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Dune
by Frank Herbert
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This Hugo and Nebula Award winner tells the sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity, so whoever controls it wields great influence.
 
The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privilege, though, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human; he might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium.
 
Dune is one of the most famous science fiction novels ever written, and deservedly so. The setting is elaborate and ornate, the plot labyrinthine, the adventures exciting. Five sequels follow. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Topic: 
     MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (27 of 52), Read 36 times 
 Conf: 
     CLASSICS CORNER 
 From: 
     Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) 
 Date: 
     Monday, April 23, 2001 01:26 PM 


Well, it might as well be now as later:

First, my disclaimer: I read Dune when it first came out and found
it a life interrupter. Considering that that was 36 years ago, I still
have a strong sense of the narrative, which says much about the
book and its influence on a then 45 year old professional. Reading it
again now, I admire the weaving of the narrative, the construction
of protagonists, the invention. 

The bone of contention. the trap laid: Why is this called Science
Fiction? Where's the "science"? I think Dune is no more SF than
the Lord of the Rings, both pieces of great imaginative fiction.
(Dune characters are human, with their intrigues and drives, and
LOTR's are not.)

Isn't (or shouldn't) the term SF be reserved for extrapolations*
based on today's "real" science? (God! some of cosmos theory is
fiction enough.)

Or, to cut to the race, what is SF ? Don't we need an agreed upon
understanding before we bean each other with the term?

(P.S. And what about today's profusion of Fantasy titles ? More
power to them, but what fertilized them during the last twenty
year?)

pres, retiring quietly, to observe.

* The dictionary tells me that the phrase "reasonable
extrapolations" is redundant.

 
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (28 of 52), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 01:33 PM Pres, as I've said elsewhere, I think these genre labels are just subjective or transitory at best. I just finally started Dune myself. Seem to remember that my original paperback copy had tiny print, but this nice hardcover I got for Christmas is of quite normal text size. Those of you bothered might check the library for such a version...
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (29 of 52), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 03:13 PM My version DID come from the library. Ruth, squinting, but soldiering on “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (30 of 52), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dale Short (dshort5005@aol.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 03:24 PM Mine, too. (Squint, squint...) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (31 of 52), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 05:36 PM Pres: I'd have to say that Dune, even if not considered pure science fiction, is certainly more SFffy than Lord of the Rings, if only because many of the things within are extrapolated from existing technology rather than reversion to the technology of the past. For instance (without giving too much away) there are space travel, laser guns, etc. That said, there's plenty of magic as well, which feels more like fantasy. At any rate, the charm of Dune for me is not the gadgetry, but the story. In essence, It's more historical fiction than science fiction, and I'm a sucker for historical fiction. David
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (32 of 52), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 06:08 PM I go with you, DAVID. It's more historical fiction than science fiction. But having said that, I'm in difficulty. For the auditor would almost certainly be misled if you said, "It's historical fiction". Maybe it's "An historical fiction of an imaginary world", but then what novel isn't? Note: "As one swallow does not a summer make," a scattering of future artifacts* does not a work of science fiction make. pres * “The very act of looking at a naked model was an artifact of male supremacy” (Philip Weiss).
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (33 of 52), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 06:37 PM pres, You should have looked in your OED for the definition. :) "Imaginative fiction based on postulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmental changes, freq. set in the future or on other planets and involving space or time travel." I'd say Dune fits the 'spectacular environmental changes' or the 'other planets' definition. I'm going to have to hold my tongue in this discussion because it always seems to me that when this subject comes up people are saying something like "if it's good, it can't be science fiction". Today the field is quite wide and the word 'speculative' is often used interchangeably with science fiction. My favorite definition of science fiction is "the literature of ideas." (This one is used frequently within the field.) Bo Sue Surova, Forum Host, Science Fiction Literature Forum http://www.sflit.com
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (34 of 52), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 07:56 PM BO: I was awaiting your appearance - fondly. I accept the OED definition you cite. The essence of that definition is: "based on postulated scientific discoveries or spectacular environmental changes" I don't read that to say that off-earth settings, of themselves, make Science Fiction, but if that is a generally accepted definition, so be it. One hell of a lot of faeries Under The Hill are going to drop their test-tubes. Whatever, (such a precise word): DUNE creates an imaginary world of great drama, detail, intensity, consistency, and originality. The sheer extent of the achievement is, I think, the quality that captures so many readers. It is thrilling to think that if Herbert can do that, maybe there is hope for my visions in progress. But remember also that for many readers a work will not succeed unless it provides, along with the fiction, a sense of truth. And the sense of truth is particular to the individual. For many people Dune will have a sense of truth, even as remote as the world is from reality; for others that very remoteness makes a sense of truth impossible, and the novel fails on page one. pres
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (35 of 52), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 09:22 PM A few thoughts, Pres: I disagree with your statement about Dune as being no more SFiffy as Lord of the Rings. Tolkien is pure fantasy, but if you notice Herbert does not delve in "fantasy" but bases everything on "scientific postulates." For example, the Bene Gesserits are adept at manipulating others--they are not really prophets nor telepaths. Everything they do is based on principals of psychological conditioning and such. This may seem for sociological than some space operas, but it is provocative nonetheless. There is also the very ecology of Arrakis--Herbert delves into geology and creates an entire system that is, at heart, very credible. It's based on geological concepts and theories. Maybe it isn't rocket science, but last time I checked geology is indeed a science. For the SF gadget freak, Herbert has the body shields, those wonderful sand suits, and 'thopters. Also, the "mentat" is an interesting SF element. From what I gather, the universe of Dune refuse to be slaves to any machine and hence create computers out of people. The "fantasy" part may be considered Maud'dib's "prescient abilities," but I find that is even somewhat more grounded than Frodo and friends. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (36 of 52), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 09:32 PM I agree with Dan here. I can't really think of anything in the book that just seems magically there, inserted from thin air out of convenience. The very setting (more than 10,000 years in the future!) can pretty much account for anything. The most magical stuff I can think of is the prescience, and even that is treated like...I guess the psychology of hallucinations and drugs, and of levels of consciousness. There's a lot of religious stuff mixed in there too...dunno if you'd classify that under "magical" or "fantasy", although I think it's possible to do so without using the descriptions in a derogatory manner.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (37 of 52), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, April 23, 2001 10:39 PM Ruth and Dale, I'm on page 75 and am really kind of into this. I needed to read something different and am having fun with it. I like this Jessica! Barb...who has read maybe two other science fiction books in her life....
