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    Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Freakzilla » 16 Apr 2015 07:33

    Arrakis is the only one I'm sure about, I don't remember any of those other references. Maybe some could be found in the Dune glossary.

    By the time of GEoD, the empire was "multigalactic":

    This planet of Arrakis from which I direct my multigalactic Empire is no longer
    what it was in the days when it was known as Dune.

    ~GEoD
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Freakzilla » 16 Apr 2015 07:40

    Actually, most of the planet's stars are named in the terminology, the information in parenthesis appears to be interpretation.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Apr 2015 09:53

    Freakzilla wrote:Actually, most of the planet's stars are named in the terminology, the information in parenthesis appears to be interpretation.


    Yeah, I was keeping a list myself of Dune planets and the real stars they correspond to, but the list above was more complete so I just pasted that one. I sometimes wonder whether 'multi-galactic' wasn't a bit of hyperbole, or that maybe it referred to a tiny handful of colonies in another galaxy that technically made it multi-galactic. The larger and more spread out the empire was the less I'm able to believe Leto II could foresee everything in every far-out system.

    Anyhow the empire may have been more vast than these numbers suggest, but regardless it seems that the major actors in galactic affairs all lived on planets very close to each other.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 16 Apr 2015 11:22

    Joseph M. Daniels' gazetteer is based on information in the Chronicles as well as the DE (without discrimination), along with standard astronomical references. The Wikipedia list appears to have added its own information/interpretation to that (I can find no mention in the original of "Alkalurops," for example), and brings in some info from the BH/KJA books.

    Regardless, I think we should be careful about reading too much (in fact: anything) into what the selection of stars implies. I think it's overwhelmingly likely that FH picked them "at random" just based on the sound of the names, and that they tend to be close to Earth simply because the stars with cool names are those visible to the naked eye (and therefore known since antiquity), which tend to be the nearby ones.

    FH must have wanted to use traditional star names rather than either made-up ones or the meaningless ID strings assigned to recently discovered ones (e.g. NGC 3603-A1a), and to use ones from a variety of cultures (Chinese, Arabic, Latin, Hebrew). I don't think he anticipated people mapping them out in the galaxy. In fact, there are obvious problems in the data he gives: most notably, "Laoujin," which is supposed to be the star of Wallach IX, is actually the Chinese name of Canopus (Dune's star), but it seems very unlikely that he intended these two planets to be in the same system. Similarly, the implication that Harmonthep was in the same system as Caladan is probably a simple mistake.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby georgiedenbro » 16 Apr 2015 16:00

    I know the article above uses material from the Chronicles, but FH does provide some in the Dune glossary as well (Caladan, Giedi Prime and Arrakis for sure, maybe a few others). I just thought the list was interesting so I included all of it.

    I agree that we probably shouldn't read too much into the specific locations of the stars, but I think some of his naming was meant to be linguistically meaningful.

    I would be satisfied to accept that FH only bothered naming some stars just so we know Dune exists in this universe and isn't a made-up place like in Star Wars. This would be necessary since he called Dune a work of prediction and not a work of fantasy. I just thought it was interesting that all the stars he chose were close ones, since the recognizability in the the stars as we know them (e.g. Canopus) wasn't even useful to him since he changed the names anyhow. Also I don't think it's a coincidence that Arrakis is farther out than the major home worlds we do know of. While I'm prepared to accept that the map isn't that important, I don't think FH literally chose them at random.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Freakzilla » 17 Apr 2015 05:08

    Arrakis being the furthest away would support the Guild's rise halfway through Dune's future history but not the lack of expansion afterwards. FH seems to contridict himself a few times in this respect, saying in Dune that the empire is stagnant, in CoD that Feudalism is a good way to expand and in GEoD telling Duncan there are no new frontiers for him to escape to. I like to imagine a compromise where the empire is still expanding but slowly.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Naïve mind » 17 Apr 2015 11:55

    Cpt. Aramsham wrote:most notably, "Laoujin," which is supposed to be the star of Wallach IX, is actually the Chinese name of Canopus (Dune's star), but it seems very unlikely that he intended these two planets to be in the same system.


    I agree completely.

