The Spice, I'd like to know...

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D Pope
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The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 17 Dec 2010 14:56

Started on Dune again last night, & when Mohiam mentions the truthsayer drug I got to wondering about the Spice.
It seems there's refined spice, I imagine a salt shaker on the table of the avarage peasant.
The truthsayer drug, I assume it's spice- or spice based.
The WoL, the bile coughed up by a drowned worm. (and how'd they ever stumble on to that)
And the Blue Spice Essence, a spice concentrate like frozen orange juice perhaps, it's the stuff that makes the spice Spice. I think of this like a chemist removing THC from pot.

About the Spice; in general it seems that the avarage peasant can afford enough to extend his life but it's also stated that a suitcase full is enough to buy a planet. Any thoughts on this seeming contradiction? What I mean is, if four gallons can buy a planet, a few grams should be a very comfortable middle class retirement. Are there any references to how much spice it takes to extend life? Potency vs. dilution?

The truthsayer drug- wtf is it & why does it seem to get sidelined so early? Is it even mentioned after Dune? Before joining here, I thought it was all the same stuff in different flavors, (if you will) like whiskey. Also, I figgured since spice has telepathic properties, that may be what suppliments truthsense. Correct me if i'm wrong but there's no mention of any truthsayer doing the drug for an upcoming meeting, right? Perhaps it's only used by weaker 'sayers, and Frank wrote about the heavy hitters that didn't need it.
At the end of Dunes first chapter, Mohiam lets on like the drug makes reverend mothers- "...only feminine avenues... Yet, there's a place no truthsayer can see..." Wasn't Rebeccas husband a trythsayer? It seems he did it like a job- a sort of notary. At this point in time all truthsayers are RMs? I guess that doesn't mean that all RMs are truthsayers.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 17 Dec 2010 15:21

MELANGE: the "spice of spices," the crop for which Arrakis is the unique source.
The spice, chiefly noted for its geriatric qualities, is mildly addictive when
taken in small quantities, severely addictive when imbibed in quantities above
two grams daily per seventy kilos of body weight. (See Ibad, Water of Life, and
Pre-spice Mass.) Muad'Dib claimed the spice as a key to his prophetic powers.
Guild navigators make similar claims. Its price on the Imperial market has
ranged as high as 620,000 Solaris the decagram.

~Dune, Terminology of the Imperium
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 17 Dec 2010 15:55

So at 62,000 a gram... if spice weighs about the same as sugar, a planet costs about 840 million solaris. (assuming your suitcase holds six 5lb bags of sugar)
What's the average income in the imperium at the time of Dune?
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Serkanner » 17 Dec 2010 16:41

D Pope wrote:So at 62,000 a gram... if spice weighs about the same as sugar, a planet costs about 840 million solaris. (assuming your suitcase holds six 5lb bags of sugar)
What's the average income in the imperium at the time of Dune?


Where do you get it from that the spice was affordable to the common peasant. In my opinion it was only nobility and the very rich could afford it.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 17 Dec 2010 17:21

Serkanner wrote:
D Pope wrote:So at 62,000 a gram... if spice weighs about the same as sugar, a planet costs about 840 million solaris. (assuming your suitcase holds six 5lb bags of sugar)
What's the average income in the imperium at the time of Dune?


Where do you get it from that the spice was affordable to the common peasant. In my opinion it was only nobility and the very rich could afford it.


Yeah, there was no peasant spice consumption from my understanding, only the rich could eat any, and even most of the rich couldn't afford enough to end up with blue eyes or anything.

Average income would look high, you're looking to know the mode - which would be squat, it's feudalism, very very top-heavy.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 17 Dec 2010 18:23

Yeah, ok, I just got the feeling it was all over. I have no quote to support that feeling.

The truthsayer drug then, is it the WoL? Was that just BG code for agony juice? And male truthsayers?
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby SandChigger » 17 Dec 2010 20:51

Be careful about mixing time periods, too. The "buy a planet" bit comes from Heretics, Freak's quote (with the 62,000 solaris/gram figure) from Dune: that's a difference of 5,000 years. And Freak's quote shows that like any valuable commodity, the price varied.

There's a good deal of fuzziness, but I assume that the BG didn't know about WoL until after Jessica; it was a Fremen secret until then. (The Water of Life, technically, is not spice, because the spice is not produced by sandworms. Spice is sun-and-wind-dried fermented sandtrout poop & piss. ;) WoL is a deadly poison. Spice is edible.)

The spice wasn't the only drug the BG could use to open Other Memory, but it turned out to be the best; the Truthsayer drug was (almost certainly?) not spice-related:

Later in Dune FH wrote: "The spice," [Paul] said, "It's in everything here—the air, the soil, the food. The geriatric spice. It's like the Truthsayer drug. It's a poison!"

(Emphasis added.) "Truthsayer drug" appears only twice, in Dune, btw. ("Truthsayer" alone occurs about 70 times.)

