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Author Topic: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)  (Read 4382 times)

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anais.jude

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Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« on: December 28, 2007, 09:04:51 AM »
Ok, BTA said we would start discussing this around Jan 5th, but I have finished the book and I wanted to talk about it. No worries if you haven't finished the book yet (Dalty I am looking at you  :angry: )
The first thing I noticed was the feminine aspect of the novel. I like that the "saviour/chosen one" was a "male Bene Gesserit" and had Mentat training. In addition, Paul is part Harkonnen. Paul's abilities to become a well respected leader occur because he is all these combined, as if to say not one element can be a good ruler.
I was also very interested in seeing how the Emperor's turthsayer explained to Paul that the Gom Jabbar was test to see if he was an animal. Instead of saying a test to see if he was human, it seemed like the the truthsayer expected Paul to pass the test, yet she seems to refer to Paul )or was it another man) as an animal later. What did she mean by animal? Did she mean all men were animals?
Also, the Bene Gesserit's manipulation of genes to create, what, a perfect race? Allegorical implications of Nazism, but Bene Gesserit is also like a religion, and it is a religion that is withholding, which people could associate with Christianity.
Finally, the novel seems to be about young Paul discovering himself to be the messiah of the Freeman and accepting that responsibility. There is a word for this kind of Genre (apparantly Song of Myself by Whitman is also one). How does it measure up? I think Paul makes a good Messiah figure because he is a combination of many different powerful entities, but he is also too good. It was obvious he was going to win the war (at least I thought so). It seemed like the death of Leto II was just Herbert's way of saying that nothing went as planned for Paul. I would have preffered more things going wrong and a longer battle, even though the battle was not the point of the story....
Discuss


Kzinistzerg

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2007, 04:34:39 PM »
Addressing your comments:

The truthsayer is not saying all men are animals, she is saying that most people are animals.

The Bene Gesserit are trying not to create a perfect race, but to improve what is there (kinda a pointless endeavour, if you think about it; how many untold trillions are poeple are there in that universe?)

Actually, one of the main points (though subtle) is that paul is NOT a messiah, nor is he the kwisatz haderach.  He takes the place of one in order to topple the empire, but he isn't actually (the missionaria protectiva had left the legend there as an aid to passing bene gesserit).

Dune is actually a "hero" book (person comes to terms with self and powers, goes kapow and defeats enemy)
Dune Messiah, the sequel, is an anti-hero book (No more terrible disaster could befall your people than for them to fall into the hands of a Hero -- Pardot Kynes to Liet-Kynes).


anais.jude

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2007, 05:34:17 PM »
Clearly, the bene gesserit have issues with men, and I just thought it was an interesting point to discuss.
Also, it seemed that despite the kwisatz haderach being a myth started by the bene gesserits, Paul still turned out to be him, making him a prophet. He is also a prohpet to the Fre(e)men, so I would stand by my assessment that the book has messaih elements to it.


Offline Tripe

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2007, 05:59:44 AM »
But the prophet in the Fremen beliefs is there because the MP implanted the idea of the KH to them.

Paul is playing at being the messiah. The reason the BG are looking for a male equivalent to them is because they cannot see in some of the places during spice trances. They need the KH to do that for them. Unfortunately the water of life tends to kill men but not women so the KH has to bew sort of androgynous in a specific way, he has to be both male and female (which is probably one of the reasons Vlad has some less than grandfatherly* thoughts about him).

The Ambiguity of whether Paul, in play acting as the messiah, actually becomes so, is one of the best things in the book. The film version completely blew the tension on that one.

*I know the Baron is ignorant of Paul's heritage


Kzinistzerg

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2007, 04:04:00 PM »
Good point. Technically he is the messiah, if you consider him that purely because he changed their planet.

It's not so much that the bene gesserit have trouble with men, it's that their ways and such just don't WORK with men, hence the whole "we need a KH" thing.


