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distrans
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technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 30 Jan 2018 01:14

ive noticed two

the first relates to the god emperor restricting the population of his empire to traveling by foot. this can only approach the plausible if both A. the empire was extremely feudal and B. there existed some friction defying technological advancement on the few mechanist worlds which allowed them to produce all the bobbles the rest of the empires several millions planets overseers would require to maintain their positions


the second is food production on arrakis
where the fremens food came from was never broached

the subsistence of the fremen population around each sitch would have demanded hundreds of arces of cultivated farmlands to allow even a subsistence existence. such would be ridiculous in the world frank wrote so I guess the fremen were paying the guild to secret the amount of food they were importing from offworld

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 30 Jan 2018 06:50

distrans wrote:ive noticed two

the first relates to the god emperor restricting the population of his empire to traveling by foot. this can only approach the plausible if both A. the empire was extremely feudal and B. there existed some friction defying technological advancement on the few mechanist worlds which allowed them to produce all the bobbles the rest of the empires several millions planets overseers would require to maintain their positions


They also used 'thopters.


the second is food production on arrakis
where the fremens food came from was never broached

the subsistence of the fremen population around each sitch would have demanded hundreds of arces of cultivated farmlands to allow even a subsistence existence. such would be ridiculous in the world frank wrote so I guess the fremen were paying the guild to secret the amount of food they were importing from offworld


Where did the Fremen get their food before Leto? I don't think that was ever fully explained.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 01 Feb 2018 21:33

the discovery of the spice is a giant black hole

the only thing that would have afforded arrakis to be colonized was spice mining. those colonists transformation into the fremen would be a good read...

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 02 Feb 2018 11:46

Freakzilla wrote:Where did the Fremen get their food before Leto? I don't think that was ever fully explained.


The only thing that's made pretty clear is that the Fremen were a deceptively high-tech people, with surprisingly advanced techniques in certain key areas. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that they had advanced agricultural methods that used minimal water, which could then be reclaimed afterwards. The way we think of as 'farming by the hectare' would surely be replaced with something superior by then. Even now we're developing methods of indoor farming in a factory setting using far less water than is used in outdoor farming.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 02 Feb 2018 12:03

distrans wrote:the discovery of the spice is a giant black hole

the only thing that would have afforded arrakis to be colonized was spice mining. those colonists transformation into the fremen would be a good read...


I imagine they were brought as slaves to mine the spice, some escaping into the desert and learning to survive...
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 02 Feb 2018 13:20

Freakzilla wrote:I imagine they were brought as slaves to mine the spice, some escaping into the desert and learning to survive...


Or what if the latest stage in the Zensunni wandering led them to occupy an otherwise barren world in order to escape persecution, and it was only by chance that, while living there, they chanced upon the spice? Once it was discovered by them we could imagine the obvious situation of a people that discovered a thing then being exploited to harvest it. When comparing the spice to something like peyote (with which, iirc FH had some experience) it might be supposed that the use of it for local, often religious reasons, would have preceded its sale on the open market. From the tone in Dune I almost do get the sense that the Fremen spice orgy made pre-date its broader use by the empire. It seems quite possible that the orgy pre-dates the Bene Gesserit influence on their religion, since as of when we see them their beliefs are a kind of blend of BG indoctrination and ancient superstition. And if their rituals pre-date the BG finding them then it seems likely it also pre-dates the empire knowing of the spice. Just my imaginings, I'm not sure if the text supports this at all.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 02 Feb 2018 15:41

ive read figures well upward of 6 digits to describe the amount of water that goes into your average happy meal
you have to turn on the shower and walk away for several months to equal that

humans determined spices value long before the development of navigators and the spacing guilds entrance into the interplanetary spacing arena

I wonder how far far from earth arrakis was or more so id like to see a map over time showing the expansion of humanity pre and post the guild introducing navigators to the spaceflight market

id like to see a graph of spices value change after the guild spent how many thousand years developing navigators?

how old are navigators anyway? did it take thousands of years to develop the first from scratch or did it take those years to figure out the correct process?

i dont see wanders establishing themselves on arrakis unless the spices existance and value was known or they broke down and got stuck

and i dont care how efficent youve gotten at using water on your crops you need several acres per person to feed a civilization. seem rediculous to think they did that underground which leaves us to rationally presume the fremen from their inception had a gigantic smuggling enterprize to manage in order to stay feed

wonder where the label on their coffee said it came from?

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 02 Feb 2018 22:42

This should all be several topics. As for the distance from earth, we know which star Arrakis orbits. Canopus

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 03 Feb 2018 01:26

that makes dune a nearby to earth

wonder why it was invested in

what the hell would make it interesting enough to land exploratory missions after orbital probes had shown it for the wasteland it was?

wonder if arrakis shared a star with other inhabital planets...

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Omphalos » 05 Feb 2018 10:52

I am not sure why this is such a mystery. Jessica's experience clearly shows that there were lush, indoor gardens on Arrakis. The Fremen had vast reserves of water. Pretty sure in one of FH's books someone was eating a small wrap of meat and vegetables, so there was livestock on the planet.

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 10 Feb 2018 05:59

Yeah, there's really no mystery here.

The Fremen origin is the same as the rest of the Arrakeen population; they're just the part that escaped from Imperial subjugation into the wilderness (Paul: "These city people have Fremen blood. It's just that they haven't yet learned how to escape their bondage."). They were taken in slave raids from Rossak and/or Harmonthep to Arrakis, where they already lived in bondage. This was probably part of an imperial settlement program (I'm reminded of the Russian Empire, commanding whole populations to resettle in regions it wanted to develop, like Siberia). Whether spice had been discovered yet, it's unlikely that its value was understood at this time. (Of course, one could imagine that e.g. the Guild had become aware of its potential and encouraged the Empire to create permanent settlements on the planet to allow its extraction.)

We know the main bases for food production on Arrakis. Duke Leto: "And the need to watch every drop of water puts all food production—yeast culture, hydroponics, chemavit, everything—under the strictest surveillance." Meat was available (served at the Atreides banquet, for example), but rare: The concern on Arrakis was not with water, but with moisture. Pets were almost unknown, stock animals rare.

We know the Fremen practiced food processing in the sietches. Thufir: "From food processing and other evidence, Idaho estimates the cave complex he visited consisted of some ten thousand people, all told. Their leader said he ruled a sietch of two thousand hearths." Harah: "Through there and beyond, that's food processing and stillsuit maintenance."

Of their industry in general, we know: The odor of the place assailed him: unwashed bodies, distillate esters of reclaimed wastes, everywhere the sour effluvia of humanity with, over it all, a turbulence of spice and spicelike harmonics. ... "How rich the odors of your sietch, Stilgar. I see you do much working with the spice . . . you make paper . . . plastics . . . and isn't that chemical explosives?" This tracks with an industrial food production. I therefore think we can assume that they similarly relied heavily on "yeast culture, hydroponics, chemavit" etc.

We do know that they also ate "regular" food, primarily vegetable-based: "Here's food." [Chani] pressed two leaf-wrapped morsels into his hand. Jessica drinks coffee in the sietch. And of Kynes' ecological program: "A certain amount of plant cover had to be set aside to hold dunes in place; a certain amount for foodstuffs (both human and animal)"

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 18 Feb 2018 23:07

lots of mention of consumption
and I'm glad to have read them all

but the industry they allude to still remains a significant mystery

if they were growing food underground it would mean the importation of equipment to light crops artificially and some means of generating the power needed to run them.

not to mention a geology which was entirely overlooked by the story. caves that extensive would change the dynamics of fremen culture in many ways that are not illistrated

cave farms otherwise
it means vast croplands that the worms couldnt access and that the guild was paid to keep hidden from satalites


thats another point
its one thing to depend on the guild for transportation between systems
the idea they controlled low planet orbital space doesnt jive with the great houses providing their own transportation to and from guild ships

oh and i keep forgetting to mention

duncan climbing that cliff wall

a climber could carry enough rope with him to reach the bottom of the cliff as described

the last time i watched the cavers in action it took 6 men to carry the length of rope it took to rappel down el capitan in yosemite
the cavers love coming to yosemite and showing off their ability to ascend and decend rope

even if duncan only carried a string long enough to reach the bottom the weight of a rope capable of being ascended would be far to much for him to have ever been able to haul up

that said

knowing this the story is palatable

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 19 Feb 2018 12:42

Still not sure why you're thinking the Fremen need sprawled-out acres of farmland. Even today we don't need that anymore, with the invention of warehouse-style farming without soil. Imagine in 20,000 years what people will be able to do.

