Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

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Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 04 Nov 2010 23:59

They can shake their big behinds!
Though Frank's worms don't dance
(And they really don't dance!)
Well, I don't think Kevin minds!


This is the next to last chapter of House Corrino. It rocks the kasaba. It rulez. Kommen Sie ON, Shprokets, dies ist Dieters Dantze-Partei! Everybody DANCE!

There is no doubt that the desert has mystical qualities. Deserts, traditionally, are the wombs of religion.
—Missionaria Protectiva Report to the Mother School

You always know you're off on a real roller-coaster ride when the epigraph is a complete anticipatory Hershey squirter like this. Fasten your seat belts!

THOUGH GRAND EVENTS COULD TAKE PLACE IN the politics of the Imperium, this sea of sand never changed.

With the hoods of their jubba cloaks thrown back and still-suit masks hanging loose, two rugged men stood on a rocky ledge, gazing across the moonlit dunes of Habbanya Erg. Sharp-eyed Fremen manned the desert-watch station on False Wall West, watching for spice blows.

A jubba is a type of cloak; either (or etiher?) "the hoods of their jubba" or "of their cloaks" would have been sufficient. If not simply "their hoods thrown back". The words I've marked in red are probably superfluous. If the Fremen are watching for spice blows, they're not going to be doing it from a "mountain-watch" station, etc. MODIFY MODIFY MODIFY!!!

Since early morning, Liet-Kynes and his companion spotters had smelled the aromatic gases of an enormous pre-spice mass carried on breezes across the erg. Down on the open sand, listeners had heard rumbling sounds from the belly of the desert, deep disturbances. Something was happening beneath the ocean of dunes...but a spice blow usually came swiftly, with little warning and much destruction. Even the trained Planetologist was curious.

He's going to be with non-companion spotters? We know the gases are "aromatic": because they can smell them. Or is that aromatic as opposed to alicyclic? Thought not. Carried on breezes, you say? I wasn't imagining cielago-borne aerosol cans. Wouldn't "rumbling(s)" alone be enough? What a lovely gastric metaphor. Above it was a "sea of sand", now it's an "ocean of dunes"; I guess "surface" was too boring. And WHAT destruction? Spice blows occur in the open desert; it's not like anyone has built a house over a pre-spice mass, or they take place in downtown Arrakeen. Fucking moronic verbiage added simply for effect. :roll:

The same is true of describing Liet as "trained": would an untrained person be appointed Imperial Planetologist? It's just stupid to add these meaningless words.

The night was quiet, a bated breath. Overhead, an ominous new comet blazed across the skies, trailing a river of mist behind it. The spectacle was an important, but undeciphered, omen. Comets often signified the birth of a new king, or the death of an old one. Portents abounded, but not even the Naibs or the Sayyadinas could agree as to whether the omen was good or ill.

A... suffocating cliché. If it's doing something "across the skies" it's naturally "overhead"; pick one. If the "omen" is "undeciphered", why would they think it "ominous"? Just because it's new? When was the last time the Fremen knew a "king"? Is that to be interpreted to refer to an emperor, or some member of whatever family from the general aristocracy was currently ruling the planet? Meh!

High on the cliffs, able men and boys watched for a signal from the spotters, prepared to rush across the sands with tools and sacks to harvest the fresh spice before a worm could come. The Fremen had gathered melange in this manner since the time of the Zensunni Wanderers, when refugees had first fled to this desert planet.

Otherwise they would be "low" on the cliffs? Were there any "non-able" Fremen men or boys? They knew from the start that the spice was something beneficial? And "refugees"... that's foreshadowing of the Legends.

Gathering spice by cometlight... As the ivory blue Second Moon rose into the sky, Liet looked at the shadow on its bright face that resembled a desert mouse. "Muad'Dib comes to watch over us."

