The God Emperor and the Sandworms Cycle

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The God Emperor and the Sandworms Cycle

Postby sparafucile » 28 Jul 2008 14:28

Late last Saturday, I chatted with my friend about Dune whilst showing him the various Dune forums and arguments out there. He has some interesting insights, and I'm hoping to get him on one of these forums so he can debate with you guys :P But anyways, I eventually got the the topic of spice cycle, and I was telling him how the new authors got it wrong. Then he asked me to explain what the spice cycle was, since he was not too familiar with it having only read the book once. I got to the sandtrout blocking off the water before stopping and realizing: "I still don't know the specifics!"

So last night, whilst scrambling for something to read on the can, I grabbed my Dune book and started reading through Appendix A to try to enlighten myself. I didn't get my answer (didn't get very far, was very late) but I did get to a point where Pardot Kynes explained the early early stage of the sandworms, the sandtrout. I don't have the exact quote handy, but he said that the sandtrout eventually enter a dormant stage, and they remain that way for many years until they emerge as little makers. I think it said 3 or 4 years. I suspect I misread that though, judging on the the length of a sandworm's lifespan.

I intend to read the rest of the appendix at some point in the next few days, but here's an interesting thought that struck me while reading that part about sandtrout: Do you think Leto II would have entered a similar 'cocoon' stage early on in his rule? I think it would stand to reason that he would. He took on a near identical worm shape 3500 years after he took the sandtrout skin, so he must have gone through many if not all of the stages of Sandworm metamorphisis.

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Re: The God Emperor and the Sandworms Cycle

Postby Freakzilla » 28 Jul 2008 15:00

sparafucile wrote:I intend to read the rest of the appendix at some point in the next few days, but here's an interesting thought that struck me while reading that part about sandtrout: Do you think Leto II would have entered a similar 'cocoon' stage early on in his rule? I think it would stand to reason that he would. He took on a near identical worm shape 3500 years after he took the sandtrout skin, so he must have gone through many if not all of the stages of Sandworm metamorphisis.


Leto was always in the "sandtrout stage". If he hadn't divided, "The Worm" would have eventually taken over control of his body and the transformation would be complete. You might consider his skin to be semi-dormant. But he never actually became a proper worm(-human hybrid), he was just covered with fused sndtrout in the shape of a worm.
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Postby Phaedrus » 28 Jul 2008 15:38

"There is another change in me that you should know about," Leto said. "I am not yet sandworm, not fully. Think of me as something closer to a colony creature with sensory alterations."


Leto was beginning to become a sandworm at the time of his death. The scene in the desert where he's hurt by the rain describes it pretty well, I think.

As the first drenching swept in from behind the sandtrout overlappings, he stiffened and curled into a ball of agony. Separate drives of sandtrout and sandworm produced a new meaning for the word pain. He felt that he was being ripped apart. Sandtrout wanted to rush to the water and encapsulate it. Sandworm felt the drenching wash of death. Curls of blue smoke 'spurted from every place the rain touched him. The inner workings of his body began to manufacture the true spice-essence. Blue smoke lifted around him from where he lay in puddles of water. He writhed and groaned.


This is also interesting, and may help answer the question:
I am beginning to hate water. The sandtrout skin which impels my metamorphosis has learned the sensitivities of the worm. Moneo and many of my guards know my aversion, Only Moneo suspects the truth, that this marks an important waypoint. I can feel my ending in it, not soon as Moneo measures time, but soon enough as I endure it. Sandtrout swarmed to water in the Dune days, a problem during the early stages of our symbiosis. The enforcement of my will power controlled the urge then, and until we reached a time of balance. Now, I must avoid water because there are no other sandtrout, only the half dormant creatures of my skin. Without sandtrout to bring this world back to desert, Shai-Hulud will not emerge; the sandworm cannot evolve until the land is parched. I am their only hope.

