Saturday, 6 February 2010


One of the reasons I love Frank Herbert's Dune Series (the original, not the rubbish his son and Kevin Anderson flooded the market with):

A sophisticated human can become primitive. What this really means is that the human's way of life changes. Old values change, become linked to the landscape with its plants and animals. This new existence requires a working knowledge of those multiplex and cross-linked events usually referred to as nature. It requires a measure of respect for the inertial power within such natural systems. When a human gains this working knowledge and respect, that is called "being primitive." The converse, of course, is equally true: the primitive can become sophisticated, but not without accepting dreadful psychological damage.
-The Leto Commentary
After Harq al-Ada

I've read each of the 6 original Dune books more or less constantly since I was about 13. That is, I've always had a copy of them in my library, and they are the books I tend to reach for when in need of an old friend.
You'd have thought that by now I'd know the contents by heart - but, being old friends, I might read them in a preconceived manner, and often gems like the above get skipped over.Yesterday, it leapt out at me, and I wondered why I hadn't paid this particular quote more attention....

...I'm still in a sort of twilight consciousness which has been my lot since falling ill on Friday afternoon: one minute I was sweating, the next chilled to the bone. Then came the nausea and the pain. My body was so wracked with aches I didn't know how to deal with lying still. Every joint is inflamed and difficult to move, and my fingers look like sausages - along with that distressing greasy feel to the stretched skin.

In fact, this bug feels so much like the early stages of alcohol poisoning that I've managed to scare myself silly. Obviously, it's not alcohol poisoning, as I haven't touched alcohol for over ten years now, but the similarity is enough to put the wind up me.

Equally obviously, the mall was not the perfect place for me to be this morning, as my immune system roared like a panther(thank you, Hecate, for that analogy) and dealing with the invading virus made a temporary bad-tempered zombie out of me.

But household stocks were running low, so off we went to Northgate, where I snapped and snarled at all the other brains-eating shamblers.

I've just wished my son Shevek a happy birthday on his Facebook page. 25 years, imagine that.I can only hope that he doesn't set himself up for as difficult a second 25 years as I did. But no-he's not half as selfish, arrogant and emotionally messed up as I was at that age.I think.

I reckon the only way I'm going to survive this bug without lopping someone's head off is to take to bed again, read, and doze in and out of the liminal spaces which so resemble the Other Worlds as we see them from this plane. Without the nausea, that is.

See you all on the other side.