Dune series & the Golden path questions *SPOILERS, natch.*

So, I’m re-reading the Dune series again, and just finished God Emperor.

I think I have the basics of Leto’s Golden Path down:

  1. Without his intervention, the Ixians (or someone like them) would have created self-replicating killer machines that would have hunted down every last human being.

  2. Leto’s overlordship delayed that invention throughout his reign

  3. His breeding program also developed Siona Atreides’s prescient-invisible genes, which, coupled with

  4. the Ixians’ invention of the No-globe/No-ship ensures that, even if such machines are released upon humanity, all the eggs are no longer in one basket and someone, somewhere, will forever be beyond their reach, untraceable, so humanity will survive.

In addition, the specific nature of Leto’s reign means that:

  1. humans will, one hopes, never again be nostalgic for an idealized past (since he will, for millennia, be recalled as a despot, so there will be no “good old days” for them to wish for)

  2. the forced tranquility made everyone restless, ensuring an explosion that results in the Scattering after his death (furthering the goals of “not all the eggs in one basket”), as everyone reacts to the sudden release from his rule

  3. He has, all along, been applying selective pressure to breed some exceptionally healthy humans (the Atreides line, in particular) that will be able to fend off threats from Ixian death machines, future tyants, etc.

  4. The Famine Times that follow his death will cause so much pressure on the survivors that they will be strengthened even more (weeding out the weak in a drastic way)

All that I got. But I still haven’t figured out one thing:

  • since Ix and the Guild are working on computer hypernavigation (no need for spice-guzzling Guild navigators) and the Tleilaxu are working on artificial melange, why does Leto need to go back to the sand to start up the worm-spice cycle again? Aren’t they past the need for worms? What’s the point in having a “pearl of his awareness” scattered among each of the worms?

Why is Leto’s returning to the sand an important part of his Golden Path?

Ooh, good question, I love nitpicking the Golden Path :slight_smile:

You said you were re-reading and were on God Emporer…does that mean that you have already read the whole series? Several of those questions are semi-answered in Heretics and Chapterhouse and I don’t want to give spoilers for any of the wonderful stuff to come… :wink:

Without spoiling further books too much, one factor is that Ix and the Guild didn’t necessarily have the hypernavigation working already. Between his stockpiles and the new worms, there will be enough spice until they don’t need it, and yet a low enough supply that there will be pressure to still work on the alternatives.

Also, part of the problem was that whoever controlled Dune, controlled the spice, and the universe. (Didn’t he push that message hard enough?) If there is no spice, and Ix has the only navigators - now they control everything. Same thing if they fail, and the Tleilaxu have artificial spice.

However, with Ix having navigation machines, and Tleilaxu having an artificial alternative, and Dune still having spice - there isn’t centralized control - there’s an uneasy truce.

(And, of course, the scattering spreads the technology further.)

Now, the “pearl of awareness” bit is more relevant to later books .

Leto needed to restart the spice cycle at his death because there was a gap between his death and the Tleilaxu perfecting the artifical spice.

Plus, I don’t think that the Ixians were the source of any threat that Leto foresaw. I always bring up one concept in these threads that often gets over looked. Leto mentions something called Arafel, which he refers to as the storm at the edge of the universe, or edge of humanity (I need to re-read the series).

The most recent prequel gives a very good indication of the threat that Leto forsees for humanity. Omnius, the AI that controlled the ‘thinking machines’ had sent multiple copies of itself out into the universe. Of course there is at least one, if not more Titans possibly roaming around.

Many people think that the threat that Leto is working to avoid is not machine based, but rather Face Dancers that are ‘perfect’. They can become, literally, the person that they imitated and no longer be controled by their Tleilaxu masters. I don’t get this line of reasoning myself, but many Dune fans think this is true. The evidence that they point to is Daniel and Marty the two old people that Idaho sees in visions in Chapterhouse:Dune. They do make some comment about the way that the Tlielax (at this point there is only one left) are always trying to use their whistling language to control them.

Brian Herbert and the guy he is writing with will be writing a 7th Dune novel, said to be based on notes left behind by Frank. I think that this book will answer many of the outstanding questions. However, it isn’t for a while yet as they need to finish two more prequels before they write the 7th book.

I’ll admit that I’m overdue to re-read the series, but I had thought that the threat that Leto saw was the stagnation of the human race, which in turn could lead to its destruction. The Scattering was a way to introduce diversity and decentralize the population, avoiding stagnation while ensuring that no single catastrophe could wipe out the species.

That, or super-evil robots from the past. Which sounds more like Frank Herbert to you?

Just to put the last part of my previous post into the proper context, I’ll add that in my opinion, they didn’t need to finish the first… :slight_smile:

The golden path was necessary because seeing the future locks it into place. That’s how guild navigators travel, they see a future in which their ship arrives safely, and the act of seeing (i assume theres an element of “choosing” in there too) actualises that future.

Paul, with his massive prescience, has locked humanity in a pattern - a huge pattern which he missed at first because he was concentrating on too small a scale. Remember how he warns the guild that always choosing the easy path will lead to stagnation and ultimate destruction? Paul chose a path throughout Dune which would do the most to avoid death - yet this path is too easy in the long term. Any future sense applied to the human race will lead to stagnation and destruction. Leto and Paul know this in Children of Dune.

