Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 12, 2019
The science-fiction novel, Dune, written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965 might just as easily have provided the precursor literary materials for a "Hallmark Home for the Holidays" screen-play as it would have for any of several "Star Wars" episodes. It is a meaningful, versatile, very adaptable novel. The book is good and offers deeply religious connotations. It provides historical significance, dating back from ancient times, and suggests serious implications for the future, involving social and political stability.
Ostensibly, the story follows a doting, overly-protective, single mother who wants only what is best for her son. She takes him on a camping trip, in order for him to win the equivalent of a "Boy Scout" merit badge in survival skills. Basically, his task is to provide food for the family in the wilderness. If he can find the right bait and put it on a hook to catch a fish for dinner, he all but assures himself of attaining the merit badge he seeks. The problem is, they soon discover that the lake has all but dried-up. The waters have receded, or they have been diverted, somehow. Hence, he has to hunt for alternative sources of food. Simple enough, you think. Except, you remember that the novel is pure science-fiction. Things get hairy in a hurry and out of hand very rapidly, and the various outcome scenarios become numerous and unpredictable. The story-line becomes even more interesting later on, when the son decides to attend his first rodeo.
Perhaps, the single mother has mistakenly slipped a bottle of "Mescal" Mexican tequila into her back-pack, instead of the "cooking Sherry," which she had intended to bring along on the trip "for medicinal purposes." While cooking over the proverbial open campfire, she must have been sipping some form of potent alcoholic beverage, causing her to dream, and possibly, hallucinate. The manufacturers even put a little grub-worm into the bottles of this particular tequila, out of an abundance of caution as a warning; or for aesthetic reasons, I imagine. Not too unlike, the "green dragon" or the "genie in the bottle," appearing on the label of a libation otherwise known as absinthe. In her dreams, or perhaps because of her vivid imagination, then, the harmless, one-inch, standard-size grub-worm is transformed, becomes magnified, or otherwise enlarged by the mysterious processes of her mind, into a gargantuan monster 5,000 times its normal, original size. This is where the science-fiction part enters the story. Thus, a potential whirl-wind romance is transmogrified into something completely out of this world. It evolves into a tantalizingly amazing and profoundly appealing tale of adventure. Again, I'm reminded of the classic "Star Wars" saga, which first appeared in movie theaters twelve years after the novel, Dune, was first published.
In the course of natural events, the mother of the impressionable, young lad fondly reminisces about living in their former home far, far away by incredibly great distances of measurement, somewhere over the curved spectrum of colorfully diffracted light-beams known as a rainbow, beyond eons and eons of cosmic clouds in the time-space continuum, having a normal climate, an abundance of rainfall, mild weather, with clear lakes and cool-running streams, something quite radically different from the dire circumstances in which they presently find themselves. She smiles graciously and is pleasantly reminded of swimming in the ocean like an Olympic athlete; the outdoor public showers on the beach; washing the salty water out of her tousled and tangled hair, rinsing her skin clean and vibrant again; noticing sand in her bikini panties.
But now, however it came to pass, she is much more immediately concerned about gang violence and her youth blasted into oblivion by laser-light guns. Even worse, their exposure to harmfully volatile cartridges of electronic cigarettes; risking addiction; and, ultimately, being "vaporized" by an atomizer. Vanishing into thin air.
R. Royce rests on a long, weathered wooden pier, the wharf overlooking the inter-coastal water-way from a hidden cove. Here, he goes by the nick-name, "Johnny Questar." He's looking into the deep, clear, greenish-tinted water for a big spear-fish. He recollects parts of a song from way back when, with lyrics that go vaguely something like this:
"In the year 2525, if mankind is still alive.... there will be no husbands, you'll have no wife..."
"In the year 3535, the Propaganda Prince rules the people for thousands of years.... his ego is huge, and there's nothing too terrible that he fears..."
"In the year 4545, robots and androids are running wild.... they can achieve anything, except bear a child..."
"By the year 7510, God should make an appearance by then, and have something important to say... for it's a time of evolution and Judgement Day...."
"By the year 9595, if mankind is still alive.... there will be no more wars, you'll experience no strife..."
"After 10,000 years have come and gone, if mankind is still alive, we have won....we'll be comfortably re-planeted.... you'll mostly feel euphoric and contented..."
Thus, he sang the words he remembered and made up the rest as he went along. He could have easily researched the internet for the song , written by Rick Evans in 1964 that became a number one hit by the duo "Zager and Evans" in the summer of 1969 and topped the music charts in both the U.S. and the U.K. He should get it on CD.
"We'll move to another galaxy and start all over again, my friend...in this promising age of enlightenment," sang Cornelius Korn, chiming right in. People in the area know him by the popular name, "George Jetsam."
"How is it, that people like us always wind up going to strangely exotic destinations such as the Florida East Coast and on remote desert islands?" asked Alexis Sue Shell, now answering to the name "Wilma Flint."
"Probably because we've adapted so well to hot air, palm trees, sandy and salty water. The natives are friendly and they generally mind their own business. We love the care-free life-style here. Plus, whenever we're ready, we can sail away." said Raquel Remington, presently known as "Betty Revelle."
"Anything on the agenda for today?" asked Royce, suddenly business-like, ever the practical one, and exuding confidence.
"I've located the two grandsons from New Jersey," said Korn. "We're meeting them in a nice, quiet setting on the beach this very afternoon, at "Hooligans."
"I have good news and bad news for you," confided Royce, later, at the restaurant. "The good news is you are no longer obligated to pay Mugsy Malone what you owe him, since he's met with an unexpected and untimely demise. You probably read about it in the newspapers."
"Oh, how did that happen?" asked Kashmir, one of the wise guys he'd met in New Jersey at Mugsy Malone's Atlantic City hotel months ago, feigning innocence. "What's the bad news?'
"Some weeks before his sudden departure, Mr. Malone authorized my security firm to make good on the debts his more prolific business associates owe him. In other words, we're here to collect on what you and your cousin, Nehru, haven't yet paid him. With expenses and interest, the amount due today comes to half a million. Can you cover it with cash, certified cashier's check, or a bank-to-bank transfer? "
"We're on vacation in South Florida," said Nehru. "We don't normally carry that kind of cash around with us."
"Your grandfather was very cooperative. He advised us that you're doing quite a lucrative business in the vicinity. He said that you're involved in the tourism and travel industry. You've been making money hand over fist here," said Royce. He'd certainly done his homework on the pair's financial dealings.
"All we have available at the moment are 100 Super Bowl tickets, 100 reservations to Disney World, 100 tickets to Universal Studios, and four re-possessed luxury tour buses, formerly owned by country and western musicians," said Kashmir. He obviously wanted to settle their differences amicably and put an end to the matter at once. Smart. He actually wanted to avoid risky, protracted conflicts with formidable adversaries.
"That should cover your overdue account debt. We humbly accept your generous offer," said Royce, indicating Kashmir's metallic briefcase containing legal documentation, tickets, and bus keys. "Thanks for putting us in the tourist business. Trusted associates from the firm will contact you shortly to iron out any details and finalize the transaction." He calmly strolled away, taking the briefcase with him. Kashmir and Nehru felt a sense of relief that there were no complications to derail their plans.
"Chump change," George Jetsam said later that evening, as they all began to relax and unwind in their hotel suite. "But it pays the bills and keeps peace in the family."
"I think you handled the situation admirably, Royce--I mean, Johnny," said Betty Revelle.
"Looks like we're back in business again," said Wilma Flint.
"Yes, indeed! Travel agencies to contact, tickets to sell, and busses to lease," said Johnny Questar.