"My multigalactic empire"

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Postby GamePlayer » 25 Nov 2008 00:21

Is there some passage I've missed or a piece of Herbert lore I'm not following? I'm not understanding this resistance to the idea of a multi-galactic empire when Frank stated as such.
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Postby SandRider » 25 Nov 2008 00:32

chigger'll be here in a minute to defend this, if he isn't doing it right now while I'm typing ...

I think his objection is based on the real science thing - vast distances versus the given timeline - the God-Emperor's statement may be seen as a throw-away, fodder for the inconsistency thread .....

that's my guess ...

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Postby Omphalos » 25 Nov 2008 00:34

GamePlayer wrote:Is there some passage I've missed or a piece of Herbert lore I'm not following? I'm not understanding this resistance to the idea of a multi-galactic empire when Frank stated as such.


Nobody is denying canon here. Were talking about when it went mulit-galactic, and the issue on the table is whether or not operators of fold-space ships could just jet out to Andromeda the second after they fired up the first engine, or if the target systems had to be visited and mapped first, for example.

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Postby GamePlayer » 25 Nov 2008 00:39

Well it's hard to tell, being so delightfully vague and sarcastic :)
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Postby Rakis » 25 Nov 2008 00:48

SandRider wrote:chigger'll be here in a minute to defend this, if he isn't doing it right now while I'm typing ...

I think his objection is based on the real science thing - vast distances versus the given timeline - the God-Emperor's statement may be seen as a throw-away, fodder for the inconsistency thread .....



I think there's also the notion that spice is barely available towards GEoD, limiting space travel to a minimum, so fuck off exploration...
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Postby SandChigger » 25 Nov 2008 01:53

Well, I was obtusely verbose and explicit earlier and managed to fook up and lose it all; it has yet to seem worth trying to recapture the scintillation of that effort. ;)

As much as possible, I like to approach the Duniverse as a reflection of the real world: there are limits, nothing is "infinite".

FH never told us how many worlds comprised the Old Empire/Imperium. (There were 13,000-some represented in the Landsraad soon after the Jihad; 15,000 years later the Honored Matres and people of the Scattering think of the Old Empire as "The Million Planets".) But for Leto II's explicit statement that his empire is multigalactic, there would be no real need to assume that any of it was located outside our galaxy. (All the major planets of the Imperium that FH specifically mentions the suns of are contained within a very small volume of space within the Orion Arm.)

Maybe it would have been easy for the Guild to determine the distance to some nearby galaxy and have a Navigator plot a course to get a ship there. But the Guild also must operate within limits: how many foldships does it have at any point in time, how many Navigators, and how much spice? And how much of those limited resources can it afford to devote to exploration, when even exploration might be expected to yield dividends?

Anyway, what I find more vexing than this at the moment is this silliness:

Simon (Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:03 am) wrote:
Moosaroo wrote:is there a difference between Navigators and Steersmen?

Navigators and Steersmen are the same physically. However Navigators are like plain old licensed pilots, (I.E: newbies and accomplished yet not distinguished pilots), while "Steersmen" denotes a level of pilot seniority and experience (I.E: distinguished service, flight time and on the job experience).
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Postby Lisan Al-Gaib » 25 Nov 2008 08:44

From Dune: House Atreides written by our lovely bestsellers writers Uncle Brian and Sister Kevin.

The Spacing Guild has worked for centuries to surround our elite Navigators with mystique. They are revered, from the lowest Pilot to the most talented Steersman. They live in tanks of spice gas, see all paths through space and time, guide ships to the far reaches of the Imperium. But no one knows the human cost of becoming a Navigator. We must keep this a secret, for if they really knew the truth, they would pity us.

-Spacing Guild Training Manual Handbook for Steersmen (Classified)


D'murr's smaller tank sat in front of them all, solitary at the center of the semicircle. Relatively new to his life as a Navigator, still a low-ranking Pilot, he retained much of his human shape inside the enclosed tank. The members of the tribunal -- Steersmen all, each inside his own tank -- showed only bloated heads and monstrously altered eyes peering out through the murk of cinnamon-orange.
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Postby SandChigger » 25 Nov 2008 09:15

Well of course.