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Postby Tleilax Master B » 29 Jul 2008 13:20

I was always under the impression that Leto himself has halted the metamorphosis right at that point in which the sandtrout can still unfuse and become a mass of individual sandtrout to restart the cycle. Going beyond that would risk the sandtrout potentially being destroyed in their entirety, forever. It would appear that as the sandtrout enter the "dormant" stage they can still seperate and go back to individual critters. But once they reach the end of the cycle, there may be no turning back. Leto has presumably stopped the process at exactly that stage IMHO.
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Postby Freakzilla » 29 Jul 2008 13:40

I am the most ardent people-watcher who ever lived. I watch them inside me and
outside. Past and present can mingle with odd impositions in me. And as the
metamorphosis continues
in my flesh wonderful things happen to my senses.

...

I am beginning to hate water. The sandtrout skin which impels my metamorphosis
has learned the sensitivities of the worm. Moneo and many of my guards know my
aversion, Only Moneo suspects the truth, that this marks an important waypoint.
I can feel my ending in it, not soon as Moneo measures time, but soon enough as
I endure it. Sandtrout swarmed to water in the Dune days, a problem during the
early stages of our symbiosis. The enforcement of my will power controlled the
urge then, and until we reached a time of balance. Now, I must avoid water
because there are no other sandtrout, only the half dormant creatures of my
skin. Without sandtrout to bring this world back to desert, Shai-Hulud will not
emerge; the sandworm cannot evolve until the land is parched. I am their only
hope.

...

Leto was glad of the pause. Friction had set up a worm dominance, the air around
him full of the chemical exhalations from his temperature adjustments. The thing
he thought of as his oxygen supercharger vented steadily, making him intensely
aware of the protein factories and amino acid resources his worm-self had
acquired to accommodate the placental relationship with his human cells. Desert
quickened the movement toward his final metamorphosis
.


As far as I can tell the metamorphasis proceeded continuously, yet possibly at different rates.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 29 Jul 2008 13:46

Hmmmm, good points. He definately hasn't "stopped" the process, perhaps just slowed it down at times.
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Postby Worm » 31 Jul 2008 13:52

So there are two versions of sandtrout to worm cycles?

If Kynes said that a sandtrout would go dormante until changing into a little maker- meaning one small worm. Then how can Leto be composed of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of sandtrout?

Maybe all small worms grow a skin that forms hard plates on the outside and sandtrout under the surface. Is this where more sandtrout come from? Dunewiki is no help and doesn't even mention little makers.

http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Sandtrout
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Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2008 13:56

I don't see where you're confused.

The sandtrout on Leto would eventually have turned into a worm and he would have lost control.

Eventually that worm would die and desintigrate into sandtrout but if they weren't near water and spice they would eventually die.
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Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2008 14:15

Baraka Bryan wrote:i think the confusion came in where it appears one sandtrout can turn into a little maker and it took multiple sandtrout to make Leto transform. Maybe little makers are just that: single transformed sandtrout and larger worms can be created by combined sandtrout....


I believe that normally, one sandtrout would form one little maker. However, in Leto's case, the sandtrout merged into one, continuous membrane. Somehow they they retained some of their individuality though and seperated when he was immersed.

For reference:

