The Science Fiction Novel of Dune [No Spoilers]

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Dune science fiction, imagine which is a planet which is very dry like a desert rather it is so dry that to preserve your fluids do you have to wear a special suit when going out and there is a precious thing on this planet for which a lot of people are ready to fight and die. There are locals also who have adapted themselves to those conditions. This is the story of a science-fiction novel “DUNE” on which a new movie has also been made now.


Science Fiction



Movies about Science Fiction Dune


Science fiction is not only for science but a good science fiction explores fundamental questions of humanity. It uses space (that you are in some other place) or time (you are present in some future society).


Mary Shelley’s famous book “Frankincense”. It explores that if humans try to control nature technology, what is the result of this arrogance and what lesson can we learn from it.


Or the science friction movie ‘District 9’ which was released 10-12 years ago. In the movie, there are aliens who have been restricted to an area designated district 9 in South Africa but this movie is actually an allegory of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in which the blacks were discriminated against.


Or a movie, “Contact”, which depicts what sort of philosophical questions can arise if we have contact with an alien civilization.



Arrakis Planet Dune (In Movie)


Dune is set several thousand years into the future. Now I will let you know of its premis but remain satisfied, I will not give out any spoilers. In the future, there is an emperor of the galaxy whose name is ‘Padishah Emperor Shaddam The Fifth’. There are some different feudal families who rule different places.


The main Emperor has given the planet ‘Arrakis’ to the Atreidos family, who are called ‘House of Arteides’ under its control. This family has a rival family ‘Harkonnens’. Atreides will replace Harkonnens as rulers of this planet.


Novel about Science Fiction Novel


Now this science fiction novel ‘DUNE’, this is the best example of science fiction. This was published in 1965 and its author is “Frank Herbert” and when it was published it immediately received the Hugo award (given by science-fiction fans) and also the nebula award is given to the book considered by the science-fiction writer as important. So immediately Dune got the recognition that it is an important book.


Film adaptation, and the TV adaptation had not been very successful up till now. In 1980, director David Lynch adapted it, but could not adapt it properly. Similarly, there was a television series in the late 1990’s. That also was not very good. But now this new movie is directed by Denis Villeneuve. He is a French Canadian director who has some experience of science fiction also. Because he has directed ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘Arrival’ – a science fiction film.


Arakis According to Science Fiction


Arrakis is a desert-like planet but its importance is because of MELANGE (The spice) found there and it’s very very precious because this spice can make inter stellar travel possible. There are local ‘FREMENS’ who are adapted.


These families who rule them want to know how to obtain this spice because there are big sand worms present on Arrakis about which they have to be careful.


Sand Worms


The production of this spice is actually related to these worms.


First of all, let me tell you simply that this movie is very good. The flow is smooth and if you have not read the novel even then you can  follow it easily. Overall the whole building (evident in science fiction) introduces you in a very suitable manner telling you what is Arrakis like.



GAIA Theory


Here I want to focus on its two aspects. One its ecology and one its anti colonial message.


I will only mention that Frank Herbert’s idea in the novel is in a sense the ‘GAIA’ theory which was proposed in the 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. They together give the idea that (living organisms) sand the Earth that is organic and inorganic interact in such a manner that the whole earth like an organism. Meaning that if there is damage somewhere, it is compensated on another place.


The ecology of Arrakis is based on the foundations of the Gaia Theory even though this novel was written before the Gaia Theory. Let me clarify the Gaia hypothesis is controversial. All scientists do not agree with it. Nevertheless, it is an interesting thing on which scientific debate is going on.





One big message which is in the book and also in the movie is its anti-colonialism message. Even though one family is slightly better than the other family, but overall both families are exploiting the locals for natural resources. It seems in the context of Arrakis, that Frank Herbert was inspired by the character ’Lawrence of Arabia’.


The movie Dune has been shot in the same desert of Jordan where the 1962 Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.



Objection Regarding the movie


Some people have objections regarding the movie, not the book, that the Islamic or Arabic context has been reduced or diluted to a great extent for a wider audience. Why is this Islamic contest present in the book Dune? Because these desert people ‘FREMENS’ (it is also the name given to the north African tribes).


According to what Frank Herbert has written in his novel, were those people who were Muslims and who left earth many thousand years before and now they are present on Arrakis.


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