Frank Herbert LP: the Battles of Dune

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Frank Herbert LP: the Battles of Dune

Postby gwern » 25 Feb 2011 23:22

The cover and close photographs of the Battles of Dune LP are available at the following links:

- ... back-1.jpg
- ... back-2.jpg
- ... back-3.jpg
- ... back-4.jpg
- ... -cover.jpg

# The Battles of Dune Read By The Author Frank Herbert

Side A: 30:41

Side B: 31:39

Warfare and battles form an important theme in the Dune Trilogy because they are part of a recurrent pattern which mankind has had difficulty unlearning. I assumed that war came into human behavior through a long, slow evolutionary process, that it is rooted in the forms of prehistoric tribal hierarchies, and that there were times when it had survival values. But if we have developed any laws of evolution, among the foremost has to be the observation that characteristics and systems valuable in one age can be deadly in another. That is the pattern in the Battles of Dune.

This fits in with another assumption: that heroes are painful for a society and that superheroes are a catastrophe.

Such assumptions derive from the observation that in politics and its logical extension, war, people tend to give over all decision-making capacity to supreme commanders who are imbued with myth characteristics. Thus you find leaders such as John F. Kennedy consciously fitting themselves into a bigger-than-life mold, using the Camelot pattern and the flamboyant accouterments.

Under such superhero stress, the followers forget that the leader is just another human being and can make human mistakes. Enormous problems arise when human mistakes are made on a grand scale.

Most people know William Tecumseh Sherman's famous line: "War is hell." This follows a longer quotation which you seldom see:

> "I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation."

Sensitive words for the insensitive of his age to scoff at, and written by a sensitive man whose firsthand observations about battle led him to say at another time:

> "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."

The Battles of Dune were portrayed in this light. Here you find the gradations of cruelty "in a good cause". You can follow the good leader. You can cheer his victory, while what he has won prepares the table for what is to come.

Cruelty breeds more of itself. Fanaticism always breeds true.

Gurney Halleck would have found common cause with Sherman, not with Patton. When he finds that Paul Atreides is alive on Arrakis, Gurney stops the battle in the desert and says of that battle: "It's a mistake. Don't add to it."

Gurney is the peasant yeoman, the dedicated follower whose roots and training lead him at times to the cold recognition that he may be an important pawn, but he still is a pawn among pawns. He is the troubadour/herald whose fortunes are tied inextricably to those of his lord.

That is the pattern of all political and military organizations. It is the basis of the spoils system.

We dwell for a moment on the character of Gurney Halleck because his loyalty and cynicism echo my beliefs, a fact which holds true as well for Duncan Idaho. It is no literary accident that they were designed and chosen as the ones to train Paul Atreides, imparting the cynical eye which he takes with him into the persona of Muad'dib.

It is the assumption in the Trilogy that leadership has its skills, that people can be trained in these skills, and that such skills have always led to unresolvable conflict. Part of that conflict arises from what is not communicated to the followers. The followers must be held in some degree of ignorance as the price of having leaders. Without that star-chamber aura, leaders cannot maintain their power.

As Sherman observed, those who cry for more blood and vengeance act out of inexperience. Gurney Halleck also cries out for vengeance, and to that degree betrays his submission to Paul's greater knowledge - knowledge that is not shared with the underlings.

Thus there is blood on the Sands of Dune. This blood is accompanied by pains and anguish. Battles are an assault on human flesh.

I had that fully in mind while I was writing the Battles of Dune. I had it in mind while I was reading these passages for you.

Sherman was right. Those of us who have seen it, agree.

> **Port Townsend, Wash.**
> **1978**

Although Frank Herbert is best known for his epic science fiction trilogy - _Dune_, _Dune Messiah_ and _Children of Dune_ - he has about twenty novels to his credit.

His first book, _Dragon in the Sea_ (International Fantasy Award co-winner), is still in print and has just been reissued by Ballantine under its original title, _Under Pressure_.

_Children of Dune_, published by Putnam's in 1976, is on best-seller lists all over the country.

_Dune_, winner of the World Science Fiction Convention Hugo award and the Science Fiction Writers of America Nebula award, is being made into a major motion picture.

_The Dosadi Experiment_, his latest, has received extraordinary critical acclaim.

Mr. Herbert worked as a professional newspaperman for over 20 years on the west cost. Ten of these years were with the _San Francisco Examiner_.

He lives with his family in Port Townsend, Washington - on the northeast corner of the northwest corner of the state, about 30 air miles from Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

One of his major interests is turning his six wooded acres into an Ecological Demonstration Project, with the object of showing how a high quality of life can be maintained with a minimum drain on the planet's total energy system.

Mr. Herbert has also recorded DUNE: _The Banquet Scene_ (TC 1555) and SANDWORMS OF DUNE (TC 1565) for Caedmon.

# Credits

Cover: John Schoenherr

Library of Congress #: 78-741935

© 1979 Caedmon

Directed by Ward Botsford

Recorded at Holden Hamilton Roberts Recording Studios, Seattle, Washington

Studio Engineer: Wayne A. Palmer

Tape Editor: Daniel A. Wolfert

SOURCE: This story of the BATTLES OF DUNE has been created by Frank Herbert for Caedmon, and is comprised of portions of his DUNE trilogy melded with connective text written by Mr. Herbert.

BATTLES OF DUNE, © 1979 by Frank Herbert

DUNE, copyright © 1965 by Frank Herbert

DUNE MESSIAH, copyright © 1969 by Frank Herbert

CHILDREN OF DUNE, copyright © 1976 by Frank Herbert

All (except Battles) published by Berkley Publishing Corporation (paperback).
"Uproot your questions from their ground and the dangling roots will be seen. More questions!"