Leto groped on the sand with his right hand until his fingers encountered
the leathery skin of a sandtrout. It was the large one he had expected. The
creature didn't try to evade him, but moved eagerly onto his flesh. He explored
its outline with his free hand -- roughly diamond-shaped. It had no head, no
extremities, no eyes, yet it could find water unerringly. With its fellows it
could join body to body, locking one on another by the coarse interlacings of
extruded cilia until the whole became one large sack-organism enclosing the
water, walling off the "poison" from the giant which the sandtrout would become:
Shai-Hulud.
The sandtrout squirmed on his hand, elongating, stretching. As it moved, he
felt a counterpart elongating and stretching of the vision he had chosen. This
thread, not that one. He felt the sandtrout becoming thin, covering more and
more of his hand. No sandtrout had ever before encountered a hand such as this
one, every cell supersaturated with spice. No other human had ever before lived
and reasoned in such a condition. Delicately Leto adjusted his enzyme balance,
drawing on the illuminated sureness he'd gained in spice trance. The knowledge
from those uncounted lifetimes which blended themselves within him provided the
certainty through which he chose the precise adjustments, slaving off the death
from an overdose which would engulf him if he relaxed his watchfulness for only
a heartbeat. And at the same time he blended himself with the sandtrout, feeding
on it, feeding it, learning it. His trance vision provided the template and he
followed it precisely.
Leto felt the sandtrout grow thin, spreading itself over more and more of
his hand, reaching up his arm. He located another, placed it over the first one.
Contact ignited a frenzied squirming in the creatures. Their cilia locked and
they became a single membrane which enclosed him to the elbow. The sandtrout
adjusted to the living glove of childhood play, but thinner and more sensitive
as he lured it into the role of a skin symbiote. He reached down with the living
glove, felt sand, each grain distinct to his senses. This was no longer
sandtrout; it was tougher, stronger. And it would grow stronger and stronger . .
. His groping hand encountered another sandtrout which whipped itself into union
with the first two and adapted itself to the new role. Leathery softness
insinuated itself up his arm to his shoulder.
With a terrible singleness of concentration he achieved the union of his new
skin with his body, preventing rejection. No corner of his attention was left to
dwell upon the terrifying consequences of what he did here. Only the necessities
of his trance vision mattered. Only the Golden Path could come from this ordeal.
Leto shed his robe and lay naked upon the sand, his gloved arm outstretched
into the path of migrating sandtrout. He remembered that once he and Ghanima had
caught a sandtrout, abraded it against the sand until it contracted into the
child-worm, a stiff tube, its interior pregnant with the green syrup. One bit
gently upon the end and sucked swiftly before the wound was healed, gaining the
few drops of sweetness.
They were all over his body now. He could feel the pulse of his blood
against the living membrane. One tried to cover his face, but he moved it
roughly until it elongated into a thin roll. The thing grew much longer than the
child-worm, remaining flexible. Leto bit the end of it, tasted a thin stream of
sweetness which continued far longer than any Fremen had ever before
experienced. He could feel energy from the sweetness flow through him. A curious
excitement suffused his body. He was kept busy for a time rolling the membrane
away from his face until he'd built up a stiff ridge circling from jaw to
forehead and leaving his ears exposed.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 31 Jul 2008 14:17

Baraka Bryan wrote:i think the confusion came in where it appears one sandtrout can turn into a little maker and it took multiple sandtrout to make Leto transform. Maybe little makers are just that: single transformed sandtrout and larger worms can be created by combined sandtrout....


So there are two versions of sandtrout to worm cycles?

If Kynes said that a sandtrout would go dormante until changing into a little maker- meaning one small worm. Then how can Leto be composed of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of sandtrout?

Maybe all small worms grow a skin that forms hard plates on the outside and sandtrout under the surface. Is this where more sandtrout come from? Dunewiki is no help and doesn't even mention little makers.


Little maker just refers to sandtrout, it does not refer to a small or stunted worm (IIRC).

I think that LetoII is a bit of a special case. Normally one sandtrout = one worm. However, the many sandtrout comprising Leto's skin were linked through him and because of him - and because of this did not go through the normal processes. They did not create a pre-spice mass out of his water, they did not enter into the dormant "cocoon" phase and they did not ever have a chance to become individual worms.

Nothing about him or his change was normal, as such there are not two different versions of the cycle - Leto was outside that cycle.

EDIT:
Support for "little maker" referring only to sandtrout:
LITTLE MAKER: the half-plant-half-animal deep-sand vector of the Arrakis
sandworm. The Little Maker's excretions form the pre-spice mass.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 31 Jul 2008 16:51

Yes, Little Maker is another term for sandtrout. Normally, after the spice blow only a few sandtrout survive. Those enter the cyst state (IIRC) and develop into a worm (one trout=one worm). Presumably, the sandtrout are in the same state on Leto II they are when they encapsulate water and combine together. They have encapsulated Leto II IOW.
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Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2008 17:03

Tleilax Master B wrote:Yes, Little Maker is another term for sandtrout. Normally, after the spice blow only a few sandtrout survive. Those enter the cyst state (IIRC) and develop into a worm (one trout=one worm). Presumably, the sandtrout are in the same state on Leto II they are when they encapsulate water and combine together. They have encapsulated Leto II IOW.