    But, for the sake of argument, could we imagine that the Known Universe has access to Interstellar travel, and orbital liftoff, but interplanetary travel needs to happen by Guild Heighliner?

    The Guild could obviously enforce a monopoly like that, but you can easily imagine a technological reason for it; maybe the only alternative to the FTL drive is conventional rocket travel, which is expensive and slow even if you have to travel between two planets in the same system.

    In that case, it wouldn't matter if your planet is located in the same system; you have to go through the Guild anyway.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 17 Apr 2015 13:46

    georgiedenbro wrote:I know the article above uses material from the Chronicles, but FH does provide some in the Dune glossary as well (Caladan, Giedi Prime and Arrakis for sure, maybe a few others). I just thought the list was interesting so I included all of it.


    By the Chronicles I mean the books from Dune to Chapterhouse: Dune, so we're saying the same thing there. Most of the information is either from the Terminology of the Imperium at the end of Dune, or from the DE, since the other books give very little useful astronomical information.

    I agree that we probably shouldn't read too much into the specific locations of the stars, but I think some of his naming was meant to be linguistically meaningful.

    I would be satisfied to accept that FH only bothered naming some stars just so we know Dune exists in this universe and isn't a made-up place like in Star Wars. This would be necessary since he called Dune a work of prediction and not a work of fantasy. I just thought it was interesting that all the stars he chose were close ones, since the recognizability in the the stars as we know them (e.g. Canopus) wasn't even useful to him since he changed the names anyhow. Also I don't think it's a coincidence that Arrakis is farther out than the major home worlds we do know of. While I'm prepared to accept that the map isn't that important, I don't think FH literally chose them at random.


    I agree that FH may have intended the names to be linguistically meaningful. For example, "Arrakis" (or "al-Raqis") is the Arabic name of the star Mu Draconis, and that language link may be intentional. But this is also a good example of how he seems to have just picked a cool name out of some astronomical reference book, even though it's really the name of a star, not a planet. In other cases he mashes up different names, or combines multiple languages, or leaves off part of the name, or reuses different names of the same star. And of course, there's no correlation at all between the real-life characteristics of the stars in question and the way they're described in the books (though I have no idea how much of that was known when he wrote the first book). All of that indicates to me that he was simply mining lists for good names (perhaps with some thought to their meaning or origin), not worrying at all about the astronomy.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby georgiedenbro » 17 Apr 2015 14:50

    Cpt. Aramsham wrote:
    georgiedenbro wrote:I know the article above uses material from the Chronicles, but FH does provide some in the Dune glossary as well (Caladan, Giedi Prime and Arrakis for sure, maybe a few others). I just thought the list was interesting so I included all of it.


    By the Chronicles I mean the books from Dune to Chapterhouse: Dune, so we're saying the same thing there. Most of the information is either from the Terminology of the Imperium at the end of Dune, or from the DE, since the other books give very little useful astronomical information.


    Yeah my bad. It's been so long since I've even looked at a prequel book that I've forgotten what name is used to refer to them. Chronicles = FH; check. I believe most of the entries in the list are FH but I do know that at least a few are from the prequel books.

    I agree that FH may have intended the names to be linguistically meaningful. For example, "Arrakis" (or "al-Raqis") is the Arabic name of the star Mu Draconis, and that language link may be intentional. But this is also a good example of how he seems to have just picked a cool name out of some astronomical reference book, even though it's really the name of a star, not a planet. In other cases he mashes up different names, or combines multiple languages, or leaves off part of the name, or reuses different names of the same star. And of course, there's no correlation at all between the real-life characteristics of the stars in question and the way they're described in the books (though I have no idea how much of that was known when he wrote the first book). All of that indicates to me that he was simply mining lists for good names (perhaps with some thought to their meaning or origin), not worrying at all about the astronomy.


