9

The geriatric spice Melange has been a staple of the Dune saga from the beginning. Mr. Herbert is known to have used Hebrew terms and Islamic undertones as well. Also Prana Bindu sounds like a Sanskrit term to me.
I was wondering if anyone knew the origin of the name Melange?

3
  • 8
    In both French and English (which adopted the word from French), a "melange" just refers to a mixture, could that have any connection to the spice in Dune?
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 30 '15 at 0:39
  • A distinct possibility, Frank Herbert was no slouch in the naming department. I suspect he carefully picked all the names in the books. Nov 30 '15 at 0:43
  • Marketing! Because, despite the literally reality-bending benefits of spice consumption, it was really hard to get people to put something called "hydrated exploded sandtrout excretions" in their coffee. Nov 30 '15 at 14:57
16

It is French in origin, meaning "to mix" and in geology it is a name for a totally disordered mixture of rocks of different shapes, sizes, ages, and origins - this quite good describes the creation process of the Spice (excretions of little makers mixed with water create an explosion, that mixes the contents from deep underground with ones on the surface)

There is another meaning - in slang it means a "party with lots of drugs and alcohol"

2
  • In german it also refers to a kind of preparation of coffee. It always made sense for me as the effect of low spice consumptions could be considered similar to coffee. But don't know if Herbert was aware of this coffee.
    – bdecaf
    Nov 30 '15 at 8:28
  • I always assumed it was because there were so many names and so many forms that it was nearly always mixed into something else. Paul notes that the pure spice/spice essence was affecting him while they were on the run in the desert. The phrasing suggested that this form was an exceptional way to consume it. Feb 6 '20 at 2:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.