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Foundation vs. Dune
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The two most famous mid-Century science fiction novels in the Galactic Empire genre that inspired Star Wars are Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Frank Herbert’s Dune. Both are coming to TV this fall, Foundation on Apple TV this Friday and Dune on HBO Max and in theaters on October 22.

Both are set thousands of years in a future full of human-settled planets (but few if any aliens) ruled by tottering empires.

From a literary point of view, Dune is the superior work of art. Asimov began Foundation when he was in his early 20s after reading Gibbon and Toynbee and coming up with the idea of a Science of History that predict the future. This is an idea that only a very young man who hasn’t much experience with how inevitably wrong his predictions will turn out to be could dream up.

On the other hand, it’s also a really interesting idea. Foundation is hard science fiction at its least aesthetic and humanistic. Asimov wasn’t all that good at writing characters, but his mathematical psychohistorian Hari Seldon and The Mule who upsets Hari’s careful plans are useful shorthand references when talking about forecasting.

In contrast, Herbert was in his prime in his early 40s and invested years in writing Dune to be his breakthrough and a great leap forward for the science fiction genre. It has many interesting influences redolent of the early 1960s, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Machiavelli’s The Prince, the Jesuits, the French Foreign Legion, Jung, and the life of General Chinese Gordon who battled the Taiping in China and the Mahdi in Sudan. It also has themes that came into prominence later, such as ecology and jihad.

While Dune has richer characters, it’s complexity also makes it harder to wrap your head around than Foundation.

Dune is closer to sword and sorcery fantasy, although generally Herbert offers sciencey-sounding explanations for why his violence is waged in sort of Borgia vs. Medici way with lots of sword-fighting and poisonings instead of just taking off and nuking it from orbit.

Ten episodes of Foundation have been filmed with the hope of running a Game of Thrones-like 80 episodes. The cast is rather obscure: character actor Jared Harris, son of Richard Harris, will play Hari Seldon, the science of history genius who leads the rebels on a planet of scientists in out-anticipating the Empire. But Game of Thrones started out with only a few third-tier movie stars like Sean Bean and dwarf Peter Dinklage, so presumably the economics of (hopefully) long TV series work against casting big names.

I don’t remember much of the details of Foundation’s plot, but I’m guessing they’ll make up a bunch of new stuff, which could be good if it turns out to be good. Or could be bad because it’s hard to make up good stuff.

Dune, in contrast, is a big budget movie (\$165 million for 2 hours and 35 covering the first half of the original novel) with a lot of second tier (i.e., well known but not DiCaprio-level) movie stars cast rather carefully to fit their descriptions in the book: e.g., tiny pretty boy star Timothée Chalamet plays the small teenage pretty boy hero Paul Atreides, My guess is that Chalamet is the most well-suited name actor (although, admittedly, his name, Timothée Chalamet, gets on lots of guys’ nerves) to play the 15-year-old Paul.

In Dune, all the characters are extremely superior individuals who have been eugenically bred for their aristocratic roles, so you need movie stars

Thus, Oscar Isaac is his Mediterranean aristocrat father Duke Leto, Javier Bardem is Stilgar, leader of the Space Bedouin Fremen, Josh Brolin and Jason “Aquaman” Momoa (from Game of Thrones) are the Duke’s military retainers, and Charlotte Rampling is the crone Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit order of sorceresses who serve the function of Jesuit confessors.

Judging from the trailer, director Denis Villenueve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), is trying to faithfully reproduce the book, with the most obvious changes being giving Paul’s pretty girlfriend Chani a bigger role and giving some macho humor to the various tough guys.

Dune will likely be denounced for the White Savior trope of a T.E. Lawrence-like revolt-in-the-desert leader. Also, the book is homophobic because the grotesque bad guy Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is ah homosexual who preys on and occasionally murders youths.

How good will the two properties be?

When showrunner David Goyer told James Cameron that the rights to Foundation were up for bid again, Cameron offered Goyer his expert opinion: “That’s a hard one.” Similarly, Dune defeated the considerable talents of David Lynch in 1984.

 
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  1. In Dune, all the characters are extremely superior individuals who have been eugenically bred for their aristocratic roles, so you need movie stars

    .

    Made me smile – applied science.

    (btw. – this reads like another Taki’s essay)

  2. watson79 says:

    French male stars look like they belong in cologne commercials.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @Beede
  3. Ian Smith says:

    As difficult as those two franchises are, they’re a walk in the park compared to Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun.
    I love Dune, but BotNS is way better. It could potentially make a great film or tv series, but it’s challenging to say the least.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/nov/23/the-book-of-the-new-sun-science-fiction-ulysses

    • Agree: Catdog, Lurker, TG, mc23, inertial
    • Thanks: Grahamsno(G64)
  4. Paul Rise says:

    Whether Lynch’s Dune fails as a adaption, its one of his most memorable movies. Its hard to imagine someone displacing Kenneth McMillan Baron Harkonnen, Stings crazy eyed Feyd, and Brad Dourif’s evil mentat. The spice navigators were suitably alien, and Kyle McLachlan who was just a little old, was a good muad dib. And of course you have Patrick Stewart running around with a pug in the middle of a huge battle.

    Plus, Lynch pulled his off in one film. The endless bloat of the overrated lord of the rings and not underrated Hobbit is the biggest obvious threat here to the new Dune.

    Still waiting for film versions of The Stars my Destination and Ringworld.

  5. Anon[260] • Disclaimer says:

    Dune defeated the considerable talents of David Lynch in 1984.

    I really like it.

    You always hear it’s really bad though. Lynch seems to pan it, because he had problems exterior to to movie that made it a bad experience and period in his life, so I guess people just go along with the creation and hate on it.

  6. The only two things I’ve seen Jared Harris in are Mad Men and Chernobyl, and he was excellent in both. I had no idea he was Richard Harris’ son, although now I see the resemblance. Oddly enough, his characters in both of those productions suffered identical fates.

  7. Abe says:

    But will the DUNE reboot be better than the Krusty version?

  8. Rob says:

    Speaking of eugenics, were there any Bene Gesserit in the trailer? There was a woman who wasn’t Chani. Maybe she was Jessica? Spoilers for the nthogy of books below

    [MORE]

    While most the people in Dune with super powers were women, they wielded power in stereotypically feminine ways. Like through their husbands, manipulating their children, and using the power off their voices to move men like puppets. Errorlessly telling truth from lies. And having the entire female line of ancestors in their heads, plus the Reverend Mother who gave them the water of life.

    In later books, there was an offshoot of the Bene Gesserit, the Honored Matres. The could do super human kicks and controlled the men through sexual imprinting. Though given that, Atreides excepted, men couldn’t do any magic, one wonders what the point was of controlling them. Just use your super-kicking to keep them in line.

    Yet, almost all the super-super-powered were men. The BG were trying super-hard to breed a man who had all his male ancestors in his head. That and seeing the future were all Paul’s abilities that we saw, but I think Herbert hinted at more.

    The next book Dune Messiah was good, but very different. Children of Dune was uninspired, but decent fantasy/sci-fi. God-Emperor was very different, but good enough. The next books kind of blur together, and I can’t remember the titles. With a whole universe, one of the books took place entirely on a small spaceship.

    Herbert died before he could complete the sequels, but he supposedly left notes, and his son finished the series. I didn’t read that one, so I can’t say if it was any good. I read a few of the prequels about the Houses, they weren’t terrible, but they were light entertainment.

    Excepting Messiah, none of them awed me.

  9. jcd1974 says:

    Based on the trailer, Foundation looks like “black woman saves humanity”, with all the villains white men and all the heroes are black. I’ll pass on it.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  10. Mike Tre says:

    Yeah yeah Steve. Style, complexity, quality or writing. None of that matters. How much of the cast are negroes, homos, and trannies? That’s all that is needed for a compelling tv drama.

    • Agree: Sick of Orcs, Lurker
    • Replies: @Lurker
  11. Judging from the trailer, director Denis Villenueve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), is trying to faithfully reproduce the book, with the most obvious changes being giving Paul’s pretty girlfriend Chani a bigger role and giving some macho humor to the various tough guys.

    I’d think the most obvious changes would surely be replacing as many white men as they can get away with and putting in women, blacks, Chinese and mystery meat instead? At least that’s the bit the anti-woke movie fans seem to be complaining about the most online.

    Granted I haven’t been following these controversies all that closely myself. I’m pretty apathetic about Hollywood these days. But from just a quick look at the posters of this movie and those of the 1980s Dune it’s pretty easy to see which one was made in Current Year.

    On the other hand Baron Harkonnen is a super evil disgusting degenerate in all versions of the story. So much to our surprise he is the one character who is played by a Scandinavian actor.

    • Replies: @Escher
    , @Pericles
    , @Moses
  12. Hollywood bastards are tearing down the statues of my real heroes.

    I won’t be going to the movies to cheer for their absurd fantasy heroes.

  13. El Dato says:

    Let’s say that I demand acknowledgement of Cordwainer Smith’s Norstrilia which was the inspiration for Dune.

    …as well as the short stories playing in the universe of “The Instrumentality” collected in “The Rediscovery of Man”.

    • Thanks: Rahan
    • Replies: @mc23
  14. theMann says:

    I remember the Foundation trilogy fondly but always thought Dune was somewhere between crap and megacrap. I can’t expect a film version of it to be better.

    Gateway
    Ringworld
    The Forever War
    Lucifer’s Hammer

    Just a very short list of the great SciFi novels waiting for film.Why a sad ass Econonsense piece of silliness like Dune?

    • Agree: Lockean Proviso
    • Replies: @Rahan
    , @El Dato
  15. “When showrunner David Goyer told James Cameron that the rights to Foundation were up for bid again, Cameron offered Goyer his expert opinion: “That’s a hard one.”

    Speaking just as an incredibly weird aside, I once arm-wrestled Jim Cameron (insider tip: I let him win.) How many of you nerds can say THAT?!?

    Details behind some sort of kooky paywall, or at least should be.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  16. G. Poulin says:

    Foundation was great when I was thirteen and just graduating from comic books. It’s unreadable now. But Dune is still a great read many years later.

  17. @Rob

    A read one of the prequels by Herbert’s son. Save your money. Very poorly written. The worst aspect is that the Harkonnens are so cartoonishly evil that the only thing missing is the Baron twirling a handlebar mustache and cackling.

  18. I don’t know if you really want to open the Pandora’s box of what happened with Lynch’s dune. There is very good fan cut of the movie, https://youtu.be/vJykw3H4PDw .

    While the whole “the Atredes secret weapon was sonic guns and not that, yes, you could train a dedicated freedom loving and individualistic group of space feudal liberals to be as good of soldiers as religious fanatical barbarians” part isn’t accurate, Frank Herbert was fine with this change, what Lynch did get was the alienness and *horror* of the dune universe. It’s feel is the exact feel I think it should have.

    • Agree: Dave Pinsen
  19. El Dato says:

    It occured to me that “Foundation” was a Zionist Fantasy.

    A little colony far away at the periphery, pretending to be a collection of scholars busy writing the Encyclopedia Galactica when not working in the Kibbutz, while they collect technology and economic clout to at first survive but later kick the feudal/old-empire/satrapian ass of anyone and everyone nearby.

    Meanwhile History God Hary Sheldon has secretly arranged it just so that they will become the new Empire after the current Czar has safely disembarked at the trashheap of history and the subsequent interregnum has passed.

    Meanwhile a secret cabal makes sure that Sheldon’s planning cannot actually be thwarted by accident or purpose (it’s supposed to be destiny, but one can never be sure – it pays to be crazy prepared). And that cabal has been installed directly behind the throne!

    Galactic handwringing ensues and there is also a short episode about a Galactic Hitler who, from lowly beginning, works upwards, zapping everyone with mind powers. He tries to build a hegemony of mind-controlled followers but, being sterile, is not into this aristocracy stuff.

    Bruno Ganz as The Mule? Yes, we want!

    • Thanks: Gabe Ruth
    • LOL: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
    , @Enochian
  20. Anon7 says:

    When interviewed about Dune, director Villenueve said “It’s all about the women.” You know, just like regular history is all about women, women fighters, women who lead sietches (underground towns) with tens of thousands of people, women creating vast empires, women putting entire planets on the rack to squeeze them for money. You know, women.

    This does not bode well for the movie. Yes, it’s true that the Bene Gesserit is a really fascinating group created by Herbert. Mostly what they care about is their breeding program, sending their hottest hotties to seduce the highest-status men to get their “genetic material”, hoping to create the perfect male who will be superior to all Bene Gesserit women.

    I’m not surprised that Paul is played by a slightly-built actor (“Is he not small for his age, Jessica?” “The Atreides are. known to start late getting their growth, Your Reverence”); his strengths are not physical. But in the movie, Chani, his Sihaya, his desert spring, is a black girl who is taller and frankly tougher-looking than he is.

    This also does not bode well for the movie. (It makes me think of how Chris Rock opined that Michelle Obama would not make a good First Lady – “there’s too much sitting in the back seat and shutting up in that job.”)

    The last words of Frank Herbert’s book is Lady Jessica, the Bene Gesserit concubine, telling Chani, the girlfriend, not to worry about her status or her place in history. “History will call us wives.” Do you think Villenueve will put that in the second movie?

    Finally, if it turns out that the good guys in this movie are all PoCs, and the bad guys are all white guys with shaved heads, I swear to God I’m walking out of the theater.

  21. Ralph L says:

    If you can travel through space, you must fight with ray guns, not knives. Light sabers are dorky, too. spoiler:

    [MORE]

    The screwy thing about the Dune books is that Paul is the apparent hero in the first and Galactic Hitler in the second.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @James J O'Meara
  22. Wilkey says:

    I thought that the first book in the Dune series was terrific, but I gave up completely after reading the next three (Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune). I kept giving them a chance, and they kept disappointing. There simply wasn’t much there. Frank Herbert exhausted all of his truly interesting ideas in the first novel.

