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"The "Dune" Conspiracy Theory" Topic

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mandt207 Mar 2007 8:54 a.m. PST

So, I'm watching Dune the other night for the first time in about twenty years, and it struck me like a thunderbolt. Frank Herbert had a prophetic vision of the current Iraq conflict.

It is obvious to me that the pompous, ruthless, and bulging Baron Harkonnen is intended to represent Saddam Hussein. Like Saddam Hussein, the Baron had two utterly brutal and psychotic nephews/sons, Glossu (Uday), and Feyd (Qusay). Like Uday, Glossu is a gross and homicidal beast of a man, while Feyd, like Qusay is a more devious type who kills with greater finesse.

Like Saddam Hussein, the Baron covets power, control over his neighbors, and of course the life blood of the Dune universe, spice (oil). He would control the spice and thereby control the universe. And of course, where is the spice found? On Arrakis. That sure sounds like Iraq to me.

I'm sure once we start digging we'll come up with even more evidence that the current conflict in Iraq is the product of a Dune/Iraq Conspiracy theory of prophecy. One other thing. The Navigators are clearly intended to represent the big oil companies. They use spice to control movement throughout the universe just as Exxon et al. use oil to control the world's transportation systems. They then use this power to leverage the other planets of the universe to do their bidding and to keep the spice flowing at any cost. The real power lies with them.

Then there is Paul Atreides, or Muad-dib. Who is he supposed to be? He is depicted as sort of the second coming of the savior, here to defeat the evil oppression of the peoples of the Dune universe, insuring that all enjoy freedom and free access to the resources they need to live safe, secure and happy lives?

Or is this a diabolical sham? Are Paul's motives more actually sinister? Could it be that he preaches freedom and prosperity for all, in order to build a coalition of peoples for his own evil purpose, which is to destroy the opposing powers, and to seize control of all the spice? Could Paul actually represent the biblical anti-Christ, the one who comes seemingly as a savior but with the true intent of domination, the spreading of death and despair, and the perpetuation of evil?

What do you all think? Did Herbert have a prophetic vision? Or is this all some sort of incredibly unlikely coincidence?

You saw it here first. The official "Dune Conspiracy Theory." ;^)

Boone Doggle07 Mar 2007 9:04 a.m. PST

You have divined but part of the secret.
The "Dune Prophecy" is what you have read.
The time of the prophecy is upon us.
Heed the words written for they will come to pass.

So what we need is to find a volunteer to read all the other Dune books he's written for hints on what we need to do fufill the "Dune Prophecy" and avert future disaster.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2007 9:07 a.m. PST

Considering that Herber stole huge chunks from the "Alexiad" of Anna Comnenna, that is a stunning prophecy, indeed.

Ironmammoth07 Mar 2007 9:09 a.m. PST

Actually, the reality is the other way around, Herberts prophecy was about how pseudo-islamic freedom fighters would fight back against imperial overlords in a Holy Jihad!

I have heard this several times from Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, who have used Frank Herberts original notes and writings to create their "follow on" books!

Ironmammoth07 Mar 2007 9:12 a.m. PST

It is fairly well known that Herbert wrote Dune as an essay on "modern" politics, as it was seen in the 1960's and as he saw it going in the future.

nycjadie07 Mar 2007 9:35 a.m. PST

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday about how people creating movies have no real intention of making comparisons to real world politics, whether future or past, but in reality are just trying to tell a fictional story.

Let me see if I can find it.

nycjadie07 Mar 2007 9:36 a.m. PST

Here it is, specifically referring to the movie, 300.


Old Slow Trot07 Mar 2007 10:29 a.m. PST

Worm sign!

Covert Walrus07 Mar 2007 11:05 a.m. PST

Ummmm . . . Are you saying that Saddam Hussein was gay?

Because Baron Harkonnen definitely was . . . The first openy homosexual character in SF actually.

emau9907 Mar 2007 1:29 p.m. PST

I'm not sure that I can buy into this as stated.

Part of the genius of "Dune" was that, although it was set in a future so far out that the human society it depicts seems almost alien, we find all-too-familiar and all-too-human activities such as politics, intrigue, and greed.

These things are familiar to us because they're taking place here and now, in every significant human endeavor on the planet. Why limit it only to Iraq?

Just my $0.02…Spice Beer for all!

Spectralwraith07 Mar 2007 1:52 p.m. PST

Paul Atreides is Hugo Chavez. The 'empire' would be the United States. The Harkonens are the various oil companies and their baron would be the CEO of Exxon. The Merchants Guild would be International Finance industries.

blackscribe07 Mar 2007 3:35 p.m. PST

The Weekly World News said Saddam was gay:


Guess not then.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2007 4:52 p.m. PST

My theory on "Dune" is that it was based entirely on the Imperial Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 1820-60s. I base this at least in part on his obviously having read "The Sabres of Paradise" by Lesley Blanch (he must have read it, since he lifted a good deal from it) and in part because so much of the culture, language, etc in the books is taken whole hog from Central Asia and the Caucasus. For example, remember Chakobsa, the "ancient hunting language"? It was spoken in the Persian court in the 19th century. Sietch Tabr was the traditional home base of the Zaparozian Cossacks. All of the terms for the hierarchy of both society and the military are either Turkish or Persian. You can keep going for a long time from there.

