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22 October 2009 @ 02:06 pm

Vexille is a 2007 Japanese CGI animated feature which was done by the same company that produced the recent 2004 Appleseed CGI movie. For plot summary, you can go here.

What struck me about the film is the parallels to Frank Herbert's "Dune" series of novels. Whether or not Fumihiko Sori was inspired by Dune isn't known but I suspect he was.

The biggest and most obvious are the Jags in Vexille. These are massive constructs made up of nanotech infused scrap metal that roam the desert wastelands of Japan. They are, in essence, metal versions of the sandworms (Shai-Hulud) of Dune. Not only do they "swim" through the sand, sound and vibration attract them (or perhaps the "scent" of metal does as well). They seek to swallow up the source and absorb it into their bodies. Obviously, being metal, Jags sink when in water, thus destroying them. Likewise, water is poison to sandworms, killing them if they are submerged in it. Jags start out small but as they add more and more metal to them, they grow to immense sizes.

In Vexille, the shanty Tokyo was surrounded by a high wall which protected the city from the Jags and the desert wastelands. This is akin to the Shield Walls (natural formations, such as mountains, cliffs, etc.) that surrounded most Imperial cities on Arrakis (aka the planet Dune) which protected the cities from the elements and sandworms.

The entire country of Japan in Vexille is shielded from outside surveillance by a series of installations which distort the electromagnetic spectrum. While geographically Japan is where it is, nobody outside of Japan can see it (for example, spy satellites can't even photograph the country from orbit, getting only grain) nor can communications penetrate the shield. The shield, at its base, renders Japan invisible. This compares directly to the No-Chamber technology in Dune. A No-Chamber (and No-Ships exist in Dune as well) is a construct that can hide anything within it from conventional means of detection (such as by scanners) as well as, in Dune, from prescient vision. No-Globes are larger forms of No-Chambers. As such, Japan could be considered housed within a No-Globe as the premise of preventing full detection is the same.

The nanotech "vaccine" in Vexille basically converts the human into a synthetic lifeform. Saito, the Daiwa scientist who created the technology, boasts that immortality can be achieved though the nanotech. This is akin to the benefits of melange, the spice in Dune. Melange extends life. While it does not grant true immortality, neither does the nanotech in Vexille. Both improve vitality as persons infected with the nanotech can survive injury better than a uninfected human. The last thing the nanotech converts is the brain and in some people, this results in fits of pain. An effect of this is that the eyes become completely black. This is akin to what melange does to long term users, converting the eyes to a dark blue. Another aspect is that the nanotech was created in only one place on Earth, Japan. This is analogous to genuine melange only being available on Arrakis and nowhere else in the known universe.

The resistance movement in Tokyo could be compared to the Fremen. Here, a small band vows to fight Daiwa, the maker of the nanotech, to both remove the company from existence and by extension, free their people from further subjection as test subjects. This same notion can be applied to the Fremen of which some fought House Harkonnen on Arrakis to disrupt systemic spice mining.

One could almost make the case that the nanotech is a axlotl tank but in reverse. Whereas the latter can reproduce a human (clone) from cells from a cadaver, the nanotech produces a synthetic human which, in effect, kills the original human by replacing all cells. So, the tank makes life from the dead and the nanotech makes life by killing the host.

So, maybe I'm mistaken in my analysis...but, somehow, I think there are too many similarities for it to be ignored.

Current Mood: awake
09 June 2008 @ 08:57 pm

Okay...I read the last book and it was a decent enough read. Putting aside the debates on the two camps concerning the post-Herbert books, is it me or did the authors create a "loop" which will likely repeat the Butlerian Jihad in Sandworms of Dune?

Okay, Duncan Idaho is the man who brings together man and machine to live in harmony. Cool, okay...I'll buy that.

But what was the reason for making a ghola of Serena Butler? Maybe I missed it in the book, but it just seems to me that she grows up, Erasmus is around (in a way), and it ends up something happens with her that triggers the jihad again and you loop right back around to the beginning of the books or the whole thing starts anew.