    I read 2-3-4 of the Foundation novels in high school, and even then remember thinking that they were incredibly light on character development. Asimov just wasn’t that great a writer. I read one of the Foundation novels a few years ago – I think it was Prelude to Foundation, a prequel that was one of the later novels in the series – and it didn’t alter my opinion any.

    I later read that Asimov’s writing practice was just to keep typing away until he finished, without much editing or second guessing. Which sounds about right, judging from the quality of much of his work.

    I hope and suspect that the series based on their works will be much better than the later novels in the Dune series, and all of the novels in the Foundation series. There’s enough interesting material in both to make for two very good series, so long as they aren’t too picky about sticking to the original plots.

  23. Anon7 says:
    @Anon7

    As for Foundation, I’m betting that it’s a black remake of the novel. Undoubtedly, most of the people in space will turn out to be PoCs. The series will look gorgeous, and it will be pure play Cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory.

    The effort to obliterate the history of white men in America and in the world, in their literature, their history, and even in their cheesiest of television shows, grinds on. Is it really necessary to remake The Wonder Years with a black family? Apparently, yes.

  24. 1.) Herbert’s first Dune books were literary in all respects and a different species from other science fiction. It isn’t fair to try and compare Asimov. Asimov is more like Heinlein or one of those writers.

    2.) The allegories to war and environmental and energy crises for modern earthlings are so slick it’s hard to tell how much he intended and how much was reader interpretation that Herbert merged into.

    The spice must flow.

  25. inertial says:

    Dune’s Galactic Empire is Russian Empire and the Fremen are Chechens. Frank Herbert was inspired by this book, which was popular in the 1950s. It tells the story of the Caucasian War from the pro-Imam Shamil point of view.

    A lot of terms in Dune comes from Russian or Caucasian languages: kindjal, sietch, Siridar, Chakobsa, etc. Padishah was how Shamil called the Russian Emperor.

    David Lynch knew that, so he dressed Imperial army and aristocracy in something that looked like Russian military uniforms circa 1910.

    • Thanks: TWS, Dave Pinsen
    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  26. Chalamet has already played a version of Paul Atreides. He was excellent in Netflix’s Henry V. Dune will be very good. Arrival was wonderful, both thematically profound and sparsely, delicately shot. This approach will combine well with the epic storyline of the novel.

    David S Goyer is making Foundation. He is an interesting individual with noticeable threads running through his work, but such a big scale and long TV series will depend on a big group of people. I suspect they will only use the source material as a basis and go where they want. Or, at least, I hope so. Otherwise, it will likely drag and become a boring chore to watch, like so many similar shows.

  27. BB753 says:

    Is Apple TV popular at all? Candid question.

    • Replies: @Peter Akuleyev
  28. Catdog says:

    Judging by the trailer, the actor playing Paul is awful. He reminds me of my aspergery cousin. Kyle MacLachlan did it better, with both noble gravitas and charisma. Some people might object that Book Paul is supposed to be aspergery. Even if that was so (I don’t agree), wooden characters work fine in book format, but not on the screen.

  29. The trailers make Dune look drab, possibly Villeneuve trying to hard not to be Lynch. Part of the attraction of the original novel was the pseuo-Arab idealized exoticism of the Fremen, the pseudo 18th century British imperial vibe of house Atreides and the S&M/Nazi vibe of the Harkonnens. Lynch got that,even if he had difficulty putting it on screen. Seems like Villeneuve has dumped a lot of the cool exoticism, but maybe I’ll be wrong.

    The Foundation trailer does not inspire a lot of hope. Seems like the producers have decided to center the show around a black female protagonist as the audience’s POV for the story. Hardly surprising (and honestly Asimov himself would probably have loved the idea) but portends there will be very little imagination put into this show, and it will be a very Woke treatment.

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @J.Ross
    , @Kronos
    , @Anon
  30. Remember those analogy questions on the SAT?

    Romeo and Juliet is to West Side Story as Dune is to The Godfather?

    I mean both the Corleones and the Atriedes are murderous gangsters, morally upstanding murderous gangsters compared to their rivals, but gangsters nevertheless?

    And they are both coming-of-age and taking-over-the-reigns-of-the-family business novels?

    OK, OK, they are not direct word-for-word translations or transpositions, but you get the idea. But the parallels are strong — Paul, Michael going into exile upon the murder, attempted murder of their father, the exile experience supplying the training and gangster cred, both finding the love of their life in the exotic culture of their exile?

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  31. Catdog says:

    The thought of a book I like getting the film treatment disgusts rather than excites me, now. The Foundation trailer is typical of recent trends. A few talented, recognizable white actors in supporting roles and the starring roles filled by indistinguishable mulata literally whos. Throw in massive amounts of soulless CGI, a few interracial and gay scenes and you’re done.

    • Agree: Grahamsno(G64)
  32. Dune will likely be denounced for the White Savior trope of a T.E. Lawrence-like revolt-in-the-desert leader

    Already happened:

    • Replies: @El Dato
  33. guest007 says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    the original foundation trilogy is a series of novellas. Thus, one character cannot go through the entire story. Novellas also limit the need for characterization versus driving the plot forward. It Apple TV wants to go for a long series, then there will be a huge number of actors and no actor will be in all of the shows.

    Foundation is a story about men doing things (like the Lord of the Rings) rather than people talking about their feelings.

  34. fish says:

    Judging from the trailer, director Denis Villenueve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), is trying to faithfully reproduce the book, with the most obvious changes being giving Paul’s pretty girlfriend Chani a bigger role and giving some macho humor to the various tough guys.

    He sure is……by eliminating the overarching plot point of eliminating Feyd Rautha and a huge reason for the existence of the Bene Gesserit. I’ll hedge my criticism by saying that since this covers the first half of the book he might try to insinuate the character in at another point in the inevitable sequel.

  35. From the Foundation trailer, it looks like the plan is the same as for everything else nowadays: a thinly disguised BLM, hate-whitey fest, except now transferred to space and with a veneer of sci-fi thoughty-ness. Presenting negrolotry for the nerd-and-tech set. Will the right half of the bell curve want to watch 80 hours of exquisite Euros losing their civilization and getting their comeuppance at the hands of ornery Mulattos? Increasingly, one can see this stuff in real life, so what’s the point? Well, the reality is much more tawdry and doesn’t have balletic space explosions, so the TV series has that going for it. Still, it’s too bad the showrunners didn’t use a little more imagination. As Wilkey said, between Asimov and (more so) Gibbon there’s a lot of potentially interesting source material … provided you don’t get hung up on the Current Year’s monomania. But exercising imagination is probably white supremacy now.

    Visually the new Dune looks much more like what I imagined while reading the book, except that they have obviously been at pains to duskify everyone as much as possible. The Fremen’s notoriously blue eyes are an obstacle to this, but they have worked around it pretty well, even casting a straight-up African as an oppressed but blue-eyed Fremen. House Atreides has been thoroughly Mediterraneanized compared to David Lynch’s more Nordic rendition.

    In Dune, all the characters are extremely superior individuals who have been eugenically bred for their aristocratic roles, so you need movie stars

    Amusingly, lead actor Chalamet is himself the product of some kind of government subsidized breeding program for superior artists. Wiki Early Life says he “grew up in the federally subsidized artists’ building Manhattan Plaza”, the product of an arcane crossing of Jewish theater-mother and Anglo-French internationalist father. He’s plausible as a young aristo of the New Worlds Order, but his tendency to look hangdog and his sanpaku eyes are distracting.

    Dune will likely be denounced for the White Savior trope of a T.E. Lawrence-like revolt-in-the-desert leader.

    I’m sure PR flacks will frontrunning House Atreides’s POC cred (Chalamet Jewish, Momoa Polynesian, etc.) to avoid precisely this.

    Also, the book is homophobic because the grotesque bad guy Baron Vladimir Harkonnen is ah homosexual who preys on and occasionally murders youths.

    Yeah, expect that to get left out of the two hours and thirty-five minutes, probably justified on grounds of encouraging homophobia or Pizzagaters or something. Even the many recuts of the old David Lynch version floating around the internet have now usually managed to edit out that part, though they splice in storyboards and other random material in quest of bulk.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Twinkie
    , @Anon
  36. El Dato says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Yeah, expect that to get left out of the two hours and thirty-five minutes, probably justified on grounds of encouraging homophobia or Pizzagaters or something.

    The Baron ordering up pizza to bulk up a bit also would be fat-shaming.

    • LOL: mc23
  37. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:

    Sure were lots of black faces in the Foundations trailer. Is this a BET production or our future?

    • Replies: @guest007
  38. Don’t forget Harkkonen was also obese—so Dune displays fat-ism as well. (An obese man who preys on small boys? Kind of a gay combo of Epstein and Weinstein!)

    I fear Dune is impossible to make into a movie. What is here looks promising but it appears they’re highlighting the brave woman of color and her ability to woo the angsty boy as a central piece. I do like Momoa as Halleck though

    The foundation trailer seems to match Asimov well—grand and interesting but also hack-ey. Despite his progressive inclinations Asimov couldn’t help but occasionally attack the liberal consensus when he extrapolated into the future. I’m much less interested in watching 80 episodes of Current Year pieties though.

  39. Unfortunately, I am not hopeful at all about the Foundation. I first read the books about as a young man and was really intrigued. The later add-ons which tried to become more philosophical and literary, but just were longer.

    Apple decided super Woke was the way to go, and this looks like it utilizes some of the later works. Oh well, I don’t have Apple TV anyway and so I won’t miss not seeing this.

    If anyone wants to watch a good scifi series, go watch “The Expanse”.

    • Replies: @guest007
  40. peterike says:

    Ugh, Foundation is littered with mystery meat actors, most with obnoxious, highly unlikeable faces. Why would I want to sit around watching a bunch of ugly people?

    • Agree: Catdog, Alden
    • Replies: @Catdog
  41. JMcG says:
    @Wilkey

    I just worked my way through half of The Stories of Ray Bradbury, based on a comment here, I believe. Boy, that was a long walk for a drink of water. It’s hard to believe they were written for an adult audience. I remember liking Dandelion Wine a good few years ago, but I’m finished with Mr. Bradbury.

    • Replies: @Joseph A.
    , @Dube
  42. Anonymous[502] • Disclaimer says:

    Jared Harris is hardly obscure. He was in Mad Men, played the lead in Chernobyl, and was Moriarty in the latest Sherlock films.

  43. J.Ross says:


    Dune did not defeat Lynch, DiLaurentis did. Lynch’s sumptuous looking if badly organized Dune is being re-released. It strangely hasn’t aged like you would expect, it certainly looks better than the “everything is grey” update, and I know of at least three britbongs who say they will see it if the government lets them.
    Frank Herbert was as inept at writing dialog as Ayn Rand and for the same reason, which many complain about in the later Dune novels: there’s no novel here, he just wants to throw around ideas (but the ideas are interesting). Herbert also bought into lots of fad ideas: the wierding way comes from when white people honestly thought that kung fu was magic, and the 60’s-70’s black patronization that ghettoes can act like pressure cookers to make superior people (the Fremen, the Saudarkar, and I believe [outside of Dune] the Dosadi Experiment depend on this).
    In a parallel, better-run earth, where the President of the United States has the intestinal fortitude to make it through a press conference, especially if foreign heads of state are present, better directors would leverage studio anxiety about new material by finding lesser known properties from established authors, in this case maybe Hellstrom’s Hive (you vill be de bugs) and the White Plague (IRA terrorism triggers a sort of scientific terror response).
    Asimov was spectacular as a raconteur and interview, but sometimes stylistically boring and wierdly naive as an author. His other famous series, about robots, is not just a matter of propagandizing technology because he derives material from the joys of field debugging and robot potential marred by fallible humans, but Asimov never loses or strongly tests his own faith in technology.

    • Agree: Lurker
  44. J.Ross says:
    @John Milton’s Ghost

    Instead of an obese homosexual, this version depicts him as a bald guy with really long legs. So.

  45. J.Ross says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    With the exception of the sunset rollout on Sicario and JOI from Denis Didn’t Understand Blade Runner, drab is Villeneuve’s thing. If he could, his movies would all be black-and-white and in morning harbor fog.

  46. I read Both Dune and the Foundation series when I was a teenager and liked them both.. When my kids were tweens I reread them to see if they were still OK. I found that Dune was still amazing but I really didn’t like the Foundation series. I thought the characters were flat and the idea of predicting the future implausible.

  47. Goatweed says:

    The Wheel of Time comes out this fall.

    An East Asian plays Min in the tv version.

    In my mind’s version, Audrey Hepburn got that part.

    At the risk of being too much into female beauty, could they not have at least cast a pretty East Asian?

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  48. I though the original “Dune” movie was lame, but that was before the new magic of computer assisted cinematgraphy. If it is free on TV I might watch it.

  49. I have read every book written in both series, and loved both series very much for very different reasons. I don’t think either lends themselves easily to screen adaptation. Lynch’s main problem was that he had to condense Dune to a single movie- a task that is fundamentally impossible- it is the equivalent of doing Lord of the Rings as a single movie. I am more hopeful that the Dune adaptations will turn out better than the Foundation one. The problem I see for the Foundation series is actually filling it out for 80 hours- the opposite problem Lynch faced in his Dune movie. I don’t actually plan to watch either one unless the reviews are outstanding.

  50. @Wilkey

    There’s certainly the potential to make great series out of both of those franchises. It seems unlikely that they can be made in the Current Year however.