How about this? The Prince of Georgia was overthrown by a revolt engineered by the Russians but his son escaped. Later, in a remote part of Daghestan known for both its forbidding terrain and the fanaticism of its people, a new leader arose who built a state based on both military might and the teachings of the Prophet. This man could ride faster, shoot straighter, and fight harder than any other Daghestani, and his followers, known as Fedaykin* among other things, went into battle shouting his name. He was Shamyl the Avar, rumored to be the son of the Prince of Georgia. Does this perhaps resemble someone -coughPaulAtriedescough- in "Dune"?

I might also add that every other book credited to Herbert, including all the "Dune" sequels but possibly excepting "The White Plague", was utterly worthless, so I find it hard to believe he could turn out an epic like "Dune" without cribbing most of it from somewhere else.

So, here's my conspiracy theory: Herbert was a CIA operative involved in a dezinformatsiya op against the Soviet academic establishment. Every few years, Soviet historians would get together and do a complete 180 on their attitude towards Shamyl the Avar and his crew; if at their last meeting he had been declared a hero of the people for his resistance to Tzarist imperialism, this time he would be condemned as a religious fanatic peddling the opium of the masses in its most pernicious form, and so on. Herbert's thinly disguised history was one of the few works not either written in Persian or published in the 1850s or both, and was beyond the control of Soviet apparatchiks so its very existence represented a threat to the Leninist purity of Soviet historical teaching.

They didn't worry so much about Lesley Blanch because the only people who read "The Sabres of Paradise" seem to have been Frank Herbert and me.


*Sci-Fi Channel pronunciations to the contrary, this word is pronounced "Fed-ah-YEEN" or "Fed-ah-KEEN", not (shudder) "Feh-DYE-kin".

mandt207 Mar 2007 5:23 p.m. PST

Emau said-

"These things are familiar to us because they're taking place here and now, in every significant human endeavor on the planet. Why limit it only to Iraq?"

Okay. Pick another modern day analogy that includes an equal number of striking similarities. I dare ya. I triple dog dare ya.

Dave Crowell07 Mar 2007 5:32 p.m. PST

It is most interesting to watch this occurring in the drawing room, or at the dinner table…

aecurtis Fezian07 Mar 2007 6:05 p.m. PST

'They didn't worry so much about Lesley Blanch because the only people who read "The Sabres of Paradise" seem to have been Frank Herbert and me."

Not quite. I found a well-used copy about twenty-five years ago, and have kept it close by ever since.

Your comparative analysis is sound.


dilettante Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2007 6:57 p.m. PST

Re: Herberts other books-
'The Green Brain' was ok.
Didn't like the book where a group decided to pattern themselves after insects. But that was partly because the CIAish agents were incredibly incompetent.
Dune messiah was ok with a wonderful passage where a fremen sees an ocean for the first time.
Never read 'The White Plague'.

I love 'Dune'. Actually liked the theater version over the tv mini-series version.
"Take the pick Pete, and hold it there real neat".


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2007 7:43 p.m. PST

As Dr. Johnson said, "That which is good is not original. That which is original is not good."

The original parts included storing all the water in caves until The Day.

emau9908 Mar 2007 8:56 a.m. PST

[Okay. Pick another modern day analogy that includes an equal number of striking similarities. I dare ya. I triple dog dare ya.]

I think that maybe you've misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that Dune wasn't an analogy for Iraq. I was saying that it is an analogy for most every struggle in human history.

Brass1's analogy is, IMHO, as equally valid as your own. If equivalent analogies can be drawn between Dune and more than one conflict in history, then it follows that no one such analogy is more significant than the others. Therefore, I can't buy into an Iraq/Dune "conspiracy" as such.

"Behold, like a wild @$$ in the desert, go I forth to my work!" -Gurney Halleck

Sargonarhes09 Mar 2007 4:19 p.m. PST

I can't say much about it having never read any of Herbert's books, so it took me a while to catch what the movie was saying.

I agree with emau, you can take a number of written sci-fi works and see events that could mirror historical events. I think this is just either a case of history repeating itself elsewhere. Or just the writers with an insight to human behaviour. I'd favor the former, because it seems history does repeat itself way too often.

Lord Platinum13 Mar 2007 9:54 a.m. PST

Ok…Who is Sting then?

Sane Max13 Mar 2007 10:08 a.m. PST

The Ex Sec of Def. He is a dead-ringer.


Javier Barriopedro aka DokZ13 Mar 2007 5:25 p.m. PST

That was the most offmark analysis of Dune I have ever stumbled upon.

Sherlockgeek04 Mar 2021 8:17 a.m. PST

I think the bigger point is people are people and power affects us all differently.

Barin112 Mar 2021 4:44 a.m. PST

I've read several articles both in Russian and in English, pointing to "The Sabres of Paradise" as a base for the "Dune".
This one is lengthy and detailed:

However, to me the book is not only about politics, but about corrupting force of power and how it affects even the best people.

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