SadisticCynic wrote:What do you mean about the shared 'physics'?
I was afraid someone would ask me that
Basically I mean the principles that govern what people can do, why they can do it, and other things like how space travel works and so forth. So in Dune we have specific instances of physical principles that are extraordinary, such as Other Memory, prescience, folding space, and finally Duncan's recovered memories. In the Pandora series we have things like the possibility of communal awareness, and access to memories of people both alive and dead, as well as the various activities Ship did between D:V and TJI. My contention is that the same set of principle is assumed in each universe and that we're seeing different manifestations of it in each series. Prescience is hinted at in the Pandora series, and OM is basically stated outright, while Ship's movement at the end of D:V may well have been folding space.
I remember making a loose connection in my mind regarding Hyperion's idea of love as a physical property and Herbert's emphasis on exploring that quality in Heretics and especially Chapterhouse. Is that in the area you're thinking of?
Yes, this is definitely part of it. In Hyperion (SPOILERS) the capacity to travel instantaneously from one location to another is called 'the music of the spheres', which is a way of describing sensing the personality, if you will, of another location and being able to understand it as not actually being distant from you in 'reality'. This is indeed a physical explanation of love as a 'being with' another person or place; being in sympathy with it. My expectation is that the physical principle enabling this is what allows for prescient sensing of seemingly distant people or places. In Dune, mind you, the actual space folding is done with Holtzmann technology and not with the mind, however I believe it's hinted at in CH:D that there is some intrinsic connection between Holtzmann's equations and the power of the human mind; that perhaps folding space and prescience are government by the same basic principle that bridges the gap between the distant and the near ('the shortening of the way'). So you might say that in Dune they only hadn't quite yet discovered what is known by the end of the Hyperion series.
For another example: in Hyperion we learn that space isn't just an empty void but that it has a sort of sentient quality, or at least is a sort of living connective tissue between sentient beings, and itself stores information about all that has gone before. People attuned to the ability to sense distant places and people can also tune into the 'memory banks' of space and access past memories. Likewise, in Dune, the BG had learned how to do something just like this, and as we've discussed many times it probably doesn't make sense to suppose that they have mastered genetic magic. I think what's actually going on is they've learned how to partially tap into the spacial memory banks, but are only capable of tuning into past lives genetically similar to them (let's call it the resonance effect, where similar frequencies vibrate enough to be detected, like a sympathetic vibration). And this is why I think Duncan in CH:D can recollect all past memories, even ones whose DNA he doesn't have; they're similar enough that he picks up on them.
Overall I don't really see how either series makes much sense unless it shares the 'physics' of the other series.
I'm curious about the unrelated sources... I'm sensing additions to the infinite to-read list.
This is the part I can't quite answer. The first clue I had was an inner monologue near the end of D:V where Flattery realizes that reality is actually holographic. This is a theory I've heard before, and I believe it derives from an old mystic tradition from who knows when. But I've seen instances of it all over the place, and one of its principle (which you may have come across sometime) is "as above, so below", which is a way to describing a reality where things are self-similar over both large and small scales. The analogy to holography is that if you look at a holographic image you might see the 'picture' displayed over a large surface, however the actual encoding of holography is that each point of the hologram actually contains all of the information of the holographic image; and so the properties of the small scale contain the same data as the large scale. You can look at it very closely, or from far away, and it looks the same structurally. The way this is described on a physical level in the mystic tradition is that reality as we know it is real, but is a large-scale manifestation of a reality that is also true without all of the spatial expansion. So from a certain point of view we could say that 'distance is an illusion'; it isn't, exactly, but rather it's just a form of expression of something that also doesn't require the distance. It's hard to make this clear without analogies; sorry.
Another aspect of the tradition is something which we might call Buddhistic, which is that consciousness is a more fundamental force than spatial characteristics; that the way in which physics is expressed is actually a property superimposed on top of
a prior consciousness that was already there. It doesn't mean (or have to mean) a God, but it does mean that space isn't just an empty void that may or may not be populated with intelligent beings.
You can find smatterings of this 'theory' here and there if you're into any combination of conspiracy theories, occult mysticism, or fringe physics. I've seen instances of it here and there but never one solid source that just spells it all out. Mostly it's kooks spouting this and that, so the best I've been able to do is piece together what the theory actually is, which is of course different from saying it's true or really amounts to anything. What's noteworthy isn't that I think it's the magic answer to everything, but rather that some authors (like FH and Dan Simmons) seem to have included it wholesale into their books as backdrops to stories; actually the Hyperion story is about little else other than the theory itself. What's fascinating to me is that I don't think Simmons was intending to portray a fake sci-fi premise as a fantasy element; I suspect he legitimately believes he's describing the way things really are. I'll have to read more of FH's books to see if I come to the same conclusion about him, but it's telling that two series seem
to use that common understanding of reality.
I hope that helped...it's not an easy topic to describe as I've been investigating this for years, and most of what you find is nonsense.
I should mention, though, that although I've personally never come across a 'magnum opus' simply laying all of this out, I find it hard to believe that there isn't one. I mean, where did these guys pick it up? Piecemeal, just like I have? I guess that's possible. Or maybe there's some club somewhere where they talk about this stuff. Maybe the Rosicrucians or something, who knows. But there's got to be some 'group' out there that subscribes to this stuff, even though they don't make themselves known publicly. I'm not sure what it means for people like Simmons to be laying out all of these beliefs out in the open. I think it doesn't much matter, though, because I doubt almost anyone would read it and take the premises seriously.