July 2015 archive

Celebrating Dune in Pictures: Part 10 – Frank Herbert’s Inspirations

This is the last post in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dune. Check out Part 8: Commission of Ecumenical Translators and Part 9: The Butlerian Jihad. In this post, we explore the inspirations behind Frank Herbert’s seminal work, from the ecology of Oregon’s coast, to the tragedies of Greek myth. The sources of information in this post are derived from the Dune novels, Greek mythology, and this interview with Frank Herbert and his wife Beverly Herbert in 1969 (conducted by Willis E. McNelly – author and editor of the Dune Encyclopedia).

The Oregon Coast

Frank Herbert was fascinated by the US Geological Survey's study of sand dunes on the Oregon Coast. SciFiMix Art, inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune.

Frank Herbert was fascinated by the U.S. Forest Service’s study of sand dunes on the Oregon Coast. SciFiMix Art, inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune.

Frank Herbert was fascinated by ecology, and the ways that man could control nature. His idea for Dune first came from a drive along U.S. Highway 1 along the central coast of Oregon. In this stretch of the road, sand dunes constantly blew across the highway. The U.S. Forest Service put a test station on the central Oregon Coast to see if it could control the flow of the sand with poverty grasses.

This idea of controlling the flow of sand sparked an idea in Frank Herbert’s mind. What if we had an entire world composed of sand dunes – like Arrakis? Can the experiments by the U.S. Forest Service be put together on much grander scale, such that humans can control the ecology of a full-scale planet, by controlling the fluid flow of its sand? (more…)

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SciFi Mixed Links – Robot Takeovers!!! Spacesuits, Robo-Hotels & Robo-Ballers

A compilation of all the different spacesuits we've used as a species. Image source: Reddit /r/space.

A compilation of all the different spacesuits we’ve used as a species. Image source: Reddit /r/space.

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Killjoys S1E6 Review: One Blood

S1E5 A Glitch in the System || S1E6 One Blood || S1E7 Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye

In Episode 6 of Killjoys, Dutch receives a "black warrant" for her friend and former mentor, Big Joe. Image Source: Killjoys, One Blood. Copyright SyFy.

In Episode 6 of Killjoys, Dutch receives a “black warrant” for her friend and former mentor, Big Joe. Image Source: Killjoys, “One Blood”. Copyright SyFy.

The title for this Killjoys episode – “One Blood” – is both fitting and ironic at the same time. Though the episode delves into Quad bloodline politics (and the specter of racism-based civil war), the true focus of this episode is divided familial loyalty. The question becomes – what happens when your family is the RAC, your crew, your mentors, or all of the above? Dutch, despite having no traditional family and a past she would rather forget, arguably has the strongest – and most divided – ties in this show. From Dutch’s creepy-a** trainer Khlyen and her mentor Big Joe, to her brothers of the RAC, this episode explores the ends people will go to protect their family. (Caution – Spoilers Ahead!). (more…)

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SciFi Mixed Links – Star Wars Japanese Prints, Mad Max Mashup, and Con Man

Star Wars stylized as 17th Century woodblock art. Image Source: Verge.com. Copyright LucasFilm/Makuake.

Star Wars stylized as 17th Century woodblock art. Image Source: Verge.com. Copyright LucasFilm/Makuake.

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Killjoys S1E5 Review: A Glitch in the System

S1E4 The Vessel || S1E5 A Glitch in the System || S1E6 One Blood

Every space-faring series has an obligatory abandoned spacecraft episode, and Killjoys is no exception. In episode 5 of Killjoys, Dutch and the Jaqobis brothers stage a salvage operation of a ship, stranded and seemingly crewless in the middle of an asteroid field. They gleefully go after the free cargo – almost absentmindedly – as if there were no mortal dangers around each and every corner. Of course, as all avid scifi watchers know, spacecraft with “no life signs” are the scourge of mankind. They are filled with man-eating space zombie-like Reavers, aliens that explode out of your chest, and deadly viruses that cause lust-filled hysteria (TNG anyone?).

Dutch and the Jaqobis brother salvage a stranded ship with "no life signs". Image Source: Killjoys, "A Glitch in the System". Copyright SyFy.

Dutch and the Jaqobis brother salvage a stranded ship with “no life signs”. Image Source: Killjoys, “A Glitch in the System”. Copyright SyFy.

During Dutch, D’Avin and Johnny’s pretty harrowing salvage mission, we learn a lot about the insidiousness of The Company. We also learn more about the nature of D’Avin’s PTSD symptoms, and the doctor behind it all. (Caution – Spoilers Ahead!)

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Celebrating Dune in Pictures: Part 9 – The Butlerian Jihad

This post is part of a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dune. SciFiMix is creating 50 pieces of original artwork covering the main powers in the Dune universe. Check out Part 7: Fremen & Sandworms and Part 8: Commission of Ecumenical Translators.

Butlerian Jihad

The fundamental principle adopted throughout the Dune universe: "Though shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind." SciFiMix Art, inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune and Alex Garland's Ex Machina.

The fundamental principle adopted throughout the Dune universe: “Though shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.” SciFiMix Art, inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.

The Butlerian Jihad, or “Great Revolt”, was a two generation long war between humanity and thinking machines. It serves as a precursor to the events in Frank Herbert’s Dune, and an explanation for its post-technological society.

In the original series, Herbert does not elaborate much on what the Butlerian Jihad entailed, apart from these two brief passages:

“JIHAD, BUTLERIAN: (see also Great Revolt) – the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.” – Dune, Terminology of the Imperium.

” ‘The target of the Jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines,’ Leto said. ‘Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments. Naturally, the machines were destroyed.’ ” – God Emperor of Dune

(more…)

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SciFi Mixed Links – Pluto Pics, Hans Solo Prequel, Space Survival

After 10 years, NASA's New Horizons will fly by Pluto! Closest approach expected at at 12:49pm BST (7:49am EDT) on 7/14/2015. Image Source: NASA.

After almost a decade in space, NASA’s New Horizons will fly by Pluto! Closest approach is expected at 12:49pm BST (7:49am EDT) today on 7/14/2015, with close-up images sent back a day or two later. Image Source: NASA.

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