A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


My daughter has suggested that some of the money spent filming DUNE in Jordan could have been spent learning from locals the correct pronuncialtion of Shai al-Hulud. Pronounced as SHAY Hulud it means "eternal Thing". Pronounced as SHY Hulud, it means "eternal tea." [Think as in Russian 'chai']


  1. There are a lot of different Arabic dialects, and thus a lot of different correct Arabic pronunciations.

  2. My daughter lived in Jordan for two years and grew familiar not only with Shamsi, but also Egyptian, Peninsular, and Maghrebi, as well as Iraqi (from refugees).

  3. So they could have named the film, "From Here to Eternal Tea."

  4. So then it's going with Classical Arabic, which is probably also the Standard pronunciation that would be used by Al-Jazeera.

    The idea anyone even uses anything we'd recognize as Arabic, 8000 years in the future, is ludicrous in the first place. Afro-Asiatic languages barely existed 8000 years ago, and Semitic is only back 6000. Even if you assume voice recordings slow linguistic change by half, we're still talking 4000 years—the difference between the first Egyptian ever written, and the last form of Coptic before the Ottomans finally killed it off.

    Just assume anything that looks like an existing language in Dune is translation convention, like the English, Old English, and Old Norse in Lord of the Rings.


Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology anthropology aphorisms Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor Hunters Moon hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics potpourri psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the russians are coming the spiral arm the writing life thomism thought for the day thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play wuv xmas you can't make this stuff up