The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby evilbobthebob » Sat May 02, 2009 10:40 am UTC

Ah, Dune. That book, along with Arthur C. Clarke's books and Isaac Asimov's, set my minimum line for sci-fi. I will admit that I read the book after playing the RTS game, and I have read quite a few of the Brian Herbert books. For fanfic, they're OK. As for the too many new words: I can agree there. You just have to stick with it, and use the glossary. Although: http://xkcd.com/483/

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Mysidic » Tue May 12, 2009 2:19 am UTC

I read dune about once every year since I got it at 13, or 14. I can certainly say that even with the glossary the terms are confusing the first time through.(CHOAM was the biggest offender, that should have been simplified or introduced better) Second time was when Dune all clicked since I understood all the terms by then.

I honestly wasn't a fan of Dune Messiah, to me it felt like there was something off about the writing style in there, and after hearing how God-Emperor of Dune went, I decided to ignore the sequels/prequels.

Remember the David Lynch Dune film? I rented it despite my mother telling me it was awful, and it was. It's like they stuck to the source material when it was completely inappropriate, and changed the material in completely stupid ways.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby clerkenwell » Thu May 21, 2009 10:20 am UTC

Mysidic wrote:Remember the David Lynch Dune film? I rented it despite my mother telling me it was awful, and it was. It's like they stuck to the source material when it was completely inappropriate, and changed the material in completely stupid ways.


Ugh. Can we put that movie in the same category as the Brian Herbert books? I'd put the miniseries in there as well, though it's far less offensive than Lynch's take.

I'm also rather surprised about the lack of love for the post-Atreides books (Heretics & Chapterhouse). Heretics is probably my favorite from the entire series, primarily because Darwi Odrade and Miles Teg are the most compelling and complex characters in the Duniverse. Paul and Leto II are great, of course, but they often serve more as vehicles for some philosophical rumination and much of their humanity is lost in their Godhood. Granted, that's almost certainly the point, but even so Darwi and Miles are human through and through, and I find them much more intriguing as a result.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby MHD » Fri May 29, 2009 10:26 pm UTC

Dune is absolutely brilliant. I have read it 8 or more times and still thinks highly of it every time.

I think the later books are good too, but they don't have the same feel to them.

And I don't fight with crysknife. A daito (read katana) does it nicely for me.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:27 pm UTC

clerkenwell wrote:
Mysidic wrote:Remember the David Lynch Dune film? I rented it despite my mother telling me it was awful, and it was. It's like they stuck to the source material when it was completely inappropriate, and changed the material in completely stupid ways.


Ugh. Can we put that movie in the same category as the Brian Herbert books? I'd put the miniseries in there as well, though it's far less offensive than Lynch's take.

I'm also rather surprised about the lack of love for the post-Atreides books (Heretics & Chapterhouse). Heretics is probably my favorite from the entire series, primarily because Darwi Odrade and Miles Teg are the most compelling and complex characters in the Duniverse. Paul and Leto II are great, of course, but they often serve more as vehicles for some philosophical rumination and much of their humanity is lost in their Godhood. Granted, that's almost certainly the point, but even so Darwi and Miles are human through and through, and I find them much more intriguing as a result.

I liked Miles Teg and thought of Darwi as an OK character, but in my opinion those last two books get bogged down by Herbert's absolute refusal or even inability to make the Bene Gesserit all that sympathetic.

As to the sheer number of made-up words, it helps that a fair portion of them are proper names or titles. "Padishah Emperor" really just means "Emperor", "Bene Gesserit" is just their name, and "CHOAM" is just a company.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Orca » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:44 pm UTC

I recently read Dune, embarrassingly enough it was in a stack of books to read that I never got around to for several years (*cough* 10) and it was darn good. I can see why it was once a very popular book to read. I'm not sure what it is about it but the entire book just seems to work the right way. The plot, characters, background, themes, all just mesh together in the right ways to create a good book. :D Amazingly enough my local bookstores do not carry anything but DUne and the Brain Herbet novels, not Dune Messiah, not Children of Dune, nada, nothing! Took me two weeks to get Dune Messiah finally, foolish book stores.
Then I accidentally read one of Brian Herbets without checking the title/author first. :cry:
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby icenine » Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:38 pm UTC

annals wrote:I think it's a pretty fair complaint. While most of the terms used are derived from Arabic (and explained in the index at the back), they'll have no meaning to the average reader. When you hear phrases like "Bene Gesserit", "Padishah", "Muad'dib", "Kwisatz Haderach", "Gom Jabbar", and "CHOAM" for the first time ever within a period of 100 words or so, it can be a bit overwhelming. Now, whether this fascinates you and draws you in (as it did me) or leaves you cold depends on what kind of literature you like.

