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    Obliterators

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    Obliterators

    Postby Smiley » 03 Dec 2014 19:57

    I just finished re-reading Hunters of Dune and plan on doing a review on it soon. As I have not seen this addressed (my apologies if it has been) this device in the sequels has bothered me.
    At first, I thought they were cannon and mentioned in Chapterhouse, but they weren't. But it does bring up a question: are these obliterators needed? My assumption from Chapterhouse and Heretics is that the HMs basically dropped many, many nuclear bombs of some sort on Rakis and charred it. In Dune Messiah we learn about stone burners, that can crack a planet open. Now I know that Frank Herbert was a bit vague on some of the technologies, but it seems like the Great Houses atomics would be enough to destroy all life on a planet, and a few hundred stone burners could disfigure a planet completely right?
    I know KJA likes to make uber-thingies like the sun crusher, but if the atomic weapons in the previous books could do the job it seems like he invented a problem (dune's atomics not being powerful enough) and then came up with a solution.
    Humanity has had plently of time between the first migration into space (presumably still our future) and the formation of the Guild in which to develop more powerful nuclear weapons. A long time to make a bigger, badder bombs even if we assume they stopped developoing them after the great convention. And even then people might have been monkeying with them just in case, which gives us at least ten thousand years. In the Scattering, I am sure they came up with even more weapons of mass destruction. I am not arguing that they would not have invented uber-planet-killy things, just that hunters mentions that traditional atomics don't cut it I am going to look back at Heretics to see if how Rakis was charred is written out, I just don't think these things serve any purpose even in the sequels/prequels. Especially since atomics seemed to have done the job in the legends series.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby SandRider » 03 Dec 2014 20:04

    OK, see, your first mistake is trying to figure out why Keith did something; this is an empty void,
    filled with nothing but pain, bile, and despair. Actually, your FIRST mistake is reading any of the
    McDune for any other reason than to publicly mock it. You might as well be asking us, un-ironically,
    who would win in a fight, Stilgar or Iron Man ...
    Last edited by SandRider on 03 Dec 2014 22:28, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Smiley » 03 Dec 2014 22:13

    Alright, fair enough.

    I may not be interested in mocking, per say but I am thinking of doing a review which will most likely be a good thrashing.
    Perhaps I should restate the part I wanted an answer to:


    Are the atomics, as presented by Frank Herbert, including stone burners enough to reduce Rakis to charred ball?

    I currently think stone burners could easily do it, but I am not sure. (I am thinking lots of them)

    As to why Keith does things, he is a poor writer and likes making uber-thingies. I may have been rambling but I am trying to decide whether to consider the obliterators an inconsistency or a different type of stupid.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby SandRider » 03 Dec 2014 22:31

    hey, there's a good thread title:

    Inconsistency or a different type of stupid ?
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Smiley » 03 Dec 2014 22:46

    Ahh damn should have thought of that first.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 Dec 2014 06:50

    Smiley wrote:Are the atomics, as presented by Frank Herbert, including stone burners enough to reduce Rakis to charred ball?


    Duncan felt his mentat awareness coruscate as it shot through memory data of
    itself, completely impervious to the passage of time. Arriving at the conviction
    that House Corrino would not risk an illegal atomic attack, he did this in
    flash-computation, the main decisional pathway, but he was perfectly aware of
    the elements which went into this conviction: The Imperium commanded as many
    nuclear and allied weapons as all the Great Houses combined. At least half the
    Great Houses would react without thinking if House Corrino broke the Convention.
    The Atreides off-planet retaliation system would be joined by overwhelming
    force, and no need to summon any of them. Fear would do the calling. Salusa
    Secundus and its allies would vanish in hot clouds.
    House Corrino would not risk
    such a holocaust. They were undoubtedly sincere in subscribing to the argument
    that nuclear weapons were a reserve held for one purpose: defense of humankind
    should a threatening "other intelligence" ever be encountered.

    ~CoD

    Is vanishing in hot clouds close enough to charred? :wink:
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 Dec 2014 06:52

    From what little I know about our present day nuclear weapons, the yield of our present hydrogen bomb is only limited by the amount of hydrogen in it.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Serkanner » 04 Dec 2014 09:22

    If I remember correctly in Messiah it was feared that the stoneburner used in the attempt at Paul's life had the potential to burn itself into the core of the planet, which then would blow up.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Freakzilla » 04 Dec 2014 09:29

    Paul remained silent, thinking what this weapon implied. Too much fuel in it
    and it'd cut its way into the planet's core. Dune's molten level lay deep, but
    the more dangerous for that. Such pressures released and out of control might
    split a planet, scattering lifeless bits and pieces through space.

    ~DM
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Smiley » 05 Dec 2014 01:46

    Thanks, Freak. So they are an inconsistency, but one of the more maddening ones because they make a plot point out of it. Yes, Frank Herbert has some inconsistencies too, but at least he did not make as many it seems, and he wrote great stories.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby lotek » 05 Dec 2014 10:41

    it seems like he invented a problem and then came up with a solution.


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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Serkanner » 05 Dec 2014 16:15

    Freakzilla wrote:Paul remained silent, thinking what this weapon implied. Too much fuel in it
    and it'd cut its way into the planet's core. Dune's molten level lay deep, but
    the more dangerous for that. Such pressures released and out of control might
    split a planet, scattering lifeless bits and pieces through space.

    ~DM


    :D ... that is the one. I really need to re-read the series again.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

    Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
    and wrote a Dune Novel."
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby MuaB'Beep » 02 Jan 2015 18:54

    I think that Frank Herbert basically eliminated any need for "super-weapons" that KJA so much loves. Lasguns are personal weapons that are general use from flamethrowers to horizon precision weapons without any flaws or protection possible. Stone burners have variable yield that can be used tactically or to destroy planets.

    This begs the question actually how big stone burner is and how much power does it have? I know the limits of nuclear weapon design - SUNDIAL as designed by Teller was 10,000 Mt range triple-action dirty bomb that would weight approx 5,000 tons (it is a size of a warship if used plutonium-uranium solution or just 500kg of matter/antimatter + highly magnetized casing).

    You need approx 7 exotons of energy to burn into the earth crust. This makes 7,000,000,000,000 Mt needed - around 750 million times more than SUNDIAL was potent of. When we take into account that this energy must be directed (the best possible result being cone of 22 degrees of nuclear blast) then I seriously doubt that stone burners could be nuclear weapons in the modern sense.

    Even if it had 100% efficency it would still weight 7,000,000,000 tons - it is around the weight of 20,000 empire state buildings. In case of a matter/antimatter bomb with 100% efficency it still would weight 700,000,000 tons. Of course we can always dispose everything with "it's good ol' Holtzmann effect magic".
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby georgiedenbro » 03 Jan 2015 03:35

    DM wrote:"That which is dark and evil may be seen for evil at any distance," Farok said, advising delay.
    Why? Scytale wondered. But he said: "How did your son lose his eyes?"
    "The Naraj defenders used a stone burner," Farok said. "My son was too close. Cursed atomics! Even the stone burner should be outlawed."
    "It skirts the intent of the law," Scytale agreed. And he thought: A stone burner on Naraj! We weren't told of that. Why does this old man speak of stone burners here?


    This passage indicates that stone burners were not precisely equivalent to the atomics (i.e. nuclear devices) owned by the Great Houses.

    DM wrote:The ground grew hot beneath Paul. He heard the sound of running stop. Men threw themselves down all around him, every one of them aware that there was no point in running. The first damage had been done; and now they must wait out the extent of the stone burner's potency. The things's radiation, which no man could outrun, already had penetrated their flesh. The peculiar result of stone-burner radiation already was at work in them. What else this weapon might do now lay in the planning of the men who had used it, the men who had defied the Great Convention to use it.


    This passage seem to do more to imply that stone burners defy the Great Convention, meaning they're considered to count as an atomic device for all intents and purposes.

    DM wrote:"They used a stone burner," Paul said.
    After the briefest pause, the man said: "So I was told, Sire."
    "You know what that means, of course."
    "The fuel could only have been atomic."
    Paul nodded, thinking of how this man's mind must be racing. Atomics. The Great Convention prohibited such weapons. Discovery of the perpetrator would bring down the combined retributive assault of the Great Houses. Old feuds would be forgotten, discarded in the face of this threat and the ancient fears it aroused.


