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  #1  
Old 12-12-2017, 07:40 PM
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Default Hopecrushers of Dune

This will be more comprehensible if you have read Frank Herbert's "Dune" books, which pass for science fiction but are at least forty-nine percent fantasy. You'll be still better off if you've gone so far as to read the fill-in books Frank Herbert's son has written since his father's death.

But, unlike a Bene Gesserit warrior-nun in teaching mode, I have tried to make my satire understandable EVEN for the uninitiated.


“Come in,” said Reverend Mother Bodelia Sneakaround, “for all of life is entrances which are exits which still are entrances to the exits we enter.”

“Er, um, right, what you said.” The Fremen-born girl Dazzlechick, in her first year as a Bene Gesserit novice, came in, looking relieved that, in spite of the typical gobbledygook speech from her mentor, it still was possible to do a simple, natural action like walking forward through a doorway. “Reverend Mother, my prana-bindu meditation exercises have been disrupted by a question which I cannot expel from my mind.”

“Questions go questing,” Bodelia solemnly intoned, “in quest of the unanswerable answers which question the unquestionable process of answering the answers that we question.”

“Of course, Reverend Mother. Now, may I, um, you know, actually tell you what my question is?”

“The ancestors of our questioners have been telling the untold answers ever since humanity left Old Earth and began forming the Empire of the Known Universe, my child. Here on Planet Arrakis, the descendants of those who decided calling the place Dune was less of a mouthful are daily writing all sort of questions in the sand, where the wind of destiny blows them away unnoticed.”

Dazzlechick nodded nervously. “I’ll take that as a Yes, Reverend Mother. What unsettles me is this question. Since the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood is supposed to be all-wise and totally awesome, guiding all humanity toward the glorious evolutionary something-or-other, why does everybody’s life on every planet always turn out so rotten? Also, why aren’t males making more of a contribution to trying to fix things?”

To the girl’s surprise, instead of scowling and delivering another meaningless lecture, Bodelia smiled. “Praise be to nothing in particular!” She arose from her lotus position to hug her apprentice. “I had been hoping that you would get around to raising that very question on your own initiative! Prepare to learn an actual answer!”

The Fremen girl was further surprised, but encouraged, to hear her teacher speak so coherently for once. “Enlighten me, Reverend Mother!”

“Come this way, then,” Bodelia invited. “We must follow the Golden Path to the Oxygen Path, followed by the Uranium Path and the Carbon Fiber Path. Along the way, we’ll say goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road, but BEWARE!-- we must avoid wasting time hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock. Thereafter, all shall become clear.”

Last edited by Copperfox; 12-13-2017 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:46 PM
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Dazzlechick never was sure how they made their mystical journey. It was weirder than any of the times she had ridden on board the Rockymountainhigh-Liners of the Spacing Guild, and accompanied by what looked like psychedelic visual effects in a movie. At one point, she thought she heard the Dawn Sequence from “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” But presently they found themselves in one of the Art Deco-style chambers common to adaptations of the Dune novels; and there waited one of the Spacing Guild’s own Navigators, the ones who folded space in order to keep storylines moving without endless delays for characters to get from one solar system to another.

“Peace and incalculable profundity to you, Zipzoom,” said the Reverend Mother to the Navigator. To this, he replied, “Journeys always contain more arrivals than departures; just a minute, I think it’s the other way around. No, that’s only when we overbook flights. Never mind that. Who’s your novice?”

“This is Dazzlechick of the Fremen. She is a very demure girl; she’s had no more than twelve knife-fights this week. But more to the point, no pun intended, she is the first of all my apprentices ever to think of asking me WHY everything is so miserable for everybody in our universe.”

The Navigator smiled-- which, given his grossly mutated appearance, only made him uglier. “Welcome, Dazzlechick! You will find this ffff….flabbergasting! Gotcha, you thought I would say ‘fascinating.’ Nope, I’m not a Spock fan.”

Dazzlechick frowned in thought. “Wait! I just realized, we’re all in a normal atmosphere! Don’t you Navigators need to stay in a mélange-gas atmosphere to live?”

“Not at all,” Zipzoom laughed. “We just make the suckers think that so they’ll be more impressed with how alien we seem. But we should proceed, shouldn’t we, Bodelia?”

“Right. Lead on.”

So the Reverend Mother and the Navigator led the Bene Gesserit novice into a colorful control room, where twenty or more non-mutated men were monitoring some sort of computer terminals which seemed to incorporate interstellar communication systems. “This,” Bodelia announced to Dazzlechick, “is Hopecrusher Central.”

“It’s our most covert operation,” Zipzoom added. “From here, Joy-Suppression Teams are dispatched to every world where there’s danger of something going right for someone. Just listen for a while to these mission controllers as they work, and you’ll soon get the idea.”

Dazzlechick, still finding it hard to believe that someone would actually name a place “Hopecrusher Central,” turned toward Bodelia. “Reverend Mother, I said I was distressed about things going wrong for people all the time, but Navigator Zipzoom speaks as if it’s a BAD thing for someone’s life to go RIGHT! What does this mean?”

“The meaning of life, dear novice, is a lively meaningfulness of life that means living.”
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:49 PM
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Exasperated that Bodelia would choose this moment to revert to gibberish, Dazzlechick saw no better option than to do as the Navigator had urged her. So she listened to the multiple duty-related reports being called out in the control room….

