Oct 3, 2021 • 1HR 16M

Dune Bugs

David Klion shares his enthusiasm for Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic

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Bruce Pennington’s cover for Frank Herbert’s Dune

Like many people I know, I’m super excited at the prospect of Denis Villeneuve’s new movie, Dune, based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel of the same name. It’s a book I first read when I was twelve years old and have frequently revisited. It has a spotty record in terms of adaptation. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ill-fated 1970s attempt to bring Dune to the screen – a bid that involved recruiting Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, and Pink Floyd – never got off the ground. David Lynch’s 1985 Dune combines visionary imagery with a truncated plot, one that renders the movie virtually incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t read the book. A TV series directed by John Harrison that ran on the Sci Fi channel in 2000 did a better job of doing justice to the plot of the long novel but lacked Lynch’s visual flair and was at times plodding. Villeneuve’s film could be the first time Dune is done justice. 

While waiting for the film, I thought it would  be good to talk to David Klion, frequent guest on this podcast and fellow Dune enthusiasts. Among the topics David and I take up: white saviors, Catholicism, the hidden power of nuns, Cold War Republicans, resource extraction, American imperialism, homophobia, the various adaptions of Dune, the sequels to the novel written by Herbert and other hands, Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, the Quileute nation, anti-imperialism in the Global South and among Indigenous nations.

We also discuss this excellent scholarly article by Daniel Immerwahr.

(Post edited by Emily M. Keeler)

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