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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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dune as interpreted by david lynch - ending
children of dune - leto 1
Until the end of time, I will still wonder why the Fremen went to war and just happened to bring along a few sets of tritons, conveniently lined up against the wall and ready for use during the Paul/Feyd (oh, if only the fic existed for that) knifefight. You're saying to yourself, "THAT IS WHAT YOU NOTICED?" in between the, er, floating baron spinning mid air before, um, being blown out a convenient hole in the wall and kind of--spinning through the air until he's eaten by a worm while Paul and the Fremen look on in approval and Alia encompassing the stereotype of every evil child ever right up to evil creepy child voice, but yes, I want to know who thought, going to war, let me grab five sets of these terribly conspicuous, heavy, unwieldy drums, just in case of melodramatic emergency.

I just--there's something really weird about riding giant worms carrying drums. Like, it feels beneath shai-halud dignity, okay? Think about it; you're a giant worm, you got stuck with a fancy Fremen crowbar and OUCH OUCH OUCH so you roll over and then TRICKERY the humans are riding you! But fine, fuckers, it's for going to war which you're a giant worm, you are always killing humans and now you're driving humans to kill other humans, so that's consistent. Until you realize, no, you're not carrying tiny humans to kill other humans; you're carrying tritons that the tiny humans will play for dramatic emphasis and all you can think is, the other makers are never going to stop laughing. And they won't.

1.) The entire Reverend Mother spontaneously losing hair thing is not book canon, but it was a very cool marker for making them more intimidating visually and marking them as really fucking dangerous. The entire theme of fancy hats in the miniseries was really--I don't know. The entire hat thing--and that cone thing that made Alia look like a pencil eraser in the miniseries Children of Dune (and the less said about Farad'n's wedding attire, the better; who picked that?) was just unsettling.

2.) No matter how hard I try, I don't get Lynch substituting the entire "Weirding Sound Thing of Weirdness" for the reason the Emperor was afraid that Leto would build a better army instead of just building on the stated fact in the movie that Leto was super popular in the Landsraad because he was awesome and due to that, had attracted fanatically loyal, brilliant military commanders.

One of the things Lynch's movie captured (somewhat) was the Known Universe was very militarized, and--I don't know if this was stated in the movie--a big reason the empire was relatively stable was because while the emperor had an army, every Major House in the Landsraad did too and the Emperor's army equaled that of the combined Landsraad. The Emperor's army was trained on the second suckiest planet, Salusa Secondus, a radiation wasteland, and where the strongest survive is like, literal. They were fanatically loyal, super violent, and scary as shit. The movie didn't really touch on that at all, which still annoys me, since developing the military rivalry of fanatic Saurdaukar who are basically brainwashed versus Leto's people being fanatics because he's awesome (and he really is just that awesome) would have drawn in the entire reason Leto was negotiating with the Fremen at all and okay, stopping now. It's just--for the same amount of time spent with the Weirding Sound thing of Weirdness, we could have gotten the actual reason, which a.) made sense, b.) was really awesome.

I finished re-reading Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune; yeah, skipped three to leap ahead.

For the record; Heretics and Chapterhouse are surprisingly good and are better written and better paced than Dune itself, and they're also massively female pov and dominated by powerful female-only organizations; the Bene Gesserit, the Fish Speakers (Leto II's private fanatic army and their descendants) and the Honored Matres. It's not necessarily inconsistent with the earlier books in philosophy, but--still.

But going back to Dune:

This bothers me: in however many years people have been using melange, which is a fucking lot, in all that time, no one--and I mean no one--worked out where it came from? Like, even by accident? The entire basis of a lot of Dune is that no one knows where the mysterious Spice comes from. They can clone people, travel in space, see the future, control people's minds with special voice training, but spice is this eternal mystery of mysteriousness. They know:

1.) Spice can only be found on Dune.
2.) Dune has giant sandworms that don't exist anywhere else.
3.) Sandworms are really attracted to spice.
4.) No matter how much they take, the spice does not run out.
5.) These facts are in no way connected whatsoever.

The worst part--and I mean, really--is when people do find out, there is not chagrined shock--we have missed something really simple!--but instead this strange, "Wow, this is proof Muad'dib is superawesome and inscrutable; he worked out the worms and the spice are connected! How is this possible? It is so obscure and strange!" and everyone draws in a breath in awe and amazement at the fact it took having to achieve COSMIC POWERS to do cause and effect that the average five year old could work out within twenty minutes of the movie starting. If you read the book, the first time they tell you about Arrakis.

And now I go back to ignoring that again. Very thoroughly.

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The whole "Duuuude ... where ELSE did all these idiots think the spice could possibly have come from, anyway...?!" eternal question reminds me of a lovely debate that happened while at a late-night hot tub party in Seattle at a Norwescon sometime back in the early 1980's that involved Frank and Beverly Herbert, a few of us con-comm members, and some "very special brownies"....