Or...perhaps that is the only reason to put Butler back into the storyline...to make more books?

Current Mood: confusedconfused
17 May 2008 @ 11:16 am
Can anyone help improve the Dune article on Fan History to give a better idea of what is going on and what went on in the fandom? Pre-2000, there doesn't seem to be much of a trail and it would be really sweet to get a better understanding of what the fandom was talking about back then. It would also be neat to get an idea of what non-English speaking fandoms were and are doing.

Fan History is also trying to create directory of Dune fans. So far, there are 77 articles. It would be nice to see those articles improved and additional ones added.
06 November 2007 @ 11:48 pm
I just finished Hunters of Dune and I must say that I am upset about a few elements in the story.  I actually enjoyed reading the book although I do think the writing is inferior to Frank Herbert's (his plotlines and stories had flaws as well).  However, one thing that puzzled me is if Murbella was taken as a child by the Honored Matres and then raised as one, how does she have them in her "other memory"?  It never said she was born of Honored Matres, just taken by them.  The biggest problem I have is with Daniel and Marty turning out to be machines from their previous novels (which I have not read yet).  In Chapterhouse Dune, they insinuate quite clearly that they are face dancers, that they were created by Tleilaxu masters and that the masters gave them the power to take the personas of other people.  I do not understand how Brian could have any respect for his father's work and just decide to totally rewrite it.  There is no way that I believe that Frank's notes contained these ideas as I don't think he would deviate from what he previously wrote like that.  I haven't read Sandworms yet but I am already let down that they are not face dancers but leftover robots from the jihad.  Very depressing.  That's my take. 
07 October 2007 @ 08:41 am
After toil and tears, here they are our family pictures. There are a few things that I don't like, but for the most part, I'm quite pleased with the turnout. For those of you who asked, we probably will be making and selling decorative crysknives. That will come in about a month. Thanks for taking a look. It has been an awesome costume year. Next year we are doing an homage to the Greek writer Homer.
Bless the Maker and all His Water; Bless the coming and going of Him; May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.Collapse )
07 October 2007 @ 08:04 pm
I know that the prequels are nothing compared to the original series by Frank Herbert, but I was wondering if anyone has read "Sandworms of Dune".
19 August 2006 @ 09:53 am
This is my "House" books review. I thought I'd share it with my community!

I am a "Dunetic". There is no escaping that fact. I have read everything I can get a hold of, including Brian Herbert's prequals. I've made my own observations of these books. Let me share them with you.

Let's look at the negative...

1. No, these books were not written by Frank Herbert. We all know that. No one should walk into them believing that they were. They lack Frank Herbert's grace and his beautifully written prose and poetry. Period.

2. These books conflict with many of the facts layed out in the Dune series WRITTEN by Frank Herbert. (I do not mention the Dune Encyclopedia as it is a well known fact that the author contrived a great deal of the information without clearing it with Herbert Sr.) It is my belief that when an author has died, "discovered" notes or not, the written and published works are to be the ONLY source. They should be the only "bible" of any fan writer or relative completing unfinished works. Discovered notes or outlines can be used so long as they correspond with the published works. Frank Herbert MAY have written the scene where Jessica and Leto meet (as written in House Harkonnen) however, for whatever reasons he had, he chose NOT to use that version in the original Dune. Brian Herbert should have respected that. He needs to take notes from Christopher Tolkien.

OK. Now the positive...

1. Are they fun to read? Yes. For someone craving more Dune stories, they were entertaining. They weren't the philosophical pieces of mastery his father left, but they were FUN.

2. Take with them what you want and leave the rest behind. I enjoyed the little storylines that DID fit into the Duniverse as depicted by Frank Herbert.

3. If you must, believe that the official Imperial records were tainted and changed by whichever organization you wish for whatever political reasons that they believed necessary to hide whatever secrets they were hording. Be it Guild, CHOAM, House Corrino, the Fremen, or the Bene Gesserit.

