Whipping Star by Frank Herbert, first published in 1970, explores among many things the complexities of communication; heightened by hyperbole as between xenological species but also as an allegory for human relations.
I once cross-examined a troglodyte who was being intentionally evasive and it was maddening. Reading passages in this book was akin to that experience, yet Herbert uses it as an illustration of the frailty of relational semantics.
Another aspect of this book that was disc ...more
Like a lot of Herbert fans, I was introduced to Frank Herbert through Dune and its original quintet of sequels. And like a lot of Herbert fans, I kind of stopped there. It was only later, years later, that I bothered to read some of his other books. And while the Dune saga still represents his most complete vision and best storytelling (at least through the first four books), and is deservedly his best-known work, I've started to realize that some of his most truly impressive feats ...more
And what a fun novel!
It's a bit hard to describe. The story takes place in a future where humans and aliens coexist across the galaxy. The plot begins as a villain attempts to kill a Calebian, an alien with the power to teleport anyone across star systems. Our protagonist, Jorg McKie, is a ...more
In a universe made smaller by instantaneous travel, a mystery unfolds as the creatures who make such travel possible are disappearing. In fact, many have transferred their "connectives" such that there is just one, the Caleban named Fannie Mae. Jorj X. McGie of the Bureau of Sabotage (BuSab), an agency responsible for slowing down a hyper-efficient universal government, is specifically cal...more
SF books come in different genres. You have military, political, biological, psychological, mystery, romance, etc, one common point being they are based on a futuri ...more
This other "WHIPPING STAR" is swell though. Frank's little obtuse and abstract words and concepts hobble around and die and later get picked up and slapped back to life when you are completely confused and he nonchalantly needs to explain the word/concept for the story's sake which works m ...more
McKie is a Saboteur Extraordinary of the Bureau of Sabotage, a strange governmental body which has grown like a cross between a vital hormonal gland in the galactic government, throwing sand in the works of a machinery of government that is too perfect. His vital mission this time is to sabotage the whipping to death of a Caleban at the hands of an ...more
Let me start again. What are the natures of intelligence, communication, pain, compulsion, identity, compassion & the role(s) of government? The prose - it's Herbert after all, is dense, intense, often confusing (frequent re-reads), but full of the excitement of ideas, by a very go ...more
I am not kidding. That is the plot to this fantastic novel which might surpass even Herbert's own mighty "Dune" saga for its sheer alien weirdness and delightful w ...more
The ending is a little short, but its at least its not a cliffhanger. More detail could have been put into Athnea, i think her cha ...more
Our reality exist only in our mind, but what kind of reality is there outside our mind? How could we explore a reality outside our minds? Aristotle, Plato, Frege, Wittgenstein, Russell, even John Ellis and others tried to understand it and we see this struggle from a different perspective in this book, in a fictional universe.
I highly recommend it to introspective people ...more
A highly amusing read. A mix of very dry and often, but not always, sarcastic humor with several interesting ideas. However, this book is not without heart. Another thing to note, is a lot of the humor is language based.
Some more about the book:
The book rests on and deals with the limits of communication and language, both between humans and even more so, between alien species. It is the main theme and it suffuses everything, which is not a problem, because it is a good subject ...more
He is best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, dealt with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power, and is widely considered to be among the classi ...more