Tuesday, May 25, 2010


In 1984 we were visiting with my dad's aunt and uncle in San Jose, and my sisters and I decided to go to a movie. We went to see Dune. We were a little late. This is probably the worst movie ever to be a little late to as it was incomprehensible. People who weren't late had a hard time figuring out what was going on, and for us it was even worse.

The saga of that movie is a sad one in which a 4.5 hour rough cut was hacked down to a little over 2 hours, leaving far too much out of a very complicated story. Audiences were generally baffled and the movie flopped. Me? I was intrigued. It was a tantalizing glimpse of something really cool, and I sought out and read the book.

That was a long time ago, and recently I found myself thinking about the book, the movie, and the later sci-fi channel miniseries. Patty and I watched the DVD of the sci-fi channel presentation again and it's very good, but it got me thinking about the book so I cracked it out and read it again.

Dune is fascinating because it's not a simple story, it's an amazingly complex web of political intrigue, deceit, religion, and science fiction. The book repeatedly refers to the plan within the plan within the plan. What appears simple on the surface never is, and there are always other things brewing.

The most precious resource in the universe of Dune is spice, and spice only exists on one planet: Arrakis (Dune). Each of the entities is focused totally on self preservation and advancement, at the cost of all others. It's an interesting study in greed, self centeredness, and the inevitable calamity that follows.

Well worth the read if you enjoy science fiction from time to time. If you are more of a movie guy, go for the scifi one over the original film, as it's much closer to the book and easier to follow. It helps that it's around six hours long... Sure, the original movie has Sting, but that doesn't necessarily make it better :-)


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