16 July 2014

Arrakis Rising -- Free Dune Course at the Mythgard Academy

As I mentioned previously, Corey Olsen at the Mythgard Institute will soon be offering a free online course on Frank Herbert's Dune.  The exact dates have now been announced.  The course will meet every Wednesday at 9:30 PM Eastern Time in the United States, starting on July 30th and running through October 15th.  That's 12 weeks.  Sessions usually run between 90 and 120 minutes.  So we are going to have lots of time to discuss Dune in depth.

Now, wait a minute.  Isn't this Olsen guy also known as The Tolkien Professor?  What does he know about Frank Herbert?  What does he know about Dune?  Dune is true SF, not Fantasy, not Myth.

I'll tell you this much, if you have any doubts.  This past Spring the Mythgard Academy had its first free class not dedicated to a work by Tolkien.  The book we voted to read was straight up Science Fiction: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Now I had already read this book, and, quite frankly, I was scarcely impressed. It was okay.  I thought it was decently written as far as the way the words were put together is concerned, and the plot worked, and it had a nice little twist at the end. But that was about all.  I didn't think there was much else there to look at or think about.

I was wrong. And it was the detailed analysis and discussion of the text which Corey Olsen led us through for six weeks that convinced me of this.  A theme runs through the book that I had not paid much attention to the first time around, of what it means to be a human versus what it means to be a monster; Card does an interesting job of exploring it; and we had great fun discussing it.

Now I believe that Dune is a far better book than Ender's Game.  If I had to choose one book as the best SF novel I have ever read, and perhaps the greatest yet written, my choice would be Dune, without question or hesitation.  It explores not only the idea of children thrust into roles beyond childhood, as Card's book does, but a whole world beyond that. Science, Politics, Religion, Family, Community, Society, Economy, Ecology, History -- all of it is there in this very fully realized world.  It is full of memorable characters and drama. With this much material to work with, and twelve weeks to discuss it, I have no doubt that this course will repay every moment we put into it.

So you must not fear.

Fear is the mind killer.

When the course is done, only we will remain.

So just go sign up here now.


You can also watch/listen to the class on Ender's Game here, subscribe to it at iTunesU > Signum University, or subscribe to the whole podcast feed for Mythgard Academy at iTunes > Mythgard Academy.


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