Sunday, September 19, 2021


I haven't read Frank Herbert’s Dune. I was never much of a consumer of science fiction, or fantasy either, apart from LOTR. A new film adaptation of Dune will come out next month and in anticipation the current National Review has an essay in appreciation of the book hoping that the film will be as good. From the essay:
In a 1980 essay describing the origin of Dune, Herbert wrote that the story emerged out of his belief that “superheroes are disastrous for humankind” and that “even if we find a real hero (whatever — or whoever — that may be), eventually fallible mortals take over the power structure that always comes into being around such a leader.” And in a 1981 interview, he claimed that “there is definitely an implicit warning” in much of his work “against big government and especially against charismatic leaders,” because “such people — well-intentioned or not — are human beings who will make human mistakes.” Paul Atreides is not a model but a warning about the dangers of false messiahs, of trusting overly in charismatic leaders, and of mixing politics and religion. As it is put in Dune:
When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong — faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.
Jack Butler, "Will Denis Villeneuve Capture the Greatness of Dune?," National Review, Oct. 4, 2021.

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