4. Just enjoy them for what they are. If you can seperate the different mediums, you might have fun reading them.
18 August 2006 @ 09:42 pm
Sheesh, I clicked on half a dozen Dune communities just to find people talking about the movies, with only the occasional mention of the novels.  How happy I am to find a community with at least the intention of discussing the novels.  The movies were okay, but no movie could ever begin to encompass all that is Dune.  They're like a still photograph, a mere snapshot of the whole saga.  And they're visually interesting, I'll give them that.  But I'm sorry, I don't want to sit around and talk about a movie when there are 12 amazing novels out there.

Doesn't look too busy here, but that's cool.  At least it's a place I can post my Dune musings and maybe discuss with like minds.  

I've read the original 6 twice now over the last 10 years, and recently read the prequels as they came out.  This summer I decided to reread all 12 in chronological order, just to see how they flow when read one after another.  I'm on House Corrino now.  

I don't *mind* the prequels, I see them as just another person's account of "history" as it were.  I'm a bit of a history buff, so I've read many different accounts of the same events... so even though they're different and not nearly as good as Frank Herbert's genius, I think they're interesting and so what if they are inconsistant.  True history is inconsistant, just making this fiction seem more real, if that makes sense?  

I found the jump between the Battle of Corrin and House Atrides particularly interesting, as there were major inconsistancies right off the bat!  Why wouldn't there be?  10,000 years have passed after all... (even though it was written by the same people)  

I got into a mild argument recently with a guy who insisted that no one should ever read Brian Herbert's Dune, he felt that it was insulting and ruined Frank Herbert's work. Pure trash in his opinion.   My feeling was that it's true that the Prequels by themselves are mediochre sci-fi at best, not poorly written but not great either.  They don't begin to compare to Frank's work.  How could they?  

My feeling is that had they tried to imitate Frank's writing style, that would have been insulting, not to mention impossible.  Instead, they just gave another account, in their own words, of a history of a universe I wanted to know more about.  Only Frank's son could have come even close to doing that justice, and I believe he has.  I didn't want perfection, I just wanted more Dune!  And I got it.  

I suggested (and still do) that people read Frank's 6 first, before they pick up the Prequels.  They are what they are, and I can see how reading the Prequels first might taint the amazing experience of reading Dune 1-6 for the first time.  Then read the Prequels, and get a fun backstory from another point of view. 

My other feeling is that the Prequels were written with the primary purpose of filling in some blanks so that they could attempt to finish the series and the mythological conclusion:  Book 7  Had Frank been alive to finish the original series, the prequels may not have been necessary.  Frank was able to weave the pages tight and thick in a way I've rarely seen in an author, if ever.  But all he left was an outline in a safe deposit box.  Brian and Kevin seem aware that they couldn't *finish* Dune the way Frank would have, so they wrote the Prequels to fill in the backstory.  Knowing this, you can see many foreshadowing hints in the Prequels that I suspect will be vital to the conclusion.  Or maybe they're just "practicing" so that they get Book 7 written as well as they can.  

So we have a choice.  We can take the Original 6, and accept them as they are... unfinished, the cliffhanger of all time... or accept Brian and Kevin's loving attempt to show us Frank Herbert's complete vision through their own eyes.  

All that said, I'm glad I'm almost done with the Prequels this time around.  I'm enjoying them, but I can't wait to sink my teeth into the Original Dune.  Reading mediochre Sci-fi is fun, but I want to get *thinking* again, and no matter how many times I read Dune, it makes me think on yet another level, and warps my brain in ways I didn't even know were possible.  :)  

So, what are your opinions on the Prequels? 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
22 May 2006 @ 10:17 pm
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Papageno :: The Magic Flute :: Mozart
22 May 2006 @ 07:00 pm
Well, even if this place is relatively new and lacking members, I decided to take a chance and join anyway. I'll be happy to discuss regardless if it's just one person, if they (and I mean the moderator) feels the same way. I've never read the whole series through, just the first four books years ago so I thought this will be good for memory.

What was Leto II's golden path? What did he wanted to achieve in the end exactly? I'm not the most intellectual or the brightest person here so I'll need someone to spell it out for me. What I generally got was that he wanted a future that was beyond his prescient powers, I suppose.