Dune as Steampunk

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Dune as Steampunk

Postby Spacing Guild » 22 Oct 2012 17:27

Think about it. Especially the Sci-Fi miniseries. In the shots on Kaitain I really get a Steampunk vibe from the "futuristic Victorian" feel of the royal palace.
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Omphalos » 22 Oct 2012 18:31

I was convinced by the mechanical butterfly hats. Not.

There is no steampunk aesthetic in that miniseries. At least that I saw. Dune is so well regarded because it has it's own aesthetic, and I think the producers did a pretty good job of sticking to that.

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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby lotek » 23 Oct 2012 04:42

Sticking to hats, surely?

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery

No steampower, no steampunk.

I wonder if you could post the kind of images that make you think steampunk though.
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Naïve mind » 23 Oct 2012 10:09

Well, steampunk self-consciously projects a future (or at least an alternative history) where the internal combustion engine, and much of modern electronics were never invented, and people have to work with steam power and mechanical solutions.

Dune projects a future where computers and digital technology are banned, and people have to make do with mechanical technology and their own minds.

In that sense, there is a definite parallel. (Although I'm not sure if there are any steampunk novels that offer a serious explanation for technologically stifling their societies, whereas Frank Herbert competently used the lurking menace of machine supremacy and the irrationality of the Butlerian Jihad to make this choice plausible)

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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Freakzilla » 23 Oct 2012 10:13

I see the parallel but none of the imagery in the mini made me think of it. :?
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby lotek » 23 Oct 2012 10:58

Naïve mind wrote:Well, steampunk self-consciously projects a future (or at least an alternative history) where the internal combustion engine, and much of modern electronics were never invented, and people have to work with steam power and mechanical solutions.

Dune projects a future where computers and digital technology are banned, and people have to make do with mechanical technology and their own minds.

In that sense, there is a definite parallel. (Although I'm not sure if there are any steampunk novels that offer a serious explanation for technologically stifling their societies, whereas Frank Herbert competently used the lurking menace of machine supremacy and the irrationality of the Butlerian Jihad to make this choice plausible)



good point which should be discussed at some point, but still,
Freakzilla wrote:I see the parallel but none of the imagery in the mini made me think of it. :?
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Omphalos » 23 Oct 2012 11:03

Well, in the same vein the ornithopters that are powered by giant claim make me think of Avatar. Or the living spaceships of the Brood in X-Men. And The Duncan's ultra-sword makes me think of.....

Oh my, I almost channeled CL there for a moment!

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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Ampoliros » 23 Oct 2012 12:27

I should point out that the Ornithopters also had jet engines.

No, Dune is not steampunk, it comes at it from the opposite angle: A society that has reduced its tech, not increased it through alternative means. I'd suggest there is no paranormal factor in Dune either. While there are certainly 'supernatural' abilities in the series they are not supernatural to the Dune universe.
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby ULFsurfer » 23 Oct 2012 18:52

Not the mini-series, I agree. But the Lynch movie does have some steampunk feeling to it though, as I think has been mentioned before in this forum. Just look at some of the decorations and equipment a la late 19th century style. Sure, I don't think the heighliners are driven by steam, but it's the style and setting that counts.

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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Jodorowsky's Acolyte » 23 Oct 2012 22:48

ULFsurfer wrote:Not the mini-series, I agree. But the Lynch movie does have some steampunk feeling to it though, as I think has been mentioned before in this forum. Just look at some of the decorations and equipment a la late 19th century style. Sure, I don't think the heighliners are driven by steam, but it's the style and setting that counts.


Not to mention that the harvesters in the Lynch version look like advanced versions of WWI era vehicles. Their just pure muscle mechanics: relying on huge gears and probably motor oil. The harvesters are not sleek in their design, or advanced in its function. If the harvesters were imagined from our 2012 technological view, the design of the harvester might be compressed and entirely powered by a new energy source different from electricity. Since the futuristic harvester's in Lynch's film still rely on ancient mechanical tank design (albeit more colossal), then the film is kind of steampunk. Or at least a retro-futuristic.

Dune may not be quite steampunk, but it would be cool to see an artistic interpretation of Dune in the a medieval-Arabic steampunk vein. It might twist the vision of Herbert's somewhat, but it would still be interesting.
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby DuneFishUK » 24 Oct 2012 13:57

Dune is partly retro-futuristic because way things would be designed and made. Today virtually everything is designed in a computer and created with computer-controlled machines - this influences the way things look. (There's the story that when all the architectural modelmaking companies bought laser cutters, the new buildings being built started to look like they'd been laser-cut)

BUT - the materials in Dune are not Victorian turn-of-the-century materials. Plascrete, fanmetal etc - these are highly advanced. IMHO the starting point for Dune is the 1950s and 60s, but minus a bit of the optimism. Here we have modern materials, but assembled in a way that communicated through drawings and hand-made maquettes.

Then add in the fact that Dune is a feudal society where those on the top need to show off their status, so obviously there are going to be some more opulent bits at the top. And rivalry between houses creates one-up-man-ship so there are probably a wide variety of styles slowly rotating as each generation stamps their mark on their worlds and their palaces. So a mix of nouveau/baroque/etc/etc wouldn't be out of place.

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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby Freakzilla » 24 Oct 2012 14:17

DuneFishUK wrote:...So a mix of nouveau/baroque/etc/etc wouldn't be out of place.


The scenery in the movie kind of felt that way.
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Re: Dune as Steampunk

Postby ᴶᵛᵀᴬ » 25 Oct 2012 11:19



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