Dune by Frank Herbert

I recently bought a copy of Frank Herbert’s Epic 1965 science fiction novel Dune. It takes place In the year 10,191, when the known universe is ruled by Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. The most important substance in his galactic empire is the spice melange, which has many special properties, including extending life and expanding consciousness. It also has the ability to fold space and allow safe interstellar travel to any part of the universe instantaneously. So consequently people will go to great lengths to control Spice Production. Unlike the film The novel actually goes into more detail concerning events which happened before the film such as the the Butlerian Jihad which saw all thinking machines destroyed after they became self-aware and started being a threat to all humans. The novel also explains how both the Spacing Guilds and Bene Gesserit Sisterhood came about and why they are at odds with one another.

The Spacing Guild are in charge of Spice extractrion and production on the barren desert planet Arrakis and they use Navigators to fold space, however long-term exposure to the spice Melange tends to cause drastic and rather alarming changes in Navigators, so exposure to Melange is generally kept to a minimum for most. The Spacing Guild begin to suspect a potential threat to spice production from House Atreides. So they secretly send a Navigator emissary to negotiate with Emperor Pradishah Shaddam Corrino and they hatch a plot to destroy House Atreides, whose leader Duke Leto Atreides  is amassing a secret army and could pose a threat to the Emperor. So they hatch a devious plot to give the Atreides control of the planet Arrakis (also known as Dune), only to have their longtime archenemies, the Harkonnens attack them. The Navigator commands the Emperor to kill the Duke’s son, Paul Atreides, a young man who dreams prophetic visions of his purpose and is part of a centuries long breeding program by the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, to produce a Superbeing (Kwisatz Haderach)

Meanwhile, on the industrial world of Giedi Prime, the sadistic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen tells his nephews Glossu Rabban and Feyd-Rautha  about his plan to eliminate the Atreides, The Atreides meanwhile leave their home planet Caladan bound for Arrakis, a barren desert planet populated by gigantic sandworms and the Fremen, a mysterious people who have long held a prophecy that a messiah would come to lead them to freedom. Upon arrival on Arrakis, Leto is informed by one of his right-hand men, Duncan Idaho that theFremen could prove to be powerful allies, so Leto gains the trust of Fremen.

The Harkonnens launch their attack.supported by the Emperor’s elite troops, the Sardaukar, and aided by the traitorous, Dr. Wellington Yueh. The Atreides and Fremen are unable to withstand the attack, and Duke Leto is captured by the Harkonnen and dies trying to assassinate Baron Harkonnen. Luckily Leto’s concubine Lady Jessica and his son Paul escape into the deep desert, where they manage to join a band of Fremen, led by Stilgar. Paul is elected as Muad’Dib, the leader for whom the Fremen have been waiting and Paul teaches the Fremen to use sonic weapons called weirding modules and they begin targeting mining production of spice.

Within two years, spice production is effectively halted. The Emperor is warned by the Spacing Guild of the situation on Arrakis. The Guild fears that Paul will consume the Water of Life and After doing just that Paul gains control of the sandworms of Arrakis. He then discovers water kept in huge caches by the Fremen can be used to destroy the spice. Paul learns that the Emperor is amassing a huge invasion fleet above Arrakis to regain control of the planet and the spice. Upon the Emperor’s arrival at Arrakis, he executes Rabban and Paul launches a final attack against the Harkonnens and the Emperor’s elite Sardaukar shock troops at the capital city of Arrakeen hoping to defeat the combined troops of the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and Baron Harkonnen and fulfil the Fremen Prophecy concerning the Kwisatz Haderach.

Christopher Eccleston

English actor Christopher Eccleston was born 16 February 1964 in Langworthy, Salford, The family lived in a small terraced house in Blodwell Street, before moving to Little Hulton when Eccleston was seven months old. Eccleston attended Joseph Eastham High School, where he became head boy.

At the age of 19, he was inspired to enter the acting profession by such television dramas as Boys from the Blackstuff. Eccleston completed a two-year Performance Foundation Course at Salford Tech before going on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor, he was influenced in his early years by Ken Loach’s Kes and Albert Finney’s performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but he soon found himself performing the classics, including the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Molière. At the age of 25, Eccleston made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Underemployed as an actor for some years after graduating from school, Eccleston took a variety of odd jobs at a supermarket, on building sites, and as an artist’s model.

