... Kevin and I have a six hundred page Dune concordance that I've prepared, that took about a year, so I know all the page numbers where Frank Herbert described everything. ...
[later, repeating himself]
... I spent a year before writing a word with Kevin doing a concordance of all six novels that Frank Herbert wrote in the Dune series, so I know the whole history of the Mentats, the Swordmasters, the Bene-Gesserit; I know the eye colors of the main characters, I know their family histories. It's all in a 600-page, single-spaced concordance. ...
You know, that part I underlined above is probably why they're in no rush to publish the thing, because that may be all the fabled "concordance" is, a list of words & character names followed by a bunch of page numbers, maybe with subentries. Something like
Duncan, Atreides retainer, Swordmaster; Dune 35, 43, 44, 57, 105; Heretics, ...
- eye color, Dune 44; shape 44
- hair, Chapterhouse 57
That is, after all, what an old-style Biblical concordance is like. And that took him a year to do ... which makes me wonder if he did it by hand.
I really rather do hope he did it by hand; I love the image of BoBo poring over his father's books, finding words and writing them down along with the page numbers. (Page numbers, there's another sticky bit that we've discussed that no doubt is also an impediment to them working on a version for publication: which edition of the books do you use?)
Anyway ... the other night I was searching the files for occurrences of the name "Dar-es-Balat", because I'm pretty sure the name means "The House of Tiles (or Tiled Floors)" and I wanted to see if there was any mention of tiles in the text around the name. I noticed something in the following passage that I had completely forgotten:
FH in Heretics wrote:The long table on the right is set for a banquet of roast desert hare in sauce cepeda. The other dishes, clockwise to the right from the far end of the table, are aplomage sirian, chukka under glass, coffee with melange (note the hawk crest of the Atreides on the urn), pot-a-oie and, in the Balut crystal bottle, sparkling Caladan wine. Note the ancient poison detector concealed in the chandelier.
—Dar-es-Balat, Description at a Museum Display
So FH actually did mention the planetary name Balut in connection with crystalware. (Note that this passage in Heretics is actually an almost verbatim copy of a scene from Dune, although the former book does not mention the Balut crystal.)
But only once. In this passage. And BoBo obviously included it in his concordance, because the name has appeared no less than 67 times in the McDune books....
House Atreides: Balut crystal glowglobes floated in the air, flickering a warm orange.
House Harkonnen: Behind Klaen, a second student—Hiddi Aran of Balut—shadowed him.... ...and placed a projectile through the middle of the Balut student's forehead.
House Corrino: ...a rich glow in the golden light of Balut crystal glow-globes. ... Immense chandeliers of the purest Balut crystal.... Not even Balut's fabulous Crystal Chateau could approach such a level of ostentation. ...servants carried trays of drinks in Balut crystal goblets. ...Tyros Reffa, son of Elrood IX by Lady Shando Balut. ...the Imperial concubine Shando Balut.... "My birth-mother was Shando Balut...." "...Elrood's concubine, Shando Balut."
And so on. (2 occurrences in TBJ, 11 in MC, and 2 in BoC; 3 in PoD [Garon's retirement estate, lamps & goblets], and no less than 38 in WoD!) On a hunch, I decided to check for the other items listed in the Heretics passage. Evidently only the Caladan wine was deemed worthy of mention (and that only 8 times in all the McDune books).
So maybe the concordance actually does exist and they really do use it. As a source of planet+commodity name pairs for dropping into the text.