    This passage more directly implies that a stone burner really is an atomic device after all, or at least uses "atomic fuel", whatever that means. That might mean it uses fusion or fission as a power source, but not necessarily to create an explosive effect, since nuclear reactors also use 'atomic fuel' but aren't themselves nuclear weapons. It might also imply an antimatter power source, since particle/anti-particle collisions would also be 'atomic' in nature. But there might be another method altogether of utilizing atoms that is not like either of these. Maybe it has to do with some weird quantum effects we haven't discovered yet.

    Also note that neither Dune nor DM invokes the word "nuclear" even once. CoD does use the word "nuclear" to refer to house atomics, but not to refer to stone burners specifically. There seems to be no reason, then, to believe that a stone burner specifically makes use of the nuclei of atoms to produce its power. An antimatter reaction isn't 'nuclear', for instance, even though it's 'atomic'. It seems entirely plausible from Korba's comment that the intent of the Great Convention was to ban nuclear (fusion/fission) weapons, which at the time of its drafting were the only kinds of atomic weapons there were, but that later atomic technology came to include devices such as the stone burner. This would mean that stone burner technology is something that didn't come to exist for at least 15,000-20,000 years from now (i.e. seriously advanced).

    Also noteworthy is that the word "nuclear" doesn't appear at all in GEoD or HoD, but does appear in CH:D, here:

    CH:D wrote:Strewing the escape lanes around Lampadas with deathtraps, the Foldspace perimeter seeded with small no-globes, each containing a field projector and a lasgun to fire on contact. When the laser hit the Holzmann generator in the noglobe, a chain reaction released the nuclear energy.


    Although we already knew from before that Holtzmann reactions created an atomic effect (and where deliberate use of this effect on humans was banned), this passage specifies that the Holtzmann effect can include 'nuclear' interactions, in this case perhaps fusion. But who knows, really.

    I always thought of a stone burner as being a super-precise instrument, since Paul indicates it can be set quite carefully by its users to do harm at various levels. This makes me think of it as something fueled by some sort of atomic furnace but utilizing a completely foreign kind of technology as its actual destructive weapon. May as well call it an atomic-powered death ray. Stone burners were probably taboo because they were technically atomic weapons, even though an atomic explosion wasn't their actual destructive effect.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby SandRider » 04 Jan 2015 19:53

    SandRider wrote: You might as well be asking us, un-ironically,
    who would win in a fight, Stilgar or Iron Man ...


    Iron Man FTW, BTW
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby MuaB'Beep » 12 Jan 2015 07:35

    georgiedenbro wrote:I always thought of a stone burner as being a super-precise instrument, since Paul indicates it can be set quite carefully by its users to do harm at various levels. This makes me think of it as something fueled by some sort of atomic furnace but utilizing a completely foreign kind of technology as its actual destructive weapon. May as well call it an atomic-powered death ray. Stone burners were probably taboo because they were technically atomic weapons, even though an atomic explosion wasn't their actual destructive effect.


    I think I found a solution that has no contradiction of what FH wrote - stone burner is a nuclear-powered shaped charge. All my rambling where about a nuclear firecracker (this how current nuclear weapons work) - with invert square law applied they have to be immensely powerful to achieve what stone burner could do. But if a warhead made from incredibly dense material and nuclear explosion is efficent and well directed (and in chemistry and engineering dune universe is far more advanced than ours) then stone burners could be reasonable size (still probably not man-portable). Everything that is sufficently accelerated (by atomic blast) has more kinetic power than it's equivalent of matter/antimatter mass reaction.

    Stone burners by being a nuclear shaped charge we achieve canon because:
    1. it is a nuclear device
    2. it is not a nuclear bomb per se
    3. it is not the same as atomics that great houses have
    4. it is a specialized device
    5. it can do what it can without being physically impossible
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby D Pope » 13 Jan 2015 11:08

    I've always thought of the stone burner as a china syndrome sort of thing. Fissionable material
    simply gets so hot, it burns a hole through to China. Melting eyes is just a side effect that
    advances the story. Am I missing something?
    Leto II is gone for good, except for OM. The "pearl" was just that; a miniscule portion of what Leto was, and not a compressed version of the whole. The pearl that the worms have do not make them Leto, or in any way similar to him.
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    Re: Obliterators

    Postby Serkanner » 13 Jan 2015 13:31

    D Pope wrote:I've always thought of the stone burner as a china syndrome sort of thing. Fissionable material
    simply gets so hot, it burns a hole through to China. Melting eyes is just a side effect that
    advances the story. Am I missing something?


    That has been my interpretation as well.
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

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