Dune: Marty and Daniel

Many people are puzzled about who they are, when they have finished reading Chapterhouse: Dune. From their own words it is clear that they are a kind of Face Dancers. It would be proper to call them Master Face Dancers (a name suggested by Paul Wouters), because they have become masters of themselves.

At first Duncan sees them through a net in the hull of the no-ship, which is standing on Chapterhouse. Because of this some people have got the idea that they are outside space (and time). There are many indications that the are just living on some planet, and only use the net, to see and control things from a distance. From the last chapter we can conclude that they have met Bene Tleilaxu Masters face-to-face, and that these masters saw them as ordinary Face Dancers. Also the garden, in which they are taking care of their roses, gives an impression that they are in a real world, just as the rest. But also the fact that they are Face Dancers, makes it clear that they do not live outside space.

Literary meaning

Many people hold the opinion that Marty and Daniel represent Frank Herbert and Bev his wife, and that in the last chapter Frank Herbert is waving goodbye to us, by the famous last words: Gholas. He's welcome to them. And although this interpretation is strengthed by the Eulogy for Beverly by Frank in the back of the book, it would not surprise me, that he has put this in, with the thought in mind that he might not be able to finish his last book. This 'literary' interpretation does not conflict with the 'factual' interpretation that Marty and Daniel are Face Dancers.

Face Dancers

In the last chapter of Chapterhouse: Dune we read about them that they are Face Dancers, able to copy personalia, who after having acquired many personalia have become independent. This ability is first reported to be found in the New Face Dancers (NFD) made by the original Bene Tleilaxu (BT) about 1000 years after the Scattering took place. It is however doubtful that they were made by the original BT, because from the books we read no reports by the original BT of NFD have escaped their control. Waff is very surprised if the NFD replacing Tuek (in Heretics of Dune) acts independently. It is more likely that Marty and Daniel were made by some BT that had gone into the Scattering. The BT from the Scattering had returned to the original BT, and shared some of their findings, but the original BT appeared to have been suspicious about their revelations, and did not regard them as true BT.

Furthermore, they seem to have certain abilities, which go beyond the abilities of the NFD made by the original BT. Of course, it is possible that the NFD did have the same latent abilities, but that they were never activated, maybe because they did not acquire enough personalia to become independent, or never given enough freedom to become liberated by their bond. Note that NFD that replaced Tuek was staying in that role longer than normal.

The Net

In Chapterhouse: Dune there is a passage (pages 334 from 336 in the Ace Books edition) where Duncan is having some kind of strange 'dream' where he sees a long list of weapons, including miniature Holtzmann generator and Futars. This 'dream' is interrupted by Marty and Daniel, saying that he is spying them.

Duncan immediately start thinking about how this knowledge can be used for defeating the Honoured Matres, and then comes to a full Mentat Projection, stating: someone "out there" has found another way to use Holtzmann's theories. It seems that the 'someone' is referring to Marty and Daniel, because a little further he says: Who were those people he saw? Strong enough to drive out Honoured Matres. He knew it for a Projection datum. Combining these facts, one could conclude that the Net is created by a novel application of Holtzmann's theories.

Their abilities

From the 'dream' Duncan had, one could also conclude that Daniel and Marty were the ones that drove out the Honoured Matres from the Scattering. It is correct that the Honoured Matres were afraid of some biological weapon. Note however that the weapons list ended with "Bacteriologicals".

It is clear that when the No-ship entered foldspace, Daniel and Marty tried to take over control, and Duncan could only prevent this by clearing the databases. Apparently, the possed the possibility to not only see, but also control No-ships with engage nullfields. The one who controls space travel controls space. Marty says that she had picked a planet, one that would be a real test of their abilities. That means that they could pick from a host of planet, and that it was their plan to bring the No-ship to this planet.

Posting by Hitch to Alt.fan.dune

Below a posting from Hitch, someone with outspoke ideas with respect to which conclusion one cannot draw from the facts. I mainly include it here, because he seems to consider my writings about the origin of Daniel and Marty as a pet theory, and saying that many people simply copied these ideas without thinking them over by themselves. He also accused me of presenting opinions as facts. That is another reason for including this posting. Judge it yourself.