OK. The moon color bit is lifted straight from Dune. The mouse-pattern stuff is just gratuitous reminder. "Liet looked at the pattern there" would have been quite sufficient. For a real fan reader. The line cockjammed into Liet's mouth is Just. Simply. Embarrassing. Ignoring the prophetic nonsense, it doesn't even make sense in its context of utterance, does it? The kangaroo mouse was revered for its ability to survive in the desert, and teaching that lesson to Fremen young. It's not like they're going off on a long trek or anything, that they need to be watched over by the Mouse on the Moon. Meh.

Um, there's more to come—and we haven't even got close to the GOOD stuff yet!—but I'm going to go ahead and post this and take a quick break before proceeding. Back soon!
Last edited by SandChigger on 05 Nov 2010 04:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 05 Nov 2010 01:19

OK, continuing... (Tried submitting this a few times, but the server kept stalling out. Then I noticed that it had posted three times. ??? Deleted two of them... I guess it's OK now... :? )

Beside him, Stilgar watched with eyes as sharp as a bird of prey's. Suddenly, even before the spice blow, he called out a wormsign. A mound of sand in rapid motion ran parallel with the rocks that sheltered Red Wall Sietch. Liet squinted, trying to discern details. Other spotters noticed the movement as well, and excited shouts rang out.

"Worms do not come this close to our sietch," Liet muttered, "unless there is some reason."

"Who are we to know Shai-Hulud's reasons, Liet?"

Yeah... you stupid halfbreed son of an off-worlder! :roll: Returning to Stilgar's eyes above... there are eagles on Arrakis, after all, so why not just use "eagle"? Or "desert hawk, dwarf owl, eagle and desert owl". They're in one of the appendices. You know, those parts of Dune which Kevin evidently never reads or checks. (Otherwise he'd know about where and when the C.E.T. was held. :lol: ) Next, we know what wormsign is so, again, superfluous explanation for the new (or stupid?) reader.

And speaking of stupid, we're about to hit the mother lode!

With a slow-motion roar, the great beast heaved itself out of the sand below the high rock barrier. In the still of the night, Liet heard his Fremen companions draw quick gasps of breath. The enormous sandworm was so ancient that it seemed to be made from the creaking bones of the world.

What the fuck does that even mean? Yeah, we know, they're big. Cliché alert! And wouldn't the "still" of the night have fled in the face of that odd, temporally aberrant roar? There were non-Fremen companions present? Are there "slow-motion" gasps of breath, to match the roars? Enormous? Yeah, we got the idea at "great". Is this a common expression somewhere? The world (Arrakis) has bones? That creak? Huh?

Then, high on a cliff above, another spotter called out a second wormsign, then another and another—leviathans swimming beneath the dunes, converging here. The abrasive flow of sand made an undertone of whispering thunder.

Again, pick one. 'Cause THEY'RE BIG, GET IT? "swimming" to continue the leviathan/sea-monster image. That last line doesn't really even make sense to me; what's the sand flow abrading? Why "whispering" when it's already described as an "undertone"? It's lexical fruit salad, the ingredients thrown together just because they look (=sound) pretty, not because of their taste (meaning).

One by one, more monsters emerged and formed a great circle with sparks of fire in their gullets. Except for the grating of sand, the worms were eerily quiet. Liet counted more than a dozen of them, stretching themselves as if to reach the comet in the sky.

But sandworms were violently territorial. Never were more than two seen together, and those two would be battling. But here they had...congregated.

It would be physically impossible for them to form a non-great circle. And... they formed a circle using sparks from their gullets? Kewl trix! :P

And yes, AS IF, since they're blind and have no way of sensing the comet. :roll: And yes again, FH's sandworms WERE territorial. So what's changed?

(Maker, this is tiring! This is why I never finished the chapter-by-chapter dissection of Hunters a couple of years ago: THERE'S JUST SO MUCH SHIT to point out!)

Moving a bit more briskly...
Beneath his boots, Liet felt a vibration through the stone of the mountain. A sharp, flinty odor rose to mingle with the scent of melange leaking from the sand. "Summon everyone from the sietch. Bring my wife and children to me."

Runners vanished into the tunnels.

Is he afraid the sietch will collapse? Would the Fremen put a sietch in an unstable rock formation? And, um, it's NOT melange yet, stupid. It should just smell like fermented sandtrout peepee-poopoo.

