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Magic mushrooms inspired Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’
07.25.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Books
Drugs

Tags:
Dune
Frank Herbert
magic mushrooms

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Anyone who has read Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune will have pondered on the inspiration for the book’s fictional spice melange—supposedly the most valuable commodity in the universe. This naturally occurring drug can only be found on the planet Arrakis. The spice is much sought after as it can give users heightened awareness, longevity and the ability to see into the future. Melange is also the source of power for the Spacing Guild’s spacecrafts called “heighliners”—the drug allowing users to safely steer the heighliner during a “navigation trance.” It’s a useful drug. The downside? The spice leads to addiction, turning the users eyes a luminous blue. Withdrawal can be fatal.

At the time of publication in 1965, many thought Herbert was making reference to LSD—something director Alejandro Jodorowsky considered when he planned to film the book back in the 1970s, when he claimed his movie:

...would give the people who took LSD at that time the hallucinations that you get with that drug, but without hallucinating.

In fact, Herbert was making a reference to psychedelics in particular his own predilection for magic mushrooms, as Paul Stamets explains in his book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World:

Frank Herbert, the well-known author of the Dune books, told me his technique for using spores. When I met him in the early 1980s, Frank enjoyed collecting mushrooms on his property near Port Townsend, Washington. An avid mushroom collector, he felt that throwing his less-than-perfct wild chanterelles into the garbage or compost didn’t make sense. Instead, he would put a few weathered chanterelles in a 5-gallon bucket of water, add some salt, and then, after 1 or 2 clavs, pour this spore-mass slurry on the ground at the base of newly planted firs. When he told me chanterelles were glowing from trees not even 10 years old, I couldn’t believe it. No one had previously reported chanterelles arising near such young trees, nor had anyone reported them growing as a result of using this method.” Of course, it did work for Frank, who was simply following nature’s lead.

Frank’s discovery has now been confirmed in the mushroom industry. It is now known that it’s possible to grow many mushrooms using spore slurries from elder mushrooms. Many variables come into play, but in a sense this method is just a variation of what happens when it rains. Water dilutes spores from mushrooms and carries them to new environments. Our responsibility is to make that path easier. Such is the way of nature.

Frank went on to tell me that much of the premise of Dune — the magic spice (spores) that allowed the bending of space (tripping), the giant worms (maggots digesting mushrooms), the eyes of the Freman (the cerulean blue of Psilocybe mushrooms), the mysticism of the female spiritual warriors, the Bene Gesserits (influenced by tales of Maria Sabina and the sacred mushroom cults of Mexico) — came from his perception of the fungal life cycle, and his imagination was stimulated through his experiences with the use of magic mushrooms.

You can find a PDF of the book here.

Meantime, here’s a rare clip of the sci-fi bard on television.
 

 
Via the Daily Grail

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes of David Lynch’s ‘Dune’
05.29.2014
01:49 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
David Lynch
Dune
Frank Herbert

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When it was released thirty years ago, David Lynch’s film version of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel Dune was almost unanimously reviled by critics. It was considered incomprehensible, boring, disjointed, cold, and the special effects were cheap and nasty. When I saw it the following year, I couldn’t understand the enmity. I liked David Lynch as a filmmaker, and thought Dune was an intelligent, well-made and thoroughly engaging film. Lynch’s vision (via author Herbert) was not the clean, pristine, plastic, over-lit world of Star Wars, it was a gritty, darker and a far more believable construct than what Lucas had created with Skywalker and co.

I also think Lynch was was being overly harsh on himself when he said:

“I started selling out on Dune. Looking back, it’s no one’s fault but my own. I probably shouldn’t have done that picture, but I saw tons and tons of possibilities for things I loved, and this was the structure to do them in. There was so much room to create a world. But I got strong indications from [producers] Raffaella and Dino De Laurentiis of what kind of film they expected, and I knew I didn’t have final cut.”

All employment involves some selling out, and the creative industries involve this more than most. However, Dune‘s Frank Herbert was more diplomatic:

“I enjoyed the film even as a cut and I told it as I saw it: What reached the screen is a visual feast that begins as Dune begins and you hear my dialogue all through it.”

Unlike some behind the scenes photos where actors pose on set and directors smile for camera, these pictures from the making of Dune give a good idea of the intense work cast and crew go through in the making of a movie.
 
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More images and videos after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nice poster for documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ‘Dune’
09.26.2012
07:55 am

Topics:
Design
Movies

Tags:
Alejandro Jodorowsky
Dune


 
Designer Kilian Eng made this lovely poster—released by Mondo—for the upcoming documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune.

Below, Alejandro Jodorowsky discusses his ill-fated Dune:
 

 
Via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dune Coloring & Activity Book
03.03.2011
01:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Movies

Tags:
Dune
Dune Coloring & Activity Book

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Some pages from the Dune Coloring & Activity Book published in 1984. Written by Arlene Block and illustrated by Michael Nicastre, the coloring book offered hours of enjoyment to Dune-loving kindergartners. Connect the dots to see what Paul can’t live without!

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More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sean Young’s Super-8 film diary from David Lynch’s ‘Dune’ (1983)

 
Actress Sean Young’s Super-8 film footage offers a fascinating glimpse behind-the-scenes on the set of David Lynch’s Dune. See craft services, Sting, Kyle MacLachlan, David Lynch and Sean Young goofing around.

(via Minds Delight)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sean Young’s Dune video diary

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While the sandstorm clouds of another Dune movie threaten to gather once again, tidbits of the visually striking David Lynch version keep rolling in.  Back in ‘83, the one-time future Mrs. Novicoff actress Sean Young, who played Chani against Kyle MacLachlan’s Paul Atreides, brought her video camera to Mexico City’s massive Dune set.  Here’s a bit of what she experienced:

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Frank Herbert & David Lynch discuss Dune

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
New Dune!!!! Here We Go Again…
01.06.2010
10:36 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
David Lynch
Dune
Pierre Morel

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Thanks to the never-ending French love of Frank Herbert’s Dune, we’re in store for a new adaptation of the book to film. What is this?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Underground Dune Cities In “Sietch,” Nevada?
10.08.2009
12:01 pm

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
Dune
Frank Herbert
Sietch
Water Wars

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Frank Herbert fans rejoice—with stillsuit-filtered water, of course!  In case the total desertification of our planet comes about sooner than later, maybe we can all just downshift into Dune-mode?

Dune has been called the ?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment