Dune: A middle-eastern analogy?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Hundegesicht, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Hundegesicht

    Hundegesicht Manly Studmuffin

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    http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2007-09-09.shtml
    A excerpt that stood out to me from a rather long article by Orson Scott Card. (the author of Ender's Game) I noticed the ties between the Fremen and Muslims the first time I read it myself (it seemed similar to the story of Lawrence of Arabia), and this article makes a lot of sense to me. What do you guys think? Is Dune an accurate prediction of the future of Arabic countries, or are the events of the past 30 years coinciding with it just a coincidence?
     
  2. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    If Bin Laden was influenced by Dune, he did not read the sequels. Since, if you read the series, you will find that the Freemen victory results in the destruction of their society.
     
  3. woody60707

    woody60707 Deity

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    Dune is a great book, but I don't think its that influential.
     
  4. Hundegesicht

    Hundegesicht Manly Studmuffin

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    I think you guys are misreading the article. He isn't saying Dune caused Osama or other terrorists to start Al Qaeda, just that it accurately predicted them becoming a power in the world, and speculates that maybe some of the original readers back in the 60s were members. Obviously, it'd take more than a modern sci-fi book to influence a movement that large, but it's still spooky how closely the future in Dune mirrors our Middle East.
     
  5. Princeps

    Princeps More bombs than God

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    Yes, I saw those parallers when I was ten. :D

    It's not really rocket science to figure it out that there are similarities to our current situation.
     
  6. Fugitive Sisyphus

    Fugitive Sisyphus Escape Artist

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    It is quite spooky how the future in Dune mirrors... just about everything. Frank Herbert was a great writer.
     
  7. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    The analogy is only there if you wish to see it.

    You could add a real-world metaphor to any epic Sci-Fi story.

    Sci-Fi tends to borrow from the times it is written in as a matter of course.

    ...
     
  8. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Over at Arrakeen forum (link is in my sig), we've been discussing this very topic.

    The first draft of Dune had nothing to do with religion. It was all about harvesting the spice. And that didn't have all the "he who controls the spice controls the Universe" aspect; it was simply a feud between two Great Houses over who could produce more spice for the Emperor. The characters' names were different, and it was the Duke Leto character who was the hero of the story, not the Paul character.

    The one constant that remained throughout the various drafts of Dune was the spice, the sandworms, and their ecological interrelationship with their environment. Frank Herbert gradually added other literary and plot ingredients until the final version, which had the rich mixture of ecology, religion, politics, space travel, etc.

    The idea of any of the al-Qaeda members reading Dune is something I'd never considered before... interesting.
     
  9. Hundegesicht

    Hundegesicht Manly Studmuffin

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    And it's the "times" for the novel Dune that make it so interesting. If it was a modern novel, I'd just claim the author was ripping from world events. Dune was written in 1965.

    What makes it so weird is that Herbert very clearly based the Fremen in his books on a future extrapolation of the Muslims of *his* time, who hadn't started strapping bombs on their bodies yet. But, he managed accurately predict our current situation. It shows a certain level of admirable insight. Did any political scientists in the 60s predict Al-Qaeda, or our War On Terror?
     
  10. Che Guava

    Che Guava The Juicy Revolutionary

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    No, but I imagine that they did see Arab nationalism with a healthy dose of islamism for flavour. It's been awhile since I've read the Dune series, but from what I recall, there are more similarities to arab states than Islam per se, and most issues dealing with those (oil supplies and a more violent society, for eg)would likely have been pretty obvious at the time.

    In fact, the story to me seems more like a case of classic anti-colonial nationalist struggle, like those going on in the middle east, southeast asia and africa at the time.
     
  11. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    Anyone who followed the post WWI period could see the potential offered by religion in manipulating people in the Middle East. I think Dune's author got the idea for the Fremen from the arab rebellion against the Ottoman Empire, and Paul Atreides from T. E. Lawrence's self described role as a foreign leader there.
     
  12. Thorvald of Lym

    Thorvald of Lym A Little Sketchy

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    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense...
    Whether or not Herbert intended the analogy, it adds another level of depth to an already superb story.

    S'pose we could always ask Brian...
     
  13. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    dune is clearly a middle eastern analogy because it has sand
     
  14. Princeps

    Princeps More bombs than God

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    Well, it could be vague analogy about the United States for example. I'm sure US has more sand then uh, say... Iraq or Iran.
     
  15. Desmond Hawkins

    Desmond Hawkins Deity

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    The middle east analogy is only superficial... someone who dwells on it either missed the point, or stopped reading WAY to early.
     
  16. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    The parallel I saw when I read "Dune" was the resource one - spice in Dune = oil in the real world. That is, he might have
    been making a statement of the consequences of being dependent on something that someone else controls.
     
  17. woody60707

    woody60707 Deity

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    I agree. The deeper ones were about destiny/fate/universe/time's grip on humanity. Even though Paul, Leto, others could see the future, they had no power or control to stop or change it. The same went for there vision of humanities extinction by 1, not growing and become complacent and 2, A great enemy far away. So the Golden path had to be more then just a scattering (you can't change the future/destiny/fate). You had to free destiny/fate's grip on man. Enter Siona, breed to not be seen by prescient vision. The same vision that can see the future and (find) people and items in the present. No-ships can also not be see by prescient vision. They work by taking the ship outside (freeing from) the universe.

    Now some people well have a different take on the book then I did. They wont think that the and Golden path and Siona had to do with freeing humanity from destiny/fate/futures grip. But those are the deeper meanings of the book. At the surface of the book, its was pretty clear spice=oil, Dune= middle East, and ect ect.
     
  18. BaneBlade

    BaneBlade Prince

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    It's pretty obvious that Fremen are Arabs, and I also saw similarities to "Sieben Säulen der Weisheit"(T.E. Lawrence's autobiographic novell).
    His idea that this influenced actual arabs is bollocks though, the concept of jihad exists since Islam exists, most muslim countries got that way by jihad.
    As for the future: IIR correctly the navigators would die off after some days without spice. We wouldn't die off after some days without oil. But after some time with shortages of everykind, including food, the sympathy for the people denying us the oil would rapidly decline, and the arab world wouldn't stand a chance even against a portion of western military might.
     
  19. BaneBlade

    BaneBlade Prince

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    Ehe, nice catch. Would most likely work out that way, no infidels, no dangers, let's start a "decadent" western lifestyle.
     
  20. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    :shake: If you've read the pre/sequels, you should have realized that Brian is utterly clueless about the spirit and intent Frank Herbert meant for the Dune series.

    Another analogy these days (particularly in Alberta) is that spice = water. Red Deer has already been having a frustrating time with other municipalities and corporations that want to divert clean water from the Red Deer River just to make it easier for their drilling procedures. They could easily use already-contaminated water, but they don't want to because it's "too expensive." :mad:
     

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