The huge, sinuous worms moved in synchronization, rising around the first behemoth, as if worshipping it.

Watching the spectacle, the Fremen made signs to Shai-Hulud. Liet could only stare. This would be something to speak of for generations to come.

In concert, the worms turned their rounded, eyeless heads to the sky. In the center of the circle, the ancient colossus towered like a monolith over the others. Overhead, the shimmering comet cast as much illumination as the First Moon, spotlighting the desert monsters.

"Shai-Hulud!" the Fremen whispered from all around.

"We must get word to Sayyadina Ramallo," Stilgar said to Liet. "We must tell her what we have seen. Only she can interpret this."

With a rustle of her robe, Liet's wife Faroula appeared at his side with their children. She handed their eighteen-month-old daughter Chani to him, and he held the child high so that she could see over the adults in front of her. His stepson Liet-chih stood in front of them to watch.

Out on the moonlit sand, the circle of worms writhed in an eerie dance, making a rushing friction noise. They moved counterclockwise, as if intending to create a whirlpool in the desert. At the center, the most ancient of all worms began to slump, its skin peeling, its rings sloughing off. Bit by bit, the old one dissolved into tiny living pieces—a silver river of embryonic sandtrout, like amoebas, that struck the sand and tunneled beneath the dunes.

The awestruck Fremen muttered. Several children hauled outside by parents and warders chattered with excitement and asked questions that no one could answer.

"Is it a dream, husband?" Faroula inquired. Chani stared wide-eyed, her irises and pupils not yet totally blue from exposure to the spice melange. She would remember this night.

"Not a dream...but I don't know what it is." Cradling their daughter in one arm, Liet took Faroula's hand. Liet-chih's eyes flickered, watching the moving worms.

The circling creatures churned about as the ancient one fissioned into thousands of embryos. The huge hulk broke apart, leaving only a cartilaginous husk of support ribs and rings. The shining downpour of sandtrout burrowed into the disturbed dunes and disappeared from view.

Moments later, the remaining worms dived beneath the sand, their mysterious ritual concluded. They surged away in many directions, as if knowing their brief truce would last no longer.

Und die Dantze-Partei ist kaput! :(

Shivering, Liet pulled Faroula close and felt her rapid heartbeat against his side. The little boy, waist-high to his mother, remained speechless.

Gradually the sands folded over in the wake of the immense creatures, leaving the stirred silica much as it had been at the beginning of the night, an endless sequence of dunes like the waves of an ocean.

"Bless the Maker and His water," Stilgar murmured, his voice joined by his Fremen companions. "Bless the coming and going of Him. May His passage cleanse the world. May He keep the world for His people."

A significant passing, Liet thought. Something tremendous has changed in the universe.

Shai-Hulud, king of the sandworms, had returned to the sand, opening the way for a new ruler. In the greater scheme of things, birth and death were intertwined with the remarkable processes of nature. As Pardot Kynes had taught the Fremen, "Life—all life—is in the service of Life. The entire landscape comes alive, filled with relationships and relationships within relationships."

The Fremen had just witnessed a remarkable omen, that somewhere in the universe an important birth had occurred, one that would be hailed across millennia to come. In his daughter's ear Planetologist Liet-Kynes began to whisper the thoughts that he could translate into words...and then fell silent as he sensed that she understood.

Ugh... that's bad. And complete nonsense.

It's one thing to acknowledge that the Fremen saw omens in everything. It's another thing completely to manufacture BOGUS astronomical and xenobiological phenomena and present their beliefs as something REAL (in the fictional universe).

One of the main ideas in Dune was that Jessica and Paul utilized the MP-influenced religious beliefs of the Fremen to their own advantage (survival) and for their own purposes (revenge). This crap reduces all that to nonsense.

Isn't it funny how often these books do that to the originals? :evil:

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Hunchback Jack » 05 Nov 2010 04:21

Appalling. The prose itself is flat, despite the modifiers desperately trying to spice it up. It's just tell, tell, tell, everything stated, nothing implied, and the metaphors that are there are either hackneyed, inappropriate, or both.