Ignoring the source for the moment, I don't think even his interpretation is correct: Navigator is the all-encompassing term, with Pilot and Steersman being two ranks within it. :roll:
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Postby Omphalos » 25 Nov 2008 12:12

Like I said; who says that they needed steersmen to explore? Why not just put some schmuck into a hull with fold-space engines, point him into the aether, and see if he comes home?

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2008 12:51

Chig - I agree - just exploring the Milky Way is a huge undertaking, even if advance recon is done via Spectroscopy/telescopes. And as far as how many ships the guild actually had in service - probably not very many. Why would they create more ships (needing more navigators) when they were already constantly worried about their spice supply? While I had imagined a multi-galactic empire from the start of the story, you're right, there is n real proof of anything until Leto II makes the statement in question.

That said - the empire is definitely multi-galactic in his time. Whether people had finished exploring our galaxy is irrelevant, these are people - people like to accomplish crazy (and often useless) feats of exploration, like folding space across millions of LY at a time. Leto’s statement about multi-galactic empire is echoed in Heretics by Duncan (or Teg? my memory is off here), so I’d say it’s pretty conclusive.

To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable. Regardless of the time, building any spaceship is going to be a very expensive endeavor, let alone one with crazy assed wormhole engine! Just my opinion of course, but I think that this idea doesn't seem reasonable considering that, like Drunken Idaho said, advanced spectroscopy should do the trick for a lot less expenditure and very little risk. Why use the expensive and risky solution to a problem if there's a cheap and safe alternative? Of course that (likely) wouldn’t work for finding habitable planets in other galaxies from ours, but all it would take is to foldspace on ship over to whatever galaxy you want to colonize, dump a whole bunch of low paid saps in a smallish space station with a whole bunch of telescope gear (of course this plan could use some work, I did just come up with it though...) and just foldspace back and check on them/replace them every so often. Let them find the good systems the old fashioned way.
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Postby GamePlayer » 25 Nov 2008 13:16

We don't get to pick and choose canon, SC. Frank wrote multi-galactic, which means we're stuck with it. We fans must reconcile the facts to the fiction and don't get the luxury of choosing which to accept or discard. Doing so is the definition of KJA-thinking.

Having said that, I actually agree that given the lack of relevance for a multi-galactic empire in most of the Dune books (though I've not yet read all six, so speak with some uncertainty of scope) it doesn't make much sense to declare the Imperium as such. Perhaps if there was plot or action taking place between galaxies or a location beyond the Milky Way that was an essential setting in the narrative, a multi-galactic empire would make sense.

But then again, perhaps Leto's comment was uttered for the sole purpose of defining the empire as multi-galactic. From there we have to determine the inference of describing the empire in such as fashion. Perhaps he wanted to affirm the empire was once only in a single galaxy but was now multi-galactic, to throw into contrast the growth of the empire since he began it's rule? Or for another reason altogether?

Regardless, canon is unified...always. No exceptions. Not for you, not for me and not for KJA :)
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Postby GamePlayer » 25 Nov 2008 13:50

On the debate of exploration, who says that exploration of the known universe is necessitated as systemic?

As I sated earlier, the impressive capabilities of fold travel means the criteria for space exploration can be the most promising prospect, not limited by the nearest unexplored frontiers. Remember, the canvas in Dune is huge, much larger than those painted in most science fiction stories. The universe is the playground of Herbert's work, not just a single Galaxy. Yes, there are no doubt limitations to fold travel (energy, spice, cost, etc), but Frank has set his benchmark for interstellar travel far beyond the boundaries of most tales. "Known universe", not "Known Galaxy", Frank wrote. This isn't Star Wars or Star Trek, this is Dune, in which access to any part of the universe is possible.

I would agree that given likely limitations of time, energy and spice, it would make sense for there to be practical considerations to the process of fold travel. These practical limitations means that such long distance journeys are too prohibitive to be "routine". Prospecting could also be greatly limited by the observational technologies of the Dune universe; they don't have a cheat map of the universe and it would obviously be harder to determine prospects the further away they are. The supply line of spice and relative proximity to Arrakis would no doubt be another factor.

