The incomparable vision and breathtaking detail of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad has made it one of speculative fiction's classic novels. Now, with all the vivid characters and complex plot twists beloved by legions of readers comes Dune: The Machine Crusade. The struggle against thinking robots has ground on for years, the forces led by Serena Butler have made only slight gains, and the human worlds grow weary of war. The fearsome Cymeks hatch new plots to regain their lost power from Omnius. The warriors of Ginaz forge themselves into an elite warrior class. Aurelius Venport and Norma Cenva are on the verge of the most important discovery in human history--a way to ""fold"" space and travel instantaneously to any place in the galaxy. And on the remote, nearly worthless planet of Arrakis, Selim Wormrider and his band of outlaws take the first steps toward making themselves the feared fighters who will change the course of history: the Fremen. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Seven years ago, the murder of Serena Butler's child Manion by the thinking machine Erasmus sparked a rebellion of the planets belonging to the League of Nobles against all machines controlled by the overmind Omnius. But the great jihad continues unabated. While Xavier Harkonnen and his comrade-in-arms Vorian Atreides carry on the war in space, Serena serves as the inspirational force that recruits more young men to fight, and the former slave master Iblis Gingo plots to become the power behind the jihad. The sequel to Dune: The Butlerian Jihad carries the prehistory of Frank Herbert's classic Dune forward through one of its most formative eras-the war against the machines. The authors' richness of detail and fidelity to the spirit of the original novel make this a strong addition to all of collections. Highly recommended. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 08, 2004
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Excerpt from Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert
The weakness of thinking machines is that they actually believe all the information they receive, and react accordingly.
-- VORIAN ATREIDES, fourth debriefing interview with League Armada
Leading a group of five ballistas in orbit over the canyon-scarred planet, Primero Vorian Atreides studied the robotic enemy forces aligned against him: sleek and silver, like predatory fish. Their efficient, functional design gave them the unintentional grace of sharp knives.
Omnius's combat monstrosities outnumbered the human ships ten to one, but because the Jihad battleships were equipped with overlapping layers of Holtzman shields, the enemy fleet could bombard the human vessels without inflicting any damage, and without advancing toward the surface of IV Anbus.
Although the human defenders did not have the necessary firepower to crush the machine forces or even repel them, the jihadis would continue to fight anyway. It was a standoff, humans and machines facing each other above the planet.
Omnius and his forces had secured many victories in the past seven years, conquering small backwater colonies and establishing outposts from which they launched relentless waves of attack. But now the Army of the Jihad had sworn to defend this Unallied Planet against the thinking machines at all costs -- whether or not the native population wanted it.
Down on the planet's surface, his fellow Primero, Xavier Harkonnen, was attempting yet another diplomatic foray with Zenshiite elders, the leaders of a primitive Buddislamic sect. Vor doubted his friend would make much progress. Xavier was too inflexible to be a good negotiator: his sense of duty and strict adherence to the objectives of the mission were always paramount in his mind.
Besides that, Xavier was biased against these people... and they undoubtedly realized it.
The thinking machines wanted IV Anbus. The Army of the Jihad had to stop them. If the Zenshiites wished to isolate themselves from the galactic conflict and not cooperate with the brave soldiers fighting to keep the human race free, then they were worthless. One time, Vor had jokingly compared Xavier to a machine, since he saw things in black-and-white terms, and the other man had scowled icily in response.
According to reports from the surface, the Zenshiite religious leaders had shown themselves to be just as stubborn as Primero Harkonnen. Both sides had dug in their heels.
Vor did not question his friend's command style, though it was quite different from his own. Having grown up among the thinking machines and trained as a trustee for them, Vor now embraced "humanness" in all of its facets, and was giddy with newfound freedom. He felt liberated when he played sports and gambled, or socialized and joked with other officers. It was so different from the way Agamemnon had taught him....
Out here in orbit, Vor knew the robot battleships would never retreat unless they were convinced, statistically, that they could not possibly win. In recent weeks he had been working on a complicated scheme to cause the Omnius fleet to break down, but wasn't ready to implement it yet. Soon, though.
This orbital stalemate was completely unlike the war games Vor enjoyed playing with the jihadi crewmen on patrol, or the amusing challenges he and the robot Seurat had set for each other years ago, during long voyages between stars. This tedious impasse offered little opportunity for fun.
He had been noticing patterns.
Soon the robotic fleet would cruise toward them like a cluster of piranhas in a retrograde orbit. Standing proud in his crisp dark green military uniform flashed with crimson -- the Jihad colors symbolizing life and spilled blood -- Vor would give orders directing all the battleships in his sentry fleet to activate Holtzman shields and monitor them for overheating.