Heresies of “Dune”

“Some historical periods fade, others end abruptly. For the United States, the Technicolor-tinted era that began when the troops returned from World War II terminated in an instant: 12:30 pm on November 22, 1963. The gunshot that took John F. Kennedy’s life ended a seemingly innocent age, one that had restrained social and psychological conflicts. What the future would bring, once those repressed elements surged forth, was an open question. An answer arrived in the next month’s issue of the science fiction magazine Analog. The issue featured ‘Dune World,’ the start of a serialization of a long novel by the obscure author Frank Herbert. As the story tumbled out in Analog’s pages, it forecast many trends that would define the next decade: environmentalism, psychedelic drugs, mysticism, orgies, back-to-the-land survivalism, Indigenous ways, anticolonial rebellions, Arab nationalism, and political assassinations. The story started with a Kennedy-esque hero, Paul Atreides, a charismatic young leader from a venerable political family destined for a high position within the galactic Imperium. And it ended with him leading a jihad, backed by guerrillas and guided by drug-induced visions, against that empire. One can only imagine publishers’ enthusiasm. After 23 editors rejected the ungainly manuscript, Chilton Books, best known for its auto-repair manuals, gave it a small print run. Reviewers were indifferent, but the book won sci-fi prizes — the Hugo and Nebula awards — and gradually secured an underground reputation. … Understandably so. Science fiction had always been geeky, but Dune made it trippy. After 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes hit screens in 1968 (the same day, as it happens), young directors rushed to realize the countercultural possibilities of space. Dune was their unscalable Himalayan peak. The Chilean surrealist Alejandro Jodorowsky tried, pulling together a formidable ensemble that included Orson Welles, Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger, Gloria Swanson, and Pink Floyd — he wanted the film to run more than 10 hours. Ridley Scott then stepped up before becoming overwhelmed and abandoning the project for Blade Runner. …”
LA Review
W – Dune Messiah
W – The Dune Encyclopedia
[PDF] The Dune Encyclopedia

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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