Heh, I didn't bother figuring those out, and was on the verge of giving up on the book. And then I got so hooked that when I put the book down my arms were tingling. Also, part of reading sci-fi is being in that cloud of mystery in the beginning, even though it was more intense in this book. The physical places confused me more than the names did.

Never read the sequels, though. Dune seemed perfect by itself, and I had other books to read.

seladore wrote: "It was a dark and stormy night" type writing. Ugh.

Hey, A Wrinkle In Time was nice enough :wink:
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby RockoTDF » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

I read the first five (and LOVED heretics), but got lost in chapterhouse. I'm moving to Tucson so I might take a stab at it again to get myself in a desert frame of mind. I tried reading Brian Herbert but it felt too much like I was reading a Star Wars book with Dune characters/lingo/places.

Oh, and one thing about Heretics:
Spoiler:
When the lost rabbi guys appeared, I immediately thought of History of the World Pt. 1:
"We're Jews out in space! Zooming along protecting the Hebrew race! When Goyum attack us...." etc
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Hazel » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

For me a large part of the Dune's appeal was the whole desert planet idea and the Fremen culture (and yep, all those mystery words), so anything post-Children hasn't really had the same impact. I actually sympathised with Leto, though, and really got into the complex interplay between the factions, although by Heretics that kind of devolved into a Thirty-Xanatos Pileup with immediate exposition so the reader doesn't get confused, and also everyone's a Mentat.

I did read up to the middle of Heretics but I got turned off when the plot shifted over to "let's all have superhuman sex with Duncan". Is Chapterhouse more of the same, or worth a try?

P.S. Jews in space makes me think of Lavie Tidhar, who hasn't been mentioned on the boards ever. That makes me sad.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby seladore » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:30 am UTC

*This* is the bit that always makes me run a mile...

"The drug's dangerous," she said, "but it gives insight. When a Truthsayer's gifted by the drug, she can look many places in her memory — in her body's memory. We look down so many avenues of the past . . . but only feminine avenues." Her voice took on a note of sadness. "Yet, there's a place where no Truthsayer can see. We are repelled by it, terrorized. It is said a man will come one day and find in the gift of the drug his inward eye. He will look where we cannot — into both feminine and masculine pasts."
"Your Kwisatz Haderach?"
"Yes, the one who can be many places at once: the Kwisatz Haderach. Many men have tried the drug . . . so many, but none has succeeded."
"They tried and failed, all of them?"
"Oh, no." She shook her head. "They tried and died."


I can't read that without imagining a bad soap opera zoom to close up, maybe a roll of special effects thunder, and the background music going DUN DUN DUUUNNNNN.

Every time, this writing just stops me in my tracks. I'm going to try for the last time today... I accept that there might be a good story hidden under the hack writing and the silly names (xkcd 483 sums it up perfectly). If it defeats me again, I'm giving up for good.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:39 pm UTC

seladore wrote:(xkcd 483 sums it up perfectly)

I don't think this applies to Dune. Herbert makes up a few words, but he doesn't do so arbitrarily. Often his words are just abbreviations, like "sandworms" for "giant worms that dig through sand" or "stillsuits" for "suits that behave in a similar fashion to stills." I'll admit that Kwizatz Haderach is a little much, but I don't see this as an endemic problem.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Ventanator » Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:26 am UTC

I tried to read the book years ago and made it most of the way through (and was fairly interested) but it just didn't seem...good...at the time. After seeing all of the posts on here I guess I'll have to give it another try, so don't kick me out just yet!

