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Frybread
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Dune 2015

Postby Frybread » 18 Feb 2015 14:43

Currently, I'm engaging in my triennial reread of the Dune saga. I enjoy is the more I read it, as it seems I notice new things each time.

This time around, however, I was wondering about how Dune has held up to the test of time. It's a classic, that's for sure. But I was wondering, what would Frank Herbert have done differently if he'd published the series starting in 2015 instead of 1965? Or, if Dune was to be "upgraded" with a reboot, what do you guys think would be changed and what would stay the same?

I think a Dune 2015 might not include the OM component. In addition, maybe now that we've had an extra 50 years of psychic phenomenon being debunked, maybe prescience would take a back seat to mentat predictions? In other words, Paul wouldn't have prescience but would be a mentat with powers of analysis, prediction and computation of orders higher than any other mentat in history? (He already does, as the KH is a "super mentat," but it seems to take a backseat to this prescience.) Of course, this would change the books as prescience is a major part of why Paul gets trapped and "fails" and Leto II is able to secure the Golden Path.

Also, maybe a Dune 2015 wouldn't focus so much on the sexual aspects (especially potential sex involving minors even though gholas) of the last two books?

Most everything else - hydraulic despotism, faster-than-light space travel via wormholes (although with prescience), clones (but without genetic memories) - I think stands up well enough to make it into a Dune 2015.

May of you know Dune much better than I, so what do you all think?

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Re: Dune 2015

Postby georgiedenbro » 18 Feb 2015 14:53

OM and prescience as being ties to past and future, respectively, are essential to the story. I think you're right that FH might choose a more updated scientific concept to underlie them, although TBH the prescience one is still fine as the quantum superposition/entanglement concepts haven't changed much in 50 years. For OM maybe he'd use the genetic component in a different way. I see his main thesis as a political one, and as such the main thrust of the biases of only looking backward and only looking forwards are still entirely valid (and always will be). The KH being a fully integrated thinker is a timeless idea. The uses and failings of the mentat abilities are stated pretty early in the series (even in Dune, albeit subtly), and are more or less equated with machine-thinking. FH would never put that up as an ideal, even if it has certain uses like information storage.

The thing I think FH would probably change is to really eliminate any instance of TP, which was in vogue in the 60's as part of psychedelics and Soviet science, but doesn't have much of a real place in his books. I also think the advanced abilities in Teg and others in the later books were perhaps a bit too much, but then again we don't know if that had a purpose to be revealed in Dune 7. Ah well.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby JasonJD48 » 18 Feb 2015 18:43

georgiedenbro wrote:OM and prescience as being ties to past and future, respectively, are essential to the story. I think you're right that FH might choose a more updated scientific concept to underlie them, although TBH the prescience one is still fine as the quantum superposition/entanglement concepts haven't changed much in 50 years. For OM maybe he'd use the genetic component in a different way. I see his main thesis as a political one, and as such the main thrust of the biases of only looking backward and only looking forwards are still entirely valid (and always will be). The KH being a fully integrated thinker is a timeless idea. The uses and failings of the mentat abilities are stated pretty early in the series (even in Dune, albeit subtly), and are more or less equated with machine-thinking. FH would never put that up as an ideal, even if it has certain uses like information storage.

The thing I think FH would probably change is to really eliminate any instance of TP, which was in vogue in the 60's as part of psychedelics and Soviet science, but doesn't have much of a real place in his books. I also think the advanced abilities in Teg and others in the later books were perhaps a bit too much, but then again we don't know if that had a purpose to be revealed in Dune 7. Ah well.


I agree with Georgie, OM and/or prescience being eliminated would leave too big a gap in the story. I think if anything the concept of genetic memory is in vogue right now as well as different concepts of time. Scientists have found that a particle's current state is effected by its future state, making quantum level prediction possible and lending credence that there are pre-determined time lines, how that (like anything else in quantum mechanics) translates to the larger world is still unknown. I don't know what TP is referring to though, sorry, I'm probably being thick.

I do agree with you Frybread that the sexuality with minors would have to be removed or the characters aged up, we are a lot more sensitive to that today then back then.

