Frank Herbert’s 1965 classic sci-fi novel Dune is getting another movie adaptation, and director Denis Villenueve claims his version will be completely different from David Lynch’s 1984 take.
Lynch’s Dune is known as his weakest directorial attempt (to be fair, he’s done Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks), though through no fault of his own, producers took the film out of his hands during editing and the experience turned him off working big budget studio movies. He disowned the film and rarely speaks of it in interviews. Agree to disagree, it’s one of my favorite movies.
If Sting isn’t in this adaptation, I’ll be upset. | Gif via Imgur
With Villeneuve attached to the new adaptation, he’s determined to have a vision all his own. A huge fan of Herbert’s novel, he’s currently working on the script for the newest version, starting from scratch and taking inspiration from the book itself.
David Lynch did an adaptation in the ’80s that has some very strong qualities, I mean David Lynch is one of the best filmmakers alive, I have massive respect for him. But when I saw his adaptation I was impressed, but it was not what I had dreamed of, so I’m trying to make the adaptation of my dreams. It will not have any link with the David Lynch movie. I’m going back to the book, and going to the images that came out when I read it.
Villeneuve’s work has been notable as of recent, directing acclaimed films like Arrival, Enemy, and Blade Runner 2049, so Dune should be right up his wheelhouse.
Despite his fantastic credentials, Dune is a notoriously difficult adaptation – Peter Berg and Pierre Morel both spent years trying to adapt a new version, and Ridley Scott and Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted even before Lynch’s 1984 film. With the number of characters and the sheer scope of the story, Dune is a Moby Dick of its own. Hey, if they can do it with Game of Thrones, they can do it with Dune. But to be fair, Game of Thrones has 70+ hours of film. So maybe Dune should be a TV series? Just spitballing here.
The newest adaptation of Dune doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’ll definitely be first in line when it comes out.
While we wait for the robots to take over most cumbersome tasks, a brave few still take it upon themselves to tackle books that defy easy absorption or explanation. These classic works of literature are no walk-in-the-park. You may even find your self questioning your sanity. But if you stick it out, you may just end up with a truly transformative experience. Might be best to put a ‘no entry’ side on the door, ’cause you’re gonna be out of commission for the next few days/weeks/months…
Joyce’s final novel, ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ is also the Irish modernist’s most complex work. The narrative tools Joyce had been finessing for years, from stream-of-consciousness to sudden changes in perspective, all culminate in a work so dense that there is still no absolute consensus on what the plot even is. Enter this mad house if you dare…
Back when Chaucer wrote ‘Tales’ way back in the 1390’s, Middle English was the common language of the English people. Things have changed a bit since then. Though modern readers attempting to absorb the text in it’s original vernacular must confront a bizarre sense of simultaneous recognition and alienation while parsing out expired words and spellings, modern English translations still present their own challenges when it comes to understanding syntax and the social mores of Chaucer’s day.
In 1972, Ishmael Reed cut mainstream American society–and its appropriation of black culture–down to size with this epic work about an “epidemic” of blackness called “Jes Grew” spreading into white America. Reed takes his world building to the extreme, incorporating a jam-packed cast of historical figures and nobody misfits, and entire sections that veer completely away from the main plot. It’s crazy, it’s frightening, it’s mesmerizing—just like America, it seems.
Woolf, one of the early twentieth century modernists who helped changed the way novels are written, aims to explore nothing less than the very nature of human consciousness in this expressionist take on the journey of one large English family over a tumultuous period of personal and political history. The lighthouse is the least of our worries…or is it?
Though praised for its frank exploration of homosexuality when such depictions were extremely hard to come by, this very autobiographical 1936 novel’s gothic prose style makes it yet another modernist masterpiece with capacity to slowly melt your brain.
And to think it all started with a madeleine cake! One taste of the dessert is all it takes for The Narrator (heavily based on Proust himself) to descend into a spiraling rabbit hole of emotions, regrets, and involuntary childhood memories of life in the prosperous but repressed wealthy French milieu. At 4,125 pages, this probably isn’t the kind of book you should tote to the beach.
For Tolkien-ites, ‘The Silmarillion’ is where it all begins: it is the story of how Middle-Earth itself came to be, and it was the first LOTR-related writing Tolkien—who started work on the project while recuperating from injuries sustained in WWI—ever did. Those who thought the LOTR trilogy and ‘The Hobbit’ contained more than enough background information and weird fantasy names would be best to avoid this book. If that isn’t you, happy reading!
In the tradition of Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’, Stein crafts a multi-generational epic about the fortunes and failures of two prominent American families. Though she doesn’t include maddeningly tedious-to-translate French like Tolstoy does, Stein does make a specific choice to repeat certain phrases over and over that makes it quite easy to totally lose your bearings in the already-dense universe of the Hersland and Dehning clans.
What to the nineteenth century South Pacific, 1970’s California, and the post-apocalyptic future have in common? You tell us! Mitchell’s foray into re-incarnation and the unchangeable components of human nature is at turns exhilarating and, well, exhausting. Take snack breaks.
Paul Atreides is your average 15-year old boy. He likes swords. He is the heir to a Dukedom. He lives in space—specifically, on a desolate desert planet where giant worms roam and the locals take drugs that turn their eyes blue. Oh, and he’s probably the intergalactic messiah. Sorry, did we say he was average? What we meant was “balls-to-the-wall insane and profoundly complicated.” Dune offers much to those who accept its challenges, but do not expect a story that one can just consume without quite a bit of digestion afterwards.