    Lord of the Rings hit the perfect spot for epic scifi/fantasy movies. Special effects were just advanced enough to do justice to the stories, but social decay wasn’t quite advanced enough to destroy them. Thus even though they still have various problems for purists to complain about these films are beautiful and uplifting spectacles as well as crowd pleasers. In many ways they are quite successful in reflecting the tribute to Nordic mythology and saga that Tolkien’s books were written to be.

    A Dune movie series made in 2000-ish could have been a similar success and accurately reflected the tribute to Greek tragedy and Byzantine historical epic that Frank Herbert wrote. Alas that ship has sailed. Nothing problematic like that will get filmed as long as the current system lasts.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @IHTG
    , @Horrorwitz
    , @Wilkey
  51. Twinkie says:
    @Wilkey

    I thought that the first book in the Dune series was terrific, but I gave up completely after reading the next three (Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune). I kept giving them a chance, and they kept disappointing. There simply wasn’t much there. Frank Herbert exhausted all of his truly interesting ideas in the first novel.

    On the contrary, the first book is something of a (dare I say) juvenile hook to grab the attention of the casual readers, but the following books are much more profound. The first book is a triumphalist hero revenge story, but the subsequent books are meditations on roles of control and knowledge (prescience or perfect knowledge) on human development.

    I read the first book as a teenage boy and loved it, and found the subsequent books emotionally unsatisfying. It was only later I grasped what Herbert wrote – about the Fremen being “afflicted” with a hero, rather than being liberated or led by one to glory. Even in the first book, there are references to these later themes – Paul repeatedly dreams of various permutations of the future (e.g. ones in which he lives, ones in which he dies, etc.) and sees that all ends in the mass bloodshed of a universal jihad. He even refused the Golden Path – out of his love for Chani – but it happened anyway under his son. He became a prisoner of his prescience.

    By the way, in retrospect, I think the original Dune film by Lynch was, if very flawed in parts (“Weirding Module,” the ridiculous rain at the end), quite beautiful in its way and had an unbeatable, stellar cast. I have trouble seeing anyone else as Leto, Gurney, Stilgar, and Dr. Kynes when Jürgen Prochnow, Patrick Stewart, Everett McGill, and Max von Sydow, respectivcely, were so memorable in the original film.

  52. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    The Fremen’s notoriously blue eyes are an obstacle to this, but they have worked around it pretty well, even casting a straight-up African as an oppressed but blue-eyed Fremen.

    The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange. If they were fair in skin tone, they’d have all died from skin cancer.

    House Atreides has been thoroughly Mediterraneanized compared to David Lynch’s more Nordic rendition.

    The Atreides were – literally – Greek in origin, from the House of Agamemnon. That said, I think he was supposed to look somewhat like his mother Jessica and had green eyes.

    I think Dune would have been better re-made as a TV series, rather like Game of Thrones. Movies tend to require substantial cutting of rich details that make expansive works such as Dune so interesting. Alas, for all of HBO’s pretensions to liberal intellectuality, I don’t think Dune has the prurience and the mindless and barbaric violence of something like Game of Thrones that HBO seems to find so appealing.

  53. Kronos says:
    @Rob

    Yeah, the chick with “the pain box” and the needle at Paul Atreides’s neck.

  54. Kronos says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The Foundation trailer does not inspire a lot of hope. Seems like the producers have decided to center the show around a black female protagonist as the audience’s POV for the story.

    That’s the elephant in the room. Which film will have the highest SJW/WOKE levels. Both films will have it, but which one will have the most? I’m guessing Foundation. They have more rope to hang themselves with.

  55. Wilkey says:
    @Twinkie

    On the contrary, the first book is something of a (dare I say) juvenile hook to grab the attention of the casual readers, but the following books are much more profound. The first book is a triumphalist hero revenge story, but the subsequent books are meditations on roles of control and knowledge (prescience or perfect knowledge) on human development.

    Perhaps. I never claimed to be a great intellectual, so maybe I missed all of that, or I else didn’t find his “meditations” to be all that profound. Either way, the story wasn’t enough to hold my interest, and after four books it didn’t seem to be improving or worth more of my time.

    Agree with your opinion of the David Lynch version, though.

  56. MEH 0910 says:
    @John Milton’s Ghost

    I do like Momoa as Halleck though

    Jason Momoa is Duncan Idaho, Josh Brolin is Gurney Halleck.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(2021_film)#Cast

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  57. El'geherg says:

    The trailers look visually stunning but the casting choices are pretty awful. That chick playing Chani looks nothing like the elfin woman of the books and a black guy as Jamin?

  58. IHTG says:
    @John Regan

    the tribute to Nordic mythology and saga that Tolkien’s books were written to be.

    the tribute to Greek tragedy and Byzantine historical epic that Frank Herbert wrote

    Ehh…

  59. GSR says:

    How is having a lecherous homosexual villian, “homophobic”?

  60. Catdog says:
    @peterike

    Exactly my thoughts. OF COURSE it’s going to be full of ethnically ambiguous brown people, but why do they always pick actors who are merely average-looking, at best?

  61. guest007 says:
    @Anon

    In looking at IMDB, five of the first 18 actors would be described as African-American. But then again, remember the contrversy when in the first Hunger Games movies the fans of the book were upset when Rue was played by an African-American actress and district 11 was portrayed as mainly black.

  62. guest007 says:
    @Gaius Gracchus

    Books like Foundation show that many writers would be better off with an old fashion type writer. that would force them into developing tight plots and run less than 300 pages instead of the multi-thread plots that now fill 800 pages from novelist who use assistants, ghost writers, and editors.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
    , @Alden
  63. Papinian says:

    Neither. Wheel of Tiiiiiiiiiiiiime!!!!!!!!

  64. Meh! I’ll take Battlestar Galactica 2004, if only for the cheesecake…

  65. @watson79

    Depardieu? Belmondo? Aznavour? Auteil? Reno?

    Don’t know much about French actors, do you?

    • Replies: @Beede
  66. El Dato says:
    @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    “Director Responds”

    Journalists freely offer their water of life!

  67. @Anon7

    Try not walking in. They don’t give a shit if you walk out- your money doesn’t do that.

  68. Dune is homophobic? How? Remember Dean Corl, John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer? Would it be heterophobic to put characters like Ted Bundy and Jack the Ripper in a movie? What about all those women who were serial killers, would it be sexist to have a female serial killer as a character in a movie?

  69. bruce says:
    @Paul Rise

    Yes to Ringworld. A an athletic eurasian guy who can sound smart, a tall valkerie who can sound ditzy or smart at will, and a lots of CGI would be pretty easy to find nowadays.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  70. @Ian Smith

    Book of the Long Sun would be easier to adapt as a miniseries, perhaps with each day being a short 1-2 hour episode. Gene Wolfe pulls his punches in it as well, making it somewhat easier to understand than the other entries in the Solar Series.

  71. zundel says:

    GoT was awesome because it was violent and horny af. it deteriorated considerably when it kept straining to be an “epic.” this stuff — especially foundation — looks awfully ponderous, bloated, and ultra-woke

    • Disagree: Escher
  72. Rahan says:
    @theMann

    Ringworld is an eternal classic, like Dune. I even rate Ringworld Engineers the same. Also Niven’s The Magic Goes Away is a mere sword & sorcery novella, but is worth more than all the fantasy soaps written over the past 40 years put together.

    The Forever War is terrific but second-rate. If Dune is 1984 level, The Forever War is Clockwork Orange level.

    Lucifer’s Hammer is the first generation bloated soap popularized by the likes of King, Crichton, and Clancy. No, not like Dune, there every sentence counts. In the Hammer you can cut half just as a warmup.

    And Pohl is terrific at old-school autistic sci-fi where instead of characters you have crude symbols. I appreciate it. But classic his stuff ain’t.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  73. For a more realistic vision of the (very shortly upcoming) future try Atlas Shrugged.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  74. Masterworks, both, but I prefer Enders Game.

    • Replies: @guest007
  75. El Dato says:
    @theMann

    > Gateway

    Yes. There is lots of material that can be arbitrarily moulded in there. Also good psychological development and love interests.

    > Ringworld

    No, too hard to make a good story out of an “abandoned megastructure” novel. But Rendezvous with Rama would be good. Also, one Jar Jar binks is enough.

    > The Forever War

    Yes, but it will be like “Platoon, but in Space” combined with shower scenes from Starship Troopers. Anywhere, there is at least one version in development hell. Maybe they can ask for money from the Space Forces (who got a new uniform yesterday, btw).

    > Lucifer’s Hammer

    No, that would decay to the N-th Hollywoodian “catastrophe” film. It’s been done.

    Econonsense piece of silliness like Dune?

    “Ecology” is actually a minor part. “Economy” is where it’s at.

  76. El Dato says:
    @Ralph L

    The screwy thing about the Dune books is that Paul is the apparent hero in the first and Galactic Hitler in the second.

    Basically the life of Temudjin.

    And in a sense, of Hitler, too.

  77. @Twinkie

    The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange. If they were fair in skin tone, they’d have all died from skin cancer.

    The Atreides were – literally – Greek in origin, from the House of Agamemnon.

    Agree. As mentioned, the Villenueve version looks more like I thought Dune should. Lynch is a Pacific Northwester of Finno-Swedish extraction, so it is perhaps not surprising that he renders House Atreides with very fair-skinned actors in fir-colored Norwegian-esque uniforms, set in oak-paneled stave-church-ish interiors and Northern maritime-ish exteriors. I understand that’s his background so that’s how he sees it, but it wasn’t how I imagined it, nor, as you point out, is it quite what the book described. Villenueve’s casting of Fremen gf Chani is also much more plausible as the someone between Maghribi and Central Asian that I imagined, though looking at Wiki, I see the actress is some kind of California quadroon, but I guess that’s still more “accurate” than Lynch’s casting Sean Young who is exotic only the sense of “from the outer reaches of the Upper East Side”.

    Although it could also be argued that Classical Greeks and modern Greeks are not quite the same either.

    I think Dune would have been better re-made as a TV series

    There was a TV series. The glimpses I saw of it seemed to take a Lynchian approach to design and casting choices. The problem with an epic like Dune is you need a big budget to build the whole alternative universe or else or it just ends up looking kind of low-rent and chintzy.

    The thing about Dune the book is that I like the concepts more than wading through Herbert’s wordy descriptions and discursive interior dialogues, so I’m never going to go back and re-excavate the source material. So for me—and most people—what ends up on the screen will be Dune.

    • Replies: @TWS
    , @Twinkie
    , @Peter D. Bredon
  78. @Goatweed

    At the risk of being too much into female beauty, could they not have at least cast a pretty East Asian?

    No!

    The controllers like to mess with us by casting the most annoying, unfunny, Woke, and unattractive Asian gals possible, like Awkwafina.

    Next question!

    • Agree: The Alarmist
  79. Two points:

    The history of science fiction is a stand-alone, interesting thing to study. The driest sciencey writers rarely imagined, or just didn’t want to publish a future where human will and heroism were less consequential. A.I. was envisioned by few, which why 2001 was/is so haunting. Star Wars was loved in part because it portrayed noble heros banging their wrenches on space ship components. Machines were spectacular but entirely reliant upon and subject to people. 70’s car culture wasn’t thought transitory.

    Man-to-man battles are required to sell these stories. A quote by Eric Hoffer comes to mind…. something about how the things we fear most are the truths we don’t wish to see.

    Secondly…

    David Lynch is an incompetent and lazy director who didn’t even read Dune before trying to produce it. He was coming off “Elephant Man” as the up and coming boy. It was the keys to the Ferrari and he botched it. What defeated Lynch was having to make a film with a coherent plot.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri
  80. Hereward says:
    @Anon7

    “Beast” Rabban is played by the half-Filipino ex-wrestler Dave Bautista.

  81. TWS says:
    @Almost Missouri

    The fremen were white because they were written that way. Not all desert dwellers look like idris alba

  82. Che Guava says:

    Dune, by the country mile.

    Asimov’s writing is childish,

    Both streaming movies will be crap.

  83. Altai says:

    although, admittedly, his name, Timothée Chalamet, gets on lots of guys’ nerves

    They may be what Steve finds annoying for some reason (His father is French, he is fluent and apparently spent lots of time there over his short life) but what most people hate about him is his rich kid smugness, pretentiousness and conceitedness and the fact that 15 year old girls (And people who are 15 year old girls at heart) keep trying to push him up as the most amazing actor and most handsome man ever.

    He is just very punchable, for lack of a better way of expressing it. But in Dune he has to play the reserved stoic Paul, so his natural repellent personality is suitably subdued.

    Just type ‘Timoethee Chalamet annoying’ into YouTube and you’ll quickly understand. The guy is in love with himself in a way that makes the average Hollywood actor seem down to Earth.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @Beede
  84. @Ian Smith

    “Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun.”

    Unlike any other SF series. I would rather it stay a literary property. It’s been over ten years since I read the original quartet; I remember a fully immersive world told in a language that seemed purposefully baroque, like Lovecraft. Good luck to the writer they hire.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  85. So when are they going to make, or foul up, The Mote In God’s Eye?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_in_God%27s_Eye

  86. @Twinkie

    “quite beautiful in its way”

    Apt description of David Lynch’s filmography.

  87. Lurker says:
    @Mike Tre

    How much of the cast are negroes, homos, and trannies? That’s all that is needed for a compelling tv drama

    Or not in fact.

  88. joe_mama says:
    @Wilkey

    God Emperor of Dune was terrible. But that last two books: Heretics of Dune and ChapterHouse:Dune were both really good. Back to being as good as the first two books.

    • Thanks: Wilkey
  89. @Inquiring Mind

    You seem to be proving the point of suspected Greek homosexual Aristotle who confirmed that the god of this world gave us only seven ways to tell our stories.