The golden path is necessary because it is the constriction of humanity so tightly that when the holder of humanities chains dies (Leto), humanity will explode outward. The huge volume of people let loose upon the universe, spread to its very edges can never again be held by one vision. Not to mention those with the Siona genes, who cannot be seen by prescience at all.

Leto’s rule was also a lesson. He taught that there was no ideal past, and - just as importantly - humans do not live well in peace. Peace was enforced under Leto, yet the stictness of such peace taught people to always seek to avoid peace (peace which will ultimatly leads to stagnation)

His long life was the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up his humanity to save humanity. One safe dude.

I don’t think the horror he saw at the end of humanity was important. What was important was that when the storm arrived, there would be a strong enough humanity to meet it, and to fight through.

[spoiler]Also, I really don’t understand Daniel and Marty. I agree they are perfected face dancers. Taking the personalities from so many hosts, they have something similar to the “hord” inside the pre-born. Pure speculation, but if they absorbed from the reverand mothers who escaped in the scattering, then they would have alot of memories, and therefore a lot of power. Remember, part of Leto’s power comes from him not being an indivual, but a group (I think he even refers to himself as a hord, at one point.) This weight of lives gives him the levarage he needs to pull humanity from the path to stagnation.

Plus, I really, really, really want to see what happens when the Teg and Duncan gholas get in there with Danny and Marty… [/spoiler]

The golden path was necessary because seeing the future locks it into place. That’s how guild navigators travel, they see a future in which their ship arrives safely, and the act of seeing (i assume theres an element of “choosing” in there too) actualises that future.

Paul, with his massive prescience, has locked humanity in a pattern - a huge pattern which he missed at first because he was concentrating on too small a scale. Remember how he warns the guild that always choosing the easy path will lead to stagnation and ultimate destruction? Paul chose a path throughout Dune which would do the most to avoid death - yet this path is too easy in the long term. Any future sense applied to the human race will lead to stagnation and destruction. Leto and Paul know this in Children of Dune.

The golden path is necessary because it is the constriction of humanity so tightly that when the holder of humanities chains dies (Leto), humanity will explode outward. The huge volume of people let loose upon the universe, spread to its very edges can never again be held by one vision. Not to mention those with the Siona genes, who cannot be seen by prescience at all.

Leto’s rule was also a lesson. He taught that there was no ideal past, and - just as importantly - humans do not live well in peace. Peace was enforced under Leto, yet the stictness of such peace taught people to always seek to avoid peace (peace which will ultimatly leads to stagnation)

His long life was the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up his humanity to save humanity. One safe dude.

I don’t think the horror he saw at the end of humanity was important. What was important was that when the storm arrived, there would be a strong enough humanity to meet it, and to fight through.

[spoiler]Also, I really don’t understand Daniel and Marty. I agree they are perfected face dancers. Taking the personalities from so many hosts, they have something similar to the “hord” inside the pre-born. Pure speculation, but if they absorbed from the reverand mothers who escaped in the scattering, then they would have alot of memories, and therefore a lot of power. Remember, part of Leto’s power comes from him not being an indivual, but a group (I think he even refers to himself as a hord, at one point.) This weight of lives gives him the levarage he needs to pull humanity from the path to stagnation.

Plus, I really, really, really want to see what happens when the Teg and Duncan gholas get in there with Danny and Marty… [/spoilers]

Crivens,

Great post. I’ve been reading and re-reading these books since I was a girl. You’ve explained a lot of things I had questioned and helped me understand them a bit better.

I, too, am curious to see what happens with Daniel and Marty.

Also, to all of those folks who’ve read the prequels…Are they worth it? I’ve been meaning to start them, but have heard some negative things and would like your opinions.

Thanks in advance.

I’ve read two, House Corrino and the Butlerian Jihad.

Corrino seemed to force the original Dune characters into a story that didn’t quite feel right, knowing the attitudes of the principal characters later. I think that involving almost everyone from Dune seemed contrived; it is improbable that everything is connected to everything else.

The Butlerian Jihad came across like the retelling of a fairytale. It didn’t have the flavor of Dune at all; not the desert setting, but the way that Atreides and Harkonnens were involved here too, in the distant past. The characters were vastly different from their namesakes, in a two-dimensional sort of way.

I like the fact that they are trying to fill in the gaps, but the writing is not up to Herbert standards and it makes the story hard to read. It didn’t make me think; there are no feints within feints or the superior character development Herbert was known for.

Steelerphan-

You made a mistake in reading House Corrino without having read the first two prequels House Atreides and House Harkonnen.
They are a trilogy to be taken as a whole. You missed out on how so many of these “contrived” threads were first layed out; they will not seem contrived if you read them all.

I find the new writing style to be somewhat easier on the eyes that Frank’s dense writings. I say this because I tend to read these books late at night when I’m quite exhausted; rereading the originals was brutal under those conditions. Reading the first trilogy of prequels was easier.

