Dune Saga

August 16, 2005

Dune Saga

Finished the first Trilogy of the Dune Saga.

Reading these books has been a great stress to me. They have sapped all my attention and time these days. The one word description for these books would be “Grand”. Frank Herbert has an extremely grand way of telling a story. Everything in the story is just epic proportional, and you can say the same about the reading pleasure you derive from it. Almost all sentences are worth reading twice. And that is exactly what I did.

Dune’s world is one of the most complicated universes I have read. Asimov’s Foundation world is much like ours,it is driven by science & technology, but minus all religions. The big difference being the curious science of psycho-history which predicts the behaviour of huge populations very effectively. Extremely enjoyable plots arise from this setup making Foundation series much enjoyable. A.C Clarke’s universe is almost the present cleverly extrapolated( Odyssey series). Reading Odyssey is extremely enjoyable because I almost could believe all those things happened. Dune’s world unlike these two is extremely cleverly and comprehensively crafted. Science and technology still plays important roles, but not as important as the people running the show. Religion is again brilliantly used to conjure the required plots. Utmost importance is given to people and their skills and their decisions, so that beautiful drama is derived from strange and fascinating situations. You can describe it as some sort of futuristic politics.

Spoiler warning (next three paras)!!

It is set in a far away future, where men have already fought a great war with thinking machines and won. It is now taboo to build a machine in the likeness of men. People have diverged out to fill up the gaps. A mentat can function as the greatest computer analysing logical data from real people-involving situations and provide you with brilliant answers. The Spacing guild has grown to monopolize space travel in such a way that all inter-stellar travel and even satellite monitoring is dependent on them. Shields have been developed to thwart projectile attacks. Result: people have to rely on poison, hand to hand combat with blades. Society has split to wealthy and powerful families known as the Major/Minor houses and those who serve them (their army). The world is still run by an Emperor and the houses have formed the Lansraad council to balance his power. Behind all these actors is the Bene Gesserit school of witches – highly trained women, brilliant, powerful, seductive and completely loyal to their common cause: to bring forth the Kwasich Haderach or the male Bene Gesserit. B.Gesserit Reverand mothers can turn back and recollect the lives of all their female ancestors, but not male. This K.H. superman can look backwards into both lines of creation as well as see the future through prescient visions. Hence, this school of women is conducting in secret, a great breeding program on all the humanity to produce this superman. Religion, superstition, politics, etc are used to achieve this. There are still more groups of stranger people who make interesting appearances in the books.

All of this complex world is somehow centered on the spice melanche produced from the planet Dune. Spice is what drives this world. Spice gives longer life to normal humans and can affect each of the above groups in a specific way. Everyone in this world is utterly dependent on it.

On this crafted world, the author has set a great struggle for power, which unfolds into the grandest drama ever. If you have the patience and are ready for some serious prose, you will enjoy reading those brilliant sentences again and again. The author has used the concepts of religion in a very effective way.

I have heard that the later books are slightly less interesting than these three. But they are said to provide a nice completion to the questions raised by the first three books. I hope to catch up with them at a later point, since it is almost impossible to read these books continuosly.

Lots and lots and lots

August 8, 2005

of things to tell.

Firstly, we managed to move from the old house. The new place is a brand new apartment, all speckless and tidy(atleast till now). I should be honest, our sense of interior decoration is evolved to unearthly levels. That is probably the reason one of us remarked about the old house “It’s actually a pretty good house..”, after the movers and packers left with our stuff. Also, my impression about our old house owner has strengthened. Older people really have a _rock solid_ heart, in that she did not faint after seeing it, and only complained for about 15 mins.

My quest for a two-wheeler has been restarted. I am searching again for the old pathways to my goal. There is even a bet placed about that with one of my roommates. It did give me a jolt that he met with a minor accident on his two wheeler one day after placing the bet. Thanks to God, he has recovered fully now.

I have completely lost hope about bringing up my Laptop’s wireless card in Linux. A lot of effort for nothing. Tried to bring up FreeBSD also, which again is stuck at some point. The main problem is that we have no internet connection at the new house and it is tough to figure out things without internet.

Yoga is the current obsession. Trying to learn some simple things at the Company’s expense. Either yoga, or the new house, is enabling me to get up pretty early than usual. Ok, pretty early to me means about 8. But, trust me, that is extremely unusual behaviour.

On the books front, I am still cliching on to the Children of Dune. Reading speeds have reached spectacular lows, courtsey, extremely enjoyable language and receding concentration levels at night due to early rising. (!!!)

IMPORTANTLY, fiction has started brewing at home!! People are trying their hand at writing, and they are good. Check out Prey at a friend’s blog. I have always wanted to write something like that!