Seeking 'strange new worlds'

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When I was a student in the late '60s and early '70s, I wasn't about to be seen carrying a dog-eared paperback version of Frank Herbert's science-fiction novel "Dune."

That would have been as uncool as watching "Star Trek" during its first run (rerun-watching is still cool, of course) or playing "Dungeons and Dragons" (though I would marvel at the marathon games my sister and younger brother would get into with their friends). These escapes into fictional worlds might suggest a bit uncomfortably that my real life was, uh, none-too-interesting.

Today, of course, being a sci-fi fan is mainstream. On the tube, "Star Trek" (along with "The Outer Limits" and "The Twilight Zone") was once a lonely outpost of "speculative fiction." No more: From "X-Files" to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," otherworldly is in.

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Now the classic 1965 novel "Dune" (12 million copies sold) is getting a six-hour retelling on the Sci-Fi channel (see our story on this page). In an unusual bit of marketing, previews for the TV series have been running in movie theaters. The brief promo scenes look great on a big screen.

A 1984 movie of "Dune" by director David Lynch was deemed an incomprehensible mess by some critics. I found it exotic, mysterious, and visually arresting.

Tell us about your favorite movies of 2000! Mail in the ballot on page 20 today or vote online at www.csmonitor.com/ratethemovies. It's simple, fun, and chad-free. The results will be published in our Sixth Annual Mega Movie Guide Dec. 22. It will also contain all the Monitor's capsule reviews of movies this year, critic David Sterritt's Top 10 list, and many other cool (we think) features.

Write to entertainment@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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