And for those of you that didn’t know, The Butlerian Jihad is the first of another trilogy documenting the rise and fall of the thinking machines.

I believe the plan is to have a final book that takes place after the Frank “originals” that ties up everything. The authors based (will base) it on Frank’s long lost (but finally recovered) notes on how to end the saga.

No, the prequels sucked. If you really like Dune, or more importantly the feel of Dune, then stay far, far away. The two hacks that wrote the prequels not only have little feel for the English language, I would wager that they have only a passing familiarity with the source material - else, why have the Atreides be the loyal allies of the Ixians, in total contradiction to the original 6 novels?

I happen to moderate a monthly online sci-fi novel discussion group at another website (devoted to Civilization-style computer games) and by pure coincidence, this months discussion is The Dune Chronicles (yes, all the books, prequels excluded due to crappiness). Anyway, if you are interested come here and check it out. We actually go into a great deal about the Golden Path as well.

Great thread, btw! :b:

Okay, backa again. First off, yes I’ve read the entire series twice already. It’s might dense stuff, though.

I’ve read House Atreides and will never read anything else from those two hacks. So the prequels are excluded from this discussion.

Now, I’ve started into Heretics again, and I remember the nonsense with the BG catching a worm of their own through Sheeana and later converting Chapterhouse into a Dune-type planet, etc. … and then all of the interesting characters fleeing in a no-ship to uncharted territories (presumably to mix it up with post-face-dancer Marty and Daniel in unwritten book 7).

But have I forgotten something critical about why Leto should survive as the worms? Did they, in fact, start up the spice cycle quickly enough to bridge the gap between his hoard of spice and the cheap Tleilaxu spice? That didn’t seem clear to me. And frankly, who cares if Sheeana can control the worms?

Okay, backa again. First off, yes I’ve read the entire series twice already. It’s might dense stuff, though.

I’ve read House Atreides and will never read anything else from those two hacks. So the prequels are excluded from this discussion.

Now, I’ve started into Heretics again, and I remember the nonsense with the BG catching a worm of their own through Sheeana and later converting Chapterhouse into a Dune-type planet, etc. … and then all of the interesting characters fleeing in a no-ship to uncharted territories (presumably to mix it up with post-face-dancer Marty and Daniel in unwritten book 7).

But have I forgotten something critical about why Leto should survive as the worms? Did they, in fact, start up the spice cycle quickly enough to bridge the gap between his hoard of spice and the cheap Tleilaxu spice? That didn’t seem clear to me. And frankly, who cares if Sheeana can control the worms?

There is another thing that needs to be taken into account when analyzing The Golden Path. The Honored Matres can’t be overlooked. They came back, reverend mothers who went into the scattering, and pretty much laid (partial pun intended) waste to the core of the old Empire.
But, and this is a big but, they were running from something. What was is that they feared? It wasn’t Futars, as the head HM had one as a pet. The only thing that makes sense to me is thinking machines. It is the one thing that everybody in the Duniverse seemed to fear above all else.

adam yax, it is realized at the end of Chapterhouse that the thing the Honored Matres were running from was disease.

I don’t know why it was important for Leto to survive as a worm.

From this point on, it’s all speculating-as-I-go, so don’t worry if theres any mistakes.

Politically, it would be important for the Bene Gesserit that Sheeana can control worms because once the Honoured Matres started to appear, there was a very real danger of the BG’s having to either run to the scattering or go into hiding, in which case they would be cut off from the spice.

WIth Sheena able to control the worms there was the possibility of setting up a new sandworm cycle on a different planet (i’m assuming that Sheena’s control is the factor that makes this possible, we’re told in Dune and in (If I recall correctly) Messiah, attempts to set up the cycle on other worlds didn’t work. Those people didn’t have Sheena or her afinity for the worms)

Without the spice, we’ve seen from the scattering that Bene Gesserits eventually become Honoured Matres. Which isn’t a good thing.

So Sheena is important as an indirect source of spice.

I imagine they’ll be more to it than that. Sheena must be a step forward the way Paul, Siona and Teg are. Something that again would be brought up in book seven.

Worm’s needed to survive so that there would be spice in the future, until the artifical stuff was perfected.

As to why Leto needed to leave his awareness in there…

In Heritics the comment is made that humanity is only really freed from Leto’s prescent vision when Dune is destroyed by the Honoured Matres. If shes right, then Leto’s “pearl of awareness” was necessary to keep humanity on the golden path. I think this refers to the “million worlds” and not the scattering, which I think are almost by definition outside of any prescent control. Possibly, this was a necessary evil. There was no way to have a continuation of sandworm without Leto’s awareness.

I think thats a weak reason, but it is possible. Something to think about, anyway.

“Without the spice, we’ve seen from the scattering that Bene Gesserits eventually become Honoured Matres. Which isn’t a good thing.”

Not to nitpick here, but the HM’s are descended from the Face Dancers, not renegade BG’s.

Chapterhouse, page 364.

“Fish Speakers”, not “Face Dancers.” :smack:

Toadspittle: “I’ve read House Atreides and will never read anything else from those two hacks. So the prequels are excluded from this discussion.”

Good decision! Can we discuss how much they suck, though? :wink: