Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday Excerpt: Flinging His Name Against the Sky

Now Playing: Trevor Morris - Journey To Skyhold (Dragon Age Inquisition OST)

I might as well title this post Missed Opportunity--this is what I should have featured on my mom's birthday, not Ender's Game. 

Dune is her favorite book. By the time I got around to reading it, she kept checking up on me every thirty minutes to ask me what I thought so far. And of course I loved it. I wasn't totally in love with the pacing at times, but I admire it for its atmosphere. It's written like a historical fantasy novel, but it takes place in a unique sci-fi universe. (Also, Lady Jessica rules).

I picked this section because, well, it's fun. I dare anyone to try to deny it. He's riding a giant desert worm! He even gets chewed out a little bit earlier for forgetting to do something important the first time around. It's so cute.

Those are my favorite parts of Dune--when Paul's actually given the chance to act like the teenager he is before he has to go back to being The Messiah. It humanizes him.

Mild spoiler warning since this section is near the end of the book.

Paul glanced down at the scaled ring surface on which they stood, noted the character and size of the scales, the way they grew larger off to his right, smaller to his left. Every worm, he knew, moved characteristically with one side up more frequently. As it grew older, the characteristic up-side became an almost constant thing. Bottom scales grew larger, heavier, smoother. Top scales could be told by size alone on a big worm. 
Shifting his hooks, Paul moved to the left. He motioned flankers down to open segments along the side and keep the worm on a straight course as it rolled. When he had it turned, he motioned two steersmen out of the line and into positions ahead. 
"Ach, haiiiii-yoh!" he shouted in the traditional call. The left-side steersman opened a ring segment there. 
In a majestic circle, the maker turned to protect its opened segment. Full around it came and when it was headed back to the south, Paul shouted: "Geyrat!" 
The steersman released his hook. The maker lined out in a straight course. 
Stilgar said. "Very good, Paul Muad'Dib. With plenty of practice, you may yet become a sandrider." 
Paul frowned, thinking: Was I not first up?  
From behind him there came sudden laughter. The troop began chanting, flinging his name against the sky. "Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib! Muad'Dib!" 
And far to the rear along the worm's surface, Paul heard the beat of the goaders pounding the tail segments. The worm began picking up speed. Their robes flapped in the wind. The abrasive sound of their passage increased. 
Paul looked back through the troop, found Chani's face among them. He looked at her as he spoke to Stilgar. "Then I am a sandrider, Stil?" 
"Hal yawm! You are a sandrider this day."
- Dune by Frank Herbert

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.