But again, ultimately all these considerations are secondary to the benchmark Herbert has set: no part of the universe, no matter how far, is inaccessible via fold travel.
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Postby SandChigger » 25 Nov 2008 16:05

GamePlayer wrote:We don't get to pick and choose canon, SC. Frank wrote multi-galactic, which means we're stuck with it.

Would you kindly get the point I'm making? I'm not saying multiple galaxies were never involved. I'm saying I see no reason to assume the Imperium at the time of Dune was multigalactic.

Leto says his empire was. I accept that and have no problem with it. Show me in CANON where Shaddam's empire is stated to be.
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Postby Omphalos » 25 Nov 2008 16:23

A Thing of Eternity wrote:To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable.


We are talking about the masters of business and transportation, in a feudal empire where the average human life means squat. The Guild is rolling in it. And I would imagine that thousands of failed efforts where they lose their ship would be worth finding one planet that could support life, based on transport charges alone that they would be able to reap, and notwithstanding development profits.

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Postby SandRider » 25 Nov 2008 16:24

let me throw something else in here, a general comment that applies to whole range of things.

I've never been big on the 'science' of science fiction, the way Chigger is, for example, in fact, I've never really been big on alot of science fiction literature. (Asimov as a kid growing up was important, and later on Clarke - but for the most part, Herbert's Dune is about all that has ever captured and held my imagination - I like alot of the movies, tho, and really got involved with the new BSG for example, but my taste in books run more to history.)

So I'm not a scientist and don't spend alot of time thinking about things like locality, and I'm not overly-versed in theories past and present, beyond what I occasionally stumble across deep in the 9000 channels of DishTV. What I do know a bit about it placing a work of literature in it's time frame, and judging it accordingly. For instance, you cannot read a diary or letter from a Confederate soldier with 21st century eyes and expect to understand it. You cannot read a strategic report from Sharpsburg with ideas of modern combat and understand why a general chose the path he did. You have to place yourself in the time period of the writing, and have a general understanding of that period. (What in re-enacting is called "period-correct".)

I was struck by this again the other day when looking over the Amazon discussions : a kid. most likely in his twenties, said that the books were written "in the 80s", which I'm sure to him seems like a long time ago.

Frank wrote Dune in the early 1960's. Any discussion of the "science" of his books must take that into account. Any discussion of the politics of his book must take that into account.

I'm not an expert on the state of astronomical knowledge circa 1965, but I know that just the information from the Hubble telescope radically changed opinions about the state of the universe. You can say that Frank was predicting scientific knowledge thousands of years into human futures, but you still have to take into account that he was writing from a 1960's scientific perspective.
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Postby Omphalos » 25 Nov 2008 16:27

SandChigger wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:We don't get to pick and choose canon, SC. Frank wrote multi-galactic, which means we're stuck with it.

Would you kindly get the point I'm making? I'm not saying multiple galaxies were never involved. I'm saying I see no reason to assume the Imperium at the time of Dune was multigalactic.

Leto says his empire was. I accept that and have no problem with it. Show me in CANON where Shaddam's empire is stated to be.


Right. I got that.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2008 16:50

Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable.


We are talking about the masters of business and transportation, in a feudal empire where the average human life means squat. The Guild is rolling in it. And I would imagine that thousands of failed efforts where they lose their ship would be worth finding one planet that could support life, based on transport charges alone that they would be able to reap, and notwithstanding development profits.


I agree totally, but still, why go the hard way? As Chig pointed out, the number of places to search is staggering, even within one galaxy. Much easier and cheaper to search via analyzing EM emissions fom distant systems. Even if you're right, and you probably are, that finding a habitable planet would more than make up for losses - it still makes more sense to me to just find systems with habitable planets from a nice safe (and cheap) telescope station.

At this point of course I'm just arguing because I love discussing the science of Science Fiction. :wink:
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Postby Freakzilla » 25 Nov 2008 16:55

The only thing that makes me think the pre-Atreides empire was multi-galactic is this:

The worst riff-raff in the galaxy are sent to Salusa Secundus.
~Dune

That is the only time FH uses the word "galaxy" in Dune but the word "universe" is used a lot.

