Saturday, November 01, 2014

Quotes from Dune by Frank Herbert

United States National Public Radio's Science Friday Book Club in 2014 read Dune by Frank Herbert.

Readers were asked to record their favorite quotes and submit it to the show. The whole series is incredible. Here are a few quotes I recorded. You can listen to the ones NPR selected from all listeners.

The text is available on line at But buy the book. Also, check out the Calvin and Mu'addib Tumblr.

The prescience, he realized, was an illumination that incorporated the limits of what it revealed — at once a source of accuracy and meaningful error. A kind of Heisenberg indeterminacy intervened: the expenditure of energy that revealed what he saw, changed what he saw. And what he saw was a time nexus within this cave, a boiling of possibilities focused here, wherein the most minute action — the wink of an eye, a careless word, a misplaced grain of sand — moved a gigantic lever across the known universe. He saw violence with the outcome subject to so many variables that his slightest movement created vast shiftings in the pattern. The vision made him want to freeze into immobility, but this, too, was action with its consequences . The countless consequences — lines fanned out from this cave, and along most of these consequence-lines he saw his own dead body with blood flowing from a gaping knife wound.
 Kynes's Father on the Masses and the Leavings
"Arrakis is a one-crop planet," his father said. "One crop. It supports a ruling class that lives as ruling classes have lived in all times while, beneath them, a semihuman mass of semislaves exists on the leavings. It's the masses and the leavings that occupy our attention. These are far more valuable than has ever been suspected."
Keynes's Last Thought
Then, as his planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error . Even the hawks could appreciate these facts.