Whipping Star by Frank Herbert

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Book Information  
AuthorFrank Herbert
TitleWhipping Star
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Anonymous 
(Jun 08, 2005)

The Whipping Star and BDSM.

In this book Herbert explores the relationship between a Sadist and her victim as well as society’s mistaken view of Sadism and the role of the masochist. The premise of the book is that the richest women in the universe (Miss Abnethe) is a Sadist who has been operated on by the authorities so that she cannot inflict pain or bear to witness pain being inflicted. She gets around this by finding a victim for whom the concept of pain or suffering is outside their reality, by whipping a star. Herbert is exploring the concept of consensual S&M where the masochist does not ‘suffer’ and the Sadist knows this and is therefore able to cross beyond the limits of society's morality that hold back a normal person from such actions. In the end the Miss Abnethe attempts to achieve goddess-like status by reduced reality her own fantasy which proves to ultimatley be self-destructive. It is also a cautionary tale underscoring the dangers of society's intervention in individual sexual morality. Herbert also refers to the fetish of forniphilia (the creation of furniture containing bound individuals) in the guise of chairdogs which have become everyday items of furniture.

Submitted by Anonymous 
(Jun 20, 2004)

Pre-warning: This may contain a few spoilers

I found this series of books to be one of the most interesting, honestly surpassing that of the 6 Dune books, which I also enjoyed. McKie I found to be one of his greatest creations, surpassing Paul Atreides, Joao Martinho, and Dasein. I enjoy the way he handles the situations given to him. As when he was about to be killed and was at the last minute sent through a jumpdoor, where he formulated a new plan. I may just be the sucker for a love story, as Dosadi especially touched on that for me. Another good part is McKie is unique, not in the fact that he's part of a government agency that are mostly antagonists in books, but also that his physique isn't that of the classical hero. He's a short, dark-skinned, red-haired, Gowachin frog-deity looking guy. His plans were beautifully formulated, from forcing Taprisiot contacts to cutting off Beautybarber supplies. He also had a way with getting at Mliss Abneth with his threats of pain to himself. The Caleban Fannie Mae, while next to impossible to understand was a very well-crafted creature. The race that especially interested me was the Pan Spechi, the Creche, the Ego-transferrance. It also gives ideas on heeding gifts that at first seem like perfect ideas. They found the S'Eye jumpdoors nearly ended all sentient life, after using them for their own means. Also the book contained much in the way of honor, as the Caleban couldn't break her contract with Abnethe, which added a partial fear factor into it, as her and her creatures and aides could appear anywhere. Also the impending 'flagellations' that came with each contact. The oddest things in it that I found were the chairdog, beddog, and his Tutsalee honeymoon planet house house creatures. They're made reference to as living creatures, yet used as pieces of furniture. I guess in closing I'd have to say this, and The Dosadi Experiment are must-reads for Herbert, or any Sci-Fi fan if you want insight into flaws of government, law, and sentient life in general.

Submitted by 
(May 18, 2003)

"Any conversation is a unique jazz performance. Some are more pleasing to the ears, but that is not necessarily a measure of their importance."

~from Frank Herbert's Whipping Star, a book I probably enjoyed more than I should have. It is about multi-dimensional beings and their interactions with our "wave" of the universe. As the story unfolds, we learn that the creature, called a Caleban, sees connectives, the refined differences between things, perceives time as a line, and these threads are like spiderwebs embedded in many universes. The Caleban spin these web threads, crossing and intersecting strands to combine in mysterious ways; entangling, reweaving, combining, aligning to create any potential universe in a sea of possibility.

Super weird book, I had to reread parts so many times I thought my brains might melt; delightful conversation between the ConSentience humanoid/insectoid people (especially this one dood, McKie, Saboteur Extraordinaire) and the multiversal Caleban. A real brain twister, not for everyone; issues with Jumpdoors always get me excited; reminded me in oblique ways of Dan Simmon's Hyperion universe. Instantaneous travel through easily-operated conduits, giving Sentients real-time control over their universe (as opposed to the time-lagged distribution and scatter of sub-light spaceships); and this always comes at a cost. An unbelievably thought-provoking, extremely bizarre alien love story, a fantastic read for the type of book you'd find in a heap in a box somewhere... If I'm going to read weird books, I'm glad Frank Herbert is writing them :o)

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