Just saw “Ready Player One”. Surprisingly entertaining. Loaded with pop culture references, I laughed when I heard the Charm of Making from the 1981 movie Excalibur. Sadly I was the only one in the whole theatre who recognized the Charm of Making.

The movie felt like something written by Cory Doctorow. I’d read two of his books. I just checked google and yes, the film was based on Doctorow’s book also titled “Ready Player One” which I hadn’t read. It’s nice when you can recognize an author’s style from the film adaptation.


Chairdogs of Dune

(a little story I wrote way back in 2006. Completely forgot about it. Yeah I called myself Coconut Ent.)


Chairdogs of Dune

“Stil , why are there no chairdogs on Dune ?” Little Leto’ s voice was a bit lispy from the soft palate and still imperfect control of his tongue .

Stilgar muttered something and stalked out of the room , into the main hall of Sietch Tabr .

“What’ s with him ?” Little Ghanima Atreides sat up on her spice -fluff cushion. “And what ‘ s this about chairdogs ?”

“Oh , nothing much Ghani . Just something strange I was told.”

“Told ? By whom …. ohhhh… yes… chairdogs …” Ghanima blinked , listening in to her own ancestral whispers. “Decadent things. Hmmm … the Fenrings used to have a few in Arrakeen , according to Granny -in – my-mind . She thought they were posh.”

“Posh . Now that’ s an old word. Wonder why Stilgar went off like that?”

“Do you really want to know, Leto ? Ghani ?” Alia- of -the- Knife , the Womb of Heaven swished the curtain aside and entered the chamber.

“Hullo Aunty Alia,” Leto was a bit wary around his Aunt … there was something rather wicked, witch -like about her . “You know, swishing curtains aside unannounced is a good way to get knifed in a sietch .”

Ghanima , while cautious, also knew that with the correct prodding Aunty Alia could be the most outrageous gossip. Leto could never quite manage it . It was a girl thing. “Oooh , please Aunty , do tell !”

Both children felt something , or rather someone, shifting inside their skulls . If it had to be described, it was as if the ancestors in their heads ( Paul , Chani , Jessica , her Duke , even the Baron ) decided to sit down for the tale and make themselves comfortable . Leto could almost hear Paul Muad ‘ Dib chuckling. Muad ‘ Dib had been there .
Alia plumped down on a cushion. “Well , it was like this .”

/ / =========

Stilgar had only seen chairdogs briefly , when he ‘ d followed Duncan to Arrakeen before the joint Harkonnen -Sardaukar attack . He was both repulsed by the idea and intrigued by it . A chair that was a specially bred living creature!
Now, in the days following their Great Victory … there had been a few hectic months and he , doughtiest of the Fremen of Sietch Tabr , was fairly run off his feet . You can ‘ t ride worms in a city . Plus, this new Palace Muad ‘ Dib was still building nearby was simply HUGE , it could swallow a few cities when complete , and Stilgar had to walk from end to end a few times to oversee security .

Alia had scandalised him by suggesting that he relax by having a hot bath , in a tub .

Right now , he was seriously contemplating the sheer sacrilege of soaking his feet in hot water. Gods below!

He had climbed to the top of Arrakeen Palace, having come straight from the new , unfinished mega -palace to enquire about the practicality of plasteel roofing in a baking desert, only to find Muad ‘ Dib had flown off .

I need to sit down , he thought .
Looking for a seat he rambled through a chamber. There was a pool , a pool of water set in the floor , a fountain playing in the centre . Stilgar breathed in the moisture – rich air.

A curious whuffle made him turn and look . It was a chairdog , and it was trembling .

Kul Wahad , thought Stilgar. What decadent temptation ! Slowly he approached the sessile creature. Gingerly he lowered himself into it . The chairdog molded itself to accommodate the weary Fremen.

/ / ========

Alia had a giggling fit . The children waited patiently , even though their ancestors – withing could have told the story . Leto felt that his Father -within was laughing his head off , leaning on Chani -within for support .

Father, he thought , don ‘ t ruin the ending .

/ / ===========


“Oh dear “, said Paul .

“Usul , what is it ?” Paul held his arm out , blocking Chani .

“Trouble.” Paul had a wicked little smile.

“Trouble? Usul? What do you see ?”

They were then treated to the sight of Stilgar, soaking wet , storming down the corridor in squelchy desert boots .

Gods below! Paul had been at the Cave of Birds when he’d had a vision, and had ‘thoptered like a Coriolis wind to get back . And just in time!

It seems that chairdogs are a bit sensitive to unseemly odours. A Fremen, clad in a stillsuit to reclaim water from perpiration and bodily waste , and to whom baths are unknown, can be charitably described as aromatic . When Stilgar had just settled in , the chairdog concluded that it had been seriously contaminated and needed a really good clean .

Desperately .

Even before Stilgar had sat down , his odour has thoroughly alarmed the creature. Hence the trembling .
Well , the nearest source of water was the fountain in the room , into which the chairdog jumped .

“Usul, don’t, or he’ll kill us !” Chani had her hand clamped on Paul ‘ s mouth . She was giggling, biting her lip to contain her mirth. The danger only made it funnier . “We must get away from here!”

They staggered away holding each other up, to find somewhere a little more private.

The Shadout had just finished mopping the floor , and had put up a “CAUTION ! WET FLOOR ” sign.
Paul pointed at it .

“C – C – CAUTION ! …. WET FREMEN !” he stuttered before collapsing with Chani in a heap , rolling and howling with laughter.