Spice? I hope it tastes like cinnamon

With Dune I’ve had to draw myself little family trees, as I did with books like Lord Of The Rings and especially The Silmarillion, as names of characters, places, species, and families are thrown at the reader with nerdly gusto.

I decided to read Dune as part of shaking shaking myself out of a reading rut, and without it, there would be no Star Wars, and definitely no Tremors (“They survived by crossing the rock areas where worms seldom go”). It’s all about feuding families and political underhand tactics, and I’m about 80 pages in and have a grasp on who is who, and where they are. There was a film released in 1984 which is supposed to be terrible, but it is on Youtube so I shall watch it once I’ve read the book. It features Sting, who is aging well –

maxresdefaultand Patrick Stewart, who is ageing even better, to the point I suspect he has a spooky picture in his attic.

DuneoriginalAnd the outfits they are all wearing are called ‘still suits’ as water is so scarce on Arrakis that they need a suit which will retain all the water the body loses, and recycle it. Apparently, “Urine and faeces are processed in the thigh pads,” Nice.

movies-dune-1984-kyle-maclachlan-francesca-annisAnd the reason people live on a planet so dry they have to harvest their own sweat? A drug called ‘Spice’, which is mined and processed by big crawling bug-like factory things, which are in constant danger of sand worm attacks.

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Spice is used for lots of things, but is especially needed to space travel as it makes it possible to humans to survive extremely long journeys, gives them general good health and psychic abilities (basically what spirulina wishes it was) although it does turn one’s eyes a fake blue, which is all well and good for Marilyn Manson fans, or people who like fake contacts, but I’d be miffed.

As with any precious commodity that is perilous to harvest, those at the top get rich and those down the mine get dead. Native peoples are trodden on, and if I know my fiction, the young protagonist Paul (which always makes me laugh, as everyone else has names like Leto, Thufir, Glossu, although there is a Duncan) is going to shake things up, free the slaves so to speak, and defeat the baddies.

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