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"Which universe stole more from Frank Herbert's Dune?" Topic

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07 Oct 2021 12:03 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 2:20 p.m. PST

Warhammer 40k or Star Wars. I shouldn't only say "stole", let's say "borrowed heavily" from.

1) 40k/30k
2) Star Wars
3) Other SF universe/ setting (please name)
4) Who cares, everybody does it.

mad monkey 109 May 2020 2:42 p.m. PST


Legion 409 May 2020 2:56 p.m. PST


Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 3:11 p.m. PST

I'd go with "influenced by".


cmdr kevin09 May 2020 3:23 p.m. PST

And everyone "borrowed" E.E.Doc Smith

RudyNelson09 May 2020 3:44 p.m. PST


Mithmee09 May 2020 4:42 p.m. PST


They steal everything.

Covert Walrus09 May 2020 5:04 p.m. PST

Jodorowsky's "Metabarons". But then, he kinda had permission.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 5:11 p.m. PST

Hmph. I never thought of Dune as having much influence. I may be biased: I was deeply unimpressed by it. As Kevin says, "Doc" Smith would be another matter. I think there's also more Edmond Hamilton behind a lot of more recent SF than most people would own up to.

But the Warhammer people have stolen from everyone on a scale not seen since Gary Gygax--from Herbert less than a dozen other victims. And if the original Star Wars had begun life as a book, it would have been serialized in Planet Stories, not Analog.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 7:00 p.m. PST

Frank Herbert created a very unique universe with Dune that went beyond your typical sci-fi themes of space ships and lazer guns. I'd say that Star Wars had more influence on sci-fi than any other work. So I really don't see Dune repeated anywhere else. But Star Wars was soon followed by Battlestar Galactica and and other low budget productions.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 7:42 p.m. PST

3. Traveller

But 4 is definitely true.

Augustus Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 8:33 p.m. PST

Everything from 40k to Battletech has lifted from Dune in mass quantity.

4. There is nothing new about Houses warring.

rmaker09 May 2020 8:48 p.m. PST

As has been pointed out, Herbert's universe wasn't particularly original.

3rd5ODeuce Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 9:14 p.m. PST

Not sure about the Dune ripoff. However, there is no denying that Halo Array's "Ring Worlds" were a plagiarized concept stolen from Larry Niven.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2020 10:29 p.m. PST
newarch09 May 2020 11:01 p.m. PST

40k was unashamedly derived from loads of different sci fi and fantasy sources, this was deliberate as a means of allowing loads and loads of possible scenarios and to broaden its appeal. Flicking through the original rulebook you have the classic fantasy races in space (Tolkien etc), the evil empire (Star Wars et al, which is itself highly derivative), isolated lawless planets (Mad Max), Genestealers (Alien), Ambulls (D&D Umberhulks) etc etc.

One of the things I love about 40k especially the first edition is that it is very much an artefact of the time it was made (mid-late 80s), when the cool films were Star Wars, Alien(s), Bladerunner, Mad Max etc. The original author and contributors were well versed in sci fi fiction too and this comes across in the finished product.

I sort of prefer the setting before they added Chaos into it, you had renegades but they were just rebels, complete with cool slogans painted on their armour.

newarch10 May 2020 2:18 a.m. PST

For 40k influences I should also add Judge Dredd (Adeptus Arbites/hiveworlds/insane dysoptopian future) and 2000AD stablemates Nemesis and ABC Warriors which would mesh seamlessly into the 40k universe.

There is a distinct anti-war/anti organised religion theme running through the fluff for 40k too, which is brilliantly subversive and typically British.

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa10 May 2020 2:40 a.m. PST

1 and 4, a lot of stuff has no doubt been influenced, though with more recent stuff it may be one removed, but GW definitely drove the car through the shop window, loaded the boot, and sped off…. but as pointed out Herbert was hardly the only victim!

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART10 May 2020 3:53 a.m. PST

Dan Abnett uses glow globes, 'voice', and a heavy use of trainings in his Ravenor and Eisenhorn novels. The cognicenti is a naughty version of the Bene Gisseret. The Emperor is a 'God' Emperor with unusual abilities. One could easily add to the list.

Star Wars primarily lifts from the Hidden fortress film and French comic books. I guess GW's primary impetus is to sell a new sub set of figures while adding a lot of hand wavium to make them a must own commodity. The back story is what ever is lying around loose in the legal office.

This in itself is not bad. If it wasn't for idea borrowing we would be hard pressed for new music, paintings, film and etc.

Earl of the North10 May 2020 5:15 a.m. PST

The distrust (fear and hatred) of AI and technology in Dune and 40K is similar (as is the history of a similar war against AIs), the emphasis on melee combat, the need for a human mutant to allow FTL spaceflight. The concept of the eternal God Emperor.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 6:08 a.m. PST

I would say neither

Earl of the North10 May 2020 8:52 a.m. PST

Oh and I forgot….

1) 40k/30k obviously were influenced by Dune, amongst many others.

newarch10 May 2020 9:03 a.m. PST

GW and Lucasfilm are both renowned for aggressive defence of IP and trademarks.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 9:52 a.m. PST

The Sabres of Paradise by Leslie Blanch, published 8 years before Dune, provided a good deal of the background for Herbert's book, to the point of word for word quotation. None of this has ever been acknowledged.

So, if you want to know who stole whose universe you need to go back to an obscure book about the rise to power of Shamyl the Imam, The Lion of Daghestan, in the Caucasus 1834-1860.


KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 11:56 a.m. PST

Nothing is really original

For Star Wars, Lucas took Akira Kurosawa's "Hidden Fortress" and the final sequence of the attack on the Death Star is lifted from "The Dam Busters" and "633 Squadron"

James Cameron swiped "Dances with Wolves" (or even better, "FernGully: the Last Rainforest")for Avatar.

And the movie Outland with Sean Connery is nothing more then "High Noon" in outer space.

If anything was obviously stolen from Dune, I would go with "Tremors"!

Ridley Scott's Alien is almost an exact re-make of "It the Terror from Beyond Space" from 1958

His tagline of "In space, no one care hear you scream" should really have been "In space no one can hear you paliagrize!"


Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2020 9:47 p.m. PST

KimRYoung wrote:

Nothing is really original

You stole that idea from Mark Twain's autobiography: "There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages."

Mark Twain of course was plagiarizing Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Sargonarhes13 May 2020 3:48 p.m. PST

There is nothing new under the sun.

While that is true, I still agree with Kevin. So many more things have borrowed from Doc Smith he should be considered the God Father of Sci-fi.

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