About Duncan being able to hold that much rope...it's the future? I don't see this as being a story point that needs to be solved.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 19 Feb 2018 23:33

it was more a point that struck me given my background in climbing

as for farming I can assure you we need sprawl. indoor growing cannot come close to the production that is capable under natural sunlight. I forget that precise number but outdoors sunlight is something like 9000k per sq inch irregardless to the height of the plant. artificial lightings intensity decreases exponentially as distance from the bulb increases. there are many ways of stacking growth closer to the bulb in order to take best advantage of it and thus minimizing the square footage needed to produce but none of these techniques come anywhere close to halfing the acreage it takes to feed a population

speaking of

I don't recall any mention of what the fremen intended to do once they had established a verdant planet

surely not launch a jihad

given how many planets made up the imperium at the time there just wernt enough fremen to accomplish a jihad without offworld conscripts providing 99% of the soldiers it would take

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 20 Feb 2018 11:30

distrans wrote:I don't recall any mention of what the fremen intended to do once they had established a verdant planet

surely not launch a jihad


Pardot Kynes managed to tap into a reservoir of Fremen excitement in order to progress his ecological plan, and the gist I get is that it was more his project than theirs. They didn't have any real plans but were content to channel their wild energies into following that path. But the jihad wasn't any question of a plan but was rather the inevitable explosion of not only their bottled up energies but those of countless planets, as Mohiam explains in chapter 1.

given how many planets made up the imperium at the time there just wernt enough fremen to accomplish a jihad without offworld conscripts providing 99% of the soldiers it would take


The Fremen led the jihad, but the genetic explosion was going to emerge from all over. The BG had primed countless worlds for it so that when it happened the BG could guide it to suit their purposes.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 20 Feb 2018 14:30

distrans wrote:but the industry they allude to still remains a significant mystery

if they were growing food underground it would mean the importation of equipment to light crops artificially and some means of generating the power needed to run them.

For hydroponics, sure. We don't know exactly how futuristic yeast culture or chemavit works, though certainly some way to feed energy into the system is required. This... doesn't seem like a problem? We know the Fremen had artificial lighting, and there's plenty of energy on Arrakis for power generation. The fact that the Fremen are technologically sophisticated with advanced industry is a major plot point.

not to mention a geology which was entirely overlooked by the story. caves that extensive would change the dynamics of fremen culture in many ways that are not illistrated

The book is full of references to vast Fremen cave complexes and the importance of this to Fremen culture, though:

"Idaho estimates the cave complex he visited consisted of some ten thousand people, all told."

SIETCH: Fremen: "Place of assembly in time of danger." Because the Fremen lived so long in peril, the term came by general usage to designate any cave warren inhabited by one of their tribal communities.

[Jessica] thought of calling for coffee and with the thought came that everpresent awareness of paradox in the Fremen way of life: how well they lived in these sietch caverns compared to the graben pyons; yet, how much more they endured in the open hajr of the desert than anything the Harkonnen bondsmen endured.

And while some of the caves were natural, we also know that the Fremen extended them using cutterays and other tools.

it means vast croplands that the worms couldnt access and that the guild was paid to keep hidden from satalites

In the timeframe of the book, that is of course exactly where things stand.

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 21 Feb 2018 14:23

there is no mention of caves providing strategically importance outside them being shelters

it takes dozens of times more space to feed a person than to simply provide him shelter.

it takes alot of money to move to a planet surface from orbit
as the cost of the harkonnens invasion was impressed upon us

the idea that dune was colonized before the value of spice was realized is begs at the question of what would have been the point...

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 22 Feb 2018 08:49

We know they manufactured stilsuits, rugs, conducted school, so their caves were obviously more than just shelter.