But yeah, 483 captures exactly what I remember of the book.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby seladore » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

OK, I did it. I finished Dune.

My goodness me it was absolutely fucking atrocious. A reasonable plot at the beginning, weighed down by pretty poor prose, gradually became more and more awful.

Spoiler:
It's like the complete opposite of Lord of the Rings. Where Tolkien manages to create the impression that the story you are reading is part of a vast historic canvas, in Dune I couldn't shake the feeling that all was involved was a few people wandering around a desert. Nothing is ever spoken about apart from trivialities. The climactic battle is almost entirely skipped - you get Paul in a cave, looking out, then a storm comes, then an explosion is felt, then a glimpse of people riding the worms, then cut to Paul walking through the palace.

It started reasonably well, got lost about halfway through, and then just fizzled out in this massive nonsensical anti-climax. The author spends the entire book building Paul up to be this superhuman fighter, then right at the end (just after he glosses over the final battle) he only just manages to beat some random kid, and we learn that he could be killed by this old diplomat guy. It just makes no sense.

We get bloody endless bumph about people reading each other's reactions and emotions to incredible levels of detail (the continual detailing of which got pretty damn tiring after about page 20), but then he skips over any actual plot events. I'm sure something like 40% of the book is taken up cataloguing the 'depths' behind mundane conversations, endlessly detailing how characters interpret the meaning behind minute glances and muscle movements. It just feels like Frank Herbert is trying to be too clever for his own good.


Ugh. I couldn't stop reading it out of a sense of bloody-mindedness, but now I just feel irritated that I wasted a bit of my life reading this worthless drivel.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:08 am UTC

seladore wrote:OK, I did it. I finished Dune.

My goodness me it was absolutely fucking atrocious. A reasonable plot at the beginning, weighed down by pretty poor prose, gradually became more and more awful.

Spoiler:
It's like the complete opposite of Lord of the Rings. Where Tolkien manages to create the impression that the story you are reading is part of a vast historic canvas, in Dune I couldn't shake the feeling that all was involved was a few people wandering around a desert. Nothing is ever spoken about apart from trivialities. The climactic battle is almost entirely skipped - you get Paul in a cave, looking out, then a storm comes, then an explosion is felt, then a glimpse of people riding the worms, then cut to Paul walking through the palace.

It started reasonably well, got lost about halfway through, and then just fizzled out in this massive nonsensical anti-climax. The author spends the entire book building Paul up to be this superhuman fighter, then right at the end (just after he glosses over the final battle) he only just manages to beat some random kid, and we learn that he could be killed by this old diplomat guy. It just makes no sense.

We get bloody endless bumph about people reading each other's reactions and emotions to incredible levels of detail (the continual detailing of which got pretty damn tiring after about page 20), but then he skips over any actual plot events. I'm sure something like 40% of the book is taken up cataloguing the 'depths' behind mundane conversations, endlessly detailing how characters interpret the meaning behind minute glances and muscle movements. It just feels like Frank Herbert is trying to be too clever for his own good.


Ugh. I couldn't stop reading it out of a sense of bloody-mindedness, but now I just feel irritated that I wasted a bit of my life reading this worthless drivel.

:evil: :x :shock: DEATH TO THE INFIDEL!!!!

Heisenberg wrote:
seladore wrote:(xkcd 483 sums it up perfectly)

I don't think this applies to Dune. Herbert makes up a few words, but he doesn't do so arbitrarily. Often his words are just abbreviations, like "sandworms" for "giant worms that dig through sand" or "stillsuits" for "suits that behave in a similar fashion to stills." I'll admit that Kwizatz Haderach is a little much, but I don't see this as an endemic problem.

And moreover, Dune's "made-up" words come from actual languages and display the cultural influences on the people in Herbert's universe. It's not like Lord of the Rings where everything is fancy made-up languages and fantasy magic papered onto Northern European mythology.

Not that I don't like LotR. I just like to read it once in a very long while since it takes so damned long.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby mikhail » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:It's easy to root for the hero (the monomyth is constructed in a way to make you like the hero), it's harder to watch him become a tyrannical warlord and mass murderer.


