Monday, March 16, 2009

Dune Times Two, or Arrakis Squared, And Another Book Recommendation

Something I've done this month after not having done it for an awful long time: read Dune twice.

And not with a book in between as a "palate cleanser". I went straight from the line where Lady Jessica Atreides consoles the Fremen Chani with the famous line While we, Chani, we who carry the name concubine–history will call us wives, to the front of Chapter One: In the week before the departure for Arrakis ...

I've huffed and puffed and hand-wove about how Dune contains a lot of what might help one understand how agendas and religion contemplate unifying to configure politics. It's a rousing tale, one of the best ever written, and to me is a cautionary tale about while religion may inform our private morals it must not ever be allowed to shape our public policy.

I think if nobody ever reads any other book to try and understand human events, this would be the one.

I think it's time I deconstructed Dune to demonstrate what I mean. That should come up soon. I am rather prolix ... but prolix and erudite are two different things. Let's see how I stand up to my own gom jabbar.

And while I'm thinkin' about books, in my first bloviation about important books, commenter Phil from Frieddogleg held up another book he recommends about the same sorts of things I say you should read Dune for, and that's Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land. I will admit, here and now, that I've never read it, but that's just my own personal flaw–I've never been a Heinlein fan.

But Phil's got good insight, so I don't mind passing along the suggestion. And, once I get off my current Arrakis affliction, I very well may move on and dip my toe in Stranger for the first time ... and I'll report on that as well. I've read a summary of the work, and it looks like it has definite things to say about power and human's relations to it.

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