Other than that, maybe some of the geo-political allegories may be updated, instead of the post WWII collapse to the British colonial structure and the ottoman empire, it could reflect the more modern struggles in that region now. However, generally speaking, I think they do stand the test of time quite well and I don't think I would see him updating much.
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Jodorowsky's Acolyte
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 18 Feb 2015 19:27

I think a Dune 2015 might not include the OM component. In addition, maybe now that we've had an extra 50 years of psychic phenomenon being debunked, maybe prescience would take a back seat to mentat predictions? In other words, Paul wouldn't have prescience but would be a mentat with powers of analysis, prediction and computation of orders higher than any other mentat in history? (He already does, as the KH is a "super mentat," but it seems to take a backseat to this prescience.) Of course, this would change the books as prescience is a major part of why Paul gets trapped and "fails" and Leto II is able to secure the Golden Path.


Even if we don't have a perfect example of psychic ESP people among us, that doesn't mean that telepathy, OM, or oracular abilities should be removed. Science fiction is about the "what if this was possible" in science, and Frank Herbert comes up with ways in which the science of the world is possible (if not completely explained). The Spice itself is a fictional drug from a fictional source, and then Hotlzman Drive is abstract in how it works, so I don't think BG abilities should be removed for being to fantastic. Although, you could do the Lem approach: which is take the established science of modern times and in Dune, and take it further by making logical connections as to why BG abilities might be probable. On the other hand, some science fiction works best when not everything is explainable, like in Philip K. Dick's fiction or THX-1138.

Additionally, the idea of people experiencing the present and the future, or the past and the present, all at once is still a relevant theme. And Frank Herbert's idea that knowing the future could limit the options and actions of the individual, and that's still relevant in this current age. I'm not an expert on ESP or psychic intuition, though I have felt instances when an event feels familiar or that time is occurring all at once for me, and it can be limiting. What if a person's perceptions are extended to the 4th dimension, and can see time in all of its forking paths? Besides, there have been plenty of films about oracular heroes who made the right decision, so why portray a hero on film who makes the most disastrous decisions based upon their visions?

Also, maybe a Dune 2015 wouldn't focus so much on the sexual aspects (especially potential sex involving minors even though gholas) of the last two books?


Sex shouldn't be excluded from the first book, but I grant you that the sex in Heretics and Chapterhouse would be impossible to pull off on film. Cinema is no stranger to that subject matter, since films like Love Strange Love and Private Lessons incorporated that aspect and no doubt caused controversy as a result. The alternatives to adapting those scenes is to make the gholas older, or suggest those events happened by means of suggestive dialogue and visuals like in Kubrick's Lolita or Hitchcock's movies. As for the original book, there isn't any explicit sex, though it implies quite a bit about the Baron's sexual activity with slaves who are underage and drugged. It's better to let the characters' personal lives of Dune stand as they are, because sex is part of the characters' humanity, and sex drives the story.

This time around, however, I was wondering about how Dune has held up to the test of time. It's a classic, that's for sure. But I was wondering, what would Frank Herbert have done differently if he'd published the series starting in 2015 instead of 1965? Or, if Dune was to be "upgraded" with a reboot, what do you guys think would be changed and what would stay the same?


There's one thing I've wondered about how technology works in Herbert's universe. Does his technology depend on gasoline, or are they run with advanced electrical batteries? Some of the portrayals I've seen of the Spice Harvesters make them look like they run on diesel fuel, operate like futuristic versions of WWI tanks. Current day electronics still have problems in intense environments, so what if the Harvester had to be mechanical in order to operate on Arrakis' desert environment? [EDIT: Of course it would be mechanical. I'm an idiot] I'm betraying my mechanical ignorance here, though it would be interesting to see what would be see how modern engineers and artists would imagine how a Spice Harvester would operate, not to mention the Heighliners and the Thopters.

Other aspects I'd want expanded would about the ecology of Dune, particularly how the sandplankton reproduce and gradually turn into sandtrout.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby georgiedenbro » 19 Feb 2015 00:31

JasonJD48 wrote: I don't know what TP is referring to though, sorry, I'm probably being thick.