*** spoilers *** (I figure that with books this old and famous, hiding spoilers behind a button is more hassle to the majority here who've read them)



I've always felt that it wasn't quite as simple as that. Sure, Paul is a tyrant, and he's responsible for uncountable deaths, but he seems to be a well-intentioned tyrant horrified by the jihad. I think the story's a tragedy - he's worshipped as a god, he can see the bloody future, and still he's all but powerless. And maybe that's it - not that supermen will lead us astray, but that no one, not even someone as god-like as Paul, can bear the weight of trying to steer all of humanity. That Leto can is just a reflection of his inhumanity.

There are other tragic heroes in the books too: most notably Duncan Idaho, who's a classic hero - incredibly brilliant swordsman, charismatic, physically attractive, very loyal to the Atreides, but he dies for them repeatedly. His clones are used as pawns again and again.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby folkhero » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:57 am UTC

mikhail wrote:I've always felt that it wasn't quite as simple as that. Sure, Paul is a tyrant, and he's responsible for uncountable deaths, but he seems to be a well-intentioned tyrant horrified by the jihad. I think the story's a tragedy - he's worshipped as a god, he can see the bloody future, and still he's all but powerless. And maybe that's it - not that supermen will lead us astray, but that no one, not even someone as god-like as Paul, can bear the weight of trying to steer all of humanity. That Leto can is just a reflection of his inhumanity.

I agree that it's not so simple, that's why I like the story so much. :D
One way of looking at Dune is through the question, "what would drive you to commit an atrocity?" The mass murderers of history are generally well-intentioned in their own twisted ways. What's better cause of mass-slaughter than preventing an even greater loss of life? It reminds me of a parable of two priests:

P1: Is there anything you wouldn't do for God?
P2: No. I would, of course, do anything for the lord.
P1: Then that is how the devil will tempt you.

Should Paul have taken the Kantian approach, and not the end justify the means and refused to lead the Jihad? Or is that just turning his back on the greater number of victims?
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:26 pm UTC

After a certain point I remember Paul seeing that he couldn't actually stop the jihad, not by stepping aside from leadership and not even by dying. He thought he could restrain it or stop it by taking command, but that only made it even worse.

The story is a tragedy of what happens when an entire people or an entire (human) race invest their belief, their effort, and their work in one single focus. Once you've done that, once you sacrifice your own will, the jihad comes sooner or later, but it comes. Herbert himself said that the true heroes were not Paul or Jessica, but Stilgar and Duncan.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby podbaydoor » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:02 pm UTC

All right, so, I just finished reading Dune. Mainly to see what all the fuss is about.

My main impression is that it's a pretty decent sci-fi novel, but not anything like revolutionary or deserving passionate cult status. I'm guessing part of it is because I read it when I was older and more cynical/less impressionable, so there's not this nostalgia. And also I'm reading it in 2011, not 1965, so I'm missing this whole cultural context in which the novel was published.

The main thing that annoyed me was this cognitive dissonance I kept experiencing - to me, I just can't see the progression of our 2011 society into this intensely patriarchal culture and feudal culture that reads more like a throwback to Victorian colonialism than anything actually science-fiction. I appreciate the author giving center stage to powerful female characters back when '60s sci-fi was still stuck on white male protagonists...but...the women still have to wrest their power out of the system by scheming and working behind the throne and being married off.

Also, I had to laugh a lot when the Fremen were being introduced. So, the desert-dwelling nomads are literally descended from Frank Herbert's idea of Arabians. How original. I mean, I liked the Fremens, generally, I just didn't find anything particularly insightful or futuristic about them. The women stay behind to bear children and say mystical things, and the men go raid, as a matter of course. It's like the author just bolted some technology onto Lawrence of Arabia and let it go at that (all the way down to the overplayed trope of the white guy riding in to be the messiah of the natives). It's not a terrible sin, I suppose, it's just not particularly revolutionary. I guess Frank Herbert was like all the other giants of sci-fi: interesting ideas, invaluable contributions to the genre, but still firmly stuck to their own cultural contexts.

Also, when he kept describing all the men in the first few chapters, they all had mustaches. I guess it was the '60s.