  90. “tiny pretty boy star Timothée Chalamet plays the small teenage pretty boy hero Paul Atreides, My guess is that Chalamet is the most well-suited name actor (although, admittedly, his name, Timothée Chalamet, gets on lots of guys’ nerves) to play the 15-year-old Paul.”

    Steve sure knows his audience. Let the reeeeeeeeeeing begin!

    So far, ctrl + f “pretty” = 14; let’s go, guys!

  91. Ralph L says:
    @Twinkie

    Don’t forget Sian Phillips, Linda Hunt, and Francesca Annis.

  92. I never heard of Foundation even being in production. The black face on the trailer thumbnail does not bode well.

  93. @Hapalong Cassidy

    You might be interested in my recent discussion of the season 3 finale of Mad Men, where Harris plays a major role.

    https://counter-currents.com/2021/07/mid-century-mannerbund/

    There are also links to earlier essays (collected in End of An Era: Mad Men and the Ordeal of Civility) discussing Harris’s character’s fate (hint: the Jewish writers turn Wotan into Haman)

  94. It all depends on a personal taste.

    I’ve devoured the entire Foundation, as well as a few novels chronologically preceding it, and found it to be page-turner. Fond memories.

    On the other hand, I couldn’t read 20 pages of Dune. Fantasy, faux-Arabic etc.

    For me, real science fiction was readable until I was 25-27 or so. Then it became something basically infantile.

    Epic fantasy- I couldn’t read a single book of that genre. Dull magic & fake medievalism. As unreadable as romance novels or crime fiction.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  95. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    There was a TV series.

    Yes, I saw the Sci-Fi channel specials. Those were more “mini-series.” The first one – covering the first book – was really low-budget. The second one – covering the books two and three – was saved by James McAvoy and Alice Kriege (Susan Sarandon was badly miscast).

    The problem with an epic like Dune is you need a big budget to build the whole alternative universe or else or it just ends up looking kind of low-rent and chintzy.

    Yup. Hence my reference to HBO’s big budget Game of Thrones.

    Although it could also be argued that Classical Greeks and modern Greeks are not quite the same either.

    The Atreides had all kinds of ancestors. There is even a reference to some sort of a Central Asian (Mongol?) Khan in ancestor-memory of one of the Atreides (Alia?).

    Sean Young

    I thought that was the one miscasting in the Lynch film. She looked attractive enough, but didn’t seem to fit the role at all.

    I will watch the Villenueve remake, but I am already skeptical since Dr. Kynes is now a black woman.* That seems like a pure sop to the political demands of the day.

    *Scientists and doctors are routinely portrayed by blacks on TV and in films these days, which again, demonstrates the validity of my Hollywood-to-reality translator: https://www.unz.com/isteve/metoo-vs-blm/#comment-4053842

    I’ve developed a new rule – if you follow it, TV programs/movies make much more sense and are more realistic.

    1. See black characters onscreen (scientist or math genius sidekicks), imagine them as Asians.

    2. See white, esp. blond, blue-eyed male, characters onscreen (cartoon villains), imagine them as blacks.

    3. See Jewish characters onscreen (moral conscience, the good guy), imagine them as gentile whites.

    4. See Asian characters onscreen (gangsters, diabolical plotters), imagine them as Jews.

    5. See Hispanic characters onscreen (hapless, happy-go-lucky goofs), imagine them as Hispanics.

    It’d been hilarious, though, if Dr. Wellington Yueh were portrayed by a black woman in the new film. But I guess blacks are only supposed to play good doctors, not bad/traitor doctors.

    • Agree: Kronos
    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Almost Missouri
    , @TWS
  96. @Anon7

    “When interviewed about Dune, director Villenueve said “It’s all about the women.” You know, just like regular history is all about women, women fighters, women who lead sietches (underground towns) with tens of thousands of people, women creating vast empires, women putting entire planets on the rack to squeeze them for money. You know, women.”

    Well, since history isn’t like that, it would actually make the Woke Dune and similar enterprises more interesting, since at least they would be different. That’s what fiction is for, after all. “If I wanted to see/read about men all the time, I’d read history. Give me some fantasy women!”

    But no, the problem is that the Woke don’t think like that. They really do think history was all about women, but that’s been censored or whatever. AND they want fantasy to be about women. It’s totalitarian thinking, which is ironic since that’s one of their Frankfurt School clichés (“Capitalism imposes totalizing narratives”) due to the usual projection.

  97. Twinkie says:
    @Altai

    He is just very punchable

    All kids seem pretty punchable-looking to me these days, so Chalamet is no different there for me. You know whom I find punchable-looking? Oscar Isaac. He always gives off an effeminate vibe to me and looks pretty squat as well when the camera actually shows his entire frame (the jogging scene in “A Violent Year”). Yet he has become some sort of an action star. He was good in “Inside Llewyn Davis” though.

    While I think that the caliber of acting has risen over the years, probably due to the more intense competition, there doesn’t seem to be many credible-looking action stars these days. And, by that, I don’t mean physically muscular (supplements and trainers are world-class these days in Hollywood and only the truly lazy actors seem to have trouble looking “bulked-up”), but tough-looking.

    I mean, just compare Jürgen Prochnow and Oscar Isaac as Leto – one looks grizzly, the other airbrushed:

    Another actor I find very punchable-looking is John Krasinski, but that has nothing to do with Dune.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Feryl
  98. @BB753

    Well, Ted Lasso is a huge hit, at least among the overeducated New York liberals who seem to decide what “popular” means.

    • Thanks: BB753
  99. El Dato says:
    @Twinkie

    I will watch the Villenueve remake, but I am already skeptical since Dr. Kynes is now a black woman.

    Definitely the new normal.

    In a remake of 2001, HAL will be given the persona of a sassy black woman from Texas who says “Youse ain’t coming back onboard, sunshine!”

    Also, Frank Poole will be secretly trans but Bowman doesn’t know and so he uses the wrong pronouns, which drives HAL insane.

  100. Escher says:
    @John Regan

    Is the ethnicity of the characters explicitly stated in the novel?

    • Replies: @John Regan
  101. The two projects are interesting because of their casting choices. With Foundation, the cultural blackwashing of Britons continues–notice how all the young cast featured in the trailer are either black or mulatto British, including what appears to be the lead girl (haven’t read Foundation but from the trailer she seems to be the lead). British black women and mulattas continue to be highly coveted by Hollywood for leading parts these days, including for roles playing American characters. Harriet Tubman was recently played by a British black woman, Whitney Houston will be played by a British black woman in an upcoming film. These are major studio-backed Hollywood productions. The casting here in Foundation is reminiscent of the casting in the His Dark Materials adaptation, where the lead male role was blackwashed as well as several other notable characters.

    Which brings me to my next point, Dune has also blackwashed several characters (including Chani, and Stilgar, who was also female-washed), yet features in its lead role someone who is perhaps the ONLY ‘pale white male’ Gen Z actor who is being pushed as a major A-list star. In the past, at least 50% of upcoming A-list star actors would’ve been white men. Now, I’m really struggling to name another other than Chalamet. Almost all the other notable young actors/actresses being pushed by the industry are either women or non-white, including that Justice Smith creature they tried to push in the Pokemon movie and Jurassic Park sequel a few years ago (unfortunately for him, you have to be attractive to be a real movie star).

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  102. @Paul Rise

    Yeah, Lynch’s version is underrated. He basically originated the steampunk aesthetic in film with his Dune, and as another commenter here pointed out once, Lynch’s invention of the sonic weapons was an improvement over Herbert’s essentially unarmed Fremen. His sets, casting, costumes, and practical effects were all memorable, as was the score. The weakness was the special effects and the rushed denouement, where it’s obvious Lynch ran out of money.

    Still, I’ll go see the new one. It looks like they’ve nailed the ornithopters in it.

    • Agree: fish, jamie b.
  103. @Anon7

    Unfortunately, all the Fremen seem to be people of pigment (well, Javier Bardem is Spanish, but to most Americans he’s “Latinx”) and the bad guy Harkonnens are all pale stale males with shaved heads. Did you expect any different?

    On the other hand, the series (and films, there’s no way to change this) is also about the noble white family coming to the shithole desert planet and lifting its struggling people out of oppression and making them into the biggest force in the galaxy.

  104. @Rob

    The God Emperor of Dune was interesting. Herbert imagined this creature and then gave him believable dialogue for the context. It’s almost like a play. The last two books in the original series were utterly forgettable.

    Relatedly, there are only two sci-fi novel series I’ve read where the books get much better as you go and peak with the last one: Cixin Lieu’s Three-Body trilogy and the Rama series co-written by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee (chief engineer at JPL in his day job). The Three-Body series is being adapted for TV by the Game of Thrones show runners along with a Chinese collaborator.

    The Rama series would be a good candidate for an iSteve book club as the later books touch on HBD.

    • Replies: @Joseph A.
  105. @John Regan

    Game of Thrones also managed to sneak through without unnecessary “diversity”. They even make a point of the Dothraki hordes being murderous rapists. Wild how much things have changed in 10 years, now it seems unthinkable that series would get made as it was. Daenerys at the very least would be a black woman and so would Jon Snow most likely.

  106. So the Foundation is going to be full of … blacks?

    You’d think humanity would have solved that problem long before we get to “the future”.

    Pretty sure in any future full of black guys we won’t be going to space.

    • Replies: @Thomm
  107. raga10 says:
    @Wilkey

    I could not get into Foundation at all – I know I started reading it, I know I hated it. I don’t know if I ever finished reading, I can’t even remember but I suspect I gave up half-way. None of it seemed even remotely possible or interesting.

    I do like his robot stories though, especially The Robots of Dawn, and even more so, The Naked Sun. I was immediately fascinated by the idea of a planet deliberately keeping its population capped at 20,000 people and to be honest, I still am. I would love to live on Solaria…

    • Replies: @raga10
    , @Catdog
  108. @Ralph L

    His editor and original publisher, John W. Campbell, hated that “development” and had wanted Paul to continue on as a “competent man” or Messiah, a la Heinlein.

    Needless to say, his recent biographer is all on Herbert’s side: the usual dreck about “complexity” etc.

    https://www.unz.com/article/pulp-puppies-competent-men/

  109. @Twinkie

    Harkonnen is a Finnish name, so the Baron being played by a Swede is actually quite appropriate. As for the pale look of the Harkonnens, Villaneuve explained that this was due to the pollution on their industrial nightmarish home world of Giedi Prime (which is true to the book). So the “Woke” aspect here is not White Supremacy, but rather Climate Change.

  110. klesko says:
    @Anon7

    the amount of black people in both of these doesn’t bode well either. it completely takes me out of the universe

  111. Thomm says:

    Dune :

    Any film that was substandard even in 1984 (practically the apex of our civilization) is going to be uber crap in the woke era of today.

    ‘Nuff said.

  112. Thomm says:
    @AnotherDad

    Pretty sure in any future full of black guys we won’t be going to space.

    How dare….!!!!

    Kunta Kinte, despite being captured and enslaved, AND having both his foot cut off and going blind at various times in his long life, still managed to become the Chief Engineer of the Flagship of the United Federation of Planets, that too just 596 years after being captured and enslaved (1767-2363).

    He even found time along the way to teach millions of children how to read.

    If that isn’t the most inspiring story of personal accomplishment, spanning seven centuries, I don’t know what is.

  113. @Twinkie

    “The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange. If they were fair in skin tone, they’d have all died from skin cancer….The Atreides were – literally – Greek in origin, from the House of Agamemnon.”

    Don’t confuse an Unz commenter’s manly Nordic love with facts.

    • Troll: John Regan
    • Replies: @raga10
  114. raga10 says:
    @raga10

    I was immediately fascinated by the idea of a planet deliberately keeping its population capped at 20,000 people

    LOL, I meant the society on that planet capping their own numbers. But hey, the idea of a sentient planet deciding how many people would be allowed to live on it is interesting too… maybe I should write that book!

  115. @guest007

    When I was a teenager, I read all sorts of huge books — Bleak House, Moby Dick, the Gormenghast trilogy (but not LOTR), Gibbon’s Rise and Fall (that abridged paperback version, but three large books anyhow), etc. Then, like other teenage habits, I kind of grew out of it.

    Like Henry James, I now prefer “the dear, the blessed nouvelle.” Nothing over 200 pages is considered. Nothing to do with “these modern writers,” although for a long while after WWIIAmerican writers turned out “huge baggy monsters” (James again) to compete with Moby Dick; remember The Sot Weed Factor or The Recognitions? Does anyone still read those? Even Catch-22 is overwritten, the size of Pynchon’s V or Gravity”s Rainbow.

    Your point is still largely valid, especially about fantasy and children’s novel series, (Tolkien set the bad example, and LOTR was even supposed to be one huge volume, but paper rationing stopped them). But even in the typewriter days these guys could still really crank stuff out. I think it had something to do with people having more time, or less alternatives; the Victorians wrote huge novels, but published them in 3 parts (“triple deckers”) so that libraries could lend them out piecemeal, or published them in installments week after week.

    Lovecraft had the right idea: stories, tales, novellas, and one or two “novels” of about 200 pages.

    Thing of it is, in my own case, word processing is the only thing that enabled me to write at length, even though I was fairly good at typing in the old days. This may actually prove the wisdom of your comment.

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @Bardon Kaldian
  116. CCR says:

    The 4 1/2 hour miniseries released in 2000 was in most ways considerably better than the Lynch film. It had great CGI, and some beautiful women. Julia Cox as Princess Irulan walking across the huge interior of some palace wearing a form fitting dress is still in my memory!

    The plot was also more understandable, being longer. And the character who played Baron Harkonnen, Ian McNiece, was better than the film’s actor in that role.