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (38 of 52), Read 40 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 12:44 AM Bo, I'd say that all good fiction is 'the literature of ideas.' Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (39 of 52), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 02:13 AM Ah, wonderful Ruth. So you've conceded that all science-fiction is good literature. ~BIG grin!~
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (40 of 52), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 11:20 AM Whoa, there, Jonathan. Don't jump in for the kill so fast. I've conceded that ideas are essential to good fiction. Sometimes SF is good lit, sometimes it's not. Just like everything else. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (41 of 52), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 11:42 AM I think he was kidding you, Ruth. Sherry
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (42 of 52), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 11:45 AM Who, me? ;-D
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (43 of 52), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 01:54 PM Ooops. I should never answer before I've had morning coffee. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (44 of 52), Read 39 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 02:03 PM I'm on tape 3 of a 16 tape set. I'm enjoying this so far. The reader, George Guidall, speaks so authoritatively that I never question a thing. It all seems plausible to me. Barb, I am very intrigued by the relationship between Jessica and the Duke. I'm sure more will be revealed later. There are some references to Catholicism, including a Catholic Bible, that are quite interesting. And so far the Bene Gesserits remind me of the Jesuits. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (45 of 52), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 06:03 PM Ann, I don't remember the story ever dipping into this part of the background, so I'll explain a bit. Sometime, thousands of years before the story in Dune takes place, all the religions of mankind got together and decided to quit fighting and find some common ground. It took them years and years to hammer something out, but they ended up with the Orange Catholic Bible. It is considered a great source of wisdom in Dune's time, but I think very few people still practice a religion per se. There are a couple exceptions, including the Tleilax and the Jews (!), but none of that is explained until much later in the series. As for the B.G. being like Jesuits, I think I've heard that before too, not sure where. I always love how they're called "witches" by other people, even though they don't have any real magical powers or anything. I guess some of their abilities seem like magic to other people though. The B.G. are a fascinating group of characters; the first four books pretty much set them up as villains or at least nuisances, but in the fifth and sixth books (the last two) they are actually the main protagonists! Another aspect of the Dune universe is that women are always holding the power in almost any situation...though the men may or may not know it. I'd imagine that was quite unorthodox coming from a male author in the mid-1900s.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (46 of 52), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 06:57 PM Thanks for the information, Jonathan. Yes, I couldn't help but notice the strength of the women. The B.G. "Reverend Mother" (a name used for the leader of a convent of nuns, BTW) is so disappointed that Jessica didn't bear a girl child. Obviously, she had a choice because she is quite apologetic about it. It's not clear to me yet. Are all the B.G.s women? The ones who've been introduced to the story so far are. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (47 of 52), Read 37 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 08:48 PM Ann, you are so lucky to find an audibook of Dune read by George Guidall. He may be my favorite reader, certainly one of the top two or three. Really interesting point about the Bene Gesserits and Jesuits. And, thank you for the background information, Jonanthan. Barb
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (48 of 52), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 10:06 PM Yes, all the Bene Gesserit are women. Actually, the "Kwisatz Haderach" that you've undoubtedly heard of by now is actually a male Reverend Mother...something they've been trying to accomplish for millennia. You're welcome Barb!
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (49 of 52), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 11:41 PM I've just seen my first sandworm. I think I'm hooking into the story. Stay tuned. Ruth “There ain't no happy songs, really. Even the ones that sound happy are sad underneath."Hank Williams
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (50 of 52), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Friday, April 27, 2001 03:52 PM Good, my first attempt at moving a thread back to the left worked! I just finished the dinner party scene (a real treat if you're not there yet!) and was totally awestruck by the introductory quote. I've been enjoying my reread immensely so far, but this is the first time that something has just hit me over the head like a cinder block: Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality even occasional greatness will destroy a man. - from "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan As usual, I had to read the quote two or three times before really picking up the meaning...but OH MY GOD this little statement is just mind-blowing in light of what happens later in this book and in the next two books. A wonderful, beautiful gift from Herbert to observant fans. By the way, if you haven't been paying too much attention to the little intro quotes for each chapter, I hope you will. Even if they don't much relate to the story, or if they do and you can't figure out how, they are almost all fantastic little "pearls of wisdom", to use a charming but deathly overused phrase.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (51 of 52), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, April 27, 2001 06:25 PM Pros and cons from chapter one of Dune: I was trying to read the beginning of Dune with the eyes of someone not familiar with Science fiction and a couple things struck me. The biggest was how much terminology he throws at you right away. I'm reading another SF book now which has an alien culture in it but the terminology built much more gradually throughout the book. Only a dozen or so words are integral to the plot. Whereas I feel like Dune's got quite a bit more to learn and it takes a bit more concentration from the start. What I remember most from reading it in the past is the tone/setting. That's coming across again and I find that positive. I also think that he's done a good job of setting up some of the conflicts and setting the hook. (I'm actually pleasantly surprised. I wasn't really looking forward to a reread which I shouldn't admit here but since I'm now enjoying it, I can. {G}) Jonathan, The one thing that's stood out to me in this rereading is the introductory quotes. They *are* good and I don't remember what happens later in the book. :) What I like about them in particular is that they seem integrally related to the intertwinings of the story. So often some of these things are so obscure that I skip them. I'm wondering if one of the reasons I don't remember a lot from my previous readings of Dune is because it's so intricately plotted. And there are those mystical elements and such that I didn't remember. Bo