Edit: I do like what Herbert was doing with the subversion of the hero's journey. And I find myself really interested in that Spacing Guild, I'd like to read more about that.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby quantumcat42 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:(all the way down to the overplayed trope of the white guy riding in to be the messiah of the natives).

It's been a long time since I've read Dune, and I don't remember how characters are described -- is anything actually said about the race of the Atreides family? Certainly, every visual adaptation makes them white, but is that something that's explicitly stated in the book?

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby podbaydoor » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

"Atreides" is Greek. And they're generally described Europeanishly with dark hair. The language and culture are clearly derived from European/Western traditions the way the Fremen are clearly derived from Middle Eastern traditions (or Herbert's idea of them). And, yeah, I think it's telling that they were portrayed by white actors in the Lynch movie and Herbert didn't comment on that, so I assume it didn't conflict with his vision.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby quantumcat42 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:44 am UTC

That's sensible, though I don't think Herbert's lack of comment on particular details necessarily means anything (it could simply be that it wasn't a critical detail). Whether or not the Atreides are "white" (I'm not sure of particular racial definitions, but Greek is not necessarily "white", and I've got no clue how space-Greek would be classified), the trope still applies in the abstract "well off individual from technologically superior culture has to save the Nobel Savages", so I suppose it's really a moot point.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:32 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:The main thing that annoyed me was this cognitive dissonance I kept experiencing - to me, I just can't see the progression of our 2011 society into this intensely patriarchal culture and feudal culture that reads more like a throwback to Victorian colonialism than anything actually science-fiction. I appreciate the author giving center stage to powerful female characters back when '60s sci-fi was still stuck on white male protagonists...but...the women still have to wrest their power out of the system by scheming and working behind the throne and being married off.

I find it interesting seeing what people dislike about something I like, and this in particular I find interesting, actually- what you didn't like is one of the things that I really liked about Dune. A lot of sci-fi falls flat for me, because they become overly reliant on a single bit of, well, science fiction, to advance the plot. Dune introduced its novel bits of technology, but wasn't as reliant on them- I guess it's written more like a fantasy book that takes place in a weird future than a traditional science fiction novel. Which is not at all to say your criticism is unjustified or anything, just means we (possibly) look for different things in science fiction.

Also, completely on the side, but I can easily imagine the feudal culture arising in a star system society- so long as FTL travel or communication is expensive or difficult, it doesn't seem difficult to imagine those individual planets developing their own strong leaders, and possibly going making that leadership hereditary. I haven't looked much into feudal history, but that sounds like a similar situation to what caused the original feudal setup- difficulty centralizing power due to time delays in communication and travel.

I read it for the first time only a few years ago in my late teens, for what it's worth.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Vaniver » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:37 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:The main thing that annoyed me was this cognitive dissonance I kept experiencing - to me, I just can't see the progression of our 2011 society into this intensely patriarchal culture and feudal culture that reads more like a throwback to Victorian colonialism than anything actually science-fiction.
Very much agreed. Dune is interesting in its reliance on human power- but in order to do that, Herbert had to both ban computers (thinking machines) and invent spice. Mentats do calculation, navigators do math, and Bene Gesserit do planning- all in a relatable way. And yet that makes it so much less realistic- the institutions are dominated by individuals rather than institutions dominating the individuals, which seems like a much more likely future for humanity.

podbaydoor wrote:all the way down to the overplayed trope of the white guy riding in to be the messiah of the natives
I did find it interesting that the "messiah of the natives" thing was specifically planned by the Bene Gesserit, rather than just an unconscious "well, whites are better at leadership / we need the protagonist to be relateable."

Three things bugged me most about Dune: the belief "harsh environment = great warriors," rather than something like, say, skill, weaponry, or morale made great warriors. The emperor's personal hardened troops were bested by Arabs? I can see that in Arabia. I can't see the Arabs successfully conquering the whole galaxy that way.
The spice is literally the most important thing. But instead of, say, moving the Imperial capital there, or the Spacing Guild taking it over as their headquarters, it's just a fief like any other, with run-down and inadequate equipment.
The Fremen store water in cisterns deep underground, planning to one day use that water to transform Arrakis into a paradise. But... the water cycle isn't a stock issue, it's a flow issue. When you take water out of the system and put it in a cistern, you make the planet's surface drier; you're doing the sand-trout's job for them, not fighting them!
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

Right. It just annoyed me that gender relations had apparently regressed to the point that women were back to playing wife, mother, or witch. No female pilots? No female rulers? No female sandworkers? No female soldiers? I'm used to reading about this in high fantasy novels set in some version of the medieval past, not novels supposedly set in our future.