    Also, Lynch’s steam punk scene was absolutely ridiculous.

  117. jamie b. says:
    @Paul Rise

    I’ve been waiting for all these…

    Dune: Done twice now. Lynch’s was fine but never completed. I’m excited to see the new version.

    Foundation: Presumably won’t be able to see it on “Apple TV”(??) Might have to wait a long time before I can ever see it.

    Canticle for Leibowitz: Basically been done.

    Lucifer’s Hammer: Basically been done.

    Childhood’s End: The Scifi channel did a rather awful version. So still waiting…

    Ringworld: Still waiting…

    Rendezvous with Rama: Still waiting…

    • Replies: @jamie b.
  118. ladderff_ says:

    I will plug a sci-fi epic I enjoyed at least as much as those mentioned above: Julian May’s Galactic Milieu. Wonderful use of characterization, family, speculative tech, theology, whimsy, space travel.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  119. @Almost Missouri

    “Sean Young who is exotic only the sense of “from the outer reaches of the Upper East Side”.

    But also in the sense of “the outer reaches of our common reality.”

  120. I must admit that I never really cared much for Isaac Asimov’s work. As a youngster I preferred Ray Bradbury’s short stories. My older sister introduced me to Harlan Ellison whose work I greatly enjoyed. I read the first three Dune novels and liked them. I have not read much fiction for the past thirty years or so. Biographies, history, and theological tomes have tripped my trigger for some time.

    Lynch’s Dune was an incoherent mess in my opinion. I did enjoy the Sci-Fi mini-series although I felt Saskia Reeves’ Jessica was weak. Alice Krige in the Children of Dune sequel was much stronger. My anticipation for the upcoming version has been dampened by the changing of the Liet-Kynes character from male to a black female. And then an interview with the director about the how the second film depicting the rest of the novel would be focused on Chani. WTF!

    Sidenote: I have long wondered when some film maker will attempt to bring William Gibson’s Neuromancer to the screen.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  121. @inertial

    “Dune’s Galactic Empire is Russian Empire”

    It sure seems both Herbert and Lynch were inspired by Russian Cosmism. Russian Cosmism has been so enthusiastically embraced by SunBakedSuburb that he’s thinking about renting a work space in Vladivostok and getting himself a Russian girlfriend.

  122. raga10 says:
    @James J O'Meara

    The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange.

    Blue eyes or not, Fremen seemed to be largely based on Arabic tribes; I believe jihad was mentioned once or twice and I seem to remember a few other middle-eastern flavours scattered about… I doubt the name of Muad’Dib was meant to sound European either… I think they certainly weren’t meant to be Nordic types.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  123. jamie b. says:
    @jamie b.

    I’d also love to see Mission of Gravity, but I seriously doubt anyone would ever make a movie where the main characters are all giant centipedes.

  124. mc23 says:

    Just watched the trailer it seems much better then the Lynch’s version in 1984. I loved the books, well some of them. Didn’t really care for the movie, seemed like a sort of Latin soap opera if I remember correctly.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  125. @Wet Spaghetti

    “The driest sciencey writers rarely imagined, or just didn’t want to publish a future where human will and heroism were less consequential. A.I. was envisioned by few, which why 2001 was/is so haunting. Star Wars was loved in part because it portrayed noble heros banging their wrenches on space ship components. Machines were spectacular but entirely reliant upon and subject to people. 70’s car culture wasn’t thought transitory. Man-to-man battles are required to sell these stories.”

    Yes, but Harrison Ford was also Indiana Jones, and the same audience got a big laugh when Indy pulled out his pistol and shot the sword-wielding guy. Today, a fat slob in a bunker in Idaho can wipe the Cheetos crumbs from his hands, push a button, and put a cruise missile up the ass of any “noble warrior” tribesman. French knights were mowed down at Agincourt by English churls with longbows (is that the right battle? You get my point).

    The greatest skill is the one that comes up with the explanation for why they don’t just “nuke ’em from orbit.” Instead, Heinlein (or Verhoeven) sends infantry troops across the solar system to shoot it out on the planet. By contrast, in Alien, the evil corporation wants the alien alive ; in Dune, the Butlerian Jihad forbids AI or even computers, and humans cultivate their mental and spiritual powers instead (an idea that manly Unz commenters would find “too fruity”)

    Do we want to sacrifice science and comfort for “heroism”? This may be the essence of the Aryan/Judaic conflict. The Judaic finds Aryan “nobility” in war, sports, games, to be puzzling or laughable (see Maurice Samuels, You Gentiles). That’s why Bond villains keep Bond alive instead of “just killing him” as Dr. Evil’s son (played by Judaic Seth Green) insists. Even Schopenhauer, no friend of the Jews, thought dueling and “honor” culture was absurd.

    • Replies: @Rob
  126. Anon[331] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The trailers make Dune look drab, possibly Villeneuve trying to hard not to be Lynch.

    Drab realism seems to be Villeneuve’s aesthetic. I’m not a fan of it, especially for what are supposed to be fantastic, sci-fi settings like Blade Runner and Dune. The main appeal of Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner were the exotic, fantastic visuals – the plot itself is relatively lackluster. Villeneuve’s drab smoky visuals in Blade Runner 2049 did not look good and his Dune visuals look similarly lame compared to Lynch’s original.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  127. theMann says:
    @El Dato

    Well, if they ever make the definitive end of the world film, jumping into the wayback machine and filming The Metal Doom would be the way to do it.

    Vernor Vinge’s The Peace War\Marooned in Real Time would be good, and topical.

    A Canticle For Leibowitz, although I can’t imagine Hollywood approaching it’s Church vs. State themes honestly.

    Gateway is really number one with me though. The astounding sense of wonder and opportunity vs. the deadly, dangerous work of Exploration, some body could make a great film of that. Just not Hollywood.

    At least we have The Expanse. The novels aren’t great SciFi, maybe reasonably good SciFi, but damn that Series is Awesome.

    • Agree: fish
  128. @Bardon Kaldian

    Agree 100%, but shhhhhhh! Don’t you know that believing LOTR is the greatest work of the human imagination is required on this side of the spectrum? (Sort of like Leftists have to pretend to have read and adored Capital)

  129. @Anon7

    It’s not going to be a black remake. It never is. It’s a Jewish/woke white remake financed by Jews remake using blacks.

    There’s a very big difference.

  130. mc23 says:
    @El Dato

    Cordwainer Smith’s work is prophetic. It’s melodramatic space opera but engaging.

  131. @Escher

    From memory: Harkonnens are evil looking swarthy decadent late Roman Empire aristocrats, Atreides are noble looking Republic aristocrats with dark hair but tall and pale eyes, Fremen in general are blue eyed desert dwellers* although supposedly this is also due to magic space drugs so who knows.

    (The 1980s movie made the dark pouty lipped Harkonnens much more Nordic to fit Hollywood conventions about what evil looks like so that one too is not free from agendas in the casting by any means.)

    Count Fenring was short and dark and his wife tall and blonde. Liet Kynes (black woman in 2021 says the Internet) was Nordic and his daughter Chani a redhead. Doctor Yueh was Fu Manchu so I guess I can accept if they cast a Chinaman as him. I’d have to reread the book to see if it gives any precise descriptions of other more minor characters.

    Right away though I don’t recall anyone being described as what was then called a Negro. A writer in the early 1960s probably would’ve pointed that out if he intended it. Heinlein (or Asimov for that matter) sometimes trolled readers with non white heroes but we remember it because it was a) so very deliberate and b) still rare back then so there was still shock value.

    *Who don’t seem to get skin cancer anymore than the blondes and redheads among the Riffkabyles in real life…

  132. Anon[112] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri

    House Atreides has been thoroughly Mediterraneanized compared to David Lynch’s more Nordic rendition.

    Oscar Isaac is not a bad actor, but he comes across as miscast in a lot of his roles. Obviously this is in large part just personal bias, but he’s too ethnic looking and has that shifty/swarthy visage for protaganist and “good guy” type roles.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  133. ChrisZ says:

    It’s nice to see Steve returning to the mid-20th-century sci-fi beat, which has clearly meant so much to him over the years. I believe my first comment on this blog was to encourage him to write some kind of interpretive survey of the genre and its great creators.

    I still think that’s a good idea. In fact, now that so many of the nightmares of dystopian literature are coming true, it would be quite timely. More generally it would be a subtle way to advance Steve’s ideas among a “mainstream” audience, and would hopefully be a fun project for him to undertake.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  134. mc23 says:
    @El Dato

    Inspired, I think you’re on to something here.

  135. Dune + foundation = sinkhole.

    • LOL: Twinkie
  136. @Twinkie

    Thanks, lol, I hadn’t seen your Hollywood-to-reality translator before.

    5. See Hispanic characters onscreen (hapless, happy-go-lucky goofs), imagine them as Hispanics.

    The Generation Kill miniseries had three semi-prominent Hispanic characters: Espera, Garza, and Reyes. Garza was more less like your #5. Espera was the most interesting. In the original book, which is journalism not fiction, and in Lt. Fick’s own memoir, Espera comes off as amiable but also intelligent and perceptive, despite his rough background. In fact, Espera’s capsule analysis of conquered Iraq at the end of Fick’s memoir was far more prescient in one paragraph than a million pages of credentialed deep state expertise on the same subject. In Jon Huertas’s miniseries portrayal, though, Espera is just kind of “ethnic” and aggrieved. Reyes was basically white.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  137. Alfa158 says:
    @Ian Smith

    I can’t imagine any movie maker since the golden age of cinema who could capture the literary spirit of that series. Current “auteurs” such as Ridley Scott would end up making hollow cartoons. I think Tarkovsky was the last director who might have been able to pull it off.
    There is also the problem of modifying the books to make them politically and commercially acceptable. The northern hemisphere civilization battling the rule of the Autarch is a send up of Maoist China and his little red book. Can’t show that in China. Also to the extent that humans are described in books, everyone in this future Urth appears to be white.

  138. jamie b. says:
    @El Dato

    Also, one Jar Jar binks is enough.

    Are you comparing Nessus to Jar Jar Binks??

  139. Twinkie says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Thanks, lol, I hadn’t seen your Hollywood-to-reality translator before.

    Ah, but you did. Click on the link and see who LOL’d it.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  140. @Rahan

    Quite nostalgic to see the cover art – Boris Vallejo is 80 now, but his work is immediately recognisable (even without looking at the signature).

    His representation of the “bloke with sword next to hot chick with barely-covered rack” genre was always awesome – and vastly superior to all other stuff in the genre.

    • Replies: @Rahan
  141. @Dave Pinsen

    Agree, except that some credit given to Lynch belongs to Jorodowsky…

    https://m.imdb.com/title/tt1935156/

    Also of interest is Gwern’s article on Frank Herberts genetics as presented in the novels.

    https://www.gwern.net/Dune-genetics

    And of course it wouldn’t be 2021 unless we can make a connection Dune and QANON (spoiler: Baron Harkonnen drinks adrenochrome).

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-qanon-became-obsessed-with-adrenochrome-an-imaginary-drug-hollywood-is-harvesting-from-kids

  142. @Anon7

    ‘All about the women”

    I was interested in the recent TV series “Y: The Last Man“, in which some pathogen kills all the men on Earth except one (who of course is the son of a high profile female American politician… and he is a complete fuckup).

    I expected it to be the typical nonsense about how the women use consensus and female wisdom to save everyone v(using a combination of self-help books, dreamcatchers, crystals and superfoods)- but it soon descends into bitchy sniping and desperate searching for female engineers to re-start power plants, generators etc.

    I’m only on episode 3, so doubtless the ladies will get their shit together and make a new, inclusive and diverse Wonderland.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    , @mc23
  143. @Anon

    Duke Leto Atreides’ looks are described in “Dune” as reminding Lady Jessica of olive groves. The name is a reference to the House of Atreus of Sophocles fame. His father engaged in Spanish-style bullfighting for fun. Much of the atmosphere is drawn from Machiavelli, who wrote the Prince for young Cesar Borgia, of the Spanish family that moved to Italy.

    I could see Javier Bardem of Spain in the role as well, but he can’t speak English that well.

    • Replies: @Anon
  144. @El Dato

    In a remake of 2001, HAL will be given the persona of a sassy black woman from Texas who says “Youse ain’t coming back onboard, sunshine!”

  145. @John Milton’s Ghost

    Momoa as Halleck

    There’s nothing wrong with Momoa per se – he’s been pretty entertaining as a hyper-violent Baba Voss in ‘See‘ – but he’s the wrong guy to play Gurney Halleck. (He was also the wrong guy to play Aquaman).

  146. @Horrorwitz

    who is perhaps the ONLY ‘pale white male’ Gen Z actor who is being pushed as a major A-list star.

    Well, he did his part to promote homosexual sodomy of minors, so now he has to be rewarded pour encourager les autres.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  147. David Lynch’s Dune was unwatchable. I read the book and still thought it was horrible. I recently watched it again to see if my dislike was justified. Yes it was. My kids (young adults) watched it with me and they couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

    Now they’re going to stuff these movies with all sorts of sly anti-white propaganda. I’m glad I’ve given up on most “entertainment”. Life feels more fulfilling now.

  148. @Kratoklastes

    Have seen/read all the plays of Shakespeare? Why even take a chance on that stuff unless you have nothing better to do with your time? (I am guilty too).

  149. @Twinkie

    Okay, but now I’m going to remember seeing it.

    Anyway, good to know it keeps being funny.

  150. Right_On says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Jared Harris also excelled as Captain Francis Crozier in the TV mini-series The Terror, a fictionalized account of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic in 1845.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  151. Anon[327] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I understand that the character is supposed to be Mediterranean. It’s not that Isaac looks Mediterranean, it’s that he looks like a caricature of the shifty guy who’s typecast as the stereotypical bad guy.

