Tag: Frank Herbert

Movie Review: Dune


I got dragged to see the new adaptation of Dune, and it sucked. The movie takes place a million years in the future when everyone is a brooding bore who can’t speak above a whisper. It has less color than if it were shot in black and white.

I get it. Twenty minutes in, I wanted to scream, “I get it!” This is capital-S Serious cinema. Director Denis Villeneuve worked with a $165 million budget to make a blockbuster action movie based on a popular IP, but he wants you to know at heart he’s an impoverished artist who will bring his vision to the screen no matter what. He’s part of the 1% (you could place him in an even more impressive fraction of that percent if you want to do the math) and the payout from Dune will afford him another mansion, but fear not he’s as much an artist as the director who lives off ramen and sells his belongings to fund his weird arthouse project. Hence the entire cast speaks in hushed tones with the solemnity of a child’s funeral. I wanted every character to die, but even had they, how would that change their performances?

To mark the release of the new Dune movie (which he has not yet seen), Jack flies solo to answer some of your questions about how he turned into the world’s most annoying Dune fan, what he likes about the series, what his favorite moments and characters from the books are, and more. There’s also a photoshop request, if anyone’s willing . . .

The Legendarium Podcast Has Come to Ricochet


At the beginning of this year, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Craig Hanks, who listens to the Remnant with Jonah Goldberg (on which I make furtive appearances) heard that I was reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien. Craig happens to host his own podcast, The Legendarium Podcast, on which he and others discuss the great works of sci-fi and fantasy literature. He invited me onto his show to discuss The Silmarillion. You can listen to the episode here

Something strange happened when I distilled my thoughts about The Silmarillion in a post I published on Ricochet: All of Ricochet’s various nerds came out of the woodwork and had a field day discussing this somewhat more obscure “prequel” to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. A similar thing happened when I produced another post, about God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert, after appearing on one episode of the Legendarium (and later another) to discuss it. 

The revelation of an “undocumented nerd” community at Ricochet convinced higher-ups to bring this large, underserved population “out of the shadows” by bringing Craig’s podcast here. And so here it is. Now the Legendarium’s deep-dives not only into Tolkien and Herbert and the worlds they created but also their explorations of other, perhaps more obscure authors and worlds, are available via Ricochet. 

‘God Emperor of Dune’ Embodies the Greatness (and Strangeness) of the ‘Dune’ Universe


This December, the last Star Wars movie (probably) featuring any of the original series’ cast members will come out. Good riddance. Because in November 2020, the god-emperor of science fiction will reign supreme once more, as a new adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert will come to theaters.

And I’ll be there, even though I’m a relatively new convert to Dune’s greatness. As a sci-fi- inhaling youngster, I was told that the two sci-fi books I had to read were Dune and Neuromancer by William Gibson. I bought them both at a Half-Price Books more than a decade ago…and did nothing with either of them until July 2016, when I finally made my way through Dune.* I liked what I read, and have been gradually working through the series since.

This is how I learned that Dune is not merely “Star Wars for adults,” as the new film’s director, Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) accurately stated. Indeed, Star Wars stole much of its backbone from Dune, in ways that their both starting as sci-fi hero’s journey stories can adequately explain.

Member Post


Among those works of science fiction that could arguably be called “great” sits Dune by Frank Herbert. It’s one of the earliest science fiction books which I read in junior high, and it remains one of my favorite books. Yet I’ve not found the overall Dune series as compelling as others have.  Still, I have […]

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