Eccleston first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in the film Let Him Have It (1991) and an episode of Inspector Morse, “Second Time Around” (1991). In 1992, he played the role of Sean Maddox in the BBC drama miniseries Friday on my Mind. He garnered A regular role in the television series Cracker (1993–94) which brought him recognition in the UK. Eccleston also appeared in the episode “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” of the Poirot series adapted from mysteries by Agatha Christie. He also appeared in the low-budget Danny Boyle film Shallow Grave (1994), with Ewan McGregor. The same year, he won the part of Nicky Hutchinson in the epic BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North, Alongside Mark Strong, Gina McKee and Daniel Craig. In 1996, he took the part of Trevor Hicks—a man who lost both of his daughters in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster—in the television drama film Hillsborough, penned by Jimmy McGovern. In real life, he was the best man to Trevor Hicks at his wedding in March 2009.

His film career has since taken off with a variety of roles, including Jude (1996), Elizabeth (1998), eXistenZ (1999), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), The Others (2001), 24 Hour Party People (2002) and 28 Days Later (2002). He played a major role as the protagonist of the 2002 Revengers Tragedy, adapted from Thomas Middleton’s play of the same name.[14] He starred in the independent films A Price Above Rubies (1998) and The Invisible Circus (2001). He starred in the car-heist film Gone in 60 Seconds, but did not take his driving test until January 2004. He said on BBC’s Top Gear that his licence restricts him to vehicles with automatic transmission.

He has appeared in a variety of television roles, especially in British dramas. These have included Hearts and Minds (1995) for Channel 4, Clocking Off (2000) and Flesh and Blood (2002) for the BBC and Hillsborough (1996), a modern version of Othello (2001), playing ‘Ben Jago’, (the Iago character); and the religious telefantasy epic The Second Coming (2003) for ITV, in which he played Steve Baxter, the son of God. He has made guest appearances in episodes of the comedy drama Linda Green (2001) and macabre sketch show The League of Gentlemen (2002). Eccleston appeared in a stage role in Hamlet in the 2002 production at Leeds’s West Yorkshire Playhouse. March–April 2004 saw him return to the venue in a new play, Electricity.

Eccleston has been twice nominated in the Best Actor category at the British Academy Television Awards. His first nomination came in 1997 for Our Friends in the North, but he lost to Nigel Hawthorne (for The Fragile Heart). He was nominated in 2004 for The Second Coming; Bill Nighy won for State of Play. Eccleston won the Best Actor category at the 1997 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for Our Friends in the North. In 2003 he won the RTS Best Actor award for a second time, for his performance in Flesh and Blood. In July 2004, a poll of industry experts, conducted by Radio Times magazine, voted Eccleston the “19th Most Powerful Person in Television Drama.”

Eccleston also portrayed the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the 2005 revival of the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, Eccleston was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began, albeit by less than three months. However Eccleston decided to leave the role after just one series, because he feared becoming typecast. Other newspaper reports state he was “overworked” “exhausted” and “didn’t enjoy the environment that the cast an crew had to work in”. Following his appearance in Doctor Who Eccleston was voted “Most Popular Actor” at the 2005 National Television Awards for his portrayal of the Doctor.

In July 2012, Eccleston spoke positively of his time on Doctor Who during a talk at the National Theatre This led to speculation he was considering making a return appearance as the Ninth Doctor for the show’s 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”, in 2013. The 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, stated that he would have loved Eccleston to return. However Eccleston declined following talks with executive producer Steven Moffat. In 2005, Eccleston appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in the one-night play Night Sky alongside Navin Chowdhry, Bruno Langley, David Warner, Saffron Burrows and David Baddiel. Eccleston sat on the 2nd Amazonas International Film Festival Film Jury in November 2005. The director Norman Jewison was chairman of the Jury. In December 2005, Eccleston travelled to Indonesia’s Aceh province for the BBC Breakfast news programme, examining how survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami were rebuilding their lives.

In 2006, Eccleston appeared in the ITV documentary special Best Ever Muppet Moments and appeared as the narrator in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Lowry theatre in Salford. The theatre company with which he performed, Celebrity Pig (of which he is patron), is made up of learning disabled actors. In August 2006, Eccleston filmed New Orleans, Mon Amour with Elisabeth Moss which was directed by Michael Almereyda and shot in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. In 2006 he also starred in Perfect Parents, an ITV drama written and directed by Joe Ahearne, who had directed him in Doctor Who. Eccleston joined the cast of the NBC TV series Heroes in the episode “Godsend”, portraying the character Claude who has the power of invisibility, and helps Peter Petrelli with his powers. Eccleston appeared as the Rider in a film adaptation of Susan Cooper’s novel The Dark Is Rising.

In 2008 Eccleston appeared on the BBC Four World Cinema Award show arguing the merits of five international hits such as The Lives of Others and Pan’s Labyrinth with Jonathan Ross and Archie Panjabi. In 2009, Eccleston starred opposite Archie Panjabi in a short film called The Happiness Salesman. He also appeared as the villainous Destro in the G.I. Joe film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Eccleston also appeared in an episode of The Sarah Silverman Program as science fiction hero named Doctor Laser Rage. In 2010 Eccleston appeared as John Lennon Alongside Naoko Mori, who had previously appeared with him in Doctor Who, as Yoko Ono in “Lennon Naked”. Eccleston starred in the first episode of BBC One anthology drama Accused. He won an International Emmy Award for his role. In May 2011, he starred as Joseph Bede in BBC2’s seven part drama The Shadow Line and also played the role of Pod Clock in an adaptation of Mary Norton’s children’s novel The Borrowers on BBC One. In 2012, he starred in the political thriller Blackout and portrayed Creon in an adaptation of Antigone at the Royal National Theatre. In 2013, Eccleston portrayed the villainous Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, the sequel to Thor and the eighth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe And also portrayed The Reverend Matt Jamison on the HBO drama series The Leftovers. In 2016 Eccleston began appearing as the eccentric but lovable granddad Maurice Scott in the BBC drama The A Word. Eccleston is also portraying Macbeth in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Macbeth during 2018. (Damn i’ve just written Macbeth twice…er three times- it’s supposed to be bad luck)

Andy Taylor (Duran Duran)

English Guitarist, singer-songwriter & Record Producer Andy Taylor was born 16 February in 1961. He began playing guitar at the age of eleven, and was soon playing with local bands, even producing one at the age of sixteen. He dropped out of school early to tour England and Europe with several different bands, playing working men’s clubs and air force bases. Then in April 1980, as Taylor puts it, “I made that fateful train journey down to Birmingham”, Where he joined the band Duran Duran, who were looking for a guitarist.

Duran Duran began their rise to fame at a Birmingham club named the “Rummrunner”. The club was owned by their managers and mentors, brothers Paul & Michael Berrow. It was centred on the music and ostentatious fashion of the era, particularly dance & disco music, which had fused with punk and electronic to create the sound and look adopted by various “New Romantic” acts of the time. The band was heavily influenced by the 12 inch cuts of the day. Taylor says… “Anybody who is familiar with early DD (Duran Duran) will be aware of the Night Versions concept… the underlying influence of the 12″ mix – Edwards & Rodgers – Giorgio Moroder … It was all part of the matrix – we tested our first hits on the dance-floor before going anywhere near the radio – it was the way you defined your style and who you were, through the club you were associated with – where you hung-out … I’m a rock fan, but the girls hung-out at the disco – I recommend a large portion of both.” The band signed to EMI Records in December 1980 only seven months after completing the line-up. Their debut single “Planet Earth” was released shortly after that, with their self-titled debut album, Duran Duran, released in June 1981. By 1983, the band was a global success story, and went on to have many other hits including Union of the Snake, Girls on Film, Rio, Wild Boys, The Reflex, Hungry like a Wolf and New Moon on Monday.

While Duran Duran were on hiatus in 1985, Andy Taylor and bassist John Taylor joined renowned session drummer and former Chic member Tony Thompson and Robert Palmer to form the band Power Station. Their eponymous album, recorded mostly at the New York studio for which the band was named, reached the Top 20 in the UK and the Top 10 in the US, and spawned two hit singles with “Some Like It Hot” and a cover of the T. Rex song “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”. Palmer performed live with the band only once that year, on Saturday Night Live. The band toured, and even played Live Aid with singer Michael Des Barres after Palmer bowed out at the last moment to go back into the studio to further his newly revitalized solo career. Taylor also performed with Duran Duran at the Live Aid event. Palmer recorded the album Riptide in 1985, recruiting Thompson and Andy Taylor to play on some tracks and Power Station producer Bernard Edwards, who worked with Thompson in the group Chic, to helm the production. Robert recruited Wally Badarou, another Compass Point Star who had laid synthesizer tracks on the Power Station album, plus his long-term drummer, Dony Wynn, for this production as well.

In 1994 Taylor participated in the reunion of Power Station and They recorded a second album “Living in Fear” for EMI, then In 2001, Taylor reunited with the other original members of Duran Duran to record their first new music together since 1985. The band secured a new recording contract with Sony Records. Their ensuing album, Astronaut, featured a blend of Taylor’s heavy guitar with the synth hooks of the classic Duran Duran sound. Months prior to the album’s release, the band played their largest ever UK tour in the spring of 2004, which was followed by a world tour in 2005, including Asia, Europe, and North America. The band also performed at Live 8. However In 2006, whilst recording a new Duran Duran album, Taylor once again parted ways with the band. In November 2007 Taylor co-founded RockAffairs.com alongside Sarah Eaglesfield, the former Flightside vocalist and webmistress at duranduran.com. RockAffairs was developed to allow unsigned artists to sell MP3s and merchandise, promote their band and keep 100% of the profit. It also pioneered a maverick Profit Share Scheme where 100% of income from listener signups was distributed amongst bands who sign up for the profit share scheme. Duran Duran’s latest albums include All You Need is Now and Paper Gods which was released in 2015.

