Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

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Naib
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Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Naib » 25 Jul 2014 07:51

Here is a little article about Frank and how mushrooms were the inspiration for Spice Melange:

http://dailygrail.com/Shamanism/2014/7/Magic-Mushrooms-were-the-Inspiration-Frank-Herberts-Science-Fiction-Epic-Dune

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Freakzilla
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Freakzilla » 30 Jul 2014 06:44

I think that saying "it's based on 'shrooms" is overly simplistic. There were (are) lots of psychedelic drugs around to be influenced by; hash and peyote come to mind.

Also, spice didn't "allow the bending of space. Holtzman generators did that, the spice gave the navigators prescient vision to predict the safe path.
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Omphalos » 30 Jul 2014 11:27

I have seen this article all over facebook, and did not bother to read it because I figured it would be too naive. Sounds like it is.

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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Freakzilla » 30 Jul 2014 13:40

I have too, and it kind of is. Stating FH told the guy that Dune was heavily influence by 'shrooms sounds fishy to me. Dreamer of Dune talked about Frank picking mushrooms (for food) at his Oregon home but that was later in his career. Brian made a bigger deal out of the hash candy Frank took accidentally in Mexico. Then again, he probably didn't make it a point to share all of his drug experiences with his kids, either.
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lotek
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby lotek » 31 Jul 2014 05:35

It reminded me of Dick's Transmigration of Timothy Archer, and some of the Terrence McKenna stuff.
I guess that in the 60s, mind altering drugs were still an utopia and something that most sf writers would be influenced by, albeit culturally.

But spice is only barely a psychedelic drug, it could be argued it gets you high but we have nothing to compare it with in our world.
Spice is the worm's gonads.

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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Serkanner » 31 Jul 2014 06:00

Spice is also based on oil ... limited resources.
"... 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: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2014 06:30

I think it was Tim O'Reilly who compared it to peyote as a sacrament by the native Americans.
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lotek
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby lotek » 31 Jul 2014 06:33

Apparenty so, nice one.

The experiences the Water of Life provokes among the Fremen were probably suggested to Herbert by peyote or other naturally occurring hallucinogens used by American Indians in their religious rites. As noted earlier, the Fremen were modeled in part on the Navajo and other Indians of the Southwest. As with the Arabs, Herbert's borrowings are accurate but selective. He has carefully reproduced certain elements of the culture, modified others to suit subtle purposes, and omitted others entirely. In this case he uses his selections to make an important point about drug use.

http://www.oreilly.com/tim/herbert/ch04.html
Spice is the worm's gonads.

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Freakzilla
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2014 06:51

Serkanner wrote:Spice is also based on oil ... limited resources.


Right, this just strengthens the point that "spice is 'shrooms!" is simplistic. While it does have obvious similarities FH was much deeper than that.
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Naib
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Naib » 31 Jul 2014 09:11

While I've always understood the Frank used spice as a metaphor for oil, I often thought the fact that he used the term melange might indicate some inspiration from Ras el Hanout in general terms of taste and colour with Cinnamon/Cassia being the predominate flavour with many undertones that can alter each time you taste it. I thought this ever since Yueh's *spits* and Jessica's conversation:

'Can you remember your first taste of Spice?'
'It tasted like cinnamon.'
'But never twice the same,' he said. ' It's like life - it presents a different face each time you take it.'

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Serkanner
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Serkanner » 31 Jul 2014 15:59

Naib wrote:While I've always understood the Frank used spice as a metaphor for oil, I often thought the fact that he used the term melange might indicate some inspiration from Ras el Hanout in general terms of taste and colour with Cinnamon/Cassia being the predominate flavour with many undertones that can alter each time you taste it. I thought this ever since Yueh's *spits* and Jessica's conversation:

'Can you remember your first taste of Spice?'
'It tasted like cinnamon.'
'But never twice the same,' he said. ' It's like life - it presents a different face each time you take it.'


I completely agree with that. Frank never used just one possible explanation. It is what makes his work so utterly brilliant.
"... 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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Freakzilla
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Re: Frank Herbert, Mushrooms and Spice

Postby Freakzilla » 31 Jul 2014 20:40

Freakzilla wrote:God damn, isn't that what I said?


Momma said knock you out.
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Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman


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