Haha, I hadn't even thought of that about the cisterns. The afterward by Herbert Frank's son made Frank out to be some great ecologist who had done years of research to write Dune. I think "spice" is meant more to be a stand-in for "oil," but it still doesn't make much sense as an allegory.

I was pretty interested in the time-vision aspects of the novel. Those parts felt "properly" sci-fi to me, and I thought he did a good job of exploring the dilemmas and learning process of a human being coping with an ability that's pretty mind-twisting. Seeing future-paths doesn't make Paul invincible, he still has to make choices and fumble his way through probabilities.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

My favorite thing about Dune is how it shows that a bunch of classic speculative fiction tropes are actually horrible. FTL, Prescience, mutant superpowers, et cetera, all entrap and enslave mankind with their very existence, and it's only by becoming literally unpredictable that the trap can be escaped.
Vaniver wrote:Three things bugged me most about Dune: the belief "harsh environment = great warriors," rather than something like, say, skill, weaponry, or morale made great warriors. The emperor's personal hardened troops were bested by Arabs? I can see that in Arabia. I can't see the Arabs successfully conquering the whole galaxy that way.

I fget the impression (especially given details the later books) that it wasn't so much that "harsh environment = great warriors" but "environment where you need to be conscious of your every movement on the open sands and never generate overly patterned sounds = superhuman warriors". The Fremen don't just have hard lives, they have a very specific sort of hard life that makes them great soldiers, and gives them the potential for some bizarre superpowers.
The spice is literally the most important thing. But instead of, say, moving the Imperial capital there, or the Spacing Guild taking it over as their headquarters, it's just a fief like any other, with run-down and inadequate equipment.

The spice is also the only worthwhile thing on Arrakis, a planet that is otherwise worthless. Dune just isn't very well suited to becoming an administrative center. Now, that still doesn't explain why the Corrino's didn't rule it directly.
The Fremen store water in cisterns deep underground, planning to one day use that water to transform Arrakis into a paradise. But... the water cycle isn't a stock issue, it's a flow issue. When you take water out of the system and put it in a cistern, you make the planet's surface drier; you're doing the sand-trout's job for them, not fighting them!

They were interrupting the worm's lifecycle, iirc.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Nem » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:14 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Three things bugged me most about Dune: the belief "harsh environment = great warriors," rather than something like, say, skill, weaponry, or morale made great warriors.


As I remember it, the Fremen got beaten up and down the desert for years. It wasn't until the Atredise came along with their military expertise and trained them up that they were much good. I think the point was more that adversity creates very driven people, that you can train up to peaks of excellence that less motivated people will never reach.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby cphite » Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:03 pm UTC

I've only read the original Dune, and really didn't care for it, mainly because of the writing... I like the story of Dune, I just don't like the way it's written. I found the conversations where the characters are reading one another to be utterly tedious, and a lot of the dialog just seems to be overly melodramatic. By the final third of it I was having to force myself to keep going and just hoping for it to finish up already.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby eternauta3k » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:48 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:It just annoyed me that gender relations had apparently regressed to the point that women were back to playing wife, mother, or witch. No female pilots? No female rulers? No female sandworkers? No female soldiers?
How is witch an inferior role? They are insanely powerful. Also, women become protagonists after the third book.
Hazel wrote:I did read up to the middle of Heretics but I got turned off when the plot shifted over to "let's all have superhuman sex with Duncan". Is Chapterhouse more of the same, or worth a try?