Pete Willis (Def Leppard)

Pete Willis, the current guitarist with Def Leppard was born February 16th 1960. Formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Def Leppard ’s best success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album High ‘n’ Dry was produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s stand out track “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first metal videos played on MTV in 1982. The band released their next studio album Pyromania in 1983, this contained the singles Photograph and Rock of Ages, and turned Def Leppard into a household name. In 2004, the album ranked number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Def Leppard’s fourth album Hysteria, was released in 1987, and became an even bigger success topping both the U.S and UK album charts. As of 2009 it has 12x platinum sales in the United States, and has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. The album contained loads of great songs, including the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one “Love Bites”, alongside Pour Some Sugar on Me , “Hysteria”, Armaggeddon It , “Animal” Rocket“., Gods of War and Women.

Def Leppard’s next studio album was Adrenalize and this reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and UK Album Chart in 1992. It contained several hits including, “Let’s Get Rocked” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”. Their 1993 album Retro Active contained the acoustic hit song “Two Steps Behind”, while their greatest hits album Vault released in 1995 featured track “When Love & Hate Collide. Def Leppards latest self titled album “Def Leppard” was, released In 2015 and is Def Leppard’s first studio album since the album Songs from the Sparkle Lounge which was released in 2008. The album Def Leppard Contains the tracks Let’s Go” ,”Dangerous”,”Man Enough”,”We Belong”, “Invincible”, “Sea of Love”, “Energized”, “All Time High”, “Battle of My Own”,”Broke ‘N’ Brokenhearted”, “Forever Young”, “Last Dance”, “Wings of an Angel”, “Blind Faith” and was released together with a limited edition fan pack containing a magazine, prints, a keyring in addition to the CD Itself.

Iain M. Banks

Prolific Scottish author Iain Banks was born 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, Banks lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth where his father was based. his family then moved to Gourock due to the requirements of his father’s work.After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972–1975). he wrote his second novel TTR during his first year at university.Following graduation Banks chose a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These posts supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe, Scandinavia and North America. He also worked s an expediter analyser for IBM, a technician (for British Steel) and a costing clerk for a Chancery Lane, London law firm .

Banks decided to become a writer at the age of 11 and completed his first novel The Hungarian Lift-Jet at 16. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write full-time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write one book a year and Banks agreed to this schedule. Banks’s first science fiction book Consider Phlebaswas released in 1987. The Crow Road (1992) was adapted as a BBC television series and Espedair Street (1987) was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.Banks cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison and Dan Simmons as literary influences. Banks published work under two names. His parents had intended to name him “Iain Menzies Banks”, but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and “Iain Banks” became the officially registered name. Despite this error, Banks continued to use his middle name and submitted The Wasp Factory for publication as “Iain M. Banks”. Banks’ editor enquired about the possibility of omitting the ‘M’ as it appeared “too fussy” and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. Following three mainstream novels, Banks’s publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the ‘M’ to his name and the author’s second title was consequently confirmed.

He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. his first successful novel was The Wasp Factory and following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write on a full-time basis. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular The Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″.in April 2013. By his death in June 2013 Banks had published 26 novels

Banks was also the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a television documentary that examined his mainstream writing, and was also an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley’s Rocket Science radio show, broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. a radio adaptation of Banks’s The State of the Art was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009; the adaptation was written by Paul Cornell and the production was directed/produced by Nadia Molinari. in 1998 Espedair Street was dramatised as a serial for Radio 4, presented by Paul Gambaccini in the style of a Radio 1 documentary. In 2011 Banks was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism during his Saturday Live appearance, whereby he explained that death is an important “part of the totality of life” and should be treated realistically, instead of feared.

Banks also appeared on the BBC Political television programme Question Time, and captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of BBC Two’s University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One’s Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected “Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland” as his specialist subject. Banks was also involved in the theatre production The Curse of Iain Banks which was written by Maxton Walker and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999, he also wrote the music for some of the songs that were featured in the production and collaborated with the play’s soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, who also composed the score for a musical production of the Banks novel The Bridge. Banks tragically on died 9 June 2013 and and His twenty-seventh novel The Quarry was published posthumously. His final interview with Kirsty Wark was broadcast as Iain Banks: Raw Spirit on BBC2 Scotland on Wednesday 12 June 2013.