Dune, adapted by Denis Villeneuve

Dalisclock

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 18, 2020
1,147
404
88
Country
United States
Gender
Male
Dune kind of invented the whole concept of reactionary science fiction, in that it's set in the future but a lot of the social structure and conventions are based on history. Settings like 40k, Battletech, Eve Online or Fading Suns very much owe their existence to Dune in this regard.

The idea is that humanity in Dune has been around for a long time and spread really far into the universe, to the point that there multiple spacefaring societies originally descended from humans. Hypothetically these all exist under the hegemony of a single Empire, but it's more like the Holy Roman Empire in that it's kind of a mess.

Another conceit of Dune is that people can develop amazing abilities through their super advanced understanding of psychology and physiology (or by huffing space drugs). For example, there are no computers. At some point in the past there was a war between humans and machines and computers were banned, so instead of computers they use humans with highly trained mental abilities.
I thought it wasn't "There are no computers" but "No machines that can think like a man", which could imply AI.
 

Chimpzy

Professor of Monkey Business
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
6,804
612
118
I thought it wasn't "There are no computers" but "No machines that can think like a man", which could imply AI.
No, it's all computers. Even something as simple as a pocket calculator is already grounds for immediate execution.
 

Dalisclock

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 18, 2020
1,147
404
88
Country
United States
Gender
Male
No, it's all computers. Even something as simple as a pocket calculator is already grounds for immediate execution.
I believe you. It does come across as a bit much when the few references we have for the whole thing include "Man may not be replaced." and " Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind ". At least as far as the Herbert books go. I'm under the impression the....other....books had a different take on the matter(and is apparently one of the reasons they can be ignored).

Which implies either people went to extremes after the Jihad, their concept of "Thinking Machines" is different when what we would consider them or both.
 

Satinavian

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
173
55
33
In Herberts original 6 books it stays a bit vague. But it seems that really only AIs are complete forbidden but most people tend to treat regular computers still as a step in the wrong direction and don't use them or at least hide their use.
 

Chimpzy

Professor of Monkey Business
Legacy
Escapist +
Apr 3, 2020
6,804
612
118
I believe you. It does come across as a bit much when the few references we have for the whole thing include "Man may not be replaced." and " Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind ". At least as far as the Herbert books go. I'm under the impression the....other....books had a different take on the matter(and is apparently one of the reasons they can be ignored).

Which implies either people went to extremes after the Jihad, their concept of "Thinking Machines" is different when what we would consider them or both.
Well, that's because Frank Herbert was arguably a philosopher first and a science fiction writer second. His works tended to be based around his beliefs and ideas on religion, society, politics, human nature and so on. For example, he saw technology as as much a curse as a boon, since he believed its predictability imposes severe limitations on people's ability to deal with the unexpected. This is why in his Dune universe the Butlerian Jihad was a reaction against humanity having become stagnant and complacent in both a cultural and evolutionary sense due to an overreliance on AI, computers and other advanced technology. And why afterwards they became replaced by mentats, guild navigators, bene gesserit and bene tleilax, which are all groups that are all about pushing human physiological and mental capability to their limits. Tho this is not actually explained in the books themselves, but in his notes, essays and lectures.

Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert are nowhere near as philosophical in their writing. To put it bluntly, they write sci-fi pulp. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does mean Frank Herbert's more complex ideas get simplified into something more easily digestible. This is why in their version of the Dune universe the Butlerian Jihad wasn't a reaction against overdependence on technology, but against a literal robot uprising led by genocidal AI. And the Kwisatz Haderach, then Leto Atreides II's Golden Path, then the Scattering not painful but necessary steps to jumpstart human evolution through adversity in order to prevent extinction through stagnation, but preparation for the return of those machines.
 
Last edited:

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
1,361
571
118
Apparently they are going to split the film into two parts, which might be for the best.


A bunch of outlets are reporting the same thing, I just grabbed this one because why not.
Personally I'm fine with it. There is a ton of stuff in just one book of that series. To edit it down, even to a 3 hour run, is guaranteed to leave a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
1,361
571
118
So, net positive of this so far: every bookstore I've gone to has had no copies of Dune left for sale. I consider that a win.
Yeah that doesn't surprise me. If they haven't already made a new print with that shot of Paul walking on the beach with the ships in the background as the new cover, I'd be surprised.
 

MrCalavera

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 30, 2020
260
202
48
Country
Poland
Only 200 godamn nits? I've been bamboozled goddammit. Clerk assured me movie had at least 400. I don't watch movies under 400 nits. Don't even talk to me if your movie is under 400 nits.
I'm sorry, but if a film can't even achieve 400 nits, it isn't cinema.



I thought it wasn't "There are no computers" but "No machines that can think like a man", which could imply AI.
"Computers, but no AI" still allows for a pretty standard hi-tech sci-fi vision(see: Mass Effect).
Not really familiar with "Dune" and i want to go as blind as possible, but the idea of all calculations being done by drugged up human brains seems original enough to catch my interest.
 
Last edited:

Satinavian

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
173
55
33
"Computers, but no AI" still allows for a pretty standard hi-tech sci-fi vision(see: Mass Effect).
Dune was written in '65. The author might have had very different ideas about what kind of things would benefit from computers.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
1,361
571
118
Dune was written in '65. The author might have had very different ideas about what kind of things would benefit from computers.
Frank had a lot of ideas about humanity's over reliance on various things. Either technology making us dependent on them for survival, or prescience dooming us to a lack of variety and change. It's basically all about stagnation and complacency versus growth and evolution. That's one reason all the various factions end up making fleshy equivalents to all our technological devices today. To prevent an over reliance on any one system.
 