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (52 of 52), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Saturday, April 28, 2001 12:21 AM Bo, I find Herbert's approach to language not unlike that found in A Clockwork Orange. You feel the urge to look things up, to make sure you don't miss anything. BUT, it's much more rewarding (and 100% possible if you try) to pick up all the important words from context, and to be honest, the rest don't matter. As far as missing something, you're always going to miss something with a story this complex. I say, just screw it and move on, and go back to check something if it bugs ya. Glad to hear that the rereading is hitting the spot for you...I know it is for me. I haven't read a book this fanatically in quite a while. At this rate I'll be finished in a week, which is quite speedy for me! Oh yeah, and here's another prescient gem for those of you who've ventured as far as God Emperor before... There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles. - from "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (53 of 68), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Sunday, April 29, 2001 03:42 PM Jonathan, I am now on tape five. There are a total of 16 tapes. This really is a ripping good yarn and I am glad your enthusiasm convinced me to give it a try. I think I will have lots to discuss when I am finished. I liked the quote about the necessity of being sardonic if you are going to be a hero. Currently, I am listening to the big dinner scene. Although I am confused sometimes, I have resisted the temptation to check out the glossary on the internet. I don't want any plot spoilers. Gradually, things are becoming clearer to me. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (54 of 68), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 03:01 PM For some reason, I wasn't real excited about reading this book. I'm not sure why because I've read a ton of science fiction, although not recently. Maybe that's why -- I kind of figured sci-fi was a phase I'd read myself out of a while ago... Anyway, last night on the train home from work, I suddenly got very hooked into the story (I was on about page 150). Today I called in sick to work (I woke up at 3 am and couldn't go back to sleep. By 6 am, I was exhausted and knew I'd never make it through the day...). I slept for a while, then decided to take a bath. I took Dune into the tub with me. I'd read a little last night, so I was on page 196 (my mass market pb has 510 pages, including the appendices on Kynes, religion, & the BG). I did not get out of the tub until I was finished with that book -- 3 hours later. The water was cold, I was shriveled and pruney. But I could not put that book down long enough to get out of the tub. I turned the last page of the book, realized I was now in the appendices and wanted to howl, "What do you mean that's the end of the book?" I'm going to have to read the next one in the series (what is the order of them Jonathan?) Karen
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (55 of 68), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 03:30 PM Karen, amazing! Three hours of Dune...I can't even imagine. I have to read in thirty-minute bursts so everything sinks in. The next book is Dune Messiah, and it is probably my favorite in the whole series. A very different type of book...don't expect a straight sequel! Send me an email when you start on it, because I planned on reading it as well sometime in the next few weeks/months.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (56 of 68), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 04:30 PM Karen, Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I am making pretty good progress listening to the tapes, but I have some old batteries that keep running out. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (57 of 68), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 05:34 PM KAREN A "pruney" KAREN is a most interesting visualization. Here's to your speedy recovery. EDD
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (58 of 68), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 05:37 PM Karen: There is something altogether incongruous about reading Dune while taking a bath... David
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (59 of 68), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 05:41 PM DAVID Maybe it's the sheer joy of getting out of your "stillsuit" for a short time. EDD
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (60 of 68), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 08:33 PM David -- You know, I didn't even think of that, but you are so right... For some reason, early on in Dune, I thought of The Alchemist. Of course, the two don't even compare -- The Alchemist is no where near Dune's league. I think it's the phrase 'terrible purpose.' Didn't that keep coming up in The Alchemist? Karen
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (61 of 68), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 09:35 PM Karen: I'm already there--purchased Dune Messiah yesterday. Like you, I think I read the final third of this novel in almost one complete stretch. I was helping paint a house and when no one was around I pulled my paperback out my backpocket and would read while rolling the walls. It must have worked, because my brother-in-law came back and looked at my work and commented: "Great job." What I enjoyed about Herbert's narrative was the manner in which he toggled between "real time" and "historical commentary." The characters had an added depth because they were part of a myth Herbert only hints at in the sundry Irulan books quoted--and following the quotes are the seemingly real actions of the actual people whose lives would become the stuff of legend. This type of narrative is played with by Strazinski in his series Babylon-5, a series which owes a lot to Herbert's work. I also enjoyed the way Herbert could tell you straight up who the traitor was going to be and yet still stunned you when the doctor actually commits his treason. Similarly, we are allowed inside the minds of key characters even when they are in conflict--and yet the intrigue is still palpable. It is saavy story telling. Of course, there are some mysteries left in this universe: We never do hear the thoughts of someone of the Space Guild. The dinner conversation has a member present but all we receive are his emotions filtered from the perspective of other characters. Herbert never really lets us know just what he is thinking or even planning. The same is true of the smuggler at the dinner; he laughs and is mirthful but a few pages later he is dead. Again, I applaud Jonathan for bringing this book to my attention. It is indeed a classic I should have read a dozen times by now. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (62 of 68), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 10:19 PM Daniel, you'll be glad to know that a Guild navigator (biologically far different than that Guild banker, but still of the same organization) is a main character in Dune Messiah. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I'm trying to hold off on the real conversation until I finish...there are lots of things I want to discuss with you all.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (63 of 68), Read 31 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 06:33 AM I think my favorite line of the entire book is on the last or second to last page when Jessica says, "They say she has literary aspirations." Karen
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (64 of 68), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Karen Slongwhite (kmbookworm@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 08:20 AM I'm heading to the library on my lunch break today and will be picking up Dune Messiah while I'm there. Karen
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (65 of 68), Read 17 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Saturday, May 05, 2001 11:47 PM I just finished the book. I noticed especially towards the end how Paul is represented as a duality or perhaps even a triality (sp?) as Duke Atreides, Muad'Dib, and Usul. This is in stark contrast to Herbert's other portrayal of this most interesting character, that of the ultimate mixture of human experience. Paul is at once civilized and savage, calculating Mentat, male Reverend Mother (that would be the Kwisatz Haderach part), and Guild navigator (that would be the prescience part, although Paul holds the ability to a far greater extent than any Guildsman). If this kind of character excites you, you really must check out the later books to meet the God Emperor Leto II...he who is god and yet man, one and yet many, in addition to everything that Paul was and so much more. And you all don't even know the main character of the entire series, Herbert's very fulcrum: Duncan Idaho. I'm sorry, it's difficult to discuss Dune outside the context of the rest of the series when I've already been exposed to the consequences of the first book's plot and characters. Anyway, I really want to know what stuck out to everyone else, as I'm sure there are countless facets to this story that I haven't even noticed yet, much less understood. God, I could spend weeks discussing Dune!