Hi, Gang, Danny:

Now, now, Danny; lots of people have the precise same reaction when they first read Ch:D!! When I first read it, if memory serves, I was so vexed at the ending that I threw the book across the room in a fit of temper (knowing that FH wasn't going to be writing any explanations of the dreaded M&D anytime soon :-)

Anyway, Preacher: Don't let anyone tell you, including myself, that they know who or what Marty and Daniel ("M&D") are, because they do not; the only person who knows that is dead - the author himself. Perhaps his son, Brian Herbert, either knows from conversations with his father; or perhaps it was in his notes, but other than that, there is NO ONE. However, many, many theories abound, and it is often hotly contested on this ng. So, to summarize those most popular (you can also read the FAQ, which lists some more detailed "descriptions" of people's pet theories), see below:

Here's what we DO know: Marty and Daniel are "New" Face Dancers, with the ability to absorb not only the physical characteristics, but the "personae" of the people they copy. This is made clear in the last chapter of Ch:D. Obviously, they have escaped BT Master control, either on their own, or through the destruction of Tleilax. <shrug>. In either event, they have escaped to what appears to be a different dimension or existence, or some other plane of reality - this existence is unexplained. However, it is stated in Ch:D that the Duncan could see him because he was "stretched so thin," which implies that because of his serial-lives incarnation, that this longevity (via serial lives) somehow gave him the ability to "see" Marty and Daniel. It does not, however, explain why this same ability is not present in Scytale, whom we know to be just as old, via the same means. Yet another interesting FH discrepancy!

Insofar as pet theories:

  1. Some hold that Marty and Daniel are, figuratively, Frank and Bev Herbert, saying "goodbye" to his readers. <shrug>. Obviously, this is one of my least favorite, but FH certainly did display a high level of romanticism in his note about Bev at the end of Ch:D.
  2. Some hold with nothing more than that which we know, as described above.
  3. Some believe that M&D were something called "RNFD," (Really New Face Dancers), a creation never mentioned in the novels, but theorized to have been created by the Scattering Empire, as opposed to the OE, and that M&D had escaped the Scattering-BT.
  4. Some hold with 3, above, but add that Marty and Daniel drove the HM out of the Scattering, and were what the HM were running from.
  5. Some hold with 3, except they believe that M&D were created in the OE (Old Empire), and had nothing to do with the HM, per se.

I think this covers the most popular theories. Numbers 3 and 4 are primarily "fueled" by the scene in which Duncan is having a vision, or a dream (or whatever) in which he sees "weapons," and also sees M&D. Duncan contemplates that whoever those "people" are, they are strong enough to "drive out" the HM (although it does not say from where - the Scattering, or their current infestation in the OE). There is no reference throughout either HoD or Ch:D to any NFD created by the Scattering-BT, only those created by the OE BT. In fact, other than the scene I just mentioned, (Duncan and the weapons-dream/vision), there really isn't anything to support any of the theories, or suppositions, or hypotheses, other than FH's clear statement that they were FD, period. NFD whom had, as they themselves state, absorbed a "bunch" of personalities, yes. But there is nothing more upon which to go, in attempting to sort out M&D.

There are also numerous citations which, in my opinion - logically, contradict the theories of 3 and 4, above. For example, the many references which indicate that the HM were running from a biological weapon/agent; and the fact that the OE BT have to learn of the abilities of the HM from their own NFD infiltration, and not from any of the returned BT. It does not, to me, make sense that the Scattering-BT knew of the HM; created biological weapons against them; initially used M&D (somehow) against them <perhaps>, and then, only "ignorant" or "stupid" BT returned to the OE BT without bringing either a word about the HM; or the biological weapon, etc.; and worse, sat back on BT and allowed their world to be incinerated by the HM - especially if they'd been successful in driving the HM out of the Scattering. (Especially as the "returned ones" happened to BE on that world while it was being incinerated).

Anyway....I wish to stress that the last paragraph is my opinion only, and should be taken as such. The previous paragraphs are, to the best of my ability, an attempt to give you a short version of the numerous theories abounding as to who and what M&D were, and an equally short version of what appears to be stated in Ch:D, and what isn't. Okay? I'm quite certain (as the BT appear to be a fascinating topic for some folks on this ng) that others will post comments, as well; IMHO, at the end of the day, you take what FH wrote, think about it and decide for yourself who or what YOU think they are. :-) Because unless BH is going to release his father's notes, or FH is coming back from the Dead, we shall never, never, KNOW.