“Attention! Planet Jetlag has people treating sexual attraction as a motivation to exercise kindness and honesty, instead of treachery and exploitation! They must be stopped!”

“Prepare a team for intervention! There’s an industrial facility on Planet Hownowbrowncow that ISN’T ruining their entire environment!”

“Action stations! The government on Planet Attaboy is changing hands without violence!”

“Warning! We have detected a mother and father on Planet Wigwaggon who aren’t abandoning their children to horrible ordeals for obscure causes!”

“Catastrophe! Some siblings on Planet Milktoast are not in vicious rivalries!”

“Alert! There are as many as fifteen happy marriages on Planet Faraway!”

“Danger! A bloody civil war has just been successfully prevented on Planet Skiptoomyloo! If this outbreak of reconciliation is allowed to spread, it might cause a major galactic downturn in bitterness and hatred!”

“Panic! On Planet Inkadink there is an advance in medical care which doesn’t do more harm than good!”

“Maximum crisis warning! Inhabitants of Planet Gruntpoo are beginning to believe in a Supreme Being, WITHOUT this belief causing them to murder everyone in sight!”

Zipzoom suddenly stepped away from the two Bene Gesserits, to stand beside the controller who had spoken last. “This one gets the supreme priority!” he told the controller. “If people start realizing that faith in God can be a GOOD thing, our whole program will fail!”
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Old 12-12-2017, 07:56 PM
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Dazzlechick took hold of her teacher’s hand. “Reverend Mother, what does this mean? And please, tell me an actual meaning for once!”

“So I shall, dear girl. All of us here are operating in the universe of an existentialist worldview, in which despair is the bedrock foundation of all philosophy. Those controllers are in charge of stamping out any hope, anywhere, that EITHER scientific achievement OR supernatural faith can ever lead to anything good in the long run. Notice that the controllers here are all male? You asked why men weren’t doing more; well, these men ARE doing their part: working toward an endgame in which people find peace in losing all hope. While we are the Bene Gesserit, they are the Bene Herbert.

“Those who do not themselves believe in any afterlife, or in any spiritual consolation, often conclude that misery does love company. As you may be suspecting, that’s us. Therefore, all material progress of civilization in stories must be made to produce more and worse injustices, and every movement of religious faith must turn into destructive madness and oppression. Heroes and heroines must be seen to fail, and supporting characters must always end up disillusioned with them-- until the reading public, and ultimately the whole universe, agrees on a nice, tranquil resignation, and scoffs at idealists. Meanwhile, we of the Bene Gesserit supply the profound-sounding nonsense to keep humanity confused. And based on this program, Bene Herbert men write stories which promote existential despair.”

“Do people actually enjoy reading such unhappy stories?”

“I know it sounds odd, child. But the Bene Herbert novelists have refined their narrative skills to such a degree that the sheer detail and inventiveness holds the attention of readers, even though evil keeps on prevailing in the stories. Then, by a subtle emotional influence, we Bene Gesserit convince those readers that the sophistication of the plotlines DEPENDS ON this pessimistic worldview. We trick them into assuming that speculative fiction can’t be inventive and clever unless it promotes the loss of all hope. And our reward for these efforts is-- the satisfaction of knowing that other people are as depressed and miserable as we are. Of course, we normally don’t admit to ourselves that we’re unhappy; most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’re just being realistic.”

Dazzlechick drew a long breath. “Maybe you do that, Reverend Mother; but not I!”

Without waiting for Zipzoom to rejoin them, and without waiting for Bodelia to utter more empty speeches, the Fremen girl dashed out of Hopecrusher Central. Finding the inter-dimensional path by which the Reverend Mother had led here here, Dazzlechick fled back along it. Not back to Dune, for she realized that her home planet was doomed forever to be part of the Bene Herbert’s grand scheme of telling everyone that the universe had no Creator and no divine plan to make truth and love triumph.

Instead, she would seek a universe where hope wasn’t held in contempt.

To her great relief, Dazzlechick found herself arriving in the universe of the writings of Joseph Richard Ravitts, who did believe both in God and in the possibility of love and virtue succeeding. There she would become a sympathetic, likeable character in the Grey Eagle saga.

And she would REMAIN a likeable character, instead of going down the toilet the way Frank Herbert had caused both Paul and Alia Atreides to go down the toilet after the first volume.


THE END
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:55 PM
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I take it you don't like Frank Herbert then?
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:19 PM
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I have in fact read almost all the Dune books anyway, because they ARE very inventive; but I keep coming away with a bad taste in my literary mouth. I mean, come ON, it wasn't even enough for Frank Herbert to kill off Paul Atreides-- he had to kill Paul off TWICE!

And the co-authors filling in the history of the Dune-iverse feel obligated to make life stink EVEN MORE for the characters. They keep letting good guys ALMOST succeed at something, then turning the knife in me by jerking the rug out from under the good guys.

And no.... they ARE NOT "simply providing a challenge for the good guys, without which there would be no story." That excuse doesn't work when the authors are actually RIGGING EVERYTHING AGAINST the good guys, so that it's the BAD guys who don't face any challenge.

I invite members here to go back and read my own "Possible Future of Alipang Havens." My good guys DO face plenty of difficulty and peril-- but they're NOT faced with a stacked deck which has them hopelessly defeated before they even start.
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