11

If Fremen ride them, couldn't they also eat them?

There some passages from Kynes about the ecology of Dune that dive deep into the biomechanics of worms, but maybe I am missing something.

Someone that has made the change could feasibly eat a sandworm sandwich and not be poisoned. Alternatively, it could be a vector for the change.

14
  • 3
    Obviously a Reverend Mother can eat almost anything since they possess the ability to change the molecular structure of things they eat, but I suspect the acid would burn them horribly before they could do so.
    – Valorum
    Feb 16, 2020 at 19:31
  • I’d say getting it would be harder than eating it! Feb 16, 2020 at 22:10
  • 9
    Why would being able to ride something mean you can eat it? Feb 17, 2020 at 3:56
  • 4
    Commercial aircraft. If humans ride them, couldn't they also eat them? Feb 17, 2020 at 15:09
  • 2
    Damn, I guess that the ability to ride something also implies edibility. Dec 14, 2020 at 4:13

1 Answer 1

13

The Dune Encyclopedia strongly implies that sandworm flesh is inedible and almost certainly poisonous.

The resulting electrons passed to an electron acceptor believed to be a cupri-cyanide compound, the reduced form of which accumulated in the worm body.

and

Our knowledge of the metabolism of the sandworm is necessarily incomplete, not only because of the size of the creature, but also because of the presence of many acidic compounds in the worm body. Besides the organic acids, concentrated hydrochloric and sulfuric acids have also been detected. In some way the living worm buffered itself against these acids, but once the worm died, the body was rapidly digested by them.

While eating something that contains poisons isn't necessarily impossible, it's hard to imagine what processes you could use to remove cyanide and highly corrosive and toxic acids from the meat before eating it.

6
  • 5
    Meh, some baking powder, might do the trick. Also transition metal cyanides aren't necessarily poisonous.
    – Mithoron
    Feb 16, 2020 at 23:41
  • 2
    "transition metal cyanides aren't necessarily poisonous" - Maybe, but copper cyanide is pretty toxic. Ingesting 100g would be over the LD50 for most people. Though I guess as long as the worm's flesh is less than 50% copper cyanide by mass (and it probably should be) a person could eat a modestly sized sandworm sandwich and not necessarily die.
    – aroth
    Feb 17, 2020 at 4:24
  • 1
    Please note that the Dune Encyclopedia is not canon.
    – Mr Lister
    Feb 17, 2020 at 7:55
  • 8
    @MrLister - Canon at the time, then de-canonised by Herbert's talentless son so he could cash in with his own twenty book series based on a post-it note he found on the fridge in his father's house
    – Valorum
    Feb 17, 2020 at 7:59
  • 2
    @Valorum No no, FH himself said he liked it but he wouldn't let it stand in the way of the real story. In a foreword to the original edition.
    – Mr Lister
    Feb 17, 2020 at 8:04

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.