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The Game of Thrones book series is nihilistic nonsensical bilge. But it makes for “good” television because that sort of mess seems to be popular in today’s culture, what with all the sex, sorcery, and savagery. As an actual story though? It’s terrible. Which is probably why George R.R. Martin could never finish it – it had no real logical “out”, no escape from its cycles of violence and revenge, save what the HBO writers could force together. Until HBO picked it up, though, it was unlikely fare for Hollywood treatment – Hollywood typically shies away from overly long fantasy cycles simply because such things are very expensive to cast and produce well, to say nothing of finding good writers to translate novels into scripts you can actually film. For all the awfulness of its story, I do give full credit to HBO for the solid work they put into the project over nearly a decade – one can deplore the story but still admire the brilliant and extremely skilled craftwork involved in telling it, and (more importantly) sticking with it at that high level for so long. Would that The Hobbit had been given that same dedication.
And now it seems we are to receive another attempt at telling the story of Dune. I am not excited at the prospect. The David Lynch film of the 80s was terrible. The SciFi Channel’s miniseries of 20 years ago was much better. But why Dune? Why yet another attempt? If Hollywood is looking for that next “big epic”, surely there are other and better stories to tell? Dune, the first book, is interesting, but has its weaknesses, while the rest of the series gets rather strange. Haven’t other authors written better and more compelling fantasy or science-fiction epics? Or must we continually return to just a few “classics”, like Amazon is trying to do with its pending Tolkien series? I would like to propose a few other authors and series that Hollywood should consider instead, and would invite you to make your own suggestions as well.