The comet is nonsense, the worms' "ritual" is nonsense - even if considered as a purely biological phenomenon - and the final paragraph linking these supposed "omens" to Paul's birth is just wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no conceivable reason that sandworms on Dune would be affected by Paul's birth. None. Paul was a guy, the product of the Bene Gesserit breeding program, not a God or any kind of religious prophet. He should have no mystical connection to Dune - or to anywhere.

(The moon thing was pretty stupid, too. "Muad'Dib comes to watch over us."? What, like when the moon came out last night? And the night before that? And will tomorrow night, no doubt? Even allowing for phases of the moon, placing significance on its presence is unlikely.)

HBJ
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 05 Nov 2010 04:41

I'm sure that KJA would say the comet and worm "ritual" and Paul's birth (on Kaitain) are completely unrelated events and their occurrence at the same time is just a complete coincidence and it is the Fremen who were reading meaning into it.

:roll:
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Hunchback Jack » 05 Nov 2010 05:54

Yeah, that reading of the passage did occur to me. I don't buy it ;).

If there's no intended implication of an actual connection between this event and Paul's birth, then why mention this event at all? If it's to show that the Fremen are superstitious, and read omens into natural, if unusual, events, then the implied linkage to Paul's birth is utterly meaningless and unnecessary, because the Fremen are unaware of Paul's birth. If the intention is to describe an event that will *later* be remembered, and will reinforce the Fremen's connection between Paul and the MP-planted legends, then you'd think the authors would have at least mentioned those legends in passing here, or refer to this event in a later work when the Fremen meet Paul. But they don't.

No, the only people who can make the connection between this event and Paul's birth are the *readers*, which implies that the authors want us to make that connection, and that the connection is significant.

HBJ
"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
- Carl Sagan

I'm still very proud of The Quarry but … let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel.
- Iain Banks

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Serkanner » 05 Nov 2010 07:41

Life—all life—is in the service of Life


Huh?
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SadisticCynic » 05 Nov 2010 07:53

Pardot Kynes in Dune wrote:Life -- all life -- is in the service of
life.
Ah English, the language where pretty much any word can have any meaning! - A Thing of Eternity

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby TheDukester » 05 Nov 2010 10:52

Hunchback Jack wrote:It's just tell, tell, tell, everything stated, nothing implied ...

It's like the way small children tell stories: strict chronology and lots of repetition. ("This happened, then this happened, then this happened ...")

Keith just adds 10,000 modifiers.
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Unfront » 05 Nov 2010 11:02

This is good random sample of the child like immaginative skills of Keith. This entire scene was contrived as some sort of reward for the reader who has slugged it out through all three books.
Like the party/dance scene at the end of Phantom Menace, the award ceremony at the end of A New Hope, and everyone's favorite Nub Nub Ewok Dance scene at the end of Return of the Jedi (wich we can all agree that that was the absolute low point of the original trilogy - even Lucas edited that out on the later releases).

Worms congregating in a sacred circle dance is about as plausible as several elk getting together and doing synchronized swiming or something - it just would not happen! The comet appearing would have been one thing, but the dance coinciding with it is another entirely. D-

The House series was second rate, but to slug it out for three books just to get to this cutsie-poo passage turns the whole series into a parody. I read the entire series in sequence from Legends (puke) :puke: to House (dry heave) to the orinal six :D then to Hunters/Sandworms :evil: When I finished House, I was so releaved and happy to move on to Dune and put this crap behind me...
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Serkanner » 05 Nov 2010 12:52

SadisticCynic wrote:
Pardot Kynes in Dune wrote:Life -- all life -- is in the service of
life.


Exactly ... just copied from the appendixes.
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby merkin muffley » 05 Nov 2010 14:31

A "long and syrupy" string of cheeseball descriptions.
"I must admit, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor...."

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Nov 2010 14:54

Wow, this is seriously worse even than most of what else I've read.

Why must KJA insist that the worms have anything even resembling thought processes. The worms FH described seemed to be entirely instinctual, not capable of doing much more than sensing sandtrout (to avoid) and rhythmic vibrations (to smash the shit out of whatever caused the vibrations).