Assuming FH knew the difference between a galaxy and a universe, that line implies to me that the riff-raff in other galaxies are sent to other prison planets.
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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2008 17:06

Freakzilla wrote:The only thing that makes me think the pre-Atreides empire was multi-galactic is this:

The worst riff-raff in the galaxy are sent to Salusa Secundus.
~Dune

That is the only time FH uses the word "galaxy" in Dune but the word "universe" is used a lot.

Assuming FH knew the difference between a galaxy and a universe, that line implies to me that the riff-raff in other galaxies are sent to other prison planets.


Or it implies that there was only one galaxy at that time. For example: if we were to build a big UN prision somewhere today, we would say "the worst riff-raff in the world are sent to ____", but that doesn't imply that there is more than one world.

I do get what you're sayng though, because at that time FH tended to use the world universe to describe the empire, but I don't think that statement really implies too much.

I'm just playing the DA here, because at this point I really do think it could have been multi-galactic right from Dune, or not. Doesn't really matter much whether it was or wasn't at Paul's time - other than as a topic of discussion for nerds like us.
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Postby Omphalos » 25 Nov 2008 17:16

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable.


We are talking about the masters of business and transportation, in a feudal empire where the average human life means squat. The Guild is rolling in it. And I would imagine that thousands of failed efforts where they lose their ship would be worth finding one planet that could support life, based on transport charges alone that they would be able to reap, and notwithstanding development profits.


I agree totally, but still, why go the hard way? As Chig pointed out, the number of places to search is staggering, even within one galaxy. Much easier and cheaper to search via analyzing EM emissions fom distant systems. Even if you're right, and you probably are, that finding a habitable planet would more than make up for losses - it still makes more sense to me to just find systems with habitable planets from a nice safe (and cheap) telescope station.

At this point of course I'm just arguing because I love discussing the science of Science Fiction. :wink:


Because seeing a planet circling a sun in our galaxy is one thing. Seeing a planet orbiting a sun in another is another thing entirely. It would be impossible.

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Postby A Thing of Eternity » 25 Nov 2008 17:33

Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable.


We are talking about the masters of business and transportation, in a feudal empire where the average human life means squat. The Guild is rolling in it. And I would imagine that thousands of failed efforts where they lose their ship would be worth finding one planet that could support life, based on transport charges alone that they would be able to reap, and notwithstanding development profits.


I agree totally, but still, why go the hard way? As Chig pointed out, the number of places to search is staggering, even within one galaxy. Much easier and cheaper to search via analyzing EM emissions fom distant systems. Even if you're right, and you probably are, that finding a habitable planet would more than make up for losses - it still makes more sense to me to just find systems with habitable planets from a nice safe (and cheap) telescope station.

At this point of course I'm just arguing because I love discussing the science of Science Fiction. :wink:


Because seeing a planet circling a sun in our galaxy is one thing. Seeing a planet orbiting a sun in another is another thing entirely. It would be impossible.


I know, and I actually already addressed that! To quote myself from earlier in this thread:

...Of course that (likely) wouldn’t work for finding habitable planets in other galaxies from ours, but all it would take is to foldspace a ship over to whatever galaxy you want to colonize, dump a whole bunch of low paid saps in a smallish space station with a whole bunch of telescope gear (of course this plan could use some work, I did just come up with it though...) and just foldspace back and check on them/replace them every so often. Let them find the good systems the old fashioned way.


Still cheaper and easier than sending manned missions to every system you want to investigate before even knowing which ones have livable worlds. IMO.

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Postby Freakzilla » 25 Nov 2008 17:38

Computers are illegal, not automation. I don't think a probe designed to find habitable planets would be considered a thinking machine. More of a long range communication device.
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Postby GamePlayer » 25 Nov 2008 17:50

SandChigger wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:We don't get to pick and choose canon, SC. Frank wrote multi-galactic, which means we're stuck with it.