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (66 of 68), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001 12:43 AM Jonathan, didn't you once say that Dune has been a pivotal book for you? Perhaps you'd like to start things off by articulating why this is. Ruth “As a queen sits down knowing that a chair will be there, Or a gneral raises his hand and is given the field glasses, Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind." Richard Wilber, Walking to Sleep
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (67 of 68), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001 11:03 AM Personally, it is when Herbert spends an inordinate amount of time discussing Paul's personal and political problems that his writing becomes dull. Honestly, Paul is never really a "real character" to me; he's a seeming embodiment of philosophical musings the author wants to express. Oh, the problems of a messiah-to-be, the problem of being a Fremen as well as an Atreides--I personally don't buy any of it because it seems forced onto a character. Granted, I started Dune Messiah and it is this perspective which is boring me to tears. Perhaps it is just that the problems of potential godhood is a problem I doubt I'll ever have to confront in any fashion. I will face scheming Harkonnen or Emperors and there will indeed be times when survival depends upon my own resources. But the problems with being a prophet or the possibility of a Jihad in my name--not in my lifetime, I'm sure. What I particularly enjoyed with Dune was Herbert's look into how individuals and communities function together to survive and adapt. While I was intrigued with the Bene Gesserit traditions (particularly in seeding primitive cultures so they could be respected or awed should they return some day), the constant prophecy ranting grew stale rather quickly. One final note: Jonathan provided a real plot spoiler with his short story he presented a while back. I couldn't forget a name as distinct as DUNCAN IDAHO. His being is present as a woman in Jonathan's work. So when I encountered him in Herbert I surmised he was going to die and yet return later some how, some way. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (68 of 68), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001 12:30 PM Dan, you have no idea what's in store for you. ;-) Ruth, good idea. Not sure how you can articulate something like that, but I'll try. I was a big reader in elementary school and most of middle school, but at some point I just got burnt out and stopped reading books for pleasure. It'd be easy to blame it on the mandatory books I had to read for high school, but I think it's more that I ran out of books I was comfortable with. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that a friend pushed A Clockwork Orange into my face and said, "Read it." So I did...and here was a book that I wasn't at all comfortable in reading, that I actually found quite difficult because of all the language barriers, but it fascinated me terribly. After that seed was planted, my friend provided two books based on the Myst computer game...actually both quite good. While at his house picking up one of those, I noticed that he had Dune lying on a desk or something. Having seen the David Lynch movie adaptation twice, I was intrigued and asked to borrow it. He said, "When you finish these Myst books." Okay. I read those and then jumped into Dune. I'm not sure what I was expecting. The cover was pretty dull, some guy standing in a desert. If A Clockwork Orange was challenging reading, this was downright excruciating. People using words I didn't understand to talk about philosophical topics I didn't understand, and so on. I had to read some entire chapters over again just to figure out what was happening. But it was very interesting, and Herbert's writing style was just amazing. His way of describing people and emotions was like nothing I'd ever read before. The real hook was just at the end of the first section of the book. Paul and Jessica are stranded in the desert in the middle of the night, and the spice is starting to take hold of Paul for the first time. The plane of time is rolled out before him, as a handkerchief blowing on the wind. When I read that passage in December 1999, something stirred within me. I think it was some kind of catharsis, right there in the middle of the book. Maybe it was just my mood that night, maybe something inside me was very much ready for that moment and had been waiting for it a long time. It was like the sleeper awakening, and for perhaps the first time in my entire life, I looked up from the pages in awe, unable to read further until my mind had time to catch up to what I was reading. I can't explain it. Ever since then I've been different. Perhaps it's something so subtle that no one else can detect it, or perhaps it's simply self-perception. Still...it's like I was dragged up to a new level of awareness through Dune. I began to read...constantly. Dozens of books in 2000, and already that many through less than half of 2001. I also began to write, not silly essays for class like I'd always done, but things I truly wanted to write. There was a terrible need to be creative lying within me that I'd never even noticed before. I began keeping a journal to track my new awareness (unsuccessfully); I looked at literature and television and film and especially music in a whole new way. In the spring of 2000 I entered Janet's creative writing class, and she was wonderfully gracious in allowing me the freedom to do whatever I wanted...she knew I wanted to write. Within months I was exploring ideas for stories and novels and poetry and songs as I walked the halls or sat through other classes. Was all this caused by one passage of one book? No. But Dune was the key, perhaps one of many possible keys, to unlock something in me that has very literally changed my awareness, my very way of looking at life and everything contained within, if not changed me as a person completely. Ironically, I just realized that it could be compared to Paul's experience on that first desert night. His entire life, even generations of planning before his own conception, everything about him was engineered to be a receptacle for that mysterious Arrakeen substance, the spice melange. When exposed to it, the spice unlocked latent abilities and emotions and awareness that had been inside Paul all along, and from there on he was an entirely different person. Dune is my spice.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (69 of 74), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 06, 2001 07:47 PM Jonathan, thank you for your long attempt to answer an almost unanswerable question. I'm going to mull on what you said, and try to get my own thoughts together on this before I post more. Ruth “As a queen sits down knowing that a chair will be there, Or a general raises his hand and is given the field glasses, Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind." Richard Wilber, Walking to Sleep
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (70 of 74), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Monday, May 07, 2001 05:57 AM Jonathan, I really enjoyed your post. I couldn't stop smiling throughout the whole thing. I love your enthusiasm and willingness to be open. What a neat description of a turning point in your life. Sherry
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (71 of 74), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, May 07, 2001 12:12 PM Jonathan: Finished Dune Messiah over the weekend. I wasn't as impressed as with Dune for the very reasons I delineated above. The narrative pace wasn't as intense and the action, much of the time, was emotional or internal struggles. However, it was not bad enough to stop me and tonight I'm picking up Children of Dune. I'll give Herbert another chance to spruce up the chronicles and tone down the emotional toils of messiah-to-bes. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (72 of 74), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 01:58 PM I have been re-reading this and I am really awed by your post Jonathan regarding how this novel affected your life. How strange that I am so much older than you and yet many things about your reading time with this book happened to me when I was young. Dune changed my life and my thinking and perspective completely. It was one of the first novels I ever read when I was breaking through from 'remedial reading' as I have talked about here before. I was a hopeless 'reader' actually really almost unable to read until I was about 15...and I couldn't stand it anymore and just somehow was given Dune, A Clockwork Orange, Something Wicked This way Comes and 2001 by a boy I had a crush on...actually I am pretty sure that was a huge motivation to learn to read or rather overcome my dyslexia. But as I was living on the west coast, I remember being sensitive to environmental issues and clear cutting and water issues in California and somehow Dune totally inspired me to see the dead planet from farming and overtaxing...the earth, the worms the intuitiveness of the witches. It was all so relevant and exotic to me. And it seemed so fricking topical! So political! I know when I read it I thought that I would grow up into a world changed by environmental and agricultural issues and I really thought there would be major corporate changes...as if EVERYONE would have read Dune or worked to understand themes in Dune. Oh well. but as I am reading it now, I am so impressed with his writing and the scope of his mirror world to Earth! It still holds up, maybe more than ever. I did start losing interest in the following novels/sequels, although I have been told that his kids new novles are very much like the original Dune. Candy