TP is just short-hand for telepathy, sorry about that. Despite all the sci-fi aspects of genetic inheritance, whether genes can store memory, etc etc, there is evidence in the Dune series of outright telepathy, such as when BG share memories by touch. I've read old posts where Sandchigger, for instance, was very opposed to the idea of TP in what otherwise reads as hard sci-fi, and I have to say I'm of the same mind. While the 60's era presented many new possibilities, one of which was ESP/TP, I think in hindsight this was more of a fad notion than scientifically informed and in an update it should be removed. This isn't to say that a sci-fi book can't include these, but in my opinion their inclusion would be such a big deal that such a book would be wise to make that a central feature in the narrative rather than a couple of sentences mentioned in passing. It's too big of a thing to 'just include'. TP would be far more of a big deal than Teg's amazing abilities in Heretics, for instance.

PS - I guess there is some small chance that there really is TP and that the government has since covered it up completely. I'll bank on this not being the case, but if it turns out to be true - sorry Frank!
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby JasonJD48 » 19 Feb 2015 02:53

georgiedenbro wrote:
JasonJD48 wrote: I don't know what TP is referring to though, sorry, I'm probably being thick.



TP is just short-hand for telepathy, sorry about that. Despite all the sci-fi aspects of genetic inheritance, whether genes can store memory, etc etc, there is evidence in the Dune series of outright telepathy, such as when BG share memories by touch. I've read old posts where Sandchigger, for instance, was very opposed to the idea of TP in what otherwise reads as hard sci-fi, and I have to say I'm of the same mind. While the 60's era presented many new possibilities, one of which was ESP/TP, I think in hindsight this was more of a fad notion than scientifically informed and in an update it should be removed. This isn't to say that a sci-fi book can't include these, but in my opinion their inclusion would be such a big deal that such a book would be wise to make that a central feature in the narrative rather than a couple of sentences mentioned in passing. It's too big of a thing to 'just include'. TP would be far more of a big deal than Teg's amazing abilities in Heretics, for instance.

PS - I guess there is some small chance that there really is TP and that the government has since covered it up completely. I'll bank on this not being the case, but if it turns out to be true - sorry Frank!


TP to me always meant toilet paper, so all I kept thinking of was when two Atreides soldiers were making a comment like "you wipe your ass with sand on Arrakis'' in Dune.

I think telepathy as it was presented in the Dune series is fine. It was never presented as a Star Trek Betazoid type of power, you had to touch heads to share, which makes sense when you consider that our heads are releasing electromagnetic waves. This is the basis of EEG and in even more advanced fashion, the development of technology that can interpret brain signals to help the physically disabled. To say that 10,000 years down the line this function would be a bit more enhanced and controllable isn't a stretch for me, no more so than the idea that one can control their own bio-chemistry to the point of neutralizing poisons by altering their chemical structures.
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lotek
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby lotek » 19 Feb 2015 06:10

Quick note about OM as I don't have time to read everything yet.

Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

A Nature Neuroscience study shows mice trained to avoid a smell passed their aversion on to their "grandchildren".

Experts said the results were important for phobia and anxiety research.

One of the researchers Dr Brian Dias told the BBC: "This might be one mechanism that descendants show imprints of their ancestor.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156510
And
Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1346 ... ingle-gram

Once again Science Fiction instinctively finds the idea that will ultimately evolve into science.

As for TP, iirc the only instance is when Alia is in the mind of the old RM, and that Shaddam is as surprised as anyone of us would be to see something like that happen. But the RM wastes no time to tell him it's nothing of the sort though. There is no evidence of this as far as I remember in Dune. The closest I can think of is Alia (?) bending time to leave a message to her brother.
I think TP is like aliens in Dune, it's mentioned a few times but you never see one.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 20 Feb 2015 00:37

lotek wrote:..I think TP is like aliens in Dune, it's mentioned a few times but you never see one.


Serious question lotek: where in Dune are alines mentioned?

I'm probably suffering from failure of recall, but I can't remember any.

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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Frybread » 20 Feb 2015 00:50

Aquila ka-Hecate wrote:
lotek wrote:..I think TP is like aliens in Dune, it's mentioned a few times but you never see one.


Serious question lotek: where in Dune are alines mentioned?

I'm probably suffering from failure of recall, but I can't remember any.


As far as non-sapient life, the sandworms are alien in the sense that no one knows their origin (if I recall correctly).

For sapient life forms, it's mentioned the Great Houses keep stockpiles of atomics in case humanity encounters a malevolent "other intelligence."

Also, I think the Face Dancers had an "alien" mindset, even though they had human DNA.

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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 20 Feb 2015 00:57

Frybread wrote:
Aquila ka-Hecate wrote:
lotek wrote:..I think TP is like aliens in Dune, it's mentioned a few times but you never see one.


Serious question lotek: where in Dune are alines mentioned?

I'm probably suffering from failure of recall, but I can't remember any.


As far as non-sapient life, the sandworms are alien in the sense that no one knows their origin (if I recall correctly).

For sapient life forms, it's mentioned the Great Houses keep stockpiles of atomics in case humanity encounters a malevolent "other intelligence."

Also, I think the Face Dancers had an "alien" mindset, even though they had human DNA.


Sandworms non-sapient? Heresy! :lol:

But yes, I'd forgotten that "unknown other" mentioned in the first Dune. Thank you.

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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Feb 2015 06:46

Duncan felt his mentat awareness coruscate as it shot through memory data of
itself, completely impervious to the passage of time. Arriving at the conviction
that House Corrino would not risk an illegal atomic attack, he did this in
flash-computation, the main decisional pathway, but he was perfectly aware of
the elements which went into this conviction: The Imperium commanded as many
nuclear and allied weapons as all the Great Houses combined. At least half the
Great Houses would react without thinking if House Corrino broke the Convention.
The Atreides off-planet retaliation system would be joined by overwhelming
force, and no need to summon any of them. Fear would do the calling. Salusa
Secundus and its allies would vanish in hot clouds. House Corrino would not risk
such a holocaust. They were undoubtedly sincere in subscribing to the argument
that nuclear weapons were a reserve held for one purpose: defense of humankind
should a threatening "other intelligence" ever be encountered.

~CoD
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby lotek » 20 Feb 2015 06:54

Aquila ka-Hecate wrote:
lotek wrote:..I think TP is like aliens in Dune, it's mentioned a few times but you never see one.


Serious question lotek: where in Dune are alines mentioned?

I'm probably suffering from failure of recall, but I can't remember any.


Freak got the quote, as usual :)
And it is indeed just a quick note in passing, I think Frank didn't want to muddle the story with unnecessary alien robot giant squids that shoot ultra awesome lasers from their butts and not I did not have the idea while I was dictapooping.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 20 Feb 2015 10:13

Thank you all.
Yes, I'm definitely overdue for a marathon re-read from Dune to Chapterhouse. Bugger the Clive Barker.

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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 20 Feb 2015 12:31

lotek wrote:Freak got the quote, as usual :)
And it is indeed just a quick note in passing, I think Frank didn't want to muddle the story with unnecessary alien robot giant squids that shoot ultra awesome lasers from their butts and not I did not have the idea while I was dictapooping.


Holy moly. That's quite an image. :shock:

With my interest in sea monsters and cephalopods, I have yet to encounter a robot giant squid of that description in any kind of literature.

Freakzilla wrote:Duncan felt his mentat awareness coruscate as it shot through memory data of
itself, completely impervious to the passage of time. Arriving at the conviction
that House Corrino would not risk an illegal atomic attack, he did this in
flash-computation, the main decisional pathway, but he was perfectly aware of
the elements which went into this conviction: The Imperium commanded as many
nuclear and allied weapons as all the Great Houses combined. At least half the
Great Houses would react without thinking if House Corrino broke the Convention.
The Atreides off-planet retaliation system would be joined by overwhelming
force, and no need to summon any of them. Fear would do the calling. Salusa
Secundus and its allies would vanish in hot clouds. House Corrino would not risk
such a holocaust. They were undoubtedly sincere in subscribing to the argument
that nuclear weapons were a reserve held for one purpose: defense of humankind
should a threatening "other intelligence" ever be encountered.