Offline Ortega

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 04:37:36 PM »
I always looked at the Kwisatz Haderach breeding program of the BG was to basically create a god, which they could control.  But once they got it, in the form of Paul, he was too powerful to control.  SO...my point it.......um....egg in their faces, huh?

The Ambiguity of whether Paul, in play acting as the messiah, actually becomes so, is one of the best things in the book. The film version completely blew the tension on that one.

I also found it interesting that his visions of a Great Jihad in the name of the Atredies was a first frightening to him, but near the end of the book, was initiating just that.  Did he see that simply as a means to an end?  Did he simply see it as a necessary evil?  Or was he simply just fulfilling a role, just to make way for his son?( i know this isn't until the later books, but to me it seems that way)

I also liked the fact that the entire economy revolved around spice, to the point that all it took was someone to tip the scales, and the house of cards would come crashing down.  Once Paul became entrenched with the Fremen, he found the secret of the spice, which basically let him hold the Imperium hostage.

My question is this:  IN the appendices, it talks about the planetologist Kynes(the elder one).  Wouldn't he have understood that turning Arrakis into a paradise would mean killing the worms, which would then destroy the spice?  Or did he know, but didn't give a shit?  Also, the Fremen:  All of the Desert Fremen breathed, ate, and basically lived in spice.  Wouldn't they have seen that the destruction of the spice would have meant that they would have sentenced them selves to generations of Fremen going through horrible withdrawls? 


Offline Tripe

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 05:00:10 PM »
Good point. Technically he is the messiah, if you consider him that purely because he changed their planet.

The whole Imperium in fact.

My question is this:  IN the appendices, it talks about the planetologist Kynes(the elder one).  Wouldn't he have understood that turning Arrakis into a paradise would mean killing the worms, which would then destroy the spice?  Or did he know, but didn't give a shit?  Also, the Fremen:  All of the Desert Fremen breathed, ate, and basically lived in spice.  Wouldn't they have seen that the destruction of the spice would have meant that they would have sentenced them selves to generations of Fremen going through horrible withdrawls?

I think that having gone native Kynes the Elder began to neglect his Imperial duties not just day to day but also motivationally. The good of the Freman rather than the Imperium was his focus. But I think his refocused mind ceased looking at the big picture.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2007, 05:03:16 PM by TripeHoundRedux »


anais.jude

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2008, 09:14:05 AM »
Good point. Technically he is the messiah, if you consider him that purely because he changed their planet.

it's a self fulfilling prophecy, but a prophecy none the less.

also, what is the deal with count fenring? I would have liked something more than his refusing to kill Paul. The book constantly changes focus in terms of POV, so why did we not get Fenring's POV when he decided not to kill Paul?


Offline FLOCK of RABID SHEEP?!?!

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2008, 09:16:26 PM »
also, what is the deal with count fenring? I would have liked something more than his refusing to kill Paul. The book constantly changes focus in terms of POV, so why did we not get Fenring's POV when he decided not to kill Paul?

perhaps because of the overall centralization of the POV and plot.  or herbert could have gotten lazy...


Offline Tripe

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2008, 07:10:22 AM »
I think the fact that he was a dead end in the breeding program makes his lack of active contribution to the POV appropriate. He's not living up to what he was bred to be and so can only serve a ancillary role, both in the Imperium and the narrative.


Offline gojikranz

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Re: Rifftrax Book Club #1: Dune by Frank Herbert (spoilers)
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2008, 02:17:29 AM »
this is cool to see Dune is my all time favorite book series one of the things i really enjoy about it
Possible minor spoilers ahead


i really like how the views of people and families shift through out the centuries of the stories in the first paul is the hero but then in messiah he is now the anti hero same for leto except to a greater degree.  and if you read the prequels the way the harkonnens and atreides began as friends and the beginning of the great fued.  and MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

It all gives it a great sweep and really is very epic.  i hope you all decide to read somemore if you have just finished the first book. messiah children of and god emperor i highly recomend read the rest if you like those.
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