Embedded Player Rund and Ramtin speak to sci-fi writer and Princeton historian, Haris Durrani, about why the lore of Dune still proves so relevant and the ways in which the 2021 film succeeds and fails to convey its messages.

"Dreams are messages from the deep." Those are the first words that appear on the screen in Denis Villeneuve's 2021 film, Dune, a cinematic adaptation of the iconic 1965 sci-fi book by Frank Herbert. The book contains dreams within dreams. Dreams of a future humanity in all of its flawed complexity. Dune takes place about ten thousand years from now with humanity having spread across the galaxy, populating planets and evolving in myriad mysterious and fascinating ways. But Herbert's vision isn't unrecognizable to our contemporary eyes. In fact, unlike many other similar sci-fi stories, Dune projects Islamic belief and philosophy into the future, placing it right at the center of future events. It uses Middle Eastern history to paint a dream of a future which is both futuristic and ancient, exhilarating and full of tension. It is a story about the perils of imperialism, messianic beliefs, and environmental degradation. It is a story about us.