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (73 of 74), Read 19 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 02:58 PM I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I wanted to say about this one, Jonathan. Please bear in mind that nothing I can say can invalidate your response to it, and if it brought you into the fold of readers, it’s worthy on that count alone. That said, this wasn’t a book I warmed up to and it didn’t have near the impact on me that CLOCKWORK ORANGE did. The vocabulary didn’t bother me; it soaked in and made sense as I went along, just as the vocabulary in CO did. One thing I never did get straight tho, was the relationship between CHOAM (Is that the correct acronym? My book’s gone back to the library.), the Guild, the Emperor, and various and sundry other governmental/business/military entities. Perhaps it’s my natural dislike of characters that are not believable that prevented me from warming up to, oh lord, what’s his name? The main character. He was way too smart, too strong, too prescient, too NewAgey, too everything for me to accept. Plus it’s kind of hard to cotton to a fellow who keeps insisting he hates to kill, but who happily does so at every possible opportunity. After the first couple of chapters, which were slow going, I became enmeshed in the story and plowed ahead. Cracking good story, even if it did get a bit repetitive, and the writing occasionally klunked. Stroke of genius, killing the Duke off like that. Just when I was expecting a protracted struggle, the plot snuck in and bopped me over the head. Wow. What I found most fascinating was the idea of an almost waterless planet, and the adaptations—physical, mechanical, mental, emotional—required to deal with it. Ruth “As a queen sits down knowing that a chair will be there, Or a general raises his hand and is given the field glasses, Step off assuredly into the blank of your mind." Richard Wilber, Walking to Sleep
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (74 of 74), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 03:31 PM I agree with much of your commentary, Ruth. The characterization in this novel is somewhat weak and the character of Paul Atreides is, as you say, a little little "New Agey" for me. But as Candy notes, the environmental commentary embedded in the text is utterly engrossing and provocative. The novel sacrifices in some areas yet rewards (greatly) in others. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (75 of 84), Read 48 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, May 09, 2001 02:01 PM I would say that I agree that this is not a successful novel as far as the normal aspirations of high literature. I guess as many of you already know standard definitions of'well written' are not always part of what I like in a book. Ultimately for me, it's always content and theme.It's true it has a lot of characters, like War and Peace and Les Miserables....I think he wanted to create a world and political intrigue like those novels and he may not have succeeded. It is hard to follow and this is a re-reading and I still don't remember lots of characters or like them. Oddly, it is still the original feeling I had for the eye opening way of looking at our world that hits me as his genius and insight. Cheers, Candy
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (76 of 84), Read 48 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Thursday, May 10, 2001 02:02 PM Candy: I do believe that content and theme carry Herbert's work far. Weak characterization is made up by an absorbing story with fascinating content and provocative themes. It is difficult to find a novel without any flaws; it is better to find one with just a few. And, by the way, for the record, I started Children of Dune last night. I'm on a roll... Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (77 of 84), Read 46 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Friday, May 11, 2001 04:18 PM I thought I had stumbled into the world of Dune when I saw this headline on my start page: "Worm hit thousands of Solaris and IIS servers." Sherry
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (78 of 84), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, May 14, 2001 01:06 AM heh heh very cute.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (79 of 84), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 09:38 AM Some rather odd thoughts stimulated by mulling over the actions of Dune... (1) What do you make of the notion that great armies are a by-product of hostile environments? The Fremen were fierce fighters because of their rigid, disciplined lifestyle; the Sardaukar were notorious because of their harsh life on the prison planet Selusa. Seems to me this is flawed. Today, the best troops tend to come from the most technologically advanced societies. Sure, some nations have religious zealots chanting and waving AK-47s, but note how quickly the allies seized air superiority and covered ground during Desert Storm. All of it due to technology. Of course, Herbert is careful to have the "technology" of the Atreides undermined from the start of the Harkonnen siege: the generator is sabotaged and personal shields are largely useless on the open plain. Would the American army still be a force to be reckoned with without technological superiority? (2) Could a cadre of individuals master human observation and mannerisms to such an extent as to practically read minds or insidious intentions? And what about "the Voice?" As a teacher, we all have "the Voice" we use sparingly yet effectively. Could someone perfect a vocal inflection which would actually influence a stranger's actions or thoughts without detection? Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (80 of 84), Read 24 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001 05:31 PM Hi Dan, >>(1) What do you make of the notion that great armies are a by-product of hostile environments? The Fremen were fierce fighters because of their rigid, disciplined lifestyle; the Sardaukar were notorious because of their harsh life on the prison planet Selusa. Well, off the top of my head, I think that there might be *some* indication of this depending on the situation (how's that for qualifying in every way possible?) I think that harsh conditions can produce a type of discipline that can have military applications. Though this isn't necessarily so. I think there's more of mentality and application of the skills needed for military thinking that has nothing to do with environments. >>Seems to me this is flawed. Today, the best troops tend to come from the most technologically advanced societies. Sure, some nations have religious zealots chanting and waving AK-47s, but note how quickly the allies seized air superiority and covered ground during Desert Storm. And what about the guerilla warfare style fighting in View Nam? I'd say that technology (though there are certainly a ton of other factors) wasn't all that was needed there. >>Of course, Herbert is careful to have the "technology" of the Atreides undermined from the start of the Harkonnen siege: the generator is sabotaged and personal shields are largely useless on the open plain. I think he's got a sort of anti-technology mindset from what I was reading. (I got some of that sense from the little I've read of Dune this time through.) >>Would the American army still be a force to be reckoned with without technological superiority? I hate to say this but I don't think it would. My impression is that we're lagging behind in physical training and in some of the guerilla/terrorist type style of fighting that's upsetting the balance these days. >>(2) Could a cadre of individuals master human observation and mannerisms to such an extent as to practically read minds or insidious intentions? Well, yeah, I think this is theoretically possible. It depends on if these individuals are regular humans or not. If we're talking some type of alien being that anything's possible. :) >>And what about "the Voice?" As a teacher, we all have "the Voice" we use sparingly yet effectively. Could someone perfect a vocal inflection which would actually influence a stranger's actions or thoughts without detection? Yeah, I think this is possible. There's been so much done on subliminal influences lately that this could be just a variation of that. You know, the one thing I was wondering after reading some of the notes here was why it is that Paul wasn't as sympathetic or memorable a character as he could have been. Bo
