Motherboard Does Dune Listener’s Guide

Dune is in theaters, Warner Bros. has greenlit a sequel, HBO Max is working on a tie-in TV show, and director Denis Villeneuve is already talking about a third film. The weird book about worms, genocide, and psychedelics from the 1960s is officially a cultural phenomenon.

Motherboard is full of the kind of weirdos who corner people at parties to demand they read Dune, so we had to talk about it. But Dune is so big, so weird, and so many people wanted to discuss that no single podcast or livestream could contain everything we wanted to do.

Thus Motherboard Does Dune was born—a series of conversations livestreamed on Motherboard’s Twitch channel (subscribe to get notifications when we go live) then published as a podcast on our Cyber feed. Motherboard alum and Blood in the Machine author Brian Merchant was on hand to guide every conversation.

Here’s a breakdown of what we talked about, who participated, and how to listen.

Episode 1 — Eugenics and Race

In this episode, Brian Merchant, Motherboard Editor-in-Chief Jason Koebler, Motherboard Feature’s editor Timothy Marchman, Motherboard staff writers Gita Jackson and Edward Ongweso Jr, and Hood Feminsim author Mikki Kendall talk about race, eugenics, and gender politics in Dune. The main takeaway from this episode is that Herbert was a weirdo who fetishized other cultures. You’ll learn more about Herbert’s personal life than you ever wanted to know!

Go here to watch the discussion on Twitch. If you just want to listen, go here.

Episode 2 — Oil, Space, and Environmental Destruction

In this episode novelist Jacob Bacharach joins Brian, Jason, Tim, and author Claire L. Evans to talk about climate change, oil, and the environment.

Everyone was fresh from seeing the film and were, generally, hyped and excited to see Herbert’s vision brought to life. Bacharach, however, hated it. Find out why by watching the stream or listening in via Cyber.

Episode 3 — Space, Psychedelics, and Spirituality.

Brian, Tim, and Gita tackle drugs and spirituality in the Dune universe with the help of Motherboard features writer Shayla Love, Jewish Currents editor David Klion, and Historian and Dune scholar Haris Durrani. What is the spice and why must it flow? Why does the resource that makes interstellar travel possible also make you trip balls? The answers to these questions and more are discussed, if not necessarily answered, in this episode of Motherboard Does Dune. Come to see the gang’s reaction to Dune officially getting a sequel. Stay to learn about drugs

Watch the full presentation here or go here for the audio version.

Episode 4 — Playing ‘Dune II’ In the Vice Offices

There would be no Starcraft or Command & Conquer without Dune. In 1992, Westwood Studios released the video game Dune II. Players took control of one of Dune’s Great Houses and set about gathering the Spice while fighting off rivals. At the time, it was a weird mix of strategy and combat unlike anything anyone had played. It codified the real time strategy genre and paved the way for blockbusters like Warcraft III and Age of Empires.

Jason and Brian sat down at the Vice officers to play through some Dune II. Watch it here.

Episode 5 — Geopolitics and War

In Dune, Duke Leto is obsessed with desert power. But what, exactly, does that mean? Are there nuclear weapons in Dune? Why aren’t there guns and robots? Is Blade Runner 2049 better than Blade Runner?  We answer these questions and more on the final episode of Motherboard Does Dune.

Brian leads the conversation again and is joined, once again, by Ed and Tim. Motherboard staff Writer Matthew Gault, How to Hide an Empire author Daniel Immerwahr, and defense journalist Kelsey Atherton join the conversation to hash out the geopolitics of Herbert’s book and Villeneuve film.

Go here to watch the conversation or here to listen.

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