    Contrast with the young Robert DeNiro, who looks Mediterranean but believable as the good guy protaganist.

    Borgia’s paternal side was Spanish but his mother was from Lombardy in northern Italy and depicted as blonde in portraits.

    Bardem is another good actor but seems way too exotic and brutish looking a la Anton Chigurh.

    Part of this is just personal bias but also from Hollywood’s history of casting northern European actors for Classical world and Mediterranean roles. Even Oliver Stone’s Alexander seemed to have British actors for all the Greek roles.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  152. @Bill Jones

    For a more realistic vision of the (very shortly upcoming) future try Atlas Shrugged.

    Even more realistic would be The Hunger Games.

  153. @SunBakedSuburb

    You might like Neal Stephenson’s Anathem.

  154. @MEH 0910

    That makes significantly more sense than Momoa as Gurney Halleck. Idaho was supposed to be a bit on the swarthy side, but with green or blue eyes and good looking – and an expert in hand-to-hand combat.

  155. Joseph A. says:
    @JMcG

    Dandelion Wine is my favorite of his, too.

  156. @Almost Missouri

    Well, he did his part to promote homosexual sodomy of minors

    Your link calls it “coming of age”, but “aging of come” might be closer to the truth.

  157. Joseph A. says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    “The God Emperor of Dune was interesting.”

    Agree. Leto (II) is the series’ most interesting character in my opinion . . . a sort of philosopher king meets Jesus meets Metternich.

    • Agree: Dave Pinsen
  158. @Wet Spaghetti

    Lynch is a painter, and a pretty good one. He can visualize, and film, strange, beautiful, and striking scenes (Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) and the dreamlike grotesque (Eraserhead etc.) but just can’t tell a freaking story.
    Half a director.

  159. @Paul Rise

    I dunno about Lord of the Rings. I thought the first two movies were excellent with only the Return of the King being overwrought.

    The Hobbit, however, took a quaint and charming little book and made it into a Disneyfied monstrosity, even though the cast did a fine job.

  160. Our fantasy lives tell us what we really want. Despite the last quarter-millennium of propaganda and indoctrination during and after the Enlightenment about the evils of hierarchy, feudalism, clericalism, tradition, patriarchy, aristocracy and monarchy, Dune shows that we still find emotional fulfillment in stories based on the pre-Enlightenment social model, even in a kind of “science-fictional” setting.

  161. @El Dato

    James Cameron bought the option on Niven and Pournelle’s “Footfall,” but then passed on it after the various alien invasion movies like Independence Day and Mars Attacks came out.

    For his \$100k option fee, Cameron got a week of the authors’ time to answer all his painstaking questions about their novel. Pournelle said Cameron is the dream fan that any sci-fi author would want and they should have paid Cameron for the experience.

    • Thanks: Dave Pinsen
    • Replies: @Brutusale
  162. mousey says:

    Not sure how they’ll do character development on Foundation. The series spanned millennia. The only consistent characters were the ghost of Hari Seldon and the robot Daneel. Maybe that’s how it will work out. Completely new set of characters each season with Hari and Daneel making cameos.

    Daneel was used to connect several of Asimov book series together. Starting with “I Robot” the novel, not the horrible movie, the Foundation series and the Robot series.

    Most of the text in Foundation was internal deliberations and discussions among characters. Very little action. I loved all of them but I’m afraid that any movie / TV series will end up like “I Robot”.

    • Replies: @Rex Little
  163. @El Dato

    “Also, Frank Poole will be secretly trans but Bowman doesn’t know and so he uses the wrong pronouns, which drives HAL insane.”

    Finally, someone explains the plot of Kubrick’s film! Now it all makes sense.

  164. @Twinkie

    The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange. If they were fair in skin tone, they’d have all died from skin cancer.

    I’m not sure that they would have developed skin cancer. I think that they always wore stillsuits when outside in the sun, and had been doing so for thousands of years. Although the purpose of the suits was to recycle the body’s water, they would also have served to protect the skin from sunlight as well, so it wouldn’t really matter what color their skin was.

    It has been years since I read the books, but I do not remember any descriptions of the Fremens’ skin color. However, the 3/4 Fremen Chani, along with her children with Paul, Leto II and Ghanima, were described as having red hair.

    • Replies: @raga10
  165. Catdog says:
    @raga10

    That reminds me of Jack Vance’s Caldwell Chronicles. A planet is set aside as a preserve, and the numbers of the human caretakers are extremely limited, causing much drama. Of course those rules don’t apply to the illegal immigrants that the elites are importing.

    Vance was a fantastic right-wing sci fi author. Another good one was Emphyrio, about a planet being ruled and kept in poverty by what are clearly meant to be greedy space jews.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  166. SafeNow says:

    Putting aside the galling bias in casting, a different objection: I am guessing that the producers operated under the assumption that most modern American movie audiences are largely witless. If this was their assumption, then they were correct. I am no Roger Ebert, but to me, modern screenplays are usually at the Readers Digest level.

  167. David Lynch was stymied by De Laurentiis and the studio wanting a single film to tell the story, which as other people have pointed out would be like condensing the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy into one film. Denis Villeneuve has stated this movie only covers the first half of the first novel, so my guess is no story resolution at the end unless the studio green lights the sequel. The paperback version I just read came in just under eight hundred pages, plus additional appendices and a map of the planet, and Villeneuve has stated the strength of the story comes from it’s details.

  168. Anonymous[415] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    It’s an astoundingly homophobic movie, especially for 1984 when AIDS was rampant. (The lead villain is a diseased homosexual who murders boys for fun.)

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @John Johnson
  169. syonredux says:

    RE: The FOUNDATION series

    Asimov’s 1955 novel THE END OF ETERNITY is another pass at some of FOUNDATION’s themes . It’s better written than the FOUNDATION Trilogy (the characters are better drawn), and it would make a better movie. At the very least, it would pose fewer challenges in terms of structure.

  170. syonredux says:
    @Twinkie

    The Fremen were a desert people who only had blue eyes, because of the Spice Melange. If they were fair in skin tone, they’d have all died from skin cancer.

    How much sun exposure do the Fremen get? I seem to recall that they stay covered -up (stillsuit, etc) most of the time. For that matter, the Fremen communities (Sietches) were underground.

  171. Wilkey says:
    @John Regan

    There’s certainly the potential to make great series out of both of those franchises. It seems unlikely that they can be made in the Current Year however.

    You are probably right. I tend to get my hopes up a little too much when a new series comes along, only to forget how often those hopes have been dashed. Battlestar Galactica, Billions, and The Expanse all started out brilliantly, but each managed to start disappointing after two seasons or so, with no small amount of their failure due to obnoxiously woke story lines or casting choices.

    Foundation and Dune are so far removed from our present time and place that one hopes there won’t be too many attempts to insert Wokeness into the storylines. Foundation’s main cast appears to 3/8ths black, which is absurd on any number of levels, but hopefully they weren’t cast simply because of their race, and hopefully the larger cast is a bit better balanced.

    The Lord of the Rings even managed to get cast without a single non-white cast member (at least not one portraying a human). Tolkien’s Middle Earth was intended to be a fantastical version of ancient Britain, and Peter Jackson honored that vision. But when The Hobbit was being made there was apparently some kerfuffle when they were casting extras, and Jackson’s arm got twisted. So there are a few (mercifully brief) scenes where you see a couple of extras in Lake Town who look like they’re fresh off the boat from the Sudan, as if they just paddled up for a weekend visit.

  172. raga10 says:
    @Indiana Jack

    It has been years since I read the books, but I do not remember any descriptions of the Fremens’ skin color. However, the 3/4 Fremen Chani, along with her children with Paul, Leto II and Ghanima, were described as having red hair.

    I’m not sure about their skin colour, but I would say that on the whole Fremen were intended to be sort of faux-Arabic people. Just look at the name, Muad’Dib – I think it’s a fictional word but clearly it was intended to sound Arabic. At least I hope so, because if Herbert intended it to sound Nordic, he failed miserably 🙂
    The other name that Fremen gave Paul was Usul and I believe that actually is Arabic name.
    There are various other Arabic influences scattered all over Fremen. Their legends talk about a Mahdi. The word “jihad” appears in the book quite a few times as well.

  173. syonredux says:

    When showrunner David Goyer told James Cameron that the rights to Foundation were up for bid again, Cameron offered Goyer his expert opinion: “That’s a hard one.”

    From a dramatic standpoint, the FOUNDATION series is stiff and lifeless throughout Book I (FOUNDATION) and the first half of Book II (FOUNDATION AND EMPIRE). Things only pick up once the Mule comes into play in the second half of EMPIRE, as he is something that lies outside the predictive power of the Seldon Plan.

    Herbert clearly learned from Asimov’s error and made his version of the Mule ( the Kwisatz Haderach) the center of the narrative.

  174. @Anon

    Oscar Isaac has, by 21st Century American standards, an aristocratic demeanor. But he’s better suited to playing the Machiavellian aristocratic bad guy, like he played Prince John in Ridley Scott’s 2010 “Robin Hood.” Aristocrat good guys in movies are tall and slender, like Errol Flynn in the 1938 “Robin Hood,” which Isaac isn’t. He’s a little like Paul Giamatti, who is a shlubby looking guy but whose father was the president of Yale and has superb diction.

    Duke Leto is kind of a complex character: he’s a good guy, but also machiavellian. I’m hopeful, but, that said, Oscar Isaac’s career has been disappointing.

    On the other hand, it can take a long time for an actor to get the right roles and reach his peak. Matthew McConaughey was super-hyped back in the 1990s, but then nothing much came of it until the 2010s when he a very strong run for about a half-decade. Heck, Brad Pitt was a star for almost 30 years before Tarantino said: He looks like the leading man, but, deep down, he’s a sidekick, so I’ll write him a role as the coolest sidekick ever, like Bruce Lee in the TV “Green Hornet.” I’ll even have him beat up Bruce Lee.

    • Agree: Dave Pinsen
    • Replies: @Wilkey
    , @Twinkie
  175. @Right_On

    So, it sounds like they got a promising Hari Seldon.

    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
  176. Dube says:
    @JMcG

    Science fiction got me through high school long ago, but I left the genre when finally relinquishing Ray Bradbury, before Dune came along, and I never had the stomach to try the Herbert. Descriptions that I see, such as Steve’s, confirm avoidance. But why should I talk like this, when someone enjoys the stuff. It does make me wish I could return to the wonders of L. Sprague de Camp and A. E. Van Vogt. And hey, I bought a genuine scratchboard Virgil Finlay for six bucks at the first ChiCon, the man was a master. But Bradbury, as a long walk for a drink of water – I remember the phrases that finally turned me off: someone on Mars perhaps urging his crewmate to “taste of it, taste of it!” The prepositions were a Bradbury reach for sensibilia. Well, bless the man for accomplishment and zest for imagination. Though I recall a French lit professor, not in a class, talking cordially and favorably about Bradbury, then concluding with, “But … but.”

    • Thanks: JMcG
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  177. anonymous[767] • Disclaimer says:

    Wasn’t the Science Fiction Channel’s adaptation of Dune reasonably well received by people who at least read it to its entirety and possibly even enjoyed the original novel?

  178. Dune is tedious and way over-rated, with a few bright spots. The gom-jabbar scene at the beginning is magnificent and classic, a must; and the bizarre mind-bending conception of how space travel “works” is also great. Everything else is just the tiresome story of insider power dynamics, yet again. I’ll take Henry IV thru Richard III with a side of kahlua, thanks.

    Also, “Arrival” was a REALLY great movie.

  179. @Dube

    In pre-war Los Angeles, Robert Heinlein ran a club for sci-fi writers where they’d get together and read their first drafts to each other. One of the members was 17-year-old Ray Bradbury. Heinlein confided to a friend that young Bradbury was the worst . writer . ever, but … he writes 1,000 words every single day, so he might make something of himself.

  180. @Anon

    The initial trailer for Dune was particularly drab.

    One problem for a director of Dune is that David Lean showed once and for all how to film a desert, so all the other ways are worse.

    I read somewhere that Lean was once attached to film Dune.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  181. @mc23

    seemed like a sort of Latin soap opera

    Was Lynch’s Dune filmed in Mexico?

  182. @raga10

    “Muad’Dib” is a reference to the 19th Century Sudanese jihadist who proclaimed himself the Mahdi:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ahmad

    • Thanks: El Dato
  183. Anon[381] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    It’s an astoundingly homophobic movie, especially for 1984 when AIDS was rampant. (The lead villain is a diseased homosexual who murders boys for fun.)

    At least he was a white male. That’s a minimum requirement for a villain.

    At any rate, having a baddie who was a homo killing people kind of accurately reflects the AIDS/HIV epidemic, doesn’t it, especially back then?

    Michael Fumento pointed out that AIDS was mostly homos and junkies (he didn’t use those words):

    The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS: The Hazard of Using Misinformation to Restore Morality
    https://www.crisismagazine.com/1988/the-myth-of-heterosexual-aids-the-hazard-of-using-misinformation-to-restore-morality

    The CDC in 2021: “Gay, bisexual, and other men who reported male-to-male sexual contact are disproportionately affected by HIV.”

    https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/index.html

  184. @Dave Pinsen

    Anathem is very good; I also recommend it.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  185. @Jefferson Temple

    As a fairly hardcore Tolkien fan, I think all three movies are successful as movies qua movies.

    The first installment often gets cited as Tolkien fans’ favorite. One reason for this is simply the great joy in seeing Middle Earth finally being realized in film, in ways that were reassuringly true to the book. The first film also had several outstanding action sequences, especially when the Fellowship’s trapped in that claustrophobic chamber in Moria with the troll. I think it’s the high point of the entire film trilogy.

    The Two Towers is also very good, but it’s marred by the first of Peter Jackson’s deep betrayals of Tolkien’s theological/moral framework. This occurs when the Ents, instead marching to their likely doom after a consensus decision based on deep principle and a commitment to fight evil, are instead manipulated by the hobbits into attacking Saruman because they have lots of Intense Feelings when they see their pretty trees getting trashed.

    In the third film, it’s Faramir’s decision to keep the ring and take it and the hobbits back to Gondor that leaves the true fan feeling ill. I remember my disbelieving shock at this scene when I saw Return of the King for the first time — Faramir is one of the most beloved and identifiable characters in the whole epic, and that scene eviscerated who he was and what he represented.

  186. Pericles says:
    @jcd1974

    And here I was looking forward to The Mule-atto ruining whiteys plans. But then that’s presumably not blackity black enough for … um, whoever is supposed to watch this again. Raciss old white people who read science fiction back when it was good?

  187. Pericles says:
    @John Regan

    For what it’s worth, ‘Harkonnen’ seems like a Finnish name, for instance like F1 drivers Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikonnen.

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  188. mc23 says:
    @Kratoklastes

    So the last man is sorta like Hunter Biden.

  189. Dan Simmons’ Hyperion is another great scifi book waiting to made a film.

    I love these threads hadn’t heard of Gene Wolfe and Harlan Ellison. Thanks guys.

  190. Rahan says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Yup, Vallejo and Frazetta, the best of the pulp masters.

    Bruce Pennington did the best sci-fi covers for a while, including for Dune.

    And Luis Royo is one generation after them, a master of the 1980s/90s “chicks with weapons” genre. It has it’s own charm, cough.

    It’s shocking to at first be all “eh, that’s cheesy”, and then suddenly you’re older and you look around and it turns out this “cheesy stuff” was actually the very last wave of normal esthetics of this civilization.

    Sad!

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Thanks: bomag
  191. El Dato says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    But Quantum Mechanics doesn’t work the way it is described in there.

    It makes absolutely no difference to what transpires whether you look at it or not.

    An “observer” in QM is not a conscious entity but a state-copying mechanism. Like, you know, a LHC barrel detector.

    Sadly, the income of some New Age gurus depend on that confusion.

  192. Wilkey says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “He’s a little like Paul Giamatti, who is a shlubby looking guy but whose father was the president of Yale and has superb diction.”

    I know I’ve liked Paul Giamatti in something – can’t remember what – but he was appallingly bad in the Showtime series “Billions.” Awful. He wasn’t the only bad part about it, but he was certainly the worst. His diction may be good, but his voice sounded exactly the same in every scene, whether he was making love or sending a hedge fund manager to prison.

    Your description of Giamatti also sounds a lot like Wallace Shawn, who is almost literally the very definition of a schlub, but whose father was the editor of The New Yorker for decades.

  193. El Dato says:
    @El Dato

    Reminds me that the epic walking/riding/climbing/safari/removal-from-premise simulator Horizon Zero Dawn already has that.

    Who wouldn’t give the persona of a Black Woman to a biosphere-controlling alpha-level AI named after a classic Greek primal deity, especially if that AI seems to have variously trouble keeping to keep it together?

    Come on, Gaia! What’s going on out there?

    Still the main character looks more like this painting by Vargas, so all is forgiven.

  194. Busby says:

    I’d like to see a remake of Phillip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld. There was a version made in 2003. Terrible. They replaced Farmer’s interesting choice of protagonist, 19th century British adventurer Richard Francis Burton, with a generic American astronaut.

    • Thanks: Rahan
  195. @El Dato

    > Lucifer’s Hammer

    No, that would decay to the N-th Hollywoodian “catastrophe” film. It’s been done.

    Sure, it could turn out that way, but if done right it would be awesome. The scene where the surfer is caught in the tsunami and rides it until he wipes out against the Bonaventure. . . that alone would be worth the price of admission.

  196. Nonanon says:

    I made my kids watch Lynch’s Dune with me last year. When it was over, my 14 year-old daughter asked me to “please don’t ever tell anybody that I watched this.” My wife and I laughed long over that one.

    • Replies: @flyingtiger
  197. guest007 says:
    @James J O'Meara

    If one wants to read novellas that are science fiction try either the Bobiverse books (three short books cover almost every trope in science fiction) or the Murderbot series (shorter books with interesting ideas and tighter stories).

  198. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Peter Jackson lost me with the movies when he cut Tom Bombadil, (is that not a part Steve Martin was born to play?!) and the zany song about taking a bath. It’s those weird, semi-pointless moments that to me make the whole thing as special as it was. I know all the showbiz reasons why he cut them, but I also know why he should have resisted those instincts.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  199. guest007 says:
    @James Speaks

    The Ender’s Game movie was horrible because it is impossible to do a movie about children who age (unless a director wants to go to the effort made with Boyhood).

    There are a long list of the differences between books and movies with the first being a movie must show whereas a book can tell what happened.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    , @Dave Pinsen
  200. @Steve Sailer

    Yeah, but they recast Salvor Hardin (the hero of the first novel) as a black woman, which should tell you a lot about where this is all headed.

    Incidentally, after Trump was elected, a little google search revealed a lot of people shared my thoughts – that Trump was analogous to The Mule from Foundation.

  201. @mousey

    The only consistent characters were the ghost of Hari Seldon and the robot Daneel.

    Daneel (full name R. Daneel Olivaw) wasn’t in the original Foundation trilogy. The books he was originally in (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun) were set in what started out as an entirely separate future from Foundation‘s. Asimov later wrote some books tying them together, and I guess Daneel appeared in those (I haven’t read them).

  202. CCR says:

    With respect to the 2000 mini-series I mentioned in an earlier comment, I had forgotten there was the sequel “Children of Dune” released in 2003. It also was 4+ hrs over 3 episodes. So the whole 6 episode mini-series was 9 hours long. This was enough time to do a much better job of explaining Dune than the stupid Lynch movie.

  203. In Foundation, they create an artificial religion based on science called scientism to further political control over the Four Kingdoms.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  204. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    That bar at the Carlyle was reaaly happening, eh? I credit Bobby Short.

  205. @Wilkey

    I know I’ve liked Paul Giamatti in something – can’t remember what – but he was appallingly bad in the Showtime series “Billions.”

    He was good in the J.J. Braddock boxing movie, Cinderella Man.

  206. Rob says:
    @Peter D. Bredon

    Star Wars was loved in part because it portrayed noble heros banging their wrenches on space ship components.

    I read that as “banging their wenches against spaceship components. I thought, “hmm, that’s one way to look at Hans and Leia’s relationship.”

    Gotta say. I think i prefer my version.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  207. @bruce

    A an athletic eurasian guy who can sound smart, a tall valkerie who can sound ditzy or smart at will, and a lots of CGI would be pretty easy to find nowadays.

    Easy? Heck, we could cast that from Steve’s commentariat! Twinkie as A, Lagertha as B.

  208. Somsel says:

    What I want to see in a well-budgeted movie is a juvenile Heinlein book like “Podkayne of Mars” or “Rocket Ship Galileo” blended with his later swinger stuff like “Stranger in a Strange Land” or “Friday.”

    Make it a hard “R” or “Couples X” and be sure to recreate the shower scene in the otherwise crappy “Starship Troopers.”

    That will motivate the young nerds to aspire to work at SpaceX or the like!

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  209. Wokechoke says:
    @Anon7

    The Fremen are the bad guys. Spoiler alert. They end up killing 61,000,000,000, 000 people. The Harkonnens did nothing wrong just playing dynastic politics.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  210. The Foundation Trilogy is what we boys read in junior high school. The girls in our circle read Dune.

    Foundation of course contains the fascinating idea of predicting the future, a topic of recent interest here. Unless we are wrong, the whole premise is impossible, thus relegating the story to the category of fantasy.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  211. El Dato says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The girls in our circle read Dune.

    They did? This is fascinating. How is that possible? I would imagine it would have been scanned for “imperialist” or “militarist” or “fascist” content and rejected outright with earnest outrage.

    Nowadays one might even scan for antisemitism. Scanning for antisemitism is the patchouli of the goodthinker.

    We also had Arthur C. Clarke. A Fall of Moondust and The City and the Stars were fun.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    , @Wilkey
  212. @James J O'Meara

    Well- good. I read big thick books all the time, but fiction-no more.

    When I think of it… apart from “classics”, what did I read in high school and perhaps 2-3 years later? I mean fiction?

    Mostly genre fiction that had some “life” in it. Of course all fiction is just printed words, but it should be some kind of quasi-reality. If not “real” in this sense, I was not interested. That excludes all high fantasy. Sci-fi only if it had some “meat” in it, for instance Foundation & a few other novels, when that detective screws a female who is a few hundred years older than him but ages slowly; then, the Mule; and then the baby hermaphrodite. Much else I’ve forgotten, but an interesting read.

    Lem is the best sci fi author, but he is basically a philosopher, not a novelist.

    I’ve really, really enjoyed novels I guess most people here have not even heard of. Westerns like MacKinlay Kantor’s “The Goss Brothers”, Milton Lott’s “The Last Hunt” or virtually all Zane Grey. Then, larger than life villain, Allain & Souvestre’s Fantomas , 6 novels; Castaneda’s 5-6 novels as examples of spiritual existentialism; even some Rafael Sabatini and Oliver Curwood.

    Dumas pere was something more, at least when all Musketeers age … Although even then I preferred non-fiction, like Deutscher’s bio of Trotsky. I couldn’t figure out who was right and who was wrong, until I read & saw the real stuff about these people …

  213. Brutusale says:
    @ladderff_

    I have to second this. Both the Galactic Milieu series and The Many Colored Land series blew my hair back.

  214. @El Dato

    It was the early 1970s. We were still sort of close to reality. And (smart) girls were (still) girls.

    In high school, it seemed like all of us in our circle of friends, male and female, were reading Tolkien’s ring nonsense. I tried. Waste of time.

    Clarke was great, though perhaps more limited than commonly known. An old professor/friend of mine had lunch with him at his house in Sri Lanka. He said Mr. Clarke was more shallow in his knowledge than he expected. Still, it was Arthur – freak’n – C. Clarke, and my friend was an anonymous Ph.D.

    Match goes to Arthur.

    BTW, the Foundation thing looks exciting. I don’t want to poo-poo it. It has a female mathematician! I am hooked!

    • Thanks: El Dato
  215. Brutusale says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Was an afternoon with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle worth \$100K? I’d say it was cheap.
    I would have loved to spend an idle afternoon with this group.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C3%B1ana_Literary_Society

  216. Brutusale says:
    @Somsel

    I don’t know why some Hollywood wokester hasn’t gone to town on The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The novel describes the Lunar society as a huge crapshoot in the gene pool, as shown by a name like Manuel Garcia O’Kelly-Davis. With line marriage, your family photo can look as diverse as you like.

    • Replies: @Somsel
  217. El Dato says:
    @Wokechoke

    You can’t put the galactic genetic lottery in motion without breaking the six-point-one gorillion.

    This is what European politicians are having wet dreams about, only they want the submissive parts of the show.

  218. TWS says:
    @Twinkie

    I heard the producers demanded the entire Atreides family be race swapped or Kynes race and sex swapped

  219. El Dato says:
    @Name Withheld

    Yeah, but at least the high priests didn’t order a vaxx for the whole space-battle-ship personnel.

  220. @ChrisZ

    “now that so many of the nightmares of dystopian literature are coming true”

    Philip K. Dick’s paranoia paid off.

    “More generally it would be a subtle way to advance Steve’s ideas among a ‘mainstream’ audience”

    I bet he’s got a script somewhere, waiting for another draft. The way he uses language makes me think he’d be good at dialog. Dummies think writing dialog is easy. It’s just like talking, right? No, dummy. Novelists rarely write decent dialog; Elmore Leonard and Larry McMurtry are exceptions. But both of them spent years writing scripts. If I was Steve, and I am, I’d follow your advice and attempt a speculative novel, no more than 55,000 words. Place the story five years past the point of technological singularity. So next Tuesday.

  221. @Catdog

    “greedy space jews”

    The first humans the aliens will meet at the summit held on Iapetus, the artificial moon in the Saturn system. This meeting will inspire the aliens to quarantine Earth, so the neuroticism will not spread to other planets.

  222. MEH 0910 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Dune (2021) Exclusive Chinese Trailer (HD)

    Sep 22, 2021

  223. @guest007

    The movie sucked in excelsior deo.

  224. MEH 0910 says:
    @Pericles

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Harkonnen#Conception

    Frank Herbert wanted a harsh-sounding name for the antagonistic family opposing House Atreides in Dune. He came across the name “Härkönen” in a California telephone book and thought that it sounded “Soviet”, though it is in fact Finnish.[3]

  225. I saw Lynch’s Dune in the theater. The film broke and like usual everyone cheered. Then one guy shouted “Don’t fix it!” A few seconds later someone else shouted “He is right. Don’t fix it.” Soon everyone in the theater was chanting “Don’t fix it! Don’t fix it!” Then the film restarted. I have never heard such loud booing in a theater. I never saw people react to any movie this way.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Feryl
  226. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, in Mexico City and the Chihuahuan deserts in Northern Mexico. It apparently shared sets with another DeLaurentiis production going on at the same time, Conan the Destroyer, the PG sequel to Conan the Barbarian, which also bombed at the box office.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  227. 68W58 says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    He played U.S. Grant in “Lincoln” and Moriarity in the Sherlock Holmes movies of a decade ago as well, he’s been good in everything I’ve seen him in.

