Evolution of Gholas

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Evolution of Gholas

Postby Tleilax Master B » 12 Feb 2008 18:29

I've posted this elsewhere, but wanted it archived here as well. I've made the argument that Frank's concepts of gholas changed over time. I believe originally (i.e. Hayt), gholas were regenerated/reaminated (use whatever term you like) cadavers, requiring a preserved corpse and more than just a few cells. Here wounds would be regrown and the body brought back to life. By the time of GEoD, the Duncan's are being made from just a few cells that the BT saved from the original cadaver (before it is restored as "Hayt"). Here is my evidence:

In DM:

"No Face Dancer," Edric said. "A Face Dancer risks exposure under prolonged surveillance. No; let us assume that our wise Sardaukar commander had Idaho's corpse preserved for the axolotl tanks. Why not? This corpse held the flesh and nerves of one of the finest swordsmen in history, an adviser to the Atreides, a military genius. What a waste to lose all that training and ability when it might be revived as an instructor for the Sardaukar."

Thus the corpse had to be preserved and brought back, with the same flesh and nerves. This is also the case when Bijaz offers to make a Chani ghola for Paul--they need to get the corpse preserved so they can go back and regenerate it for him.

"It's not too late, m'Lord," Bijaz said. "Will you have your love back? We can restore her to you. A ghola, yes. But now -- we hold out the full restoration. Shall we summon servants with a cryological tank, preserve the flesh of your beloved . . . "

Here the wounds Duncan sustained are "regrown" to make Hayt (note, only the wounds, not the whole body):

Edric rolled in the tank, bringing his attention to bear on the ghola. "This is a man called Hayt," he said, spelling the name. "According to our investigators, he has a most curious history. He was killed here on Arrakis . . . a grievous head-wound which required many months of regrowth. The body was sold to the Bene Tleilax as that of a master swordsman, an adept of the Ginaz School. It came to our attention that this must be Duncan Idaho, the trusted retainer of your household. We bought him as a gift befitting an Emperor."

When Alia and Duncan find the body in the desert, it is too far gone to regrow as a ghola:

"We may never learn who it was died here," he said. "The head, the teeth are gone. The hands . . . Unlikely such a one had a genetic record somewhere to which her cells could be matched."
"Tleilaxu poison," she said. "What do you make of that?"
"Many people buy such poisons."
"True enough. And this flesh is too far gone to be regrown as was done with your body."
"Even if you could trust the Tleilaxu to do it," he said.
She nodded, stood. "You will fly me back to the city now."


[EDIT: thanks Phaedrus for reminding me of the following two quotes from DM]

"You are not Hayt," the dwarf said. "You are Duncan Idaho I was there when they put your dead flesh into the tank and I was there when they removed it, alive and ready for training."

"We had a terrific struggle with you. The flesh did not want to come back."

By the time of GEoD, only cells from the cadaver are needed to make a ghola. Thus, the cells of the original Duncan are saved and used regularly to send Duncan gholas to the Tyrant. Each one made from original cells, none of which had Hayt's memories or any previous Duncan ghola (i.e. serial ghola).

The man knew intellectually that he was only the latest in a long
line of fleshly revivals, all products of the Tleilaxu axlotl tanks and taken from the original cells at that. The Duncan could not escape his revived memories. He knew that the Atreides had rescued him from Harkonnen bondage.
(GEoD)

I am a ghola, he told himself.
That had been a shock, but he had to believe it. To find himself living when he knew he had died, that was proof enough. The Tleilaxu had taken cells from his dead flesh and they had grown a bud in one of their axlotl tanks. That bud had become this body in a process which had made him feel at first an alien in his own flesh.


The potential victims always survive, Leto thought. At least for the Duncans I see. There have been slips, the fake Paul slain and the Duncans wasted. But there are always more cells carefully
preserved from the original
.


"They believe I will not destroy them because they hold the original cells of my Duncan Idaho," Leto said. "Do you understand, Duncan?"


Now both of these cases involved cadavers, either whole bodies initially or cells of the corpse preserved. If the cells are extraced from a living person, that person is technically a clone. Such as what were taken from Teg.