*nods nostalgically*

I am not at all envious hearing that.

...but seriously, where did they think it came from? The Spice Fairies?

I first read Dune when I was about fourteen, I guess, and I was like 'spice comes from the worms, right?' but then I was like, 'well, it's so frakking obvious, it can't be the worms because someone would have thought of that already' and then I was like, 'oh, it IS the worms, huh?'

is it worm poop? it's been like 20 years, I don't remember.

Kind of? Frank is really coy; the sand itself is worm poop. Teh spice is a byproduct of the sandtrout and worms that is like worm pee crystalized but not quite.

It's gross, is what I'm saying.

...I love you so much right now.


Oh my gods, where did you find that? It is awesome. My cat likes to lie on the bed when you're putting the sheets back on--we call it her Shai-Hulud act.

hee! it's a version of a pretty common macro, "dune cat"



I love you, and laughed and laughed about the tritons and the spice. And OMG, YES, Chapterhouse is so much better written than Dune that I pretty much didn't read the intervening books until it annoyed me so much that I didn't know exactly what happened and Wikipedia hadn't been invented yet.

I knew I was in trouble with this whole thing when I went - not having read a thing - to the Lynch movie with a friend and was handed a glossary.

Duncan Idaho training guys how to resist sexual bondage. It's like Frank wrote fanfic. I mean--if you cast Duncan as teh guy from teh Dune miniseries and children of dune? Thank you God.

the first three times I read the series up to God Emperor I was like, "wait, that was IT??? Spice comes from the worms and that was IT??? WHAT THE HELL?" and then I sort of threw up my hands because I really love the Bene Gesserit litany against fear and Irulian's commentaries and Leto II and was like, ok, whatever Frank, I'm just going with it.

Your post commentaries are all truly fantastic and make me want to watch and read everything again. Damn homework for getting in the way!

Did you read the last two? ALL BENE GESSERIT, ALL THE TIME. It's fantastic.

in however many years people have been using melange, which is a fucking lot, in all that time, no one--and I mean no one--worked out where it came from? Like, even by accident?

Well, you know, sometimes people have blind spots. :-) But yeah, this is exactly what ruined "Speaker for the Dead" for me. Yeah, the cycle was kind of weird, but not *that* weird. *Think*, people, think!

(One of the best things about the Dune movie for me was the Guild pilots because they somehow looked *exactly* as I had imagined them.)

They do! They're freaky looking and wrong. It really does--yeah. I ignore the new miniseries navigators because they just do not measure up to the utterly freaky movie navigators.

I've never actually been able to read past page 1 of Dune, but don't the worms poop it out or something?

It's a worm byproduct, not exactly poop; I usally think of it that way because while the explanation makes sense while reading it, it's really impossible to convey by, you know, normal humans.

:) I saw Dune when I was a child, maybe when I was around 5? and then again at 9 or 10? And finally, around age 12, got my hands on the book... I started reading and was all, "What are these political shenanigans? Where are the explosions? What do you mean the Reverend Mothers are not magic?"

Of course, I have read it again since then and I am proud to say I *love* the politics and world building of it (now that I am old enough to understand them), but I will never forget that first moment of "WTF?" when I first read the book.

Also, your comments regarding the Spice made me laugh and laugh, because seriously, what was he thinking? Is it supposed to be ironic? I mean, Dune can be interpreted as a critique on our society, where water stands for other goods like oil, so maybe we are all blind to the obvious regarding natural resources?

I read Dune at twelve right after the movie and zipped through all six books as fast as possible. I love that twelve is teh Age of Political Reason for us both. *g*

I love your commentary on the books--I remember thinking that I was on serious pain meds for chicken pox and I still figured out the spice/worm ration.

And you'll appreciate this--I have a butterscoth tabby cat whose name is Darwi (if she'd been a boy, she'd have been Muad'dib). My sister and father are the only people I haven't had to explain her name to. I think if I ever met a man who knew where her name came from, I'd marry him on the spot.

Because Frank Herbert is a bad writer. If you've read his other novels, you realize it.

*wandering across ljs* DUNE!

Yeah, everyone reading figures the connection out, but I also remember the Dramatikal Prose of the reception by the characters.

I think the blindspot mostly come from the fact that everyone who came into contact with 1) Spice 2)Sandworms have such a sense of religious fear that the two facts are connected conceivably never occurred to them and possibly one of the main points that entire Dune septology tried to make. Even if they suspect it at the back of their minds, it would've crystallized into a coherent thought.

Just look at the theories about Jesus' birth. Or, less controversially, causes of global warming...

Is it bad that I read the Dune series (including the pre-series books that his son wrote) because I was in love with Duncan Idaho? I didn't care about anything else in the verse. All of my books are highlighted with Duncan parts. I used to write fanfic (before it was fanfic) about Duncan Idaho when I was like 14 or 15. *sighs* Oh Duncan...

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