A Case of Conscience

Ballantine Books &
Richard Powers art…Class.

Book One of ‘A Case of Conscience’ (as I understand) is the original novella published in the September 1953 issue of
IF: Worlds of Science Fiction.
If the story had ended there I would have had plenty to think on, let alone to deal with that stunning end.
Fortunately there is a whole second book ahead of me as I devour this fantastic bit of ‘sci-fi’.

On and on the text ran, becoming more tangled, more evil, more insoluble with every word.

 Almost all knowledge, after all, fell into that category.
It was either perfectly simple once you understood it, or else it fell apart into fiction…
all knowledge goes through both stages, the annunciation out of the noise into fact, and the disintegration back into noise  again.
The process involved was the making of increasingly finer distinctions.
The outcome was an endless series of theoretical catastrophes.

 All that remained of it was a sensation, almost the taste of the words, but nothing of their substance.

 Belief and science aren’t mutually exclusive — quite the contrary.
But if you place scientific standards first, and exclude belief, admit nothing that’s not proven, then what you have is a series of empty gestures.

Dune: Second Half

And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life — we went soft, we lost our edge.

Then, as the planet killed him, it occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error.

 Yet, it is possible to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection.
It is clear that the ultimate pattern contains its own fixity.
In such perfection, all things move toward death.

 The differences in the ways he comprehended the universe haunted him — accuracy matched with inaccuracy.
He saw it in situ.
Yet, when it was born, when it came into the pressures of reality, the now had its own life and grew with its own subtle differences.

 How often it is that the angry man rages denial of what his inner self is telling him.

One of the brotherhood of prophets. (A term of scorn in the Imperium, meaning any “wild” person given to fanatical prediction.)

“Do you have any idea who this Muad’Dib could be?” the Emperor asked.

“One of the Umma, surely,” the Baron said.
“A Fremen fanatic, a religious adventurer. They crop up regularly on the fringes of civilization.
Your Majesty knows this.”

The eye that looks ahead to the safe course is closed forever.

“I never knew the city man could be trusted completely,” Stilgar said.
“I was a city man myself once,” Paul said.

These city people have Fremen blood.
It’s just that they haven’t yet learned how to escape their bondage.
We’ll teach them.

Dune: First Half

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them. 

The Fremen have a saying they credit to Shai-hulud, Old Father Eternity, ‘Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.’ 

And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning, ‘That path leads ever down into stagnation.’

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

To stop, to rest…truly rest.
It occurred to her that mercy was the ability to stop,if only for a moment.
There was no mercy where there could be no stopping. 

I should’ve suspected trouble when the coffee failed to arrive.