Except their skin got tougher.
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Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 31 Jul 2008 19:23

One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...
The singular multiplicity of this universe draws my deepest attention. It is a thing of ultimate beauty.

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Postby inhuien » 01 Aug 2008 06:39

At the very end of GEoD FH wrote:A bursting flash of bubbles enclosed him in agony. Water, vicious currents of it, buffeted him all around. He felt the gnashing of rocks as he struggled upward to broach in a torrential cascade, his body flexing in a paroxysm of involuntary, writhing splashes. The canyon Wall, wet and black, sped past his frantic gaze. Shattered spangles of what had been his skin exploded away from him, a rain of silver all around him darting away into the river, a ring of dazzling movement, brittle sequins-the scale-glitter of sandtrout leaving him to begin their own colony lives.


Just another quote to support the many Sandtrout making up Leto II hide/skin assertion.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 01 Aug 2008 10:14

Freakzilla wrote:
Tleilax Master B wrote:Yes, Little Maker is another term for sandtrout. Normally, after the spice blow only a few sandtrout survive. Those enter the cyst state (IIRC) and develop into a worm (one trout=one worm). Presumably, the sandtrout are in the same state on Leto II they are when they encapsulate water and combine together. They have encapsulated Leto II IOW.


Except their skin got tougher.


Does it say anywhere that doesn't happen during the normal water encapsulating process? Just curious. I know it describes the sandtrout as "leathery":

The thought of that water beneath him was maddening. He imagined it now--
sealed off in strata of porous rock by the leathery half-plant, half-animal
little makers--and the thin rupture that was pouring a cool stream of clearest, pure, liquid, soothing water into . . .
A pre-spice mass!


There'd been open water on Arrakis -- once. He began reexamining the
evidence of the dry wells where trickles of water had appeared and vanished, never to return.
Kynes set his newly trained Fremen limnologists to work: their chief clue,
leathery scraps of matter sometimes found with the spice-mass after a blow.


Perhaps they become tougher and more calloused (for lack of a better term) over time with repeated exposure to abrasive sand.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 01 Aug 2008 10:17

Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...



This "water-stealer" died by the millions in each spice-blow. A five-degree
change in temperature could kill it. The few survivors entered a semidormant cyst-hibernation to emerge in six years as small (about three meters long) sandworms. Of these, only a few avoided their larger brothers and pre-spice water pockets to emerge into maturity as the giant shai-hulud. (Water is poisonous to shai-hulud as the Fremen had long known from drowning the rare "stunted worm" of the Minor Erg to produce the awareness-spectrum narcotic they call Water of Life. The "stunted worm" is a primitive form of shai-hulud that
reaches a length of only about nine meters.)
Now they had the circular relationship: little maker to pre-spice mass;
little maker to shai-hulud; shai-hulud to scatter the spice upon which fed
microscopic creatures called sand plankton; the sand plankton, food for shaihulud, growing, burrowing, becoming little makers.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Aug 2008 11:56

Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...


Now I'm not 100%, because that does ring a bell. I'll have to sift through and figure this out for myself.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 01 Aug 2008 12:37

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...


Now I'm not 100%, because that does ring a bell. I'll have to sift through and figure this out for myself.


"High voltage electrical shock applied separately to each ring segment is
the only known way of killing and preserving an entire worm," Kynes said.
"They can be stunned and shattered by explosives, but each ring segment has a life of its own.
Barring atomics, I know of no explosive powerful enough to destroy a large worm entirely. They're incredibly tough."
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Aug 2008 12:47

Tleilax Master B wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...


Now I'm not 100%, because that does ring a bell. I'll have to sift through and figure this out for myself.


"High voltage electrical shock applied separately to each ring segment is
the only known way of killing and preserving an entire worm," Kynes said.
"They can be stunned and shattered by explosives, but each ring segment has a life of its own.
Barring atomics, I know of no explosive powerful enough to destroy a large worm entirely. They're incredibly tough."