He favored the two women with a short glance but remained silent, apparently unmoved by the intensity of their inspection.
Tamalane frowned. She had disagreed from the first with calling this child a ghola. Gholas were grown from cells of a cadaver. This was a clone, just as Scytale was a clone.



Any thoughts? Flaws in my logic?
Last edited by Tleilax Master B on 13 Feb 2008 15:22, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Freakzilla » 12 Feb 2008 18:39

Just one.

Note how in the end of DM, Scytale and Bijaz feel the need to impress the fact that time is of the essence to put Chani's body into a nullentropy field.

A certain amount of decay would prohibit regrowth, as with the body of Lichna Alia and Duncan were examining, saying it's too far gone. IIRC, she was just bones by the time they found her.

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Postby Tleilax Master B » 12 Feb 2008 18:55

Freakzilla wrote:Just one.

Note how in the end of DM, Scytale and Bijaz feel the need to impress the fact that time is of the essence to put Chani's body into a nullentropy field.

A certain amount of decay would prohibit regrowth, as with the body of Lichna Alia and Duncan were examining, saying it's too far gone. IIRC, she was just bones by the time they found her.


There was still some flesh left:

Alia crouched, resting elbows on knees, chin on fists, stared at the body onthe dune -- a few bones and some tattered flesh that once had been a young woman. The hands, the head, most of the upper torso were gone -- eaten by the coriolis wind. The sand all around bore the tracks of her brother's medics and questors. They were gone now, all excepting the mortuary attendants who stood to one side with Hayt, the ghola, waiting for her to finish her mysterious perusal of what had been written here.

Which I think furthers my point; there were obviously some cells left, but the body had decayed to far to be brought back as a ghola. Compare that, of course, with the fact that Scytale says they found cells of Paul for the nullentropy tube by searching through garments for just a few cells (which was apparently enough to make a ghola at that late stage in the series).
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Postby Freakzilla » 12 Feb 2008 19:14

But what is the condition of those cells? See what I'm saying? You could assume there's bone marrow or that they could even make a ghola from bone cells. But if they've dehydrated they may not be suitable for regrowth.

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Postby Tleilax Master B » 12 Feb 2008 19:27

IOW, that's not as much evidence for regrowing the cadavers; it could still be evidence that they could do a whole ghola from just a few cells, its just that the cells had decayed too far for it to work. That is possible; but I think its heavily implied in the chapterhouse scene that the cells of Paul and Chani were from the garments of the dead when they retrieved them:

Paul Atreides and his beloved Chani were there. (Oh what
that had cost in searching garments of the dead for random cells!)


That implies to me they were searching garments after the fact and getting cells; presumably some time later. Maybe at this point (CHoD) the BT could make a ghola from even older, decayed cells?
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Postby Omphalos » 12 Feb 2008 19:38

Sorry, no books handy, but isnt that what Sctytale says when he shows Hayt to the others in the conspiracy?

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Postby Freakzilla » 12 Feb 2008 19:43

Yes, I think BT technology could have improved to where they could do that.

But I don't think that quote implies that the cells were old. Chani died in Seitch Tabr and Paul Died in Arrakeen.

Fremen don't leave their dead lying around, they are immediately rushed to the deathstill. It's not inconceivable that there were Face Dancers there to gather their robes.

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Postby Freakzilla » 12 Feb 2008 19:44

Omphalos wrote:Sorry, no books handy, but isnt that what Sctytale says when he shows Hayt to the others in the conspiracy?


I believe that's from CH:D, talking about the cells in his nullentropy tube.

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Postby Phaedrus » 12 Feb 2008 19:46

To add strength to your argument, you should quote Bijaz:
"You are not Hayu," the dwarf said. "You are Duncan Idaho I was there when they put your dead flesh into the tank and I was there when they removed it, alive and ready for training."


"We had a terrific struggle with you. The flesh did not want to come back."


The original ghola process seems like they fixed a dead corpse and literally reanimated it, only it was a blank slate, without the memories and personality of the original human.

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Postby The Sons of Idaho » 12 Feb 2008 19:47

I agree that Frank Herbert's concept of gholas probably changed over time, and that is not the only time we have seen something like that.

But I think this could be explained as simply a progression of the technology. About 3500 years did pass before GEoD.
In the time of Muad'Dib it may have been a very different process, one which required the preserved corpse and needed the actual wounds to be regrown.
Over time, it could have been developed into what it became - sort of a combination of the existing Ghola technology (needing the full body) and cloning technology (needing only a few cells, but needing them alive). The result would basically be cloning technology that can be used on dead cells - the new Ghola.
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 12 Feb 2008 20:32

Phaedrus wrote:To add strength to your argument, you should quote Bijaz:
"You are not Hayu," the dwarf said. "You are Duncan Idaho I was there when they put your dead flesh into the tank and I was there when they removed it, alive and ready for training."


"We had a terrific struggle with you. The flesh did not want to come back."


The original ghola process seems like they fixed a dead corpse and literally reanimated it, only it was a blank slate, without the memories and personality of the original human.


Excellent Phaedrus! I completely forgot about those!
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Postby Tleilax Master B » 13 Feb 2008 16:02

The Sons of Idaho wrote:I agree that Frank Herbert's concept of gholas probably changed over time, and that is not the only time we have seen something like that.

But I think this could be explained as simply a progression of the technology. About 3500 years did pass before GEoD.
In the time of Muad'Dib it may have been a very different process, one which required the preserved corpse and needed the actual wounds to be regrown.
Over time, it could have been developed into what it became - sort of a combination of the existing Ghola technology (needing the full body) and cloning technology (needing only a few cells, but needing them alive). The result would basically be cloning technology that can be used on dead cells - the new Ghola.


That's pretty much what I'm saying SofI. Frank deliberately "improved" the techniques/technology as he wrote the series, which also had the effect of ghola making/cloning playing a more signficant role in the plot as the stories move along. And as you stated, it makes perfect sense that over some 4000 years it would improve. And we see concurrent improvements as well, including the restoration of memories, essentially immortality of Masters through serial gholas, production of Melange in tanks, and presumably production of better Face Dancer, Futars and "Phibians" (assuming that's what they were intended to be named :roll: )
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Postby inhuien » 17 Feb 2008 07:08

I’m with you on this TMB, Your quotes certainly support your theory. The only counter that I can think of is that both technologies were available to the BT masters at the time of the first book and they decided to regrow/repair Idaho from pressures of time or they believed that it would increase the likelihood of full memory restoration in Idaho.
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Postby Tyrant » 17 Feb 2008 16:27

maybe this was already stated...but around the dune messiah era maybe they couldnt make that kind of clones yet...maybe all they could do is gholas....gholas regaining their memories was new with hayt...so it was still a new process untested with clones..idk...just my 2 cents
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Postby Simon » 17 Feb 2008 17:05

I agree with TMB on this one, there was definitely some evolution in the concept of what a ghola was and how they were produced. However I chalked all that up to unspoken improvements in technology (i.e the dropping of the metal eyes,etc..)

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Postby The Sons of Idaho » 18 Feb 2008 18:31

Tyrant wrote:maybe this was already stated...but around the dune messiah era maybe they couldnt make that kind of clones yet...maybe all they could do is gholas....gholas regaining their memories was new with hayt...so it was still a new process untested with clones..idk...just my 2 cents

I wouldn't assume that ghola technology predated cloning technology.
I mean, cloning is something that we are close to accomplishing today.

It makes more sense that cloning would have been mastered early on and then the BT would have expanded the idea to reviving/regrowing dead tissue. The ghola technology would have then developed over time to be more like a clone (needing only a few cells).

Tleilax Master B wrote:That's pretty much what I'm saying SofI

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Postby Tyrant Worm » 18 Feb 2008 18:38

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Duncan in Heretics and Chapterhouse have all of the memories of the other gholas/clones?
Atrocity is recognized as such by victim and perpetrator alike, by all who learn about it at whatever remove. Atrocity has no excuses, no mitigating argument. Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past. Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity. It is self-perpetuating upon itself—a barbarous form of incest. Whoever commits atrocity also commits those future atrocities thus bred.
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Postby SandChigger » 18 Feb 2008 22:54

I would correct you if you were wrong. :twisted:

But you're not, so I can't. ;)
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Postby Spicebeer » 19 Feb 2008 01:15