I found it enjoyable, it's nice to see the Bene Gesserit in trouble.
seladore wrote:hack writing and the silly names

nope
seladore wrote:we learn that he could be killed by this old diplomat guy
He was like a shittier version of Paul, so it makes sense that he could beat him once he was tired.
quantumcat42 wrote:is anything actually said about the race of the Atreides family?
It says they're descended from Agamemnon, so possibly greek.
Ghostbear wrote:I can easily imagine the feudal culture arising in a star system society- so long as FTL travel or communication is expensive or difficult, it doesn't seem difficult to imagine those individual planets developing their own strong leaders, and possibly going making that leadership hereditary
That's exactly what happens. Travel and communication are expensive and controlled by the ruling classes.
Vaniver wrote:the belief "harsh environment = great warriors," rather than something like, say, skill, weaponry, or morale made great warriors. The emperor's personal hardened troops were bested by Arabs? I can see that in Arabia. I can't see the Arabs successfully conquering the whole galaxy that way
Battles were mostly fought with knife. So it helps if your soldiers are
  • fanatics
  • ruthless hardasses who routinely deal with death
  • experienced in knife-fighting because they can be called out to fight to the death at any moment
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:16 pm UTC

Honestly, duels to the death wouldn't seem to promote excellent knife fighting. For starters, duels and actual combat are different. Very different. For another, fighting to the death means you tend not to learn from your mistakes.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby cphite » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Honestly, duels to the death wouldn't seem to promote excellent knife fighting. For starters, duels and actual combat are different. Very different. For another, fighting to the death means you tend not to learn from your mistakes.


It's not so much the duels themselves that promote excellent knife fighting, but rather the training for the duels. People who live in a society where knife dueling was common would likely spend at least some time learning the skill; especially if their position in society made them more likely to engage in duels.

In the 16th and 17th centuries (here on Earth) when the rapier was a common dueling weapon, there were many schools that taught rapier; and there were some incredibly skilled people with the rapier and other such weapons. It stands to reason that in the Dune world(s) there would be schools for the knife, and exceptionally skilled practitioners.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.


The real plot hole is that space-faring societies in all-out war would restrict themselves to knives. Even for the purpose of dueling, it seems unlikely that in an entire galaxy, over thousands of years, not one group would think to escalate - especially if they were on the losing side of a conflict.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Aodhan » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:42 am UTC

cphite wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.


The real plot hole is that space-faring societies in all-out war would restrict themselves to knives. Even for the purpose of dueling, it seems unlikely that in an entire galaxy, over thousands of years, not one group would think to escalate - especially if they were on the losing side of a conflict.


The development of shield technology is what kept knives current as weapons in Dune. Laser weapons interact catastrophically with the shield, causing chains of nuclear explosions. The only way to penetrate a shield with a solid object is to pass the object through it at low velocity - so projectile weapons are out of the question. An adept duelist can pass a knife or sword through the shield slowly before striking, killling the enemy without blowing him/herself up at the same time.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 08, 2013 8:50 pm UTC

Aodhan wrote:
cphite wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.


The real plot hole is that space-faring societies in all-out war would restrict themselves to knives. Even for the purpose of dueling, it seems unlikely that in an entire galaxy, over thousands of years, not one group would think to escalate - especially if they were on the losing side of a conflict.


The development of shield technology is what kept knives current as weapons in Dune. Laser weapons interact catastrophically with the shield, causing chains of nuclear explosions. The only way to penetrate a shield with a solid object is to pass the object through it at low velocity - so projectile weapons are out of the question. An adept duelist can pass a knife or sword through the shield slowly before striking, killling the enemy without blowing him/herself up at the same time.


Your quoting is off, though I do agree with cphite.

And yes, I'm aware of the plot reason for knives being a thing. That makes sense for justifying dueling, sure. Mostly. But the implications of everyone having a personal nuke are frigging huge, and never dealt with. Nobody on earth thought to make laser-weapon landmines that would instantly annihilate an army? Nobody in a setting filled with death decided to take their attackers with them?

You kinda just have to recognize this as the author saying "well, I want everyone to fight with knives".

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby speising » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:39 pm UTC

Aodhan wrote:
cphite wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.


The real plot hole is that space-faring societies in all-out war would restrict themselves to knives. Even for the purpose of dueling, it seems unlikely that in an entire galaxy, over thousands of years, not one group would think to escalate - especially if they were on the losing side of a conflict.