As for truthsaying, I think it's more about the observation of minutiae than telepathy. There is telepathy in Dune, but appears to require close proximity if not actual physical contact (as when the BG Share).

The Spice must flow! :)

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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 17 Dec 2010 20:56

The "Spice Liquor" was one of the "poisons" that the RMs used for their "tricks" before Jessica turned them onto the WoL. Another being the Rossak Poison. However, once using the spice liquor the other poison's wouldn't work. I assume the same applies to the WoL.

I don't see the faufreluches regularly using spice, either.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 17 Dec 2010 20:58

SandChigger wrote:Be careful about mixing time periods, too. The "buy a planet" bit comes from Heretics, Freak's quote (with the 62,000 solaris/gram figure) from Dune: that's a difference of 5,000 years. And Freak's quote shows that like any valuable commodity, the price varied.


Keep in mind also, at the time of HoD, the BT were producing tons of spice in their "tanks".
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby SandChigger » 17 Dec 2010 21:36

Good point. So why was it still so expensive then? :think:

I just happened across this in Messiah, Chani speaking to Irulan in council:
"Denying them their melange would solve nothing," Chani said. "So the Guild's navigators would lose their ability to see into timespace. Your Sisters of the Bene Gesserit would lose their truthsense. Some people might die before their time. Communication would break down. Who could be blamed?"

But it just shows, again, that truthsense is something that comes along with RM-hood, no?

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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 17 Dec 2010 21:49

SandChigger wrote:Good point. So why was it still so expensive then? :think:

I just happened across this in Messiah, Chani speaking to Irulan in council:
"Denying them their melange would solve nothing," Chani said. "So the Guild's navigators would lose their ability to see into timespace. Your Sisters of the Bene Gesserit would lose their truthsense. Some people might die before their time. Communication would break down. Who could be blamed?"

But it just shows, again, that truthsense is something that comes along with RM-hood, no?


Haven't we had this discussion before? :wink:

Some people have natural truthsense, just like prescience. But like I said, once they use they spice, the other poison's no longer work.

In the context of the truthsayer drug, Mohiam said that's what the KH had to take, right?
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 18 Dec 2010 00:40

Freak wrote:In the context of the truthsayer drug, Mohiam said that's what the KH had to take, right?

Dead on,"Many men have tried the drug... so many, but none has succeded." Right at the end of ch. one.

Chigger wrote:"Truthsayer drug" appears only twice, in Dune, btw. ("Truthsayer" alone occurs about 70 times.)

Sooo, the drug falls out of vogue when WoL come on the scene?
It really seems that Mohiam uses Truthsayer as if it's synonymous with Reverend Mother, why?

edit; capitolized the M in Rev. Mother.
Last edited by D Pope on 20 Dec 2010 12:52, edited 2 times in total.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Shaitan » 18 Dec 2010 04:15

I always thought that it was very widely associated that RM = Truthsayer....not every RM is advanced, powerful, or accurate/consistent enough to actually wear the title of Truthsayer among the BG, but almost all of them seem to have some degree of Truthsense IIRC.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 19 Dec 2010 07:16

Come on now, do you REALLY think a RM needs a drug trance to tell when someone's lying? A RM can smell a lie like a fart in church. Jessica could tell someone was lying before taking the WoL, so could Paul. When Mohiam first talks about the Truthsayer drug, she says it opens avenues to the past, not that it illuminates truth or falsness.

Think about it, having memories of every lie your ancestors ever told and that were told to them...
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 20 Dec 2010 12:50

Freak wrote:Come on now, do you REALLY think a RM needs a drug trance to tell when someone's lying?

No, but that is implied by the definition of truthtrance in Terminology of the Imperium. That's one of the reasons i'm asking these questions.
Freak wrote:When Mohiam first talks about the Truthsayer drug, she says it opens avenues to the past, not that it illuminates truth or falsness.

Exactly, furthermore, there are references later in the story like 'truthsense is more about honesty with ones self.'
(than magically hearing truth or detecting tells/mannerisms)

I do find it curious that there's so much emphasis on 'truth' at the end of this chapter and why she isn't more interested in Pauls display of truthsense if, at this point, ALL 'sayers are women.

I wrote:It really seems that Mohiam uses Truthsayer as if it's synonymous with Reverend Mother, why?
I wonder if it's a throwback to the serial that preceeded Dune, or if Mohiam is using words that Paul can understand.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Dec 2010 14:07

D Pope wrote:
Freak wrote:Come on now, do you REALLY think a RM needs a drug trance to tell when someone's lying?

No, but that is implied by the definition of truthtrance in Terminology of the Imperium. That's one of the reasons i'm asking these questions.
Freak wrote:When Mohiam first talks about the Truthsayer drug, she says it opens avenues to the past, not that it illuminates truth or falsness.

