Episode 399: Digging Up Dune

October 6, 2015


Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

In this episode we dissect the book Dune, and discuss its themes and pop culture influences.

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4 comments on “Episode 399: Digging Up Dune

  1. So glad to hear your discussion of a true landmark of the field. I am especially glad to hear you thought so highly of it, Matt. It’s fantastic, start to finish. (I wish I felt the same about the other Dune books I’ve read – I read “Dune Messiah” and “Children of…,” and thought they were okay, but (as Ben said people do) only made it half-way through “God Emperor” before growing too bored — like the emperor in that book, it got too big and bloated! I tried reading Anderson and Herbert’s prequels, but, ugh!)

    My wife was a government major in college, and one of her assigned books in a senior seminar was “Chapterhouse Dune.” She found it a trying experience, having only seen the 1984 film and not having read any of the books.

    One of the things I love most about this book, that you guys didn’t touch on directly, is how beautiful its language is. Kwisatz Haderach… Bene Gesserit… gom jobbar… Padishah Emperor… Mu’ad Dib. I gather a lot of it is influenced by Arabic? So much of its specialized vocabulary and phrasing, even character names just drop off the tongue like thick honey. No deep thematic point here, just saying – the words just beg to be read aloud.

    I am sad to confess I’ve never watched “Lawrence of Arabia.” Now you’ve given me plenty of reasons to see it. As for the 1984 “Dune,” I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s so bad. It’s weird, but it’s not terrible. The Sci Fi miniseries (both of them – they also did one combining Messiah and Children) is not bad, either.

    Thanks for another fine podcast!

    PS. Another great episode title, btw… you guys saved your best ones for the last part of the year! I think my favorite alternate, though, was a tie between “Dune or Dune Not” or “Sandworms, Ahoy!” Nice glimpse behind the curtain.

    PPS. Wait – what is this about Matt threatening to quit?!? Say it ain’t so!

    • Ben De Bono Oct 9, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed the episode, Mike! I do have to disagree with you on one thing – the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries’ were TERRIBLE! That said, I’m looking forward to watching the Lynch film and the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune

      • Yeah, I haven’t checked out that documentary yet, but I definitely want to.

  2. Keith Nov 18, 2015


    I read a book several years ago by Lesley Blanch called “The Sabres of Paradise”.
    I think many of the terms that Frank Herbert used in the original “Dune” can also
    be found in this source. For example “Chakobsa”, fanfreluches and syetches (although that could also be from Taras Bulba by Gogol too). The book was about the war between the Muslim tribes in the Caucasus mountains versus the Russians in the mid-1800s.


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