Inventions acclaimed to Holtzmann pretty much makes the world go round in the Dune universe.

  • Holtzmann engines allow space-folder ships to move through dimensions.
  • The Holtzmann effect is somehow connected to the reaction between lasguns and shields.

It is safe to assume that Holtzmann was around sometime slightly-before the Battle of Corrin, as his engines are still experimental and generally unreliable.

Who was Holtzmann? Do we see any mention of his person in any of the books?


Holtzman was an egotistical character in the Brian Herbert Dune prequal series, specifically the Butlerian jihad trilogy.

As a scientist he discovered a few, unique inventions, though never fully understanding what he had created, and hired out/forced others to work under him and steal their inventions.

Most notable of these servant scientists was Norma Cenva.

His greatest accomplishment was the Holtzman effect, which created an anti machine brain field, that could be used to keep AI from landing on a planet, as the field would scramble their circuitry when they passed through the field.

Based on that, Norma Cenva created the shields we see today in dune personal combat, as well as the device for instantaneous space travel that the guild uses.

However again, since Cenva never took ownership of her inventions/contractually trapped his name appeared on all devices in the later series(in world).

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Note that the prequels contradict Holtzmann's entry in The Dune Encyclopedia, which many people feel is more canon-ish. – Mr Lister Feb 5 '16 at 19:21
  • @MrLister until Brian Herbert releases the notes that his father left him, we wont know if this was added information, or intended information. Like Tolkien Frank Herbert left 100s of pages of notes finishing his story, fleshing out prequels ect, we just dont have access to them yet. – Himarm Feb 5 '16 at 19:23
  • 1
    @MrLister While I agree that the prequels are to be completely disregarded as far as canon is concerned, the Dune Encyclopedia is not really canon either. That's because it's written from an in-universe perspective, just after the Scattering. So the content is only what historians in that time believed to be true, not necessarily Word of God. – Daniel Roseman Feb 5 '16 at 20:03

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.