Most people who know the science fiction genre well, when asked to rank the greatest (or perhaps, most important) works of all time, might be all over the place when it comes to many titles. However, I would think two would make everyone's top 10 list - and most in the top 5. I'm referring to Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" and Frank Herbert's "Dune." Simple, one-word titles that convey utterly nothing but represent monumental ideas and epic storytelling.
Later this year, new screen versions of each will arrive, and I'm excited to see how they pull off their interpretation of these works. Although "Dune" has been tried twice before - David Lynch's mixed-bag but elegant 1984 film starring Kyle MacLachan, and the mostly-empty bag 2000 miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel - neither achieved universal acclaim or a massive fan following for a variety of reasons. For many, the book is simply too massive and its themes too deep to effectively capture on film. I don't buy that reasoning, as many critics used the same argument about "Lord of the Rings" before Peter Jackson turned it into a triumph.
"Foundation" is a remarkable work that spans many books, but also crosses generations - covering more than a thousand years, ultimately. Characters and plots, while building on the previous, change regularly. Perhaps that's why no one has tried to bring this story to film before now.
The trailers for both "Foundation" and "Dune" look spectacular, and I have a sense the producing teams are taking these works seriously, remaining as loyal to the text as practical. We'll see. Foundation debuts September 24 on AppleTV+, while Dune hits the theaters (I hope) on October 22. It's already been moved twice on the calendar.
In the meantime, I have begun reading the "Foundation" books and will re-read "Dune" later in the fall. I think it will be fascinating to analyze both works in these different contexts. I'll be reporting back here and also on my new YouTube channel, which I'm debuting next week. Until then, happy reading.