Featured image shamelessly stolen from K.B. Spangler on Twitter because it made me laugh like a drain.
I haven’t yet had a chance to see the new Dune adaptation–I wanted to wait until part 2 was or was not greenlit, and it has been, yay, so maybe I’ll go this weekend–but I have been collecting a bunch of interesting and/or odd essays about both the new film and about the book. Dune is one of my favorite books and I unabashedly love the Lynch adaptation, but I definitely believe that the book has a lot of problems (white saviors, fatness as villainy, and orientalist flourishes, to name but a few).
Also, I’ve always felt that the spice cartel was inspired by OPEC, but I haven’t seen anyone mention that, so maybe it wasn’t? At any rate, Dune was published in 1965 and OPEC came into existence in 1960, so it’s not impossible!
People claim there are multiple books in the Dune series, which I find odd. There’s only the one. (This is a hill I will die on.)
- Is Dune a White Savior Narrative? “By writing a story in which he intended to critique ‘Western man,’ Herbert also centered Western man. Often when critiquing something, one falls into a binary that prevents the very third option that so many have been looking for since decolonization.”
- Reckoning with and remaking Dune: The limitations of world-making in sci-fi Hoo boy, did I disagree with a lot of this essay, but especially this last bit: “The real questions for the 2021 version of Dune are Will we ever truly commit to holding sci-fi novels accountable for the racial environments they grew out of and the types of worlds that they create?” (grammatical error reproduced as published). Because, well–there actually is a lot of that discussion happening in SFF circles; the author seems also unaware that “sci-fi” isn’t used that often these days to refer to the genre, either. I also found the essay to be weirdly focused on Afrofuturism, which makes sense in light of the author’s academic interests but odd for piece about a novel so inspired by Islam and the Middle East
- The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of “Appendix II: The Religion of Dune” Now this. This is the sort of analysis I love to read. It’s going on my Hugo nomination ballot in Best Related Work next year. And I’d love an edition of the entire novel with this kind of annotation. But in the meantime, Haris Durrani has written a number of essays on the subject that I’m looking forward to digging into soon.
- The Worldbuilding In Villeneuve’s Dune Finally, someone else who loves the David Lynch version in all its weirdnesses (I thoroughly adore the voice overs for the thoughts and am sad that they’re apparently not in Villeneuve’s version).
- Dune Abigail Nussbaum’s review is thoughtful, detailed, and thorough in all the best ways. “…the novel fails to cohere, to come together into either triumph or tragedy, instead landing in an uncomfortable middle ground between the two. It wants to be both a deconstruction of the chosen one trope and a straight retelling of it, and ends up not quite succeeding at either.”