******THIS POST SPOILS INFORMATION FROM LATER FH DUNE BOOKS***

I'm tired so this may be a bit all over the place....
It seems like Frank's whole concept behind gholas and axlotl tanks changed...
putting a full sized corpse into the bloated womb of a BT woman doesn't seem feasible at all (but who knows it is science fiction). A valid conclusion may be...the original axlotl tanks were just some sort of chamber that just reanimated bodies of the recently deceased... and later on in the series the women of the BT were enslaved to become tanks(which may also be the explanation behind why spice could now be produced in the tanks, new tanks=more uses; and some sort of chemical reaction within the body is used to reproduce the same effects of a spice blow).
Also explaing why all later gholas derive from just cells and are delivered as babies... but then are any of these really gholas or just clones?
....and now a few side thoughts

some pros and cons
*pro
You can regrow a person without the whole body
a ghola can have another whole life time rather than being reborn at the age it left off
*con
you have to raise the damn thing

**
my head hurts I have reconsider this whole thing and the gholas that are regrown from cells and start as infants aren't even gholas and just clones... Gholas have to be whole bodies reanimated.
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Postby SandChigger » 19 Feb 2008 02:20

That's an interesting idea...that the "tanks" really were tanks in the beginning and the BT just kept the name later. Maybe that's how it actually evolved in FH's mind as well.

Wouldn't it be easier to keep straight if you just associate gholas with dead things?

In the earlier periods they are repaired and reanimated cadavers. Later, they are clones grown from genetic material taken from the dead. (The technology has progressed to the point where the whole cadaver is not needed, only a sample.) So Teg really isn't a ghola, but a clone (Odrade swiped living cells); everyone just calls him a ghola because he was grown after the original was dead. All the Duncans are gholas...unless of course some of them were grown from cells taken from a living Duncan...in which case they'd be clones of a ghola...or gholas of clones of a ghola.... :shock:

I hope that helped clear things up. :lol:
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Postby inhuien » 19 Feb 2008 05:15

Clear and clear :twisted:
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Postby Tyrant » 19 Feb 2008 05:24

The Sons of Idaho wrote:
Tyrant wrote:maybe this was already stated...but around the dune messiah era maybe they couldnt make that kind of clones yet...maybe all they could do is gholas....gholas regaining their memories was new with hayt...so it was still a new process untested with clones..idk...just my 2 cents

I wouldn't assume that ghola technology predated cloning technology.
I mean, cloning is something that we are close to accomplishing today.

It makes more sense that cloning would have been mastered early on and then the BT would have expanded the idea to reviving/regrowing dead tissue. The ghola technology would have then developed over time to be more like a clone (needing only a few cells).

Tleilax Master B wrote:That's pretty much what I'm saying SofI

HA... Sofie


im not saying cloning technology wasnt available (double negative..oh yeah!!)...what im saying is that recovering your cells memories with clones wasnt possible yet...or why bother with the ghola in the first place
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Postby SandChigger » 19 Feb 2008 07:21

(^ That wasn't no steenking double negative. :D )
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Postby Tyrant Worm » 19 Feb 2008 11:21

SandChigger wrote:I would correct you if you were wrong. :twisted:

But you're not, so I can't. ;)


So wouldn't each of Leto's new Duncan's have to be cloned/grown from the previous one. If the evolution of gholas proves to be true, they would need the cells from the previous one for the same Duncan to have the memories he did in HoD and CH:D. But then again, why couldn't the Duncan in GEoD remember the lives of the previous Duncans? Quite confusing.
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Postby SandChigger » 19 Feb 2008 12:21

There's a WHOLE lot of freaky going on with the Duncan gholas, but I'm not a big fan of the man myself, so someone else should probably jump in here....

Hayt was Duncan's cadaver repaired and reanimated. But he was also trained by the BT as a Mentat, but not all of the later Duncans were Mentats, so the BT obviously kept some of his genetic material (harvested before he underwent the training?) for use in creating the later gholas.

Not all of the ghola bodies would have been retrieved (or retrievable?) by the BT (it says in the books that there were gholas from which no cells were present in the last), so how the last Duncan could have had memories from all of them is one of the BIG MYSTERIES OF DUNCAN that FH presumably took to the grave with him.

(Even though I bought Sadworms, I don't buy Duncan as the "Ultimate KH" as presented therein.)
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