Hairy Ticks of Dune

There's only room enough in this stillsuit for one of us! ... Wait, come back!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The "Epi-Epigraphs"...A prologue of sorts?

So, just in case you didn't reread (or ever read) the last of the originals, these four "epi-epigraphs by way of prologue" (my title, since none is given for them) remind you of (or fill you in on) a few of the important details. Let's look at each in turn.


"[A]n empire was left to fend for itself"? Why this and not "the empire"? A curious attempt at adding mythic resonance?

Stripped of its energy and resources, the ancient government of the Old Empire fell away. New power groups took root and grew strong, but never again would humans allow themselves to depend upon a monolithic leader or a key, finite substance. Single points of failure.

Part of the problem with this one is that no date is given for it. Considering how the Guild itself is still dependent on "a key, finite substance", relying on their own stockpiles and, later, the Bene Gesserit on Chapterhouse for spice, that last seems a bit silly.

Some say the Scattering was Leto II's Golden Path, a crucible in which to strengthen the human race forever, to teach us a lesson we could not forget.

Who says that? "And what is the Golden Path? you ask. It is the survival of humankind, nothing more nor less." (FH, GEoD) The Scattering was not the Golden Path, but it was one element of it. Sure, we can attribute this error to character POV—that old Prequelite standby—and blame the author of this Guild record. But later in the book, when other characters are depicted as viewing Leto II and his Golden Path as failures and when we are told that the Thinking Machine forces have reached the edges of the human scattering, it becomes clear that the true source of the error and misunderstanding lies elsewhere.


Two things here. The first is the first sentence ("Even the most learned of us cannot imagine the scope of the Scattering"), which now reads to me as an attempt to plant the seed of the idea that The Scattering was not infinite (and therefore could eventually be encompassed by the machines) and to reinforce the idea that the Golden Path may have been a mistake or have failed.

The second is the grammatical mistake in the third sentence: "Entire civilizations rose and fell while out there those who remained in the Old Empire sat in complacency." Spot it? As I have said elsewhere, they really need to find some decent editors and galley-proof-readers.


Unlike many, I didn't go back and reread the originals before reading Hunters (but hopefully I'll have time to do so over the holidays), so I'm relying completely on memory when I say that I don't find anything particularly inconsistent in this one. I'm not sure what the point of including it was, other than to cast doubt on the abilities of the "Lost Tleilaxu" from The Scattering. (Considering how long it took the Old Empire Tleilaxu to learn how to replicate spice, however, I'm not sure this is a valid criticism on Scytale's part.)


Isn't this extremely verbose for an "emergency message"? Only the first sentence is necessary for a "Be on the look-out" warning, only it and the second of any relevance to other BG outposts. Inclusion of the remainder seems completely inappropriate for a message of this type. (Let's paraphrase: I, your new leader, am wishy-washy.) But, just in case anyone has forgotten, it does remind us that a Big Bad is coming. (Note as well the implication that the no-ship occupants are now enemies.)

* * * * *

It may well be that these four initial epigraphs were based on something Brian and Kevin found in Frank Herbert's notes. I'm not sure I see the necessity of their inclusion here (or anywhere), however.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have made much of the same observations. The Guild Bank entry I agree seems a bit odd to add the since about relying on single substance. However, I think there is some moves within the guild itself to rely less on navigators and more on the Ixian machines--am I making that up? aren't the navigators trying to regain some power within their own organization. anyway..

Tamalane: Exact same observations..

Scytale: This one bothers me the most actually. The whole point, IMO, of this is to cast doubt on whether the Lost Tleilaxu were capable of making the NFDs. This was deliberately put in here to foreshadow the dyanmic duo's (Omnidork and Erasshole) involvement in the creation of these face dancers. To imply the original Tleilaxu were already on to this in some sense (the ol' "if they can't make spice, then they aint as smart as us")seems ridiculous to me. The Masters didn't trust the Lost Ones, but what of the new and improved face dancers that scytale is so excited about in his nullentropy tube? Is there absolutely no connection there? Where the hell will these scytale NFDs play a role in the story after frank took so much time to spend an entire paragraph pointing them out and showing scytales elation. I suspect, they won't play a role again.....

Murbella: Same observations. Something I think is very interesting here (sorry if this is jumping waaaay ahead) but how she mentions that since they are in a no-ship they could never possibly be found now in the vastness of space. Yet on page 101, note that interesting quote from bellonda---"Even our ship's no-field cannot protect us from the prescience of Guild Navigators as they search the Cosmos. Only the wild genes of an Atreides can completely veil the ship" .....Huh?..... Navigators can see no-ships? Atreides genes veil an entire ship if they are on it? then there is no need for a no-field, right? Just put an Atreides on it. Or, if that's not the case, seems like a simple matter of Murbella having a navigator find them for her, right?......ugh.....

9:21 AM, December 20, 2006 
Blogger SandChigger said...

Omnidork and Erasshole?!

Wow, B, you've come a loooong way, haven't you? :)

Nice observations on Scytale...but I would expect no less from a BT Master!

Jumping ahead...yeah, that about the genes is completely bogus. The Siona Gene (which is what I assume they're referring to) only hid the person, not his or her surroundings, if Leto's vision of Siona's empty tracks in the sand beside him is any hint. Why else would the BG have hidden Chapterhouse behind a wall of no-ships. (Which should have been pointless, if the navs could see them.)

Sillinesses within sillinesses within sillinesses. In the new Duniverse, anything goes!

2:53 PM, December 20, 2006 

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