GeekNights Book Club - Frank Herbert's Dune

Tonight on the GeekNights Book Club, we discuss Frank Herbert's classic Dune. Love it or hate it, it is a formative part of the wider world of speculative fiction, and its influences are vast. In finally reading it, we have a greater understanding of its place in modern literature.

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I think that was the shortest opening bit I’ve heard from you guys, holy shit.

puts on literature grad student hat I found this book poorly written, especially in the beginning. It’s books like this that make English teachers forbid their students from using the passive voice!

puts on activism hat Standard complaint about old sci-fi sexism, along with fat shaming and equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Errrghh.

Okay, with that out of the way, I mostly agree with Rym and Scott. I can see why it’s popular. There’s some interesting world building,but most of the characters are just there to move the plot along. It had some moments I liked, others I didn’t. I have no desire to read the others, even if they weren’t bad, but I was curious enough to look a couple things up on Wikipedia.

shrug The Fifth Season is way better. I hope y’all like it.

Edit: Oh, the forum made my asterisks all italics. Oops.

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The narrator of Dune isn’t omniscient, it is close third person, but the third person doesn’t change per character, but per paragraph. It isn’t non-fancy, it’s just a technique that is used so little you are confusing it with omniscient narration.

You should definitely watch and review both Dune (1984) and Jodorowsky’s Dune.

There is also the Syfy miniseries.

I always wanted to watch the David Lynch adaption.

In the last year or so I dragged some friends who’d never seen Dune (1984) to a theatrical showing, and it was a quite a trip. Lots of laughter from the entire audience. Power ballad from atop the worm! Sting in a codpiece! Random pugs!


There’s a theater we went to that has super cheap movies, often showing bad movies, and you can order food etc. Went to check their site on the off chance they might be showing Dune and it looks like it’s showing in August sometime. Guess I know what I’ll be doing then.

Dune is a terrible movie. Just don’t bother.

Jodorowsky’s Dune is an amazing documentary. Watch it!

If you do watch both, watch the documentary first.

That why they should watch it.

I don’t even find it fun or interesting on a so-good-it’s-bad level. It’s just bad.

There might be something to the idea that I don’t like the movie so much because I actually really like. The book, and it gets just so much wrong. It tells a hero story, not the rise of a genocidal tyrant.

I saw bits and pieces of David Lynch’s Dune when I was very young and remember it being very weird. I’m looking forward to watching it, mostly so I can put those bizarre hazy memories in context.

I also downloaded Jodorowsky’s Dune and the SciFi/ScyFy miniseries.

This is very interesting, because my dad is a Dune contemporary. He also hated the movie because it wasn’t true to the book, but for different reasons. He sees Dune as a mystical adventure story. He thought the movie simplified the mysticism and world building too much (but the worms, he says, were cool). He doesn’t see Paul as an upcoming dictator; he sees him as Sand Jesus. (My words, but his sentiments.)

…Our conversation then became a discussion of the nature of consciousness, the mind-body problem, and the possibilities for alien life, with a side tour in which he told me the basic plot of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as if it were a bedtime story. So a good evening in all.

Actual Jesus is sand Jesus.

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If you want more Duney things, watch Lawrence of Arabia. It’s to Dune as Dune is to… all the things that came after.

I’ve seen it. I’ve wanted to rewatch it, but it’s too long.

True, true, actual Jesus did have lots of sand. Less worms, though. More fish.