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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Astronomy 101 for idiots


I just watched the beginning of David Lynch's Dune on BBC America. I HATE it when movies or TV shows talk about something being important to THE UNIVERSE. The terrible Dune prologue goes on and on about how Shadaam IV is the Emperor of the *Known Universe* and that the Spice is the most important thing in the Universe.

The Universe consists of billions of galaxies, most of which are so far apart that travel between them is not possible, regardless of your space-fold technology. And even if you could travel between galaxies, there are a billion billion potential life-bearing planets. I don't care how many galaxies you control, it's insignificant when compared to the Universe.

No one can be the Emperor of all that. Get over yourself.

Sheesh.

5 comments:

Eric Haas said...

In Dune, “Known Universe” refers to that region that has been explored by humanity. Until the Scattering, however, the “Known Universe” doesn’t extend past the Orion arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

Eric Haas said...

Irulan’s comment about Spice being the most precious thing in the universe seem to be Lynch’s invention.

Ipecac said...

The fact that Herbert misused the term "universe" doesn't make it better. :-) Kind of like saying, "I'm the most handsome man on Earth, and by Earth I mean my garage."

The Fifth Element has a stupid bit of dialogue along the same lines, "It’s gobbling up all the communications satellites in the galaxy.” Yes, all of them IN THE GALAXY, even those a hundred-thousand light-years away. Oy.

And, of course, the original Battlestar Galactica was infamous for substituting the term galaxy for star system.

Eric Haas said...

I don’t know that Herbert did misuse it. The characters in his books misused the term, specifically the Padishah emperors, but that could be Herbert’s way of showing how the emperors over aggrandized themselves. There’s certainly ample precedent for that.

Ipecac said...

Fair point.

The problem with the movie is that the narrator says it, which loses the potential editorial intent of having the Emperor say it.