The development of shield technology is what kept knives current as weapons in Dune. Laser weapons interact catastrophically with the shield, causing chains of nuclear explosions. The only way to penetrate a shield with a solid object is to pass the object through it at low velocity - so projectile weapons are out of the question. An adept duelist can pass a knife or sword through the shield slowly before striking, killling the enemy without blowing him/herself up at the same time.


so, what's to stop using a drone with a laser for remote killing?

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Vieto » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:23 pm UTC

speising wrote:
Aodhan wrote:
cphite wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Dune...and even read all the sequels/prequels, despite enjoying them progressively less, but there are some serious holes that you have to just mostly ignore for the books to work.


The real plot hole is that space-faring societies in all-out war would restrict themselves to knives. Even for the purpose of dueling, it seems unlikely that in an entire galaxy, over thousands of years, not one group would think to escalate - especially if they were on the losing side of a conflict.


The development of shield technology is what kept knives current as weapons in Dune. Laser weapons interact catastrophically with the shield, causing chains of nuclear explosions. The only way to penetrate a shield with a solid object is to pass the object through it at low velocity - so projectile weapons are out of the question. An adept duelist can pass a knife or sword through the shield slowly before striking, killling the enemy without blowing him/herself up at the same time.


so, what's to stop using a drone with a laser for remote killing?


If I recall correctly, I think there was religious reasons against computers (back story A.I. revolt type thing), but that doesn't really stop just firing nukes at people, or an ornithopter deploying shielded stealthy timed nukes without being able to be shot down.

Although it appears this shielding technology was completely absent from the video games.

----

edit: Or better yet, what is stopping the freemen from weaponizing the distrans to create suicide bats that impact shields and essentially nuke the enemy base?
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby speising » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:15 pm UTC

Ah, yes, the Butlerian Djihad, but wasn't there an assassination drone, at least in the film? (awfully long ago that I have read this.)

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby PossibleSloth » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:28 am UTC

speising wrote:Ah, yes, the Butlerian Djihad, but wasn't there an assassination drone, at least in the film? (awfully long ago that I have read this.)

There was, in the book as well, but it was remotely operated.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby mikhail » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:03 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:...And yes, I'm aware of the plot reason for knives being a thing. That makes sense for justifying dueling, sure. Mostly. But the implications of everyone having a personal nuke are frigging huge, and never dealt with. Nobody on earth thought to make laser-weapon landmines that would instantly annihilate an army? Nobody in a setting filled with death decided to take their attackers with them?

You kinda just have to recognize this as the author saying "well, I want everyone to fight with knives".

It's a fair point. I'm struggling to recall the quotes exactly, but there seems to be a horror about using nuclear weapons, and conventions in place that mean that anyone who did something like that would be chased out of civilised space by everyone else. It does bother me though that it isn't a bigger deal made of Paul using the "family atomics" in the climactic battle.

Regarding the qualities of the Fremen, I think Herbert's central idea is in the line, "The Fremen were supreme in that quality the ancients called "spannungsbogen" — which is the self-imposed delay between desire for a thing and the act of reaching out to grasp that thing." That quality (more widely known as delayed gratification), is apparently a major indicator of a kid's likely academic performance, and is presumably related to self-discipline in later life too. I think self-discipline would make for good soldiers.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Mutex » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:54 pm UTC

PossibleSloth wrote:
speising wrote:Ah, yes, the Butlerian Djihad, but wasn't there an assassination drone, at least in the film? (awfully long ago that I have read this.)

There was, in the book as well, but it was remotely operated.


Interestingly, the drone could only see movement, a limitation you'd only expect with a computer-controlled drone.

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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby poxic » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:05 pm UTC

Technically, people can also only see movement. We just keep our eyes moving all the time so we can keep seeing things.
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Re: The "Dune" Thread -- Remember to wear your crysknife!

Postby Mutex » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:55 am UTC

He should still have been able to see stationary objects then, if he had an optical link from the drone. So I guess one explanation is he didn't, the drone only had sensors that could pick up movement and that's all the operator had to go on. And the drone also didn't have a good enough microphone to pick up Paul explaining this to Mapes...


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