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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Frank Herbert and the Five-Ring Circus

I was leafing through Frank Herbert's wonderful (and, let us be honest, frequently tiresome) Dune the other day, in between heats of the swimming competition on NBC and the network's adoring description of the Chinese train to Tibet and the Three Gorges Dam.  Whatever made my eyes linger on this quote?

In honor of the na-Baron's nativity and to remind all Harkonnens and subjects that Feyd-Rautha was heir-designate, it was holiday in Giedi Prime.  The old Baron had decreed a meridian-to-meridian rest from labors, and effort had been spent in the family city of Harko to create the illusion of gaiety: banners flew from buildings, new paint had been splashed on the walls along Court Way.

But off the main way, Count Fenring and his lady noted the rubbish heaps, the scabrous brown walls reflected in the dark puddles of the strees, and the furtive scurrying of the people.

Posted by Paul Horwitz on August 12, 2008 at 11:23 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Yes, indeed! Of course Herbert was aware that beautifying with banners (done since antiquity) is invaluable especially to repressive regimes; or as technology improves, with anti-aircraft searchlights (Nuremburg Rallies etc), or up-to-date computer-generated fireworks.

Posted by: Robert W. Franson | Aug 14, 2008 5:13:23 PM

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