October had two sci-fi blockbusters, and Dune was the good one. Mostly because its hero learns space magic from his mother without anyone throwing anything. This is the wildest concept in sci-fi history, especially when we consider the alternatives:
Mom 1: Good try, sweetums. We might die nameless and mutilated in the desert, but you did your best. Have an effort treat! No one should be vivisected on an empty stomach.
Mom 2: “The voice?” What, are we poor now? I’ll hire a maid for that. Two maids, if Arrakis looks like a bad neighborhood. Hopefully they have shielded communities.
Mom 3: Son, you know better. The voice is an instrument of oppression. Instead of commanding, I’ll teach you to ask. It’s an ancient art called “the whisper,” and you’ll find it much more inclusive. I’ve used it on you since you were four.
Mom 4: You should already be teaching. At your age, I could use the voice in six languages. Is disappointing me fun for you? Why are you crying? Why would I teach a crier? It’s called the voice, not the whimper.
Mom 5: We’ll start lesson one in a minute. Momma just needs a quick hit of the spice. Woo! Good stuff. On second thought, we’ll start training tomorrow. I feel a nice spice nap coming.
Mom 6: You’re too young for that. And shield fighting. And take off that stillsuit, it’s traumatizing for someone your age. Also, we’re not moving to Dune. No sandworms until you’re eighteen.
Mom 7: It’s all about the vocal pitch. A proper Atreides pitch, not the gutter nonsense they speak on Arrakis. Promise me you’ll stay away from them and marry a proper noble girl.
Mom 8: Take the vocal effect from Dishonored and bass boost it. Now go practice outside, I have a work call.
Mom 9: I’d teach you, but the voice causes bone marrow inflammation and impotence. Trust me, I’ve done the research. It’s all in this book the baron wrote. The Harkonnens have some good ideas, if you read with an open mind.
Mom 10: Paul? Put that down, I have something important to teach you. It’s called the Voi—don’t throw that! Stop destroying the ship for one minute, and learn a little space magic. Do NOT eat that hunter-seeker! Paul. PAUL!
Mom 11: I learned the voice at knifepoint, and I’m not passing on that trauma. Instead, you’ll learn crafts. If the Emperor betrays us, we’ll win him over with quality needlework. Unless Rabban finds us first. Then I’ll use space magic.
Mom 12: Go ask your father.
Mom 13: Hey Paul. Done moping? I know it’s tough, moving for Dad’s new job and all. You’re used to having friends instead of your own planet. But we can still have fun! Want to learn to shatter free will with your voice box? I made biscuits! Just like the cheddar ones from Space Lobster. Take a biscuit and listen. There you go. Now it works like this…
I’m experimenting with putting some short-form stuff on Medium. If you have an account there, I’d appreciate a follow/clappy button.)