  228. Twinkie says:
    @Unladen Swallow

    the Chihuahuan deserts

    Patrick Stewart spoke of the desert being beautiful when interviewed about making Dune. But he is an Englishman. ;

    That was a reference to Lawrence of Arabia.

  229. Somsel says:
    @Brutusale

    I’ve long held that American success has depended, in part, on the power of hybridization.

    There are limits, of course. Crossing corn and tomatoes is pointless, or English Sheepdog and Chihuahua, like our current DIE policies.

    But Gravensteins and Red Delicious might work. Or Irish and German like yours truly.

  230. @guest007

    Ender’s Game was a pretty faithful adaptation; the kid doesn’t need to age much in it.

    Speaker For The Dead is an impressive sequel, better than the first book.

  231. Alden says:
    @guest007

    Those 800 page books are 300 pages of story and 500 pages of endless descriptions. Minute descriptions of every characters clothing. Describe a car and then describe the route driven and every street, pedestrian , bush, tree and building. Enter a building and describe the building and furniture. One of the worst endless description authors is Jonathan Kellerman. John Grisham avoids endless descriptions.

    • Replies: @guest007
  232. El Dato says:

    I probably said that already but someone needs to pick up “Wings of Honneamise” as a tale of making it to orbit against all odds (including nonstellar IQ).

    No Hidden Figures please.

  233. Alden says:
    @flyingtiger

    I saw it years later on TV probably TCM. I liked the first 2 books. I just couldn’t get over Jessica’s horrible hair style. And the little girl was she Chani and Paul’s daughter? Her costume was a Muslim women’s black robe and hood. There she was, 4 years old, 3 feet tall in her Muslim hood and robe lecturing everyone. Looked like a child in a Halloween costume. In a book a super genius preschooler with awesome death ray powers is fine. It didn’t work in a movie where viewers see a 4 year old in a Halloween costume I can’t remember much about the books.

    • Replies: @TWS
  234. Wilkey says:
    @El Dato

    The Foundation Trilogy is what we boys read in junior high school. The girls in our circle read Dune.

    This actually makes sense. Foundation is entirely plot driven.

    Dune has a lot of strong women, but the story is centered on an alpha male. Two very good reasons girls would like the book.

    • Replies: @Moses
  235. @Nonanon

    How cruel! I am reporting you to the department of family services.

  236. @Wilkey

    Maybe the movie “Sideways.” Though between the two, I thought Thomas Haden Church did the best work with his character.

  237. guest007 says:
    @Alden

    Look up the writing of Sinclair Lewis (the first Americans to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Long descriptions but his books were not that long (See Arrowsmith). Still writing with a type writer or writing in long hand and having the manuscript typed by someone else seems to make for shorter books than the 800 page Clancy or Dan Brown multithread plotlines.

  238. Feryl says:
    @Twinkie

    Testosterone levels have been falling with each generation (beginning with the Boomers), so it’s going to be much tougher to find highly masculine people who can also act. Sure, there are some highly masculine people under the age of 50, but most aren’t actors to begin with. Whereas the average WW2 and Korean war generation man was quite masculine, so actors of that generation were quite masculine.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  239. Enochian says:
    @El Dato

    I noticed the same thing – Foundation seemed to be an allegory, set against the fall of the Galactic (Roman) Empire, where a psychohistorian (an old testament prophet) makes predictions of doom and eventual rebirth. His followers, the Foundation (Judaism) record his prophecies as their sacred guiding text, and go into exile (diaspora) as the empire falls. They then spend the rest of the story manipulating events so the galaxy is re-united under their control – for the galaxy’s own good, you understand.

    Now I don’t know if that’s what Asimov really had in mind when he wrote Foundation, but it started me looking for other allegories buried in his books. Has anyone read Asimov’s Pebble In The Sky?

  240. @Twinkie

    if very flawed in parts (“Weirding Module,” the ridiculous rain at the end), quite beautiful in its way an

    Check out the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.

  241. @Anonymous

    It’s an astoundingly homophobic movie, especially for 1984 when AIDS was rampant. (The lead villain is a diseased homosexual who murders boys for fun.)

    What does that even mean? Can a protagonist not be a homosexual?

    Do all psychopaths have to be straight or else the story has a medical fear of homosexuals? These leftists terms make little sense when held to scrutiny and only exist to denigrate the opposition.

    Anyways the book was written well before the AIDs crisis (which was spread by promiscuous homosexuals).

  242. @Anon

    You always hear it’s really bad though. Lynch seems to pan it, because he had problems exterior to to movie that made it a bad experience and period in his life, so I guess people just go along with the creation and hate on it.

    I thought Dune was among the best of bad Sci-Fi. Up there with movies like Buckaroo Banzai.

    Sure it is bad but the underlying story is decent and some of the scenes are so disjointed that it makes it a glorious train wreck. Kind of an experiment in film making.

    They should have let him do the final cut. It was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

    But still far better than the recent Star Wars movies. I couldn’t even make it through the latest one.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  243. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Steve Martin? Really? Makes me wonder what I’m missing. Tom Bombadil is an elemental force of nature, no? I could see Tom Hardy in that role. Or maybe Ray Winstone? But Steve Martin I don’t get.

  244. @Feryl

    Testosterone levels have been falling with each generation (beginning with the Boomers), so it’s going to be much tougher to find highly masculine people who can also act. Sure, there are some highly masculine people under the age of 50, but most aren’t actors to begin with.

    There is a much bigger problem which is that the typical drama teacher is a liberal and doesn’t want to do a classic play with a strong White male character. They in fact view strong White men as the world’s biggest problem and that is reflected in the scripts that they choose.

    They want to do shows like Newsies and Rent where the White males (not men) are flaming drama queens or dance and prance like fairies.

    • Replies: @Feryl
  245. @The Last Real Calvinist

    I’ll have to check out the book again. I don’t recall Faramir being all that important. I think it was building up of the evil shadow growing and the depiction of Rohan, the Rohirrim and the battle of Helms Deep that made The Two Towers my favorite of the series.

  246. Feryl says:
    @John Johnson

    Guys like James Caan who took up an interest in acting didn’t seem to have any problem finding resources for actor training. And women have been involved in teaching acting for ages, I don’t think they have any real bias against high-T actors (if anything they probably prefer them over the light loafer crowd).

    The artistic world is inherently accepting of all kinds of things, I don’t think there’s any bias against manly men. Granted, some guys did the casting couch thing to get their careers boosted faster.

    At the end of the day yer typical 30 or 20 year old these days has 1/3 the testosterone that his 1970 counterpart had. There just aren’t that many manly men left.

  247. Feryl says:
    @flyingtiger

    I love 80’s fantasy movies, but even I find Dune 1984 to be a test of patience. Lynch simply couldn’t figure out how to develop the characters and convey the storyline in an accessible and entertaining way. Plus some of the stuff in the movie is flat-out unpleasant and off-putting, Lynch just couldn’t help himself even though Herbert’s book is generally tasteful and unpretentious (by the standards of literary sci-fi). Herbert was academically interested in ecology, politics, and sociology, Lynch is clearly fascinated by shock value and the perverse.

    Somewhat oddly Herbert stood by Lynch’s adaptation, even though it doesn’t really capture the positive qualities of the book. Maybe Herbert was too magnanimous to be that hard on Lynch.

  248. In other sci-fi adaptation news, Universal is developing a tv series based on Roger Zelazny’s 1967 novel, Lord of Light. In the book, humans from Earth settle an alien planet, and the first settlers develop technologies allowing them to take on the aspects and powers of Hindu gods. For eons, the gods keep their descendants in a state of technological backwardness, crushing any city showing signs of a technological renaissance. One of the firsts, Sam (Mahasamatman), and a younger god, Yama, the Lord of Death, wage a long struggle to destroy the gods and free their descendants to advance technologically.

    https://gizmodo.com/a-ton-of-scifi-books-are-coming-to-tv-including-kurt-v-1797025507

    Stephen Hsu blogged about Lord of Light and other Zelazny works here:

    https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2021/02/infinity-and-solipsism-physicists-and.html

    Zelazny’s works often use the idea that there an infinite number of parallel universes. Certain characters can travel between them and seek out the worlds most congenial to their interests. Wen such a character visualizes a particular world in the multiverse and travels to it, is he actually creating it?

  249. Moses says:
    @Wilkey

    Dune has a lot of strong women,

    “Strong women.” I see this a lot. What does it mean?

    From context, my guess is it means “120 lb woman who can fight and defeat 250 lb man.”

    Are women who keep homes and raise children “strong women”? Or only women who behave like men?

    What does an “unstrong woman” look like?

  250. Moses says:
    @John Regan

    I’d think the most obvious changes would surely be replacing as many white men as they can get away with and putting in women, blacks, Chinese and mystery meat instead?

    Only the good guy characters are replaced by non-whites and women. The bad guys like Sardaukar baddies are all blue-eyed White men.

    Producers replaced visionary White man leader of Fremen with Black woman. Made Paul Atreides’ love interest mulatto.

    Because of course they did. It’s the old Magic Negro trope updated for the Current Year.

    Who controls Hollywood? Rhetorical.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  251. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Enemy of Earth

    “I must admit that I never really cared much for Isaac Asimov’s work. ”
    Although I considered his core scifi novels to be at the center of literature as I then grasped during some formative years, in retrospect I think he was more influential as a nonfiction writer, at least on me. I suspect this is true for some others here too. I think there is an interesting story to be told about how his persona could no longer exist.

    Having said that, I have long recalled one episode from, I think, Robots of Dawn, my perspective on which has drastically changed over time. The protaganist is video-chatting with a woman (and this was well before we did such things) and she comes on and is topless! Apparently on her planet (Solaris maybe), people live far from each other and think nothing of such things, but they have very great difficulty in actually being personally intimate. Well, he kinda nailed that one and it is more of a horror than I realized in my youth!

  252. El Dato says:

    Baron Harkonnen spotted

  253. El Dato says:
    @Moses

    In the novel, Sardaukar are the “Good SS” and we don’t know anything about their ethnicity, but Fremen are about as far from the Afro mindset as you can possibly get.

    This image from the Lynch movie looks less like a Sardaukar than a space force admiral who is being told that the imperial kitchen freshly ran out of chicken

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  254. @El Dato

    The Emperor’s prison planet produces his elite soldiers, the Sardaukar. Their officers are described as being usually blond. I’m guessing they were intended as a cross between the French Foreign Legion and the SS.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  255. Twinkie says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Oscar Isaac has, by 21st Century American standards, an aristocratic demeanor.

    That’s a sad indictment of “21st Century American standards.”

    Tarantino… I’ll even have him beat up Bruce Lee.

    I don’t know what happened to Tarantino. Once he was an obnoxious East Asian cinema fanboy, going so far as to copy plot lines and characters from East Asian films.

    Now he’s going around making up things about Bruce Lee and maligning him, citing an author who has explicitly disavowed what Tarantino said (all the while indulging black and Jewish revenge fantasies, e.g. “Django Unchained” and “Inglorious Basterds”).

  256. Twinkie says:
    @Steve Sailer

    cross between the French Foreign Legion and the SS.

    The post-war French Foreign Legion had a sizable contingent of former SS members. Supposedly of the 73,000 or so Legionaries who served in the French Indochina, about 30,000 were German or Austrian and of that number 10% were former SS.

  257. JMcG says:
    @John Johnson

    Buckaroo Banzai brings us back to the recent thread on Ellen Barkin. I actually have a certain fondness for that movie.

  258. Simon says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “Was Lynch’s Dune filmed in Mexico?”

    The set was in Mexico City. I got to watch a little of the filming, as part of an editorial junket. What sticks in the memory is Mexican craftsmen working in wood with hand tools (there must have been power tools, but I never saw or heard them) to construct interiors representing the far distant future. Still, some of the future decor, as noted above, is deliberately retro.

  259. Anonymous[129] • Disclaimer says:

    Sean Bean is “third tier” but you celebrate Momoa?

    Except for the “Weirding Modules” Lynch’s version was faithful to the book with most of the dialog being lifted word for word. Shields made firearms and lasers obsolete but shields couldn’t be used in the desert so the Fremen (and everyone) using swords and knives made sense.

    The Fremen weren’t blue-eyed in the conventional sense, the whites of their eyes were blue.

    As for the Baron, let’s just not have any homosexual characters in movies, ever.

    I have a single volume edition of the LOTR. Paper shortage? Don’t be ridiculous.

    Umlauts in a California phonebook? Not buying it.

  260. Beede says:
    @watson79

    Is this about Timothee Chalamet? He isn’t French. He’s an American of one quarter French (and one half Ashkenazi Jewish) descent.

  261. Beede says:
    @Altai

    His mother is Jewish and he was raised in New York.

  262. Beede says:
    @obwandiyag

    Interestingly, Aznazvour and Reno had/have no French ancestry and Belmondo is half French.

  263. TWS says:
    @Alden

    Alia of the Knife. Daughter of Leto and Jessica. She was creepy because she was exposed to the water of life in the womb giving her all the memories of all her ancestors and reverend mothers before her

  264. MEH 0910 says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    1984:
    Dune soundtrack playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lEkJrzhZRf-8dzsM3xWJv2P2JDa6aOdxg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(soundtrack)

    Dune is an original soundtrack album for the 1984 film Dune. Most of the album was composed by the rock band Toto—their first and only film score—but one track was contributed by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois.

    2021:
    DUNE Official Soundtrack Playlist | Hans Zimmer | WaterTower Music:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBKadB95sF44EGq9wIjIKVr_kFPyqlCHY

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Dune_(2021_film)

    The music for the 2021 American film Dune was composed, orchestrated, conducted and produced by Hans Zimmer.

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