Tag Archives: Dune

Burn and Sand

It’s summer. It’s hot. For whatever reason two of the things that I’m currently obsessed with are heat related. That’s right, you guessed it… the wildly under-rated TV show Burn Notice, and the Sci-Fi trailblazer and classic Dune.

dune book






Do these things really have anything to do with it being hot out? Well, you be the judge: Burn Notice takes place in Miami, Florida. Dune takes place on the water-barren sand planet formerly called Dune, known as Arrakis. Both hostile environments, to be sure (but there is way more water in, and around, Miami…and more Cuban food, too).







Of course Burn Notice is a TV show about a spy, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean, Bruce Campbell (yes, THAT Bruce Campbell, of Evil Dead fame) is in it. Right there you know it’s a winner.

The famous film adaptation of Dune is something I’ve yet to dig into, but I’m sure it’s worth it. I mean, it was directed by David Lynch and features a young Kyle MacLachlan, so armed with that information you know what you’re getting into. For now, I’m quite happy with Frank Herbert’s book.

So if you want to learn about a yogurt obsessed spy who really, really wants his job back, Burn Notice is right up your street. However, if the political machinations of a far-away sci-fi world is more your taste, check out Dune.

Check out either one (or, like me, both!) of these HOT sounding titles.

Eric (who is currently eating a lot of soy yogurt, or as his wife calls it…”spy food” while wondering if home-made stillsuits will make the scene at the next local handmade arts fest)


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Re-Reading Dune

Dune_cover  Like the swallows’ annual return to Capistrano, it must be time for me to read Frank Herbert’s Dune again.  This time around I am reading the ePub version.  Once I am done I just may move on to read one or more of the much maligned Brian Herbert prequel novels.  I’ve heard and read bad things about them.  Anyone care to chime in with something positive about them?  I am drawn to the Butlerian Jihad because I find human computer concept of Mentats very interesting.  I can be sold on these if anyone is willing to try!

Meanwhile, NoveList counts Ursula K. Le Guin as a possible read-alike for Dune.  I confess that the novella “Nine Lives” is the only Le Guin I have read.  You can find that story here.  Would she be a good follow-up to try after polishing off Dune sometime in the next week or so?  Dune‘s tone is tough to match.  It feels like hard sci-fi, but it possesses hazy borders that allow in all sorts of fantastic stuff like mental powers, transformational mutations, and the fulfillment of Paul’s terrible purpose.  If this post moves you to share an author whose work flows along the same wave lengths as Mr. Herbert’s, I’ll be much obliged!



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One Lesson From Dune

Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel Dune is filled to bursting with amazing lines.

“The slow blade penetrates the shield” is my personal favorite.  Weapons master Gurney Halleck delivers this amazing line of dialogue when practicing knife combat with Paul Atreides, the book’s main protagonist. In the context of Dune and Herbert’s sci-fi universe, personal energy shields could be housed in a projector and worn on a belt or sash. One only had to hit a button and he was enveloped in a form-fitting corona of energy that would deflect energy weapons, high-speed projectiles, or wild knife slashes.

But in close combat, a cunningly wielded blade can pass through the shield energy and strike the home at the person behind it. It is during this knife-fighting exercise that we learn that slow, deliberate attacks will pass through the shield’s protection.

Here’s the actual script excerpt from the 1984 David Lynch Dune movie:

                    (inner voice)
               What's gotten into Gurney? He's not
     Paul presses forward and the fight moves quickly
     around the room. The smell of ozone grows stronger
     as the shields hit and SPARK off one another. Paul
     directs a parry downwards, turns, and leads Gurney
     against the table, plunging at just the right moment
     to pin Gurney against the table top with his blade
     right at Gurney's neck.

                    (strange shielded voice)
               Is this what you seek?

                    (strange shielded voice)
               Good... the slow blade penetrates the
               shield... but look down.

     Paul looks and sees Gurney's blade at his groin.

                     GURNEY (CONT'D)
               We'd have joined each other in death.
               However, you did seem to finally get the

You can read Herbert’s version of the scene right from one of our copies of the novel:

Dune / Frank Herbert.

We also have both the David Lynch and  Sci-Fi Channel versions of the movie on DVD:

Dune (Motion picture)

Frank Herbert’s Dune [videorecording] / [presented by] Sci Fi Channel

Since I saw the Lynch movie in the theater in 1984 that line has stuck with me. At 14 I didn’t understand it as well as I think I do now, but at different times in my life I have been able to apply its wisdom. Don’t rush. Consider your next move. An action done with care and attention to detail has a better chance of success than one delivered hastily.

It’s not always true, and there have been many times I’ve failed to heed the lesson when it was relevant, but they are words to live by. And they just sound so good rolling off the tongue.



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