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (81 of 84), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 01:41 AM Some ideas....Dan, good questions. One about war and military, I agree with you that it seems more like technology in associated with warfare...although as I have said in the past, most of the roots of this seem to be associated and yes here I go again with agricultural economies, rather than just technologically advanced. It might be that technology is from the mindset of agricultural economies too... I just read this bit in a book review on www.bostonglobe.com by Caryl rivers on a book by Marilyn Yalom...called The History Of A Wife this review and book may be of interest to cr folks anyway... "Yalom's book opens with wives in antiquity when, many historians believe, the status of women had declined from the hunter-gatherer day. It was probably not until well into the agricultural era when the concept of property evolved and the idea of paternity became so important to it, that women lost ground and 'patriarchy' developed." I throw this out there because really, property and loss of resources occurs with agricultural economies and then defence and religious zealots seem to get mixed in too. I think American army is the most powerful because of the technology it has. and I think 'people persons' are already able to 'read' other individuals. Aren't there people in our lives who go to the same functions as we do, and afterwards they seem to have the inside scoop on personal dynamics at a work function, or party. I think there are people who are just really intuitive and/or sensitive to body language and phrasing and tone of voice and open to 'reading' others...
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (82 of 84), Read 20 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 01:27 PM Bo: Interesting point about the role of technology within the tactics of Vietnam. The only thing is that in Dune, there wasn't too much guerilla fighting on the part of the Fremen--when they were ready to conquer the Harkonnen, they did so en masse. Of course, hasn't it been said that America had its hands tied during the Vietnam conflict? Candy: Yes, good politicians are good at reading body language and influencing others. I read or saw a study on lying where psychologists filmed people in a room. The ones who "lied" clearly kept touching their face (tapping the forehead, rubbing the cheek, etc.) when actually lying. The psychologists stated that this makes sense since the liar dreads having to tell a lie so they reassure themselves by touching/caressing their face. Next time you're lying, try to check to see if you don't at least touch your face at least once during the fib. I was surprised to find that I did--so now I make a conscious effort not to do so. Not that I lie that often, you know (rubbing my forehead). Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (83 of 84), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Dean Denis (dddenis@iname.com) Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 03:43 PM If I recall correctly, professional poker players call this "a tell" and, apparently, everyone has one in one form or another. The professional makes er living from discerning the "tells" of others and dissimulating er own. In the specific example of face touching, if one were to consciously stop touching one's face, it would be replaced with some other mannerism. The impetus to tell is strong and requires great effort to overcome.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (84 of 84), Read 18 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001 08:55 PM Very telling, Dean. I'm going to try to be more perceptive for signs I may unconsciously signal for different emotions or actions in myself as well as others. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (85 of 86), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Sunday, May 20, 2001 10:51 PM I am here to report that I finished the 16th and final tape of DUNE. It was a good story and fun to listen to. Listening to books on tape certainly makes yard work and housework a bit more endurable, although I am not yet an expert on auditory reading. As a result, I never quite understood everything that was going on -- either that or Herbert left quite a few loose ends. I prefer more grey in my characters. These were either completely good or completely evil. However, the imaginative world that Herbert created intrigued me throughout. I do have one question. It is my understanding that all of the people in this universe were humans. Is that correct? Because this book was science fiction, I assumed that it would be populated by intelligent beings that differed not only in culture but appearance from our own species. Ann Davey
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (86 of 86), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, May 21, 2001 01:05 AM Don't feel bad, Ann. I read every single word the old-fashioned way, and I never did get the intrigue sorted out. Ruth “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (87 of 100), Read 30 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Monday, May 21, 2001 01:28 PM Ann: During J's absence, I'll note that yes, indeed, they are humans from Earth. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (88 of 100), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, May 21, 2001 01:36 PM And the species certainly hadn't improved with time. Ruth “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (89 of 100), Read 21 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 03:27 PM Goodness, it's been so long. I just wanted to address a couple posts before this thread dies out for good. ;-) I've enjoyed it so much while it lasted. Dan: "Could a cadre of individuals master human observation and mannerisms to such an extent as to practically read minds or insidious intentions? And what about "the Voice?" As a teacher, we all have "the Voice" we use sparingly yet effectively. Could someone perfect a vocal inflection which would actually influence a stranger's actions or thoughts without detection?" Yes, I think so. One of the striking things to me about Dune is that it takes place SO far into the future...more than 10,000 years from now...when most sci-fi is just around the bend. If you look at a lot of research and trends in today's society, and then jump forward ten millenia, it's fascinating to think what they could evolve into by that time. Herbert loved doing that, and I loved reading it. Just one of the many things he used to separate him from most other science fiction authors. (On a side note, there are times when I'm hesitant to even call it that. Some of you more mainstream readers probably don't think anything of it, but Herbert's style and ideas are SO different than any SF I've ever read that I think he doesn't belong in the same category, although I'm not sure what category if any he should be put in.) About the lack of aliens, there's just another example of his unwillingness to follow SF traditions. What's so clever about Dune is that you have so many subsets of the human race that, over 10,000+ years, have specialized themselves so that they seem even more alien than the little green men we all think of with normal science-fiction. Again Herbert makes a sly observation about the direction our species is headed...at what point to humans become so bizarre and distant from each other that they no longer qualify as human? Dune has the guild navigators who breath spice gas and look like giant fish-men, but they're still technically human...it's just hard to think of them as such. In fifty years, will we ponder the same things about humans with bionic eyes and hands, or genetically engineered children who can recite Shakespeare's entire works and jump fifty feet into the air?
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (90 of 100), Read 25 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 04:22 PM Yet none of these human subsetsseems to have learned anything about getting along with each other by nonviolent means. What a sad future to contemplate. Ruth “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (91 of 100), Read 28 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:47 PM RUTH All of our little subsets didn't learn to get along in the last 10,000 years. If, past is prologue, then it looks like we haven't a snow balls chance to change. EDD on a pessimistic day.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (92 of 100), Read 32 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:51 PM Edd, how true...
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (93 of 100), Read 33 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:50 PM Alas, Edd, you're probably right. But hope is a nice thing. Ruth “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (94 of 100), Read 34 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 10:07 AM I think this discussion has come round to the ideas in dune and its value as a classic. I think your idea of hope Ruth is right on in the way that Dune says, it mirrors how we have lived for the last 10,000 years and if we continue then there is our future. I am reminded of was it Huxley or Asinov who said, why do people always talk about changing the world rather than the way people live in the world? And I think this idea of how we live and our manipulating the world is a common and important theme is most sci-fi. As a genre it has had this questioning of how we live in it over and over. I read a book review of a philosphy book last week and the book uses the 'prisoners dillema' as a basis for looking at how we live. the prisoners dillema is two criminals are taken into separate rooms and given deals. the prisoners know 1) if one confessess to crime and turns in the other they are given immunity the other a harsh punishment they both confess to crime and both recieve lighter punishments3) neither confesses and both recieve heavier punishments. the book goes on to use this example for clean air. We all want clean air, but know it can only be achieved collectively. We can hope everybody else gives up something and we don't have to,or no one gives up and the air stays a mess, we can contribute on our own at great personal cost, and no one else does and our paltry sum makes no difference.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (95 of 100), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 11:59 AM CANDY: Nice presentation of the prisoners' dilemma and the way it plays out in our own social choices. Another road, about our resistance to change: I feel that if we can invent the PERSONAL COMPUTER we can invent the UNIVERSAL PACIFIER. Or is that what the gun lobby is working on. pres
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (96 of 100), Read 29 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 07:17 AM heh heh I imagine this huge pacifier made by a sculptor or something. I totally got the prisoners dilemma from a book review!
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (97 of 100), Read 27 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 10:21 AM Claes Oldenburg's your man, Candy. Ruth “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (98 of 100), Read 14 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Barbara Moors (bar647@aol.com) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 06:35 AM This was one of the few science fiction novels I've read and it was a nice departure for me. Though it certainly won't ever be my favorite genre, I was glad to have the impetus to try something different. What did you all think of Herbert's treatment of religion? I kept following that thread that worried about the result of Paul being treated as a god by the Freman, but didn't see it being taken to any conclusion. Did that happen later in the series, Jonathan? Also, I was a bit disappointed by the development of Jessica and Chani. They started out with such promising strength and then seemed so limited ultimately. Barb
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (99 of 100), Read 13 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Candy Minx (candyminx@hotmail.com) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 08:51 AM Ruth, yeah, I was thinking he's be okay as well as Damien Hirst(what out of animal parts maybe?) or Jeff Koons-he could make it out of marble or something. I am reading a totally entertaining art history book right now, about to post under 'last five read thread'.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (100 of 100), Read 11 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 10:56 AM Barb, yes, it's wrapped up in the later books. The Fremen wanted to treat Paul like a god, but he was never really interested in that. His son corrected the problem. Although it isn't stressed as much later on in Dune, I think almost everything in the first three books is manipulated and controlled mainly by women. The Bene Gesserit particularly have a knack for getting their way without becoming obvious. "We exist only to serve." Whatever.
