sand dune with spy overlay

The Bene Gesserit’s Schooling in Espionage and Politics

Knowledge is power, and the Bene Gesserit women in Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune (1965) don’t leave school until they have learned languages, politics, espionage, and other subjects in preparation for their roles as members or agents of this secretive organization. This article explores these aspects of their training, as the third in a multi-part series on the Bene Gesserit’s abilities. (See part 1, real-world influences, and part 2, nerve and muscle control.) Women in Espionage Although what comes to mind when you think of a well-trained agent or spy may not be a woman, historically women have “effectively

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person doing yoga at sunset

The Bene Gesserit’s Nerve and Muscle Control

Suspending oneself in hibernation, controlling pregnancies, and besting others in hand-to-hand combat are just some of the bodily abilities the Bene Gesserit women in Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune (1965) unlock through their rigorous prana-bindu training. This article explores these aspects of their skillset as the second in a multi-part series on the Bene Gesserit’s abilities. The foundation of the Bene Gesserit’s self-determination is their training in prana-bindu, which gives them precise control over every nerve and muscle in the body. The Sanskrit origin of these terms points to a connection with Eastern philosophies and traditions around the mind-body

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Bene Gesserit from Dune

Who Are the Bene Gesserit

The women of the Bene Gesserit in Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune train themselves in rigorous control of body and mind to gain a wide array of skills. With religion as a cover, they use these skills to wield political influence under the noses of the Imperium’s most powerful rulers. What kind of skills? The Bene Gesserit can: choose when to conceive and the sex of their fetus gain expanded consciousness of their female ancestor’ memories implant phrases in others’ subconscious to control them in the future alter the chemical composition of poisons in their body to make them

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planet with light glare on top

My First WorldCon in Aotearoa New Zealand

Indigenous voices were the first ones I heard at CoNZealand – the 78th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) that was based in Aotearoa New Zealand but went virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This happened to be due to the fact that I had work until mid-afternoon on opening day so had missed the previous sessions, but the “Infinite Entangled Futures: Indigenous Voices in Conversation” panel was a wonderful introduction to my first WorldCon. Admittedly, I wouldn’t consider myself a typical science fiction and fantasy (SFF) fan, even though I have enjoyed these genres since youth and devoted a considerable

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sand dune with blue sky

Falling for Dune

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows.” – From “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan (Dune pg 3*) I discovered Dune (1965) because the book had been bothering me. When I was a young teenager, my family bought our first desktop computer, and I started spending more time in the home office. But every time I walked by the row of bookshelves in the room, I saw the orange and brown spines of a set of books sitting by themselves on the highest

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