Dune

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune


Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, Nick in 1996
Nick in 2001 (we need to go back and get a shot now)

I read Frank Herbert’s classic novel, Dune, in college, in Kansas, in the Dorm – maybe 1975 – about ten years after it was published. I liked it… though I can’t really say I understood it completely. I was reading a lot… I was young… I had a sense that there was a lot going on under the surface that I couldn’t really comprehend.

Then, in Dallas, in 1984, I went to the theater and saw the David Lynch film. I was a fan of Lynch (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man) at the time and actually liked the film a lot. There was so much hate for it at the time. It wasn’t flawless but it was a unique vision – and that is rare. The film actually helped me understand the world of Arrakis better and it inspired me to re-read the source. Dune is definitely a book that benefits from a second reading.

Then right after the turn of the millennium there were the two television mini-series which covered the first three books, somehow. Again, not the best, but a game attempt. I barely remember them, except that my kids – nine and ten years old – watched them and actually liked them better than I did.

And now, 2021, forty-six years after I read the novel, we have Denis Villeneuve and his film.

Again, I was (am) a huge fan of the director (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) and have been hyped up for the film for years – the Covid delay was tough to take. But patience is rewarded, sometimes.

I had big plans of going to the theater and seeing it on the big silver screen – but I have picked up a bad habit of hanging around the house during the pandemic – something I need to work on breaking – something I should have used the film as an aid to breaking – but I didn’t have anyone to go with… so I ended up closing off the living room, scooting the recliner close to the screen, turning up the sound system, and streaming the thing at home.

(don’t worry – no spoilers)

It was very good – as good as I expected, better than I feared (and fear is the mind-killer), worse than I hoped. The only criticism is a bit of slow pace the last quarter. The best part – visuals, sound, acting – all top notch.

The first Dune film was interesting because it was, at the heart, a David Lynch film – with all his personal demons leaking out of the screen. I didn’t realize how much an impression the Lynch Dune made on me, but I could feel echoes of the earlier work all over this one. It is, of course, only half the story, and there is plenty of story for two films (I almost wonder if it should have been a modern cable R-rated mini-series) and it definitely benefits from not having the rushed pace of the earlier one-film version.

The new Dune also shows the mark of its director. There is a unique visual vocabulary – it reminds me of Arrival (especially the shape and motion of the space ships) more than Dune 2049. Denis Villeneuve does have the chops to handle the visuals, the complex political science-fiction landscape, and even the larger-than-life personalities – a lot of balls to keep in the air, but he pulls it off.

Now, how long do I have to wait for the next one? I will definitely go see that one in a theater (if such a thing still exists).

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

We Have Just Folded Space From Ix

We have just folded space from Ix
Many machines on Ix
New machines
Better than those on Richese
You are transparent

—-The Third-Stage Guild Navigator to the Emperor Shaddam IV, Dune (the movie)

My Xootr Swift folding bike, folded up against the wall of Four Corners Brewery, Dallas, Texas

My Xootr Swift folding bike, folded up against the wall of Four Corners Brewing Company, Dallas, Texas

Sometimes I fold my bike when I’m locking it up. I’m not sure why – it certainly doesn’t make it any harder to steal – you could simply pick it up and throw it into a trunk. Maybe I hope it makes it look less like a bicycle and more like a random pile of pipes and parts.

I was thinking about David Lynch’s surreal, preposterous, and insane version of Dune, the movie from 1984. I read some old reviews – everybody hated it. A lot of people walked out. Someone said, “It sure isn’t Star Wars.”

Now, after all this time, I realize that (although I can’t even say Dune is a good movie) I actually like Dune better than Star Wars. It has certainly had more of a lasting effect on how I look at the world, that’s for sure.

 

I mean, what other movie ends with a real WTF knife fight to the death between Sting and Agent Cooper with Captain Jean-Luc Picard watching.

What I learned this Week, July 15, 2011

While I don’t share her enthusiasm for a certain morning cable talk show (though I did enjoy this bit of hilarity very much) I really like Peggy‘s Friday blog entries – Things I Learned This Week. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I have no problem in blatantly ripping off her idea.

The Wave that Washes us all

The Wave that Washes us all

What I learned this week:

Procrastination caused by fear… I thought I was done with that, but I’m not. I still must say to myself:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain
— Dune

Markus Zusak saidFailure has been my best friend as a writer. It tests you, to see if you have what it takes to see it through.


With proper hydration, the most brutal heat can be dealt with.


Too much habanera sauce – while not a good thing in all respects – will clear out your sinuses very quickly.


From a Blog Entry – Global Weirding Coming At Us All, by Walter Russell Mead (read the whole thing)

Except for some entrepreneurs, mavericks and renegades, our technocratic elites are mostly a bunch of rule followers and incrementalists.  They got where they are by scoring well on tests, manipulating the platitudes of conventional wisdom a little better than the next guy and by pleasing their supervisors.

This is almost exactly the wrong way to raise leaders for tumultuous times. …  We are producing legions of promotion-hungry bureaucrats and narrow specialists with no knowledge of or interest in the tumult and chaos that inevitably rises up in times like ours.  We then place them in large, bureaucratically run institutions and expect them to deal creatively with the unexpected, the revolutionary and the totally new.

I can not say it better.


Kingfish is better fried than grilled.

Wankelfish

Wankelfish