Art and Culture 12: Dunes Lasting Artistic Legacy

20 Feb

What fascinates me, as a reader and writer of fiction, is how public opinion can change when it comes to writers works. Sometimes the books have a decade of irrelevance, but some find it fascinating re reading books once every year. Dune, by Frank Herbert, created in the early 60’s, but then continued by his son, Brian, is a fascinating tale of a culture of power and how power can betray the very best of people.

            While many would persuade me that the Brian Herbert Dune books aren’t as good, on some level, I can see where they are coming from, but it’s one of the better posthumously written work that I have had the pleasure of reading. It seems that Frank Herbert had the idea of the Butlerian Jihad for a long time but wanted to finish out what he could upon his impending death in the 1980’s. 

            The quote, quote from Dune: House Harkonnen, “Innovation and daring create heroes. Mindless adherence to outdated rules creates only politicians.” That’s from the Viscount Hundro Moritani.

            Every artist I think needs to remember this very idea, because I think past writing should have a place too, and invention needs to find its own path away from all the rules and restrictions of works written in the past. 

            I think if you are inspired by something in the past, you are inspired. Having a good strong knowledge of past writers, artists, can help give you a basis of understanding, and not rely on the rules of the old, as much as we would like. 

            We should have an appreciation of the past artists, but “mindless adherence to outdated rules creates only politicians” is a staple of how Dune, and much of the Atreides family, falls into the trap of becoming a dictator. 

            Maybe this is why I find the quote so fascinating. It’s probably more of a statement about creativity just as it is about politics. But Art should have “innovation and daring” because Art can help us make sense of the world. 

            It doesn’t always have to be a political statement either. Dune, while highly political, and polemical in nature, is thrilling and fun to read too. Mostly because the dialogue is as heavy as any literary prose you could find today. 

            I think what makes Dune enjoyable is that it’s a psychological probe into power without relying on real life to be part of the story. These characters are as real and dangerous as any dictator you could imagine. Plus, Erasmus is the most brilliant robot character to come across popular genre fiction to date. 

            Some would say, “But isn’t Brian using real life names to tell his story?” Yes, and while he does that, it doesn’t exactly bother me that much. Part of the Dune lore is carrying names that have been forgotten and then using them over again to reflect a new history, which is exactly what dictators do. 

            But this is also why “invention creates hero’s” strikes at the heart of creativity, and the Dune series. Creativity requires invention, and the deception of repeating the past doesn’t inspire originality. I sense that Herbert’s intentions were very deliberate as the three families, Atreides, Harknonnen, and Corino, are always obsessed with destiny and how they will be remembered. 

            What is problematic, with politics, is that if you reinvent yourself, someone, somewhere, will remember the dangerous games you play. It’s like how politicians always change there minds about certain topics as each generation finds new mores in the culture that they don’t like. Humans are fickle creatures, and in Dune, much of the staying power in its power is rejecting fear. 

            The Atreides family motto is “Fear is the mind killer” and it somehow leads each character making a choice that would make the character in Game of Thrones blush. If you wanted a time before Game of Thrones, Dune by Frank and Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Brian, again, took over when his father, Frank, passed away). 

            Dune, to me, relies more on creating a legacy through psychological profiles that outlive the original writer, and when I read the prequel series, it makes me realize that you can leave notes on what can be done after your death. But to sum it all up, DUNE represents an idea of power that can stay relevant as long as there are strong ideas. Personally, while others may not enjoy the prequels to Dune, I find there’s a lot to enjoy, because it intrigues me. And what others find intriguing varies too, but to me, the works of Frank Herbert and his son Brian, prove that sometimes, enjoyment is key to creating a lasting legacy, as well as delving into hard topics too. Creativity can create a lasting legacy, too. 

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, including, The Michael Project, The Michael Project: Book 2: The Lost Children of Eve, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab, https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, Minds https://www.minds.com/lbruno8063/, and Parler https://parler.com/profile/therealLouistbruno/posts . His latest, Come Home, Young One, a dark fantasy novel is out now at Lulu.com. Link is here: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/louis-bruno/come-home-young-one/hardcover/product-pw8q7z.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Note from Louis: Thanks so much for reading my articles and being such a constant reader. Also, I want to stress that to keep my content ad free, please subscribe, donate, like, buy my books, leave a review, comment, (and share the article if you can’t donate, all help is appreciated) to have access to top tier articles and reviews, and also grow my page to help keep corporations mad all day. I am still shadow banned on other major platforms, but steadily growing my page, thanks to your support. 

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