It wasn't until after Leto II that they had any real intelligence at all.

KJA is obsessed with OUTDOING FH when it comes to everything other than "depth". Maybe this is because KJA has no ability at all to write deep material, and it manifests as him always having to have more mystical elements, more battles, higher stakes, bigger sandworms (even though he biffed that one and actually described a relatively small sandworm and then just told the reader it was bigger than the sandworms of Dune), cyborgs earlier in the timeline, etc.
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Freakzilla » 05 Nov 2010 16:21

A Thing of Eternity wrote:It wasn't until after Leto II that they had any real intelligence at all.


I don't think he gave them any intelligence, just made them meaner and more horney.
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 05 Nov 2010 16:45

Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:It wasn't until after Leto II that they had any real intelligence at all.


I don't think he gave them any intelligence, just made them meaner and more horney.


Horney? But worms don't mate... :P

I could have sworn there was a passage in GEoD where Leto says that the worms after him would possess a new animal intelligence.
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 05 Nov 2010 18:11

FH in GEoD wrote: "Most of it. Within three hundred years, the sandworm once more will reign here. It will be a new kind of sandworm, I promise you."
"How is that, Lord?"
"It will have animal awareness and a new cunning. The spice will be more dangerous to seek and far more perilous to keep."

:)

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Freakzilla » 05 Nov 2010 19:22

"Someday, I will go back into the sand. I will be the source of spice then."
"You, Lord?"
"And I will produce something just as wonderful-more sandtrout-a hybrid and a
prolific breeder."
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Freakzilla » 05 Nov 2010 19:23

"Someday, I will go back into the sand. I will be the source of spice then."
"You, Lord?"
"And I will produce something just as wonderful-more sandtrout-a hybrid and a
prolific breeder."
Trembling at this revelation, Moneo stared at the shadowy figure of the God
Emperor who spoke of such marvels.
"The sandtrout," Lord Leto said, "will link themselves into large living bubbles
to enclose this planet's water deep underground. Just as it was in the Dune
times."
"All of the water, Lord?"
"Most of it. Within three hundred years, the sandworm once more will reign here.
It will be a new kind of sandworm, I promise you."
"How is that, Lord?"
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 06 Nov 2010 00:38

Alright, thanks for the quotes!
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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 06 Nov 2010 04:19

Hey!

We can quote if we want to!
We can pull 'em from our behinds!
But if you won't quote
Or you don't want a quote
Well then, you're no friend of mine!


:shock:

I've had that damned song playing in my head for over a day now... :(

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Omphalos » 06 Nov 2010 05:16

I actually had Safety Dance blaring on the way into work today.

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 06 Nov 2010 06:23

It's an OMEN! :shock:

Next you'll tell me you were scrubbing something with Comet recently!

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Serkanner » 06 Nov 2010 07:03

SandChigger wrote:It's an OMEN! :shock:

Next you'll tell me you were scrubbing something with Comet recently!


My worm has been standing upright the same day .. :shock:
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby SandChigger » 06 Nov 2010 07:32

:text-tmi:

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby merkin muffley » 06 Nov 2010 09:09

Stiffly upcocked?
"I must admit, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor...."

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Re: Worms can dance if they want to (BAD WRITING SERIES)

Postby Lundse » 06 Nov 2010 10:09

This would be something to speak of for generations to come.


Kevin? (Or any prequel fans out there, you can join too). Try repeating that sentence a few times. Maybe think about whether it could also be applied to Harkonnen no-chambers andJedi Bene Gesserit. Or a giant evil robot empire bent on destroying mankind.

Say it again:

This would be something to speak of for generations to come.


One question. Ready?

Why! The! Fuck! Don't they then?


Also, Kevin, there's a thing called subtlety, which you can sometimes use to write foreboding stuff without making the whole universe suddenly and uncharacteristingly magical. An example would be:
There is a legend that the instant the Duke Leto Atreides died a meteor streaked across the skies above his ancestral palace on Caladan


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