Ever since my trip to New Zealand I've been listening to the Dune books on my iPod. They were a great companion in New Zealand - although there were some unintended side effects. For example, after a day of listening to Dune Messiah, I would attempt to winkle out the hidden meanings in whatever was being said to me.
"What plans within plans lie behind her question of whether I want dessert?"
Anyway, I'm now in the middle penultimate novel, Heretics of Dune and it's a great return to form for the series. That is to say, stuff actually happens as opposed to the prior book, God Emperor of Dune, which is 400 pages of philosophical bullshit espoused by some dude who's transmorphed into a sandworm over the course of 3500 years but who still has his hands and misses his penis very much.
Despite the wormpenis bit, Dune has never had quite the same geek-adolescent obsession with sex that's common in sci-fi. At least until you get to Heretics. This morning, the following passage tickled my eardrums on shuttle ride into work ... at which point I busted up:
"Agility!" Lucilla allowed her tone to convey the full weight of a Reverend Mother's outrage. No matter that this might be what Sirafa hoped to achieve, she had to be put in her place! "Agility, you say? I can control genital temperature. I know and can arose the fifty-one excitation points. I --"
"Fifty-one? But there are only --"
"Fifty-one!" Lucilla snapped. "And the sequencing plus the combinations number two thousand and eight. Futhermore, in combination with the two hundred and five sexual positions -- "
"Two hundred and five?" Sirafa was clearly startled. "Surely, you don't mean --"
"More, actually, if you count minor variations. I am an Imprinter, which means I have mastered the three hundred steps of orgasmic amplication!"
This chapter ends with Lucilla getting it on with the Supreme Bashar of the Bene Gesserit forces - out of tactical necessity, of course.