Exactly, furthermore, there are references later in the story like 'truthsense is more about honesty with ones self.'
(than magically hearing truth or detecting tells/mannerisms)

I do find it curious that there's so much emphasis on 'truth' at the end of this chapter and why she isn't more interested in Pauls display of truthsense if, at this point, ALL 'sayers are women.


Just the one we've seen, Mohiam.

I wrote:It really seems that Mohiam uses Truthsayer as if it's synonymous with Reverend Mother, why?
I wonder if it's a throwback to the serial that preceeded Dune, or if Mohiam is using words that Paul can understand.


I think she's talking down to Paul, not sure how much he understands.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 20 Dec 2010 15:39

I think the whole truth trance and truth drug thing was maybe something FH would have edited out if he'd done revisions years later, might have been one of those half-developed ideas that just didn't pan out, but the thing was already published so he just contented himself with pretty much never mentioning it again.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 20 Dec 2010 16:14

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
in the glossary, Frank wrote:
Freak wrote:Just the one we've seen, Mohiam.

TRUTHSAYER: a Reverend Mother qualified to enter truthtrance and detect insincerity or falsehood.

I think the whole truth trance and truth drug thing was maybe something FH would have edited out if he'd done revisions years later, might have been one of those half-developed ideas that just didn't pan out, but the thing was already published so he just contented himself with pretty much never mentioning it again.

I like the idea that she was "talking down to Paul," better, but I can't help wondering if if Thing's got something there. I'm also ok with the idea that male Truthsayers 'evolve' later in the series.
I guess the reason i'm still following this line is that in the beginning of Dune, it's the drug. We're turned on to the WoL later & (seemingly) suddenly it's the poison of choice. (or other spice based poisons) Dune says there are several "awareness specrtum narcotics" but they all disappear later in the saga.
I figure at the time of Dune there exists in the BG, divisions marked by the drug they used to become RMs/Truthsayers. This group's on the drug, that one's on 'un-named agony juice #1,' why do the several get phased out? Why's there no resurgence of the several during Letos reign? By Chapterhouse, all RMs have the Siona gene- constantly afraid of the wild card the spice might play- it would make sense for the BG to diversify their addictions at the very least. There's an answer here I can't see.
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Dec 2010 16:20

Once you use the spice the others no longer work. I assume children born to RMs would be melange-babies, born addicted, so the other narcotics wouldn't work for them either.

I think FH used Truthsayers to introduce us to RMs slowly. In the first chapter we don't know WTF powers a RM has but you can figure out what a Truthsayer is just by the name.

In the context of talking to Paul, Truthsayers are common knowledge but the BG and how they become RM is and always will be a secret that only the reader is let in on.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby D Pope » 20 Dec 2010 16:27

Wow!
Well Done Freak!

Spice addicted babies doesn't work 100% for me but does make it easier to go with. Has that ever been explored here before?

edit; Jessicas mother was BG, right?
Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby SandChigger » 20 Dec 2010 17:40

Yeah... spice-addicted babies might be a bit problematic, no?

(C/Wouldn't you assume the RM w/could keep the drugs from crossing the mother-child blood barrier? ;) )

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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Dec 2010 19:24

D Pope wrote:Wow!
Well Done Freak!

Spice addicted babies doesn't work 100% for me but does make it easier to go with. Has that ever been explored here before?


I may have mentioned the idea before but I don't think it's been thoroughly discussed.

edit; Jessicas mother was BG, right?


I assume so, being so prominent in the breeding program but we're never told.

SandChigger wrote:Yeah... spice-addicted babies might be a bit problematic, no?

(C/Wouldn't you assume the RM w/could keep the drugs from crossing the mother-child blood barrier? ;) )


If that were the case abomination could be prevented, too.

Did Murbella have any children after her Agony? Maybe BG got all their breeding out of the way before becoming RMs?
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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby SandChigger » 20 Dec 2010 21:25

Freakzilla wrote:Maybe BG got all their breeding out of the way before becoming RMs?

That thought had occurred to me as well, but I can't think of any quotes proving it one way or the other... :think:

As for the Abomination aspect, considering the only cases we have information on, Jessica wasn't yet a Reverend Mother and (I assume) therefore not in full control of that sort of stuff when she and Alia got dosed. And Chani was never a RM and so also had no control over it.

I guess it kinda boils down to what abilities the non- or not-yet-RM Bene Gesserit had from their training. Jessica could obviously control the sex of her offspring before becoming a RM...

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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 21 Dec 2010 00:16

Freakzilla wrote:
D Pope wrote:edit; Jessicas mother was BG, right?


I assume so, being so prominent in the breeding program but we're never told.



I don't have online text here with me, but I remember Jessica, in a stressed out state, identifying the wailing in her mind as that of herself as a baby -when the 'unknown Bene Gesserit' who had been ordered to bear her had left her.

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Re: The Spice, I'd like to know...

Postby Aquila ka-Hecate » 21 Dec 2010 00:19

..who we know was Tandidia Nerus, not RM Mohiam.


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