Last edited:

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,830
1,285
118
Kevin J Anderson and Brian Herbert are nowhere near as philosophical in their writing. To put it bluntly, they write sci-fi pulp.
Not half. Don't know about Brian Herbert (although I suspect he is mostly making an easy living of his dad's IP), but Anderson is a low-grade hack.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
895
268
68
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
Not half. Don't know about Brian Herbert (although I suspect he is mostly making an easy living of his dad's IP), but Anderson is a low-grade hack.
I'll give Anderson some credit in that he does have a talent for worldbuilding (see Saga of Seven Suns), but when it comes to his actual writing...yeah. It ranges from tolerable (see Saga) to horrendous (see Shadow of the Xel'naga).

From what I understand, there's a lot of contention in Dune fandom towards Anderson and Brian's works. The Dune wiki places them in two separate canons for instance.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
1,361
571
118
I'll give Anderson some credit in that he does have a talent for worldbuilding (see Saga of Seven Suns), but when it comes to his actual writing...yeah. It ranges from tolerable (see Saga) to horrendous (see Shadow of the Xel'naga).

From what I understand, there's a lot of contention in Dune fandom towards Anderson and Brian's works. The Dune wiki places them in two separate canons for instance.
Yeah, there is a definite tonal difference between Frank's work, and his son's. I think I read...maybe 2 of the son's books in the series when he first started writing? Maybe it was just the first one. I can't remember, I didn't enjoy the one/s I read at all. Just didn't feel like the Dune universe to me at all. Never bothered with them after that.
 

Satinavian

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
173
55
33
Frank had a lot of ideas about humanity's over reliance on various things. Either technology making us dependent on them for survival, or prescience dooming us to a lack of variety and change. It's basically all about stagnation and complacency versus growth and evolution. That's one reason all the various factions end up making fleshy equivalents to all our technological devices today. To prevent an over reliance on any one system.
True but consider how mentats, the human computer replacements, are actually used and how we use computers. There is hardly any overlap at all.

That Herbert describes a future without computers is not only about overreliance on them, it is as much about Herbert living at a time where those still were quite rare and irrelevant for most situations of daily life.

I mean mentats mostly advise rulers and make predictions after gathering all the data they get their hands on. That is rather reminiscent of the prediction of Eisenhowers election victory by a supercomputer. An event that made waves and influenced the cultural image of computers and their use in science fiction for more than a decade.



Furthermore i agree with the assessment of Brian Herberts books.
 

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,830
1,285
118
I'll give Anderson some credit in that he does have a talent for worldbuilding (see Saga of Seven Suns), but when it comes to his actual writing...yeah. It ranges from tolerable (see Saga) to horrendous (see Shadow of the Xel'naga).
My general view is authors who write tie-in literature tend to be the low quality ones, who don't have what it takes to make it on their own. I temper that with the knowledge that occasionally some good authors do tie-in lit, because despite being good authors, people just don't like their books that much and they need to pay the rent.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
1,361
571
118
That Herbert describes a future without computers is not only about overreliance on them, it is as much about Herbert living at a time where those still were quite rare and irrelevant for most situations of daily life.
Well yeah, that's a problem all old scifi has. They were seeing things like flying cars and the like, not things like the world wide web and smart phones. I mean hell scifi from as recently as the 80s and 90s are still vastly inaccurate, because they just had no idea of how technology would advance. So it's all speculation. Sometimes good speculation, but other times it's an acid trip of a pipe dream on what "technology" will mean in the future.
 

Hawki

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 5, 2020
895
268
68
Country
Australia
Gender
Male
My general view is authors who write tie-in literature tend to be the low quality ones, who don't have what it takes to make it on their own. I temper that with the knowledge that occasionally some good authors do tie-in lit, because despite being good authors, people just don't like their books that much and they need to pay the rent.
Only a handful of authors are able to make a living solely from writing.

A lot of tie-in lit is low quality, but I don't think that's damning on the authors in of themselves. SotXN for instance isn't bad because it's tie-in, it's bad because it's atrociously written. Anderson writing it doesn't make him a bad writer, what makes him an average, at best writer (for me) is that going by SoSS, he's good at worldbuilding, but has very basic writing with very basic characters.

Well yeah, that's a problem all old scifi has. They were seeing things like flying cars and the like, not things like the world wide web and smart phones. I mean hell scifi from as recently as the 80s and 90s are still vastly inaccurate, because they just had no idea of how technology would advance. So it's all speculation. Sometimes good speculation, but other times it's an acid trip of a pipe dream on what "technology" will mean in the future.
Dune at least escapes some of this by being so insanely far in the future that I can buy that this is the path humanity took.

Though it is funny to see some sci-fi come up short. For instance, I'm watching Battlestar Galactica (the original) right now, and it's amusing to see old greenscreen monitors be used by a cosmic civilization, among other things. On the other hand, 'retro sci-fi' can certainly have charm (e.g. Blade Runner).
 

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
1,830
1,285
118
Only a handful of authors are able to make a living solely from writing.

A lot of tie-in lit is low quality, but I don't think that's damning on the authors in of themselves. SotXN for instance isn't bad because it's tie-in, it's bad because it's atrociously written. Anderson writing it doesn't make him a bad writer, what makes him an average, at best writer (for me) is that going by SoSS, he's good at worldbuilding, but has very basic writing with very basic characters.
Sure. Nothing must be bad just because it's tie-in. It's just that tie-in is much more likely to be bad.

Fundamentally, tie-in lit isn't relying so heavily on the innate quality of the book to sell copies. Any unique and original novel has to stand entirely on its own merits (well, if the author has a reputation, it can be sold on that). Tie-in lit knows that X thousand people will buy the book because they are fans of the existing IP, so the requirement for quality isn't there in the same way. If quality control is lower then it's easier for bad authors to get the gig.