice for director was David Lean , but he turned down the offer. Charles Jarrott was also considered to direct. Work was also under way on a script while the hunt for a director continued. Initially, the first treatment had been handled by Robert Greenhut , the producer who had lobbied Jacobs to make the movie in the first place, but subsequently Rospo Pallenberg was approached to write the script, with shooting scheduled to begin in However, Jacobs died in It was at first proposed to score the film with original music by Karlheinz Stockhausen , Henry Cow , and Magma ; later on, the soundtrack was to be provided by Pink Floyd.
Jodorowsky's son Brontis was to play Paul Atreides. Jodorowsky took creative liberties with the source material, but Herbert said that he and Jodorowsky had an amicable relationship. Jodorowsky said in that he found the Dune story mythical and had intended to recreate it rather than adapt the novel; though he had an "enthusiastic admiration" for Herbert, Jodorowsky said he had done everything possible to distance the author and his input from the project.
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O'Bannon entered a psychiatric hospital after the production failed, and worked on 13 scripts; the last of which became Alien. In Dino De Laurentiis acquired the rights from Gibon's consortium. De Laurentiis commissioned Herbert to write a new screenplay in ; the script Herbert turned in was pages long, the equivalent of nearly three hours of screen time. Giger retained from the Jodorowsky production.
Scott intended to split the book into two movies.
He worked on three drafts of the script, using The Battle of Algiers as a point of reference, before moving on to direct another science fiction film, Blade Runner As he recalls, the pre-production process was slow, and finishing the project would have been even more time-intensive:.
But after seven months I dropped out of Dune , by then Rudy Wurlitzer had come up with a first-draft script which I felt was a decent distillation of Frank Herbert's. But I also realised Dune was going to take a lot more work—at least two and a half years' worth. And I didn't have the heart to attack that because my older brother Frank unexpectedly died of cancer while I was prepping the De Laurentiis picture.
Frankly, that freaked me out. So I went to Dino and told him the Dune script was his. In , the nine-year film rights were set to expire. De Laurentiis re-negotiated the rights from the author, adding to them the rights to the Dune sequels written and unwritten. Around that time Lynch received several other directing offers, including Return of the Jedi. He agreed to direct Dune and write the screenplay even though he had not read the book, known the story, or even been interested in science fiction.
The team yielded two drafts of the script before it split over creative differences. Lynch would subsequently work on five more drafts. This first film of Dune , directed by Lynch, was released in , nearly 20 years after the book's publication. Though Herbert said the book's depth and symbolism seemed to intimidate many filmmakers, he was pleased with the film, saying that "They've got it.
It begins as Dune does. And I hear my dialogue all the way through. There are some interpretations and liberties, but you're gonna come out knowing you've seen Dune. In , Paramount Pictures announced that they would produce a new film based on the book, with Peter Berg attached to direct.
Anderson and Frank Herbert's son Brian Herbert , who had together written multiple Dune sequels and prequels since , were attached to the project as technical advisors. Yueh,  and Stephen Henderson in an undisclosed role. In Ilium John meets, among others, Dr. Asa Breed, who was the supervisor "on paper" of Felix Hoenikker. As the novel progresses, John learns of a substance called ice-nine , created by the late Hoenikker and now secretly in the possession of his children.
Ice-nine is an alternative structure of water that is solid at room temperature. When a crystal of ice-nine contacts liquid water, it becomes a seed crystal that makes the molecules of liquid water arrange themselves into the solid form, ice-nine. Felix Hoenikker's reason to create this substance was to aid in the military's plight of wading through mud and swamp areas while fighting. That is, if ice-nine could reduce the wetness of the areas to a solid form, soldiers could easily maneuver across without becoming entrapped or slowed. John and the Hoenikker children eventually end up on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo , one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the people speak a barely comprehensible creole of English for example " twinkle, twinkle, little star " is rendered "Tsvent-kiul, tsvent-kiul, lett-pool store".
It is ruled by a dictator , "Papa" Monzano, who threatens all opposition with impalement on a hook above gallows. San Lorenzo has an unusual culture and history, which John learns about while studying a guidebook lent to him by the newly appointed US ambassador to the country. He learns about an influential religious movement in San Lorenzo, called Bokononism , a strange, postmodern faith that combines irreverent, nihilistic, and cynical observations about life and God's will with odd, but peaceful rituals for instance, the supreme act of worship is an intimate act consisting of prolonged physical contact between the bare soles of the feet of two persons, supposed to result in peace and joy between the two communicants.
Though everyone on the island seems to know much about Bokononism and its founder, Bokonon, the present government calls itself Christian and practicing Bokononism is punishable by death on "the hook. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that San Lorenzo society is more bizarre and cryptic than originally revealed. In observing the interconnected lives of some of the island's most influential residents, John learns that Bokonon himself was at one point a de facto ruler of the island, along with a US Marine deserter.
The two men created Bokononism as part of a utopian project to control the population. The ban was an attempt to give the religion a sense of forbidden glamour, and helps draw people's attention away from the economic problems of the country. It is found that almost all of the residents of San Lorenzo, including the dictator, practice the faith, and executions are rare.
When John and the other travelers arrive on the island, they are greeted by "Papa" Monzano, his adopted daughter Mona, and around five thousand San Lorenzans. It becomes clear that "Papa" Monzano is extremely ill, and he intends to name Franklin Hoenikker his successor. Franklin, who finds it hard to talk with people, is uncomfortable with this arrangement, abruptly hands the presidency to John, who grudgingly accepts.
Franklin also suggests that John should marry Mona. The dictator later uses ice-nine to commit suicide rather than succumb to his inoperable cancer. Consistent with the properties of ice-nine, the dictator's corpse instantly turns into solid ice at room temperature. Auschwitz physician, who accidentally ingests the ice-nine upon Monzano's examination.
John and the Hoenikkers plan to gather the bodies of both Monzano and his physician in order to ritualistically burn them on a funeral pyre, thereby eliminating the traces of ice-nine. They also begin systematically cleansing the room with various heating methods, taking the utmost care not to leave any trace of ice-nine behind.
It is here where John inquires as to how the ice-nine came into "Papa" Monzano's possession. The Hoenikkers explain that when they were young, their father would riddle them with the concept of ice-nine. One day, they find their father has died taking a break from freezing and unfreezing ice-nine to test its properties. With the sweep of a cloth, Frank Hoenikker collects residual amounts of ice-nine from a cooking pan, as was the various collection and examination methods of their father when creating the substance. A dog licks the cloth and also instantly freezes.
Witnessing this, the young Hoenikkers finally deduce the properties of ice-nine. They collectively cannot determine who had what part in gathering the ice-nine, but chunks of the substance were chipped from the cooking pan supply and placed in mason jars then later in thermoses. John and the Hoenikkers pause the ice-nine decontamination to attend John's inauguration festivities.
During the festivities, San Lorenzo's small air force presents a brief air show, but one of the airplanes malfunctions and crashes into the dictator's seaside palace, causing his still-frozen body to tumble into the ocean; all the water in the world's seas, rivers, and groundwater turns into ice-nine, sure to kill almost all life in a few days.
The freezing of the world's oceans immediately causes violent storms and tornadoes to ravage the landscape, and John manages to escape with Mona to a secret bunker. Upon hearing the storms subside after several days, they emerge. Exploring the island and looking for survivors, they discover a mass grave where all the surviving San Lorenzans had killed themselves with ice-nine, on the facetious advice of Bokonon.
Displaying a mix of grief and resigned amusement, Mona kills herself as well. While Starr is questioning him, word reaches them that a man is threatening to open an outside airlock, which will allow the ocean to flood Aphrodite. Starr, Bigman, and Morriss go to the airlock to deal with the crisis, where they meet the city's chief engineer, Lyman Turner, the inventor and owner of a laptop computer carried with him. While Bigman goes through the ventilation ducts to cut power to the airlock door, Starr realizes that the airlock crisis is a feint and hastens to Council headquarters, to find that Evans has escaped custody and left Aphrodite in a submarine.
Starr and Bigman pursue Evans in another submarine, eventually finding him and learning that the V-frogs are the source of the telepathic incidents; Evans having tested this hypothesis by stealing the secret data on the yeast strain, and interesting the V-frogs therein with the result of an accident involving that strain. Evans further reveals that the V-frogs have trapped himself and the other protagonists beneath an enormous deep-sea orange patch, which will attack them if they attempt escape. Starr, in response, leaves the submarine and uses an electric shock to destroy the orange patch's heart, killing it.
He then returns to the submarine, and pilots this to the surface of the ocean, where he intends to communicate his findings to an orbiting space station to be relayed to the Council on Earth. On the surface, the V-frogs communicate telepathically with him, telling him they intend to take over the minds of the humans on Venus.
Initially they keep him away from the radio; but he is able to distract them and transmit his message. Returning to Aphrodite, Starr explains to Morriss that the V-frogs' telepathy is used by a human individual to attempt control over the rest of humanity, and that the means of doing so is Lyman Turner's computer. Bigman destroys the computer and Starr captures Turner, hoping to re-create his computer in the interest of reforming Turner himself. As far back as " Half-Breeds on Venus " in , Asimov was writing about telepathic Venusians mentally controlling a native sauropod.
The character of the Mule from the Foundation story of the same name, and Joseph Schwartz from the novel Pebble in the Sky could also use their mental powers to control others. Later, Asimov would introduce the mind-reading robot R. Giskard Reventlov in the novel The Robots of Dawn , and the telepathic world-entity Erythro in the novel Nemesis. Asimov's science-fictional mentor, John W. Campbell , was fascinated by the idea of telepathy, and as the editor of Astounding Science Fiction , he was able to ensure that his fascination was reflected in the stories his writers wrote and his magazine printed.
Asimov also created a number of alien creatures to populate his Venusian ocean, and this was not a common theme of his. Asimov's works usually centered on the interactions of sentient beings, usually humans or robots , or occasionally intelligent aliens, with his fictional worlds serving only as backdrops. For Oceans of Venus , his only novel-length work set on that world, he hearkened back to the works of Stanley G. Weinbaum , whose imaginative alien ecologies made him a major figure in the science fiction field during his brief writing career in the mids.