I agree that the point of colonizing Arrakis was surely to harvest spice.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Omphalos » 22 Feb 2018 12:16

Freakzilla wrote:We know they manufactured stilsuits, rugs, conducted school, so their caves were obviously more than just shelter.

I agree that the point of colonizing Arrakis was surely to harvest spice.


Wasn't it just a waypoint on the Zensunni wandering at first?

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 22 Feb 2018 12:45

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:We know they manufactured stilsuits, rugs, conducted school, so their caves were obviously more than just shelter.

I agree that the point of colonizing Arrakis was surely to harvest spice.


Wasn't it just a waypoint on the Zensunni wandering at first?


Jessica recalls their migration when she shares Ramollo's memories after changing the Water of Life...

Jessica recoiled, fearing she would become lost in an ocean of oneness.
Still, the corridor remained, revealing to Jessica that the Fremen culture was
far older than she had suspected.
There had been Fremen on Poritrin, she saw, a people grown soft with an easy
planet, fair game for Imperial raiders to harvest and plant human colonies on
Bela Tegeuse and Salusa Secundus.
Oh, the wailing Jessica sensed in that parting.
Far down the corridor, an image-voice screamed: "They denied us the Hajj!"
Jessica saw the slave cribs on Bela Tegeuse down that inner corridor, saw
the weeding out and the selecting that spread men to Rossak and Harmonthep.
Scenes of brutal ferocity opened to her like the petals of a terrible flower.
And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina--first
by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own
Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak . . . and now
developed to subtle strengthen Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.
Far down the inner corridor, another voice screamed: "Never to forgive!
Never to forget!"


She doesn't say it, but the Fremen had a history of being transplanted as slaves for colonization. I imagine that's how they got to Arrakis too.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 22 Feb 2018 14:09

Freakzilla wrote:She doesn't say it, but the Fremen had a history of being transplanted as slaves for colonization. I imagine that's how they got to Arrakis too.


That's a reasonable interpretation of that passage, although I'm not sure how it squares with the term "Zensunni wanderers." That's not really a word you'd use for forced slave migrations. And since Poritrin is supposedly the first Fremen planet "wanderer" presumably wouldn't apply to the time prior to their enslavement. I guess I always had a head canon that some Fremen in the universe were carted from planet to planet as slaves, while others roamed freely like nomads to avoid being pinned down and enslaved, maybe a macro version of walking without pattern to avoid detection (and a precursor to the Siona gene in avoiding being enslaved). The Fremen ways on Arrakis feel to me like the result of a long tradition of survival methods and self-governance. They are very disciplined as a people and don't at all feel to me like newly escaped or freed men. Maybe it's getting a bit into the fanfic weeds at this point, but couldn't it be the case that at one point in history some slaves did escape and began their own wanderings, and the Fremen became divided between those still enslaved and those that were free? The free ones would still have genetic lineage to the slaves of the various planets even though a completely separate strain of slave Fremen might still exist elsewhere. I mean, the Fremen on Dune aren't slaves at all. It's not like the Fremen in general are slaves and the desert Fremen are just some escaped slaves. It seems to me that even the city people on Arrakis are willing workers and aren't owned by the Baron as literal slaves. So if the Fremen were brought to Arrakis as slaves just like the previous worlds, then where are those enslaved Fremen? Maybe we can just suppose they exist but we don't hear about them, but they seem not to be in evidence in the text, which I guess is why I always assumed that all of the Fremen on Arrakis are free men. And if we assume they're free men, did they free themselves on Arrakis (like the hacks wrote in their prequel) or was it earlier? If earlier it could mean the Fremen came to Arrakis of their own volition. If on Arrakis, then I wonder how they managed to survive in the desert when presumably running away from their enslavers.

Incidentally, I'd like to just mention that the tone of this passage seems to me to reinforce the notion that the spice is a recent discovery, because of this:

And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina--first
by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own
Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak . . . and now
developed to subtle strengthen Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.


It really makes the discovery of the water of life sound like something contemporary that has finally replaced the Rossak drug. If all of this had happened 10,000 years prior and was ancient history you'd think the phrasing would have been more like "and then developed to subtle..."