    I think so too. I doubt most of what we know now was known then, although the color of a star probably was since we've been able to gather a lot from luminosity and red/blue shift for quite a while. I think FH's descriptions of Dune are pretty cool, so I'm happy he did it his way and not just to be accurate to the real star system.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby Freakzilla » 17 Apr 2015 20:54

    georgiedenbro wrote:I believe most of the entries in the list are FH


    I found all but a few in the Dune Appendix.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby xcalibur » 10 Jun 2016 15:13

    if the Imperium is based on stability and the status quo, then it would make sense to structure it around the model of centralized feudalism. the history of Edo Period Japan proves that it's a very stable political structure.

    also, there's the fact that people are living on many different planets, and space travel is expensive. This would encourage diversification, as planets would develop cultural differences and drift apart politically. Therefore, the Faufreluches system is a reasonable prediction for how a future society would take shape.

    as for stars, I worked to figure this out awhile ago. the conclusion I came up with is that the Imperium seems to be centered around Earth, and is entirely contained within the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. as for the outlier Kuentsing, it's only 1,200+ light years away if it's referring to Alpha Leporis. if FH meant Beta Leporis, then it would be only 163 light years away. in God Emperor, it does refer to a "multigalactic empire", but it makes more sense to me if everyone was in part of the Milky Way Galaxy pre-scattering, and the Scattering sent humans to many other galaxies. also, if the Imperium was contained in the Orion Arm, that makes Arafel extinction a much more credible possibility.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby georgiedenbro » 15 Jun 2017 10:29

    I sort of stopped trying to make sense of what the empire was supposed to look like by the time of GeoD. The basic size of the empire in Dune does appear to be relatively close to Earth in general, although to be fair those are only the core planets we hear a lot about. There could be tons of civilized worlds that just don't get mentioned. Once you get into folding space there is no theoretical reason why inhabited star systems need to be physically near each other, however since we know that oracular power seems constrained by physical proximity in space (with Leto II having the widest reach so far) perhaps we could suggest that Guild Navigators preferred to keep transport lanes relatively close to each other for easy access and 'recommended' to potential colonists to choose worlds not too far away if they wanted any Guild support. Presumably the pre-Guild colonists that used computers could go where they pleased once they had Holtzmann tech, but even so I imagine the nav computers had limits and also need to make short, quick jumps rather than huge ones all at once.

    Once we get into 'multi-galactic' it makes me wonder how Leto II could administer over such reaches, or even have any meaningful oracular insight into them to keep things in control. Why would the Guild even agree to transport over such distances; or could they, even? Did it require Leto himself to help navigation for ships going to such places, in which case we'd have to assume that any such distant settlements were of his design? Up until this point in the series all space travel would have been under the total control of either the Guild or him, and so we assume that literally any settlement anywhere could only exist with their blessing and assistance. But once the INM was devised anyone could in theory travel anywhere with no limitation. The hydrolic despotism wasn't just about resources and military pressure, it would seem, but even about limiting the logistical possibility of travel anywhere.

    One thing about feudalism is that I'm not sure Frank meant to imply that it's a good or even efficient system or rule. Given the ecology of the galaxy as it evolved feudalism is what naturally emerged as the victor, so to speak, amongst various options, and so it was a successful fit for the expansion model and later for the empire. However I guess the pitfall here would be to equate being successful with being positive in any way. I suspect that Frank is subtly suggesting throughout the series that feudalism is almost the default setting for most civilizations (including ours), but that it is a real problem that needs to be overcome. When left to its own devices under standard conditions things just verge towards feudalism; it's happening right now in the world despite the 'democratic revolution'. There are several signs in the series - and some very overt ones in the last two books - that feudalism is ultimately a weak solution to how to organize humanity, and even though it lasted a very long time the only lasting rule is that everything is temporary. Feudalism is based entirely around stability, and that is its weakness. Odrade, at any rate, understood that the system of the future should incorporate flexibility and adaptability into its basic design. I think the model for that, as a system, is meant to be exemplified through Teg, who was both disciplined and yet unpredictable, always advocating mobility rather than settling into a defensive (and therefore already defeated) position.
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    Re: Economist Argues Against "Space-faring" Empires

    Postby pcqypcqy » 23 Jun 2017 22:01

    Keep in mind the Honoured Matres description of the old empire, The Million Planets. I think it was Lucilla who heard this and noted that it was more than that number, but it was an interesting description.

    I suspect FH had a number of planets near to earth that had a back story purely for story writing convenience more than to imply the literal extent of human exploration of the universe.

    I always found it odd that apart from Arrakis, most of the story / history revolved around same few planets. Had to draw the line somewhere I guess.
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