Dune: Of Leaders, Islam, Finite Resources and al gore

Yes, Miss Beth is a sci-fi geek. And, I’m at it again with more comparisons.

I’ve been hooked on Dune since I was 13 (and I’m pushing the 1/2 century mark now). I only discovered about 3 months ago there has been a continuation of the series carried on by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian.

On the official Dune Website, I ran across an article written by Frank Herbert for Genesis Magazine. It spoke of how the Dune series came to be. Because I don’t have permission to print the article from Genesis, I’ll simply quote a part. The full article can be found here.

“Yes, there are analogs in Dune of today’s events-corruption and bribery in
the highest places, whole police forces lost to organized crime, regulatory
agencies taken over by the people they are supposed to regulate. The scarce
water of Dune is an exact analog of oil scarcity. CHOAM is OPEC.”

“I had already written several pieces about ecological matters, but my
superhero concept filled me with a concern that ecology might be the next banner
for demagogues and would-be-heroes, for the power seekers and others ready to
find an adrenaline high in the launching of a new crusade.”

“Our society, after all, operates on guilt, which often serves only to
obscure its real workings and to prevent obvious solutions. An adrenaline high
can be just as addictive as any other kind of high.”

Does any of this sound familiar people? It certainly strikes a chord in me. What I had forgotten was the date of this article. Anyone out there want to take a guess? Anyone?

It was written July, 1980.

That’s right. 1980.

But there are other important parallels as well. Just a few quick ones: House Atreides is Greece; House Harkonnen is Russia; the Zensunni Wanderers (who later become the Fremen) appear to be Sunnis. The known universe is run on a tripod–schools/Guild, Landsraad/CHOAM and the Emperor. The US is run on a tripod system. The most unstable system devised. Religion is essentially dead and all emphasis is on the individual human (note that billary–INDIVIDUAL). Spice (oil) is obtainable in one place only–the planet Arrakis/Dune. Dune is purposely designed after the Sahara and the nomadic tribes. Muslims. Yep, those critters again.

In the final battle, the assimilated Duke Paul Atreides is also the Fremen Maud’Dib. His war is a Jihad. His personal fighters, Fedaykin and the general warriors the Mujahdeen. The spice is used as a drug for invicibility and long life. He is a messianic figure. Upon the ascent of his son, the empire becomes a place of enforced peace for 3+ millenia. Upon the God Emperor’s death, the explosion in technology and HUMAN achievement accelerates.

Further parallels are the Fremen are nomadic desert dwellers, strict adherence to religious zealotry, uncompromising fighters bent on total dominance. Their writing is modern day Arabic.

99.9% of the characters are morally or physically corrupt either with politics, riches or both.

Now, do I have to point it out to everyone all the parallels here? Does anyone want to take a guess when the original Dune book was written? Anyone? I’ll reveal that answer below.

Before I reveal the answer, though, for all of you who scoff at us sci-fi freaks (you call us geeks), it appears Frank Herbert, along with other writers such as Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Verne, etc., had quite a gift for imaginationary worlds. Almost spooky.

I, for one, wear the title “geek” proudly. And, if you have an ounce of sense, you too will join the ranks of the geekhood by educating yourselves through these chronicles. Entertaining, yes. Mind bending–of course. Eerily prophetic? Too much so.

The answer? 1965.

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Dune: Of Leaders, Islam, Finite Resources and al gore

Yes, Miss Beth is a sci-fi geek. And, I’m at it again with more comparisons.

I’ve been hooked on Dune since I was 13 (and I’m pushing the 1/2 century mark now). I only discovered about 3 months ago there has been a continuation of the series carried on by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian.

On the official Dune Website, I ran across an article written by Frank Herbert for Genesis Magazine. It spoke of how the Dune series came to be. Because I don’t have permission to print the article from Genesis, I’ll simply quote a part. The full article can be found here.

“Yes, there are analogs in Dune of today’s events-corruption and bribery in
the highest places, whole police forces lost to organized crime, regulatory
agencies taken over by the people they are supposed to regulate. The scarce
water of Dune is an exact analog of oil scarcity. CHOAM is OPEC.”

“I had already written several pieces about ecological matters, but my
superhero concept filled me with a concern that ecology might be the next banner
for demagogues and would-be-heroes, for the power seekers and others ready to
find an adrenaline high in the launching of a new crusade.”

“Our society, after all, operates on guilt, which often serves only to
obscure its real workings and to prevent obvious solutions. An adrenaline high
can be just as addictive as any other kind of high.”

Does any of this sound familiar people? It certainly strikes a chord in me. What I had forgotten was the date of this article. Anyone out there want to take a guess? Anyone?

It was written July, 1980.

That’s right. 1980.

But there are other important parallels as well. Just a few quick ones: House Atreides is Greece; House Harkonnen is Russia; the Zensunni Wanderers (who later become the Fremen) appear to be Sunnis. The known universe is run on a tripod–schools/Guild, Landsraad/CHOAM and the Emperor. The US is run on a tripod system. The most unstable system devised. Religion is essentially dead and all emphasis is on the individual human (note that billary–INDIVIDUAL). Spice (oil) is obtainable in one place only–the planet Arrakis/Dune. Dune is purposely designed after the Sahara and the nomadic tribes. Muslims. Yep, those critters again.

In the final battle, the assimilated Duke Paul Atreides is also the Fremen Maud’Dib. His war is a Jihad. His personal fighters, Fedaykin and the general warriors the Mujahdeen. The spice is used as a drug for invicibility and long life. He is a messianic figure. Upon the ascent of his son, the empire becomes a place of enforced peace for 3+ millenia. Upon the God Emperor’s death, the explosion in technology and HUMAN achievement accelerates.

Further parallels are the Fremen are nomadic desert dwellers, strict adherence to religious zealotry, uncompromising fighters bent on total dominance. Their writing is modern day Arabic.

99.9% of the characters are morally or physically corrupt either with politics, riches or both.

Now, do I have to point it out to everyone all the parallels here? Does anyone want to take a guess when the original Dune book was written? Anyone? I’ll reveal that answer below.

Before I reveal the answer, though, for all of you who scoff at us sci-fi freaks (you call us geeks), it appears Frank Herbert, along with other writers such as Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Verne, etc., had quite a gift for imaginationary worlds. Almost spooky.

I, for one, wear the title “geek” proudly. And, if you have an ounce of sense, you too will join the ranks of the geekhood by educating yourselves through these chronicles. Entertaining, yes. Mind bending–of course. Eerily prophetic? Too much so.

The answer? 1965.