I'm still content to stick with our general consensus as of when we last discussed this, which was that Frank had originally intended it to be maybe a century-old discovery but later changed his mind and preferred not to mention the timeframe of its discovery, but failed to update certain parts of the text to obscure any sense of the timeline there. A few remnants definitely remain of a backstory where it's a recent discovery, including (IMO) this passage.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby distrans » 22 Feb 2018 14:18

slavery is predicate on a significant workload that doesn't require the worker to be skilled

nothing about spice harvesting lend itself to be increased in profits by the practice

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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Serkanner » 23 Feb 2018 10:19

distrans wrote:slavery is predicate on a significant workload that doesn't require the worker to be skilled



Utter bollocks. For instance, many slaves in ancient Rome were highly skilled specialists.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby georgiedenbro » 23 Feb 2018 11:03

Serkanner wrote:
distrans wrote:slavery is predicate on a significant workload that doesn't require the worker to be skilled



Utter bollocks. For instance, many slaves in ancient Rome were highly skilled specialists.


It was generally true for slavery in America, but as you say certainly not a rule that applies throughout history.
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Re: technological absurdities

Postby Freakzilla » 23 Feb 2018 11:11

georgiedenbro wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:She doesn't say it, but the Fremen had a history of being transplanted as slaves for colonization. I imagine that's how they got to Arrakis too.


That's a reasonable interpretation of that passage, although I'm not sure how it squares with the term "Zensunni wanderers." That's not really a word you'd use for forced slave migrations. And since Poritrin is supposedly the first Fremen planet "wanderer" presumably wouldn't apply to the time prior to their enslavement. I guess I always had a head canon that some Fremen in the universe were carted from planet to planet as slaves, while others roamed freely like nomads to avoid being pinned down and enslaved, maybe a macro version of walking without pattern to avoid detection (and a precursor to the Siona gene in avoiding being enslaved). The Fremen ways on Arrakis feel to me like the result of a long tradition of survival methods and self-governance. They are very disciplined as a people and don't at all feel to me like newly escaped or freed men. Maybe it's getting a bit into the fanfic weeds at this point, but couldn't it be the case that at one point in history some slaves did escape and began their own wanderings, and the Fremen became divided between those still enslaved and those that were free? The free ones would still have genetic lineage to the slaves of the various planets even though a completely separate strain of slave Fremen might still exist elsewhere. I mean, the Fremen on Dune aren't slaves at all. It's not like the Fremen in general are slaves and the desert Fremen are just some escaped slaves. It seems to me that even the city people on Arrakis are willing workers and aren't owned by the Baron as literal slaves. So if the Fremen were brought to Arrakis as slaves just like the previous worlds, then where are those enslaved Fremen? Maybe we can just suppose they exist but we don't hear about them, but they seem not to be in evidence in the text, which I guess is why I always assumed that all of the Fremen on Arrakis are free men. And if we assume they're free men, did they free themselves on Arrakis (like the hacks wrote in their prequel) or was it earlier? If earlier it could mean the Fremen came to Arrakis of their own volition. If on Arrakis, then I wonder how they managed to survive in the desert when presumably running away from their enslavers.

Incidentally, I'd like to just mention that the tone of this passage seems to me to reinforce the notion that the spice is a recent discovery, because of this:

And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina--first
by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own
Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak . . . and now
developed to subtle strengthen Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.


It really makes the discovery of the water of life sound like something contemporary that has finally replaced the Rossak drug. If all of this had happened 10,000 years prior and was ancient history you'd think the phrasing would have been more like "and then developed to subtle..."

I'm still content to stick with our general consensus as of when we last discussed this, which was that Frank had originally intended it to be maybe a century-old discovery but later changed his mind and preferred not to mention the timeframe of its discovery, but failed to update certain parts of the text to obscure any sense of the timeline there. A few remnants definitely remain of a backstory where it's a recent discovery, including (IMO) this passage.


I imagine that they were captured as slaves and deposited on Arrakis as a work force. Once there, they were essentially free, but without means or opportunity to leave. They either worked enough to buy water or went into the desert to be "wild".
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