Whimsical magic and brutal historical realities make strange bedfellows in this look at one very messed up Colombian family’s experience of love, violence and colonialism in a small backwater town. If nothing else, Márquez makes abundantly clear that “the truth”—or the rationalizations and pat stories we convince ourselves are the truth—are not what he’s aiming for here. And we are (mostly) grateful for it.
Science fiction is full of awesome desert planets (even Star Wars has one) but Arrakis is the most iconic of them all. Dune is considered by many to be the greatest science fiction novel of all time, and it’s centered entirely around Arrakis. Arrakis’ deserts are fascinating because they are utterly endless – and hold the spice mines that make the planet so valuable.
Science fiction tries pretty hard to be realistic these days, and it doesn’t thrill George R.R. Martin. Martin, like a lot of us, longs for the days of crazy science fiction landscapes. Landscapes like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ version of the Red Planet, which is full of canals, alien civilizations, and other other cool stuff.
Fantasy world-builders like George R.R. Martin owe a huge debt to the original master, J.R.R. Tolkien. Just about any spot in Middle Earth would qualify as a great literary landscape. We chose the dark, stormy, and stunning landscape of Mordor, which is bordered on three sides by enormous mountain ranges. Very cool.
Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series include mentions of neighboring lands, but it’s Narnia itself that seems the most beautiful. While its neighbors sometimes feature more extreme landscapes (one bordering land is very arid, while another is very mountainous), Narnia is described as having gorgeous scenery of its own. Lewis’ vision of was inspired by the scenery of his own home country, Ireland.
Neverland is Peter Pan’s magical world, and it’s got it all: pirates, mermaids, you name it. It’s a fantastic island with, of course, fantastic scenery. Grottoes, forests, lagoons: Neverland has it all!
In Hilton’s book Lost Horizon, Shangri-La is located in a breathtaking valley in the middle of Asia’s Kunlun Mountains. It’s a mystical place where people live peaceful and very long lives. No wonder “Shangri-La” has become a term for an earthly paradise! The image above is from the 2004 film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which made use of Hilton’s Shangri-La myth.
There’s some man-made wonder here, too: the super-cool castle with carved dragons on it. But you can’t ignore the awesome spectacle of the mountainous island. A Song of Ice and Fire has a ton of cool landscapes (and even more cool man-made structures), but this is probably our favorite.
The name says it all! Wonderland is one of fiction’s classic fantasy worlds. We’re particularly excited about the interpretation you see in the image above, because Tim Burton is bringing that world back to the silver screen with a sequel to his 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. Alice Through the Looking Glass will hit theaters in 2016.
Most of us think that it’s hard enough to write well in English, but writing in ‘common’ languages is just not enough for some authors. Throughout the history of literature, great writers have developed and written in entirely new languages. Particularly in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, these languages help create a complete world and transport the reader to another time or place. If you’re a fan of creative linguistics, check out the ten great fictional languages on this list! You can even learn to speak a few of them.
George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world is incredibly complete, right down to the fictional languages that his different characters use. Dothraki is spoken by the Dothraki people of the Dothraki Sea (which is actually a desert.) The language is spoken from time to time in the book series, but it really took off when television producers hired a linguistics expert to flesh it out into a full-fledged language for the Game of Thrones HBO series.
Esperanto is different from every other language on this list, in that it wasn’t made up by an author. It was made up, however – by a linguist who wanted to create a more efficient and simple universal language. It’s done pretty well by made-up language standards, but it hasn’t exactly caught on worldwide. In Harry Harrison’s fictional future, however, it’s all the rage.
The Fremen language is spoken by the Fremen, natives of the desert planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe. In the novels, the Fremen language is a linguistic descendent of real-world Arabic. Herbert’s vision is incredibly complete: there are different dialects of the Fremen language, and its use is charted over Dune’s long history in Herbert’s many novels.
The rabbit protagonists of Watership Down don’t speak English: they have their own language called Lapine, an invention of author Richard Adams. Adams has said that his goal was to create a “wuffy, fluffy” language for his rabbits. There is a sort of fluffiness to the tone, but other influences include Arabic and Gaelic.
The characters of Burgess’ dystopian world speak English, but not in a way that you or I would recognize. Burgess’ neo-English is full of “Nadsat” slang, which gives his rough characters an unfamiliar and ominous voice. Burgess was a linguist, and he used his background to create a realistic form of quasi-English – the new dialect is influenced by the Russian language.
George Orwell’s Newspeak language is more than just a fun, futuristic dialect for his science fiction book. It’s an integral part of the plot and the point of the book. Newspeak is a language that’s created by the totalitarian government of Oceania as a way to suppress freedom of thought.
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is in many ways a quintessential fantasy epic. World creation is a huge part of the series appeal, including the extensive language that Jordan constructed for the books. The Old Tongue is a dead language, used primarily by scholars at the time of Jordan’s narrative.
One of the earliest scenes in the Harry Potter series features Harry conversing with a snake. By the second book, Rowling has revealed that Harry was actually speaking a language called Parseltongue, which Wizards can use to communicate with all different types of snakes. Parseltongue, as you might expect, sounds like hissing to non-speakers. To Harry, though, it’s understood as if it were English.
Every made-up fantasy language since Tolkien has been measured against the great languages of the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien invented several fantasy languages, but Quenya – the language of Middle Earth’s elves – is his most famous. It’s so well-developed that Tolkien aficionados can even learn the language.
Lovecraft’s interconnected fantasy worlds feature lots of creative inventions, including this fictional language. R’lyehian made its Earth debut thanks to the spawn of Cthulhu (the famous tentacle-faced monster). It appears in many of Lovecraft’s short stories.