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (85 of 93), Read 45 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 01:15 PM Yesterday, ironically enough during a tropical storm, I read my husband's old hardback of Dune. I already was somewhat familiar with the story due to the movie, mini-series and what I'd picked up listening to people talk about it over the years. I enjoyed the book, but it was a really weird read during such a storm. When the huge bowl I collect rainwater in overflowed, I went out in the rain, emptied it into the 5 gallon jug, and then got another container out of the garage because I couldn't stand the thought of all that water going to waste. ;-) I have one small question from the beginning of the book. Supposedly the gom jabbar is to test whether Paul is human--that's what we are told. I thought this was really interesting because it implied that there were people who looked like humans but were not. (Aliens? Uber-humans? Sub-humans?) Later in the book someone says something about the difference between humans and animals, so I then wondered if this culture tested people and then separated them out into "humans" and "animals". I'm really not clear on this gom jabbar test. At the time it was administered it was a test to see if he was human but there were also connotations that either it or the questioning Paul unerwent could reveal whether he was the Kwisatz Hedderach. If it is a Bene Gesserit test to find out if he is Bene Gesserit does this mean that Bene Gesserit were not considered "human"? Later on when the Fremen say something about Paul not being tested, either he or his mother blurts out that he has already been tested by the gom jabbar and that seems to satisfy everyone. That context implied a test for worthiness or trustworthiness, but again, it brought up in my mind the idea of "human" and "non-human". (??) The Bene Gesserit decided that Paul was human even though he withstood more pain than a human could--another reason I wondered it was used to divide people into "human" and "animal" categories. Confused by the gom jabbar, ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (86 of 93), Read 42 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Daniel LeBoeuf (dan1066@yahoo.com) Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 04:39 PM Susan: From what I gather, the gom jabbar as a test designed to show that a person could rise above animal tendencies, as in shirking from pain and such. Everyone is "human" in the biological sense; the Bene Gesserit seem interested in whether or not a person can overcome their animal passions through sheer force of will. Dan
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (87 of 93), Read 44 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 05:36 PM On 6/6/01 4:39:54 PM, Daniel LeBoeuf wrote: >Everyone is "human" in the >biological sense; the Bene >Gesserit seem interested in >whether or not a person can >overcome their animal passions >through sheer force of will. Yeah, but is this a really good way to test this--with a poison needle aimed just a hair-breath away from one's flesh? A lot more people can "overcome their animal passions" when the penalty is instant death than if they simply have to do it "just because". Seems like it would be a better test of character if it didn't mean instant death to fail. By saying that Paul is human when he passed the test, this implies that he would not be human if he failed (which I guess is correct in that he'd be dead). ;-) Of course the whole death-for-failure thing makes me wonder if the Bene Gesserit sometimes produced offspring which were not human and therefore had to be taken out of the gene pool... The fact that they had some kind of complicated breeding program going on for thousands of years raises a lot of questions about what makes a Bene Gesserit. On one hand, Lady Jessica was teaching the Fremen "the weirding way" as they called it. Also frequent mentions were made of Paul's training. So apparently quite a lot of what the Bene Gesserit do can be taught, though no doubt some people are better adapted to these types of skills than others. Certainly they were breeding for and looking for specific traits to produce the Kwisatz Haderach. Is it possible that in giving the test they are looking for a reaction that is "out there" eg: mystical, taking control of the experience, etc? Looking for some unusual reaction in the subject that will mean that they are closer to their goals? Perhaps all Bene Gesserit have tested out "human" so far, but they are looking for some clue to a super-human. Your "animal passions" explanation is probably the right one, Dan, but idea they are testing for a non-human who needs to be taken out of the gene pool or an uber-human who will fulfill the goals of their breeding program is a lot more interesting. ;-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (88 of 93), Read 46 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 07:14 PM Good questions, Susan. My question is: why were the Bene Gesserit all women? The messiah (I forgot Herbert's name for him) was supposed to be a male, born of a Bene Gesserit, if I understood the story correctly. Did you have to have a Bene Gesserit mother to be a Bene Gesserit yourself? I listened to this on tape, so I couldn't easily go back and check out some of my questions. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (89 of 93), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Wednesday, June 06, 2001 11:05 PM What I remember (and it's been 15 years or more so ignore me) is that it had something to do with "spirit" or inner being that made someone rise above and be human. I didn't have the 'animal passions' sense. The question of what it means to be human is certainly an interesting one. Bo
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (90 of 93), Read 36 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Thursday, June 07, 2001 08:34 AM Ann, As I understand it the Bene Gesserit were all women, but they did not necessarily all produce female offspring. At the end of the book Paul realized that Count Fenring is a product of their breeding program, that he is a failed attempt to produce the Kwisatz Haderach. My impression is that the Bene Gesserit is a female religious order and that Bene Gesserit women who have daughters (which I gather is most of them) give their daughters over to the Bene Gesserit to be trained as they were. I know this isn't a direct answer to your questions, but it's as close to shedding light on them that I can come. ;-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (91 of 93), Read 38 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Ann Davey (davey@tconl.com) Date: Thursday, June 07, 2001 02:04 PM Susan, Was the Kwisatz Haderac a messiah, and, if so, what was he supposed to deliver everyone from? Thanks for your help. Ann
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (92 of 93), Read 41 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Susan Strahan (tales@1001knights.com) Date: Thursday, June 07, 2001 03:39 PM That's a good question--the answer, I suppose would depend on one's viewpoint. Obviously the Freman (and Paul) believe it is his destiny to free them from the oppression and manipulation of the Imperium, but the Bene Gesserit are not Arrakeans; they are global and I'm not sure they need saving from anything except perhaps themselves. ;-) Seriously, my impression is that the messianic aspects are unique to Arrakis, something that grew up out of local lore. The Bene Gesserits were likely trying to create not a messiah, but a sort of super-Bene Gesserit, someone who as it was said, could be everywhere at once and know both past and future. A god, in short. But a god that they would have exclusive access to, one whose omniscience could be applied to their own ends. If you were or wanted to be the manipulator of all events, the ultimate political power in the universe, wouldn't it be nice to have someone in your court who could tell you exactly what actions to take to yield the desired result? Unfortunately for them, the Bene Gesserit lost their chance to have an omniscient Kwisatz Hadderach in their midst. Their loss is the Fremen's gain---they get a messiah. :-) ~~Susan~~ "Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" ---Winnie The Pooh
Topic: MAY DISCUSSION: Dune by Frank Herbert (93 of 93), Read 35 times Conf: CLASSICS CORNER From: Jonathan Metts (jonathan@planetgamecube.com) Date: Friday, June 08, 2001 03:54 PM Susan, very astute observations. From what I understand, and some of this comes from revelations in later books, the B.G. wanted not a messiah but a tool. They remained behind the scenes for millenia, scheming and plotting for their eventual dominance while all the time chanting their hogwash "We exist only to serve" mantra. Their plans for the male Reverend Mother, the Kwisatz Haderach, failed because Paul was stranded in the desert when his powers bubbled to the surface, far from the B.G.'s reaches. They didn't realize the folly of their breeding program until too late: if you're going to create a super-weapon, you must be able to control it. Paul and his son Leto II punished the B.G. severely for that mistake. In the last two books, which focus mainly on the Bene Gesserit, you will find that they very much want to avoid accidentally creating another Kwisatz Haderach. I thought that was funny. :-D The Bene Gesserit are a sisterhood, like a cult sort of. It has little to do with heredity. Although there are no "official" male Bene Gesserit, some boys are trained from a young age in the B.G. Way, such as Paul and Harq Al-Ada in the third book. Many of the B.G. powers can be taught even later in life...I think that both Fenring and Yueh mentioned that their B.G. wives had taught them a few tricks of the trade.

 
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