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    Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

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    Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby Kensai » 09 Jul 2010 12:23

    I read the article about ornithopter for the first time in the Dune Encyclopedia today. A very inventive take on the workings and origins of the ornithopter but not what I imagined when reading Dune. What gets me is, if the ornithopter is really an organic clam controlled using electrodes and stuff, dosen't that violate the strictures of the Jihad? I would expect this from the Tlielaxu, but the rest of the Imperium? Or does the coupleing of organic and machine only apply to sentients? Still a maschine controlling organics (even if there is a human at the controls)? I realise the Dune Encyclopedia isn't exactly cannon, but still anyone else find it a bit weird?

    Here is the article:

    The basic method of airborne
    travel in the Imperium. The common
    ornithopter was a very late
    development in the history of
    atmospheric flight. The first
    ornithopters — that is, vehicles that fly
    like birds rather than powered gliders
    or helicopters — were built by a team
    of scientists being held as political
    prisoners (as a result of the abortive
    Thinkers' Rebellion of 7600 B.G.) by
    Emperor Neweh in 7585 B.G. Their
    head was Jehane Golitle, who was
    placed in charge of an understaffed,
    underfunded, and discouraged team of
    scientists, and told to earn her team's
    continued well-being by inventing
    useful devices which would make a
    profit for the emperor.
    The group discovered many
    previously unsuspected uses for already
    existing artifacts, and they scoured
    Imperial Scientific Archives in a
    desperate search for inventions which
    had been discarded as unfit for a
    computerized society, but which might
    be made economically feasible if one
    was clever enough. One of the group's
    most fruitful rediscoveries was the
    "Heart Scallop" (Perpetuus
    opercularis) of the Forannis Triad. The
    ORNITHOPTER 569
    Heart Scallop, so named because of its
    continual, regular, and powerful
    muscular contraction-expansion cycle,
    was a land mollusk, a soft-shelled
    bivalve which grew to weight upwards
    of three hundred pounds, noted for the
    astounding strength of its single
    muscle. The Heart Scallop begins its
    life cycle as an airborne polyp,
    anchoring itself to a likely cliff-face or
    large tree after a short adolescence in
    the planet's jet stream. After anchoring,
    the animal survives by pumping vast
    amounts of air through its alimentary
    canal, straining micro-organisms from
    the air for sustenance. Aside from its
    size, the Heart Scallop had been seen as
    nothing extraordinary, except by some
    of the slaves on the Forannis Triad.
    Golitle discovered that the slaves used
    the scallops to aid in their work: they
    would carefully trim the shell of a large
    scallop, and, by connecting it to a
    series of levers and rods, transform the
    Heart Scallop's continual bellows
    action into usable power.
    Golitle had been looking for
    some method of constructing a flying
    machine that could combine the
    versatility of a bird with the size of an
    artificial aircraft, and she discovered
    the secret she sought in the Heart
    Scallop. She petitioned the emperor to
    allow the entire group to travel to the
    Forannis Triad: the petition received
    rapid approval. Golitle removed her
    entire research facility to the triad and
    began intensive experimentation,
    culminating in 7580 with the test flight
    of the first true ornithopter.
    The basic element of the
    common ornithopter is the installation
    at the wing-junctures of a
    domesticated, specially-bred Heart
    Scallop which is connected to a series
    of electrical leads. The electrical
    currents have two purposes: one line is
    used to shock the bivalve into
    dormancy when the pilot of the
    ornithopter wishes to utilize fixed-wing
    flight (normally jet-assisted). When the
    power is disconnected, the Heart
    Scallop immediately resumes pulsing,
    thus providing the ornithopter with a
    certain amount of fail-safe capacity.
    The other line in the electrical system
    is connected to the mollusk's nerve
    centers, and, when engaged, causes the
    Heart Scallop to increase its pulsation
    rate by an amount which Varies with
    the intensity of the current. This second
    line is seldom used except when the
    pilot wishes to brake rapidly or wishes
    to take off from a constricted site.
    The efficiency of the
    ornithopter's "engine" is difficult to
    surpass. The scallops need very little
    maintenance. They must be
    periodically retrimmed to prevent them
    from growing beyond the constraints of
    their installation pods, but the
    OTHEYM 570
    connections between the mollusk and
    the aircraft assembly are remarkably
    durable, since the animal treats the
    wing and body of the ornithopter as if
    those structures were its own shell. The
    scallops need no fuel, since they strain
    the air they fly through (though good
    maintenance procedure mandates
    allowing the creatures to continue to
    function even when the ornithopter is
    not in use — a point which occurred
    late to ornithopter manufacturers who
    did not use detachable wings on the
    earlier models). The major repair and
    maintenance problems associated with
    ornithopters are the wing gears and
    joints, which are complicated ball-andsocket
    connections, and structural
    problems arising from the switchover
    from bird-like flight, which requires
    flexible wings for optimum
    performance, to fixed-wing flight,
    which requires rigid structures.
    Ornithopters faced considerable
    resistance when first introduced, since
    the piloting of one was quite different
    from the flying of fixed-wing craft. The
    Imperial Pilots Guild refused to admit
    members on the basis of ornithopter
    flight-time until 7520 B.G. and many
    systems refused to permit ornithopters
    to be used as anything but sport or
    commuter vehicles. One of the earliest
    sport ornithopterists was I.V.
    Holtzman, who was seriously injured in
    a crash of an early model. Emperor
    Neweh, distressed with the slow
    acceptance of the ornithopter, directed
    the scientists who developed it to cease
    further development work on the
    device, and instead to concentrate on a
    unified astrological theory that could
    be used to detect plots against his life
    among his courtiers.
    Although slow in coming,
    acceptance of ornithopters eventually
    arrived, and by 7000 B.G., they were
    the favored mode of airborne
    transports. The Butlerian Jihad, with its
    proscription of complicated machinery,
    advanced the simple, effective
    ornithopter to almost sole possession of
    planetary skies.
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    Re: Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Jul 2010 19:57

    Why do you think this is a violation of the Butlerian Jihad? The proscription was against creating machines in the image of the human mind, not coupling machines with the organic.

    BTW, I think that article is silly. Ornithopters deserved a much better treatment.
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    Re: Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby Omphalos » 13 Apr 2016 12:10

    For all the seriousness of the pre-prequel Dune books I have always thought that the ornithopter article in the DE stood out as absolutely absurd and silly. It's just so far out in left field you have to chuckle, then read it again and chuckle some more. I wonder what McNelly thought when he read the first draft? Probably 'Oh, I gotta include this. Frank's gonna love it."
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    Re: Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby georgiedenbro » 13 Apr 2016 12:52

    Yeah...I always thought of ornithopters as being more like 'moths' as seen in the Lexx. Basically insect-like flying devices, although not living beings like in the Lexx.
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    Re: Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby distrans » 13 Jan 2018 23:19

    havnt seen that book in 30 years but as I recall the picture that went with this entry was crap as well...
    Last edited by distrans on 29 Jan 2018 10:23, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Ornithopter Dune Encyclopedia Article

    Postby pcqypcqy » 15 Jan 2018 21:49

    Emperor's concerned about petty profits/schemes, outrageous coupling of man and machine.....

    it sounds like the hacks wrote it.
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