~CoD


You are a thorough scholar of the original Dune saga, my Lord Freak. :)
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby JasonJD48 » 11 Mar 2015 13:46

JasonJD48 wrote:
georgiedenbro wrote:
JasonJD48 wrote: I don't know what TP is referring to though, sorry, I'm probably being thick.



TP is just short-hand for telepathy, sorry about that. Despite all the sci-fi aspects of genetic inheritance, whether genes can store memory, etc etc, there is evidence in the Dune series of outright telepathy, such as when BG share memories by touch. I've read old posts where Sandchigger, for instance, was very opposed to the idea of TP in what otherwise reads as hard sci-fi, and I have to say I'm of the same mind. While the 60's era presented many new possibilities, one of which was ESP/TP, I think in hindsight this was more of a fad notion than scientifically informed and in an update it should be removed. This isn't to say that a sci-fi book can't include these, but in my opinion their inclusion would be such a big deal that such a book would be wise to make that a central feature in the narrative rather than a couple of sentences mentioned in passing. It's too big of a thing to 'just include'. TP would be far more of a big deal than Teg's amazing abilities in Heretics, for instance.

PS - I guess there is some small chance that there really is TP and that the government has since covered it up completely. I'll bank on this not being the case, but if it turns out to be true - sorry Frank!


TP to me always meant toilet paper, so all I kept thinking of was when two Atreides soldiers were making a comment like "you wipe your ass with sand on Arrakis'' in Dune.

I think telepathy as it was presented in the Dune series is fine. It was never presented as a Star Trek Betazoid type of power, you had to touch heads to share, which makes sense when you consider that our heads are releasing electromagnetic waves. This is the basis of EEG and in even more advanced fashion, the development of technology that can interpret brain signals to help the physically disabled. To say that 10,000 years down the line this function would be a bit more enhanced and controllable isn't a stretch for me, no more so than the idea that one can control their own bio-chemistry to the point of neutralizing poisons by altering their chemical structures.


Here's an article on potential real telepathy:

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/brain-b ... -telepathy
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby machinor » 26 Dec 2015 19:32

If published in 2015 there would certainly be no trace of any Fremen jihadi stuff like suicide attacks with thopters etc. since that would be seen as a pretty tasteless glorification of "Islamic State", "Boko Haram" and similar modern-day-jihadi-gangs. ;)

The Butlerian Jihad would be ok, though.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Freakzilla » 26 Dec 2015 21:17

machinor wrote:If published in 2015 there would certainly be no trace of any Fremen jihadi stuff like suicide attacks with thopters etc. since that would be seen as a pretty tasteless glorification of "Islamic State", "Boko Haram" and similar modern-day-jihadi-gangs. ;)

The Butlerian Jihad would be ok, though.


FH wasn't glorifying religious extremists at all. Anyone who presented it that way in film clearly didn't understand the books.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby machinor » 26 Dec 2015 21:50

Of course FH did not glorify religious extremism.
But you have to admit that in the context of current geopolitical situation, a book about a vaguely arabic desert people defeating an evil enemy army with jihadi tactics would be a highly problematic or at least awkward choice for a scenario. ;)

The thopter suicide attack was from the book not any film version, btw.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby Freakzilla » 26 Dec 2015 22:02

machinor wrote:The thopter suicide attack was from the book not any film version, btw.


Yeah, I know that.

If it was done right it would show how religious fanatics are easily lead by false messiahs and be an indictment of religion in general.
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Re: Dune 2015

Postby georgiedenbro » 26 Dec 2015 23:20

Freakzilla wrote:
machinor wrote:The thopter suicide attack was from the book not any film version, btw.

If it was done right it would show how religious fanatics are easily lead by false messiahs and be an indictment of religion in general.


Or at the very least of religion with an authoritarian structure, especially involving infallible leaders.
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