I don't think that quote really says anything as to whether the worm was formed of one or more sandtrout, just that each segment can live on it's own.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 01 Aug 2008 12:49

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Tleilax Master B wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...


Now I'm not 100%, because that does ring a bell. I'll have to sift through and figure this out for myself.


"High voltage electrical shock applied separately to each ring segment is
the only known way of killing and preserving an entire worm," Kynes said.
"They can be stunned and shattered by explosives, but each ring segment has a life of its own.
Barring atomics, I know of no explosive powerful enough to destroy a large worm entirely. They're incredibly tough."


I don't think that quote really says anything as to whether the worm was formed of one or more sandtrout, just that each segment can live on it's own.


Right, but its where Lisan got the "life of its own" business.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 01 Aug 2008 13:01

Tleilax Master B wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Tleilax Master B wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Lisan Al-Gaib wrote:One sandtrout = one worm??

Is it that really right?

I remember, in some part of the series, that says that a sandworm is conglomerate of sandtrouts, and that each segment has your own "life".

I always thought that the survivor's sandtrouts mixed themselfs to form the new little sandworm...


Now I'm not 100%, because that does ring a bell. I'll have to sift through and figure this out for myself.


Ah, sorry, missunderstood your post - quite right. I'm still going to have to dig into this, because I do half remember a passage about the surviving sandtrout binding together, going dormant and then... I draw a blank.

"High voltage electrical shock applied separately to each ring segment is
the only known way of killing and preserving an entire worm," Kynes said.
"They can be stunned and shattered by explosives, but each ring segment has a life of its own.
Barring atomics, I know of no explosive powerful enough to destroy a large worm entirely. They're incredibly tough."


I don't think that quote really says anything as to whether the worm was formed of one or more sandtrout, just that each segment can live on it's own.


Right, but its where Lisan got the "life of its own" business.
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Postby Crysknife » 03 Aug 2008 03:49

It doesn't ever say how the sandtrout hibernate, be it singly or in groups. But a worm has to be composed of many sandtrout(at least at an older age) because we see this in Heretics and God Emperor.
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Postby Omphalos » 03 Aug 2008 11:33

Crysknife wrote:It doesn't ever say how the sandtrout hibernate, be it singly or in groups. But a worm has to be composed of many sandtrout(at least at an older age) because we see this in Heretics and God Emperor.


Sandtrout hibernate? I don't recall that. Why? There are no weather changes on Arrakis.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 03 Aug 2008 13:13

Crysknife wrote:It doesn't ever say how the sandtrout hibernate, be it singly or in groups. But a worm has to be composed of many sandtrout(at least at an older age) because we see this in Heretics and God Emperor.

I don't think we do see anything that shows a worm being made of sandtrout. We see that when they die in water they disintegrate into many sandtrout - but that doesn't mean that they are composed of them. I have many sperm, but I was only made from one, and though I have millions inside me right now, I'm not composed of sperm.
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Postby Crysknife » 03 Aug 2008 14:54

The little maker referred to in Dune is actually the sandtrout. So yes, the surviving sandtrout after a spice blow hibernate for six years till they become a small worm. Perhaps hibernate wasn't the right word......Kynes calls it a "semidormant cyst-hibernation".

And AToE, that's why I put the "at least at an older age" in my comment. They may start from one sandtrout, but as they age they are composed of many. So are you saying that the worms convert their mass to sandtrout instantly when they hit water or spice laced water, yet they are not made of sandtrout?

Perhaps they pick up sandtrout from the sand as they age.

So now we have the cycle(emphasis mine):

Now they had the circular relationship: little maker(sandtrout) to pre-spice mass;
little maker(sandtrout) to shai-hulud; shai-hulud to scatter the spice upon which fed
microscopic creatures called sand plankton; the sand plankton, food for shaihulud,
growing, burrowing, becoming little makers.(sandtrout)
Last edited by Crysknife on 03 Aug 2008 15:03, edited 1 time in total.
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