Would you kindly get the point I'm making? I'm not saying multiple galaxies were never involved. I'm saying I see no reason to assume the Imperium at the time of Dune was multigalactic.

Leto says his empire was. I accept that and have no problem with it. Show me in CANON where Shaddam's empire is stated to be.


What is this, an Abbott and Costello routine? The empire was established multi-galactic at one time, so the Imperium defaults back to a mono-galactic empire if at any point before Leto's reign? If you would kindly get the point I'm making and answer whether or not it was stated the empire was ever NOT a multi-galactic empire starting from Dune onwards using a passage or piece of Herbert lore I might have missed.

As I said, I always got the impression multi-galactic cause Frank says universe all the time and because of the GeoD quote, so I asked for an explicit statement to the contrary so I might understand the vague, sarcastic resistance to my own interpretation. Are you getting that, et al? I sure hope so and I hope the attitude and KJA labels are dropped in the next reply too (or at least don't play hurt when you pull out the KJA-isms first and it comes back to bite you).
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Postby SandChigger » 25 Nov 2008 18:30

The point is development through time. I'm questioning the need for the assumption that the pre-Leto Imperium was multigalactic as well. The Leto quote is from his journals discovered in Dar-es-Balat and occurs early in GEoD. Earlier in the same epigraph he states that he was "born Leto Atreides II more than three thousand standard years ago, measuring from the moment when I cause these words to be printed." That indicates that it is toward the end of his reign and life.

Up until this point in the books, FH never uses the word "galaxy" except this in Dune:

"You speak too casually of Salusa Secundus," Hawat said.

"It's a penal colony," the Baron said. "The worst riff-raff in the galaxy are sent to Salusa Secundus. What else do we need to know?"

In the galaxy. Not "in this galaxy" or "in the three/twelve/twenty galaxies". Not conclusive of course, but a hint. (Edit: I see Freak has already mentioned this. My interpretation is exactly opposite.)

If the Imperium was not multigalactic, Leto could have made it so in 3,000 years. Having human settlements in other galaxies to act as springboards for the Scattering would make sense.

There is no definite statement in the first three books either way. So we have two assumptions. What does the assumption that the Imperium was multigalactic really get you?
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Postby Omphalos » 26 Nov 2008 01:36

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:To Omph - I don't know, that could get really expensive, and we really have no idea just how dangerous piloting without a Navigator is in the Duniverse. If it was anything above 20% fatality I think that would pretty much make the whole idea un-doable.


We are talking about the masters of business and transportation, in a feudal empire where the average human life means squat. The Guild is rolling in it. And I would imagine that thousands of failed efforts where they lose their ship would be worth finding one planet that could support life, based on transport charges alone that they would be able to reap, and notwithstanding development profits.


I agree totally, but still, why go the hard way? As Chig pointed out, the number of places to search is staggering, even within one galaxy. Much easier and cheaper to search via analyzing EM emissions fom distant systems. Even if you're right, and you probably are, that finding a habitable planet would more than make up for losses - it still makes more sense to me to just find systems with habitable planets from a nice safe (and cheap) telescope station.

At this point of course I'm just arguing because I love discussing the science of Science Fiction. :wink:


Because seeing a planet circling a sun in our galaxy is one thing. Seeing a planet orbiting a sun in another is another thing entirely. It would be impossible.


I know, and I actually already addressed that! To quote myself from earlier in this thread:

...Of course that (likely) wouldn’t work for finding habitable planets in other galaxies from ours, but all it would take is to foldspace a ship over to whatever galaxy you want to colonize, dump a whole bunch of low paid saps in a smallish space station with a whole bunch of telescope gear (of course this plan could use some work, I did just come up with it though...) and just foldspace back and check on them/replace them every so often. Let them find the good systems the old fashioned way.


Still cheaper and easier than sending manned missions to every system you want to investigate before even knowing which ones have livable worlds. IMO.

:D


Don't forget, AToE, that this is how they did it pre-Guild. Remember the Ampoliros? Yes, you lose ships. But the faster you accumulate habitable systems, the quicker you go into the black. IIRC that ship was a "star searcher," or some such.