Arrakis [pt.3]


Herbert, Frank (New English Library, ISBN 9780450011849)

Hilary shared an apartment, and thus rent, bills and housekeeping, with Sophie. Like Hilary and me, Sophie supported herself through a mixture of Austudy and various atrocious part-time jobs. After a brief stint working for a telephone sex line, she found her niche as a telephone psychic.

An ineradicable optimism endeared Sophie to you as a friend, but it made her an appalling housemate. It amounted to the faith that when you found yourself without the time or money to do something, you could do it anyway. Continue reading

Arrakis [pt.2]



Herbert, Frank (New English Library, ISBN 978-0450011849)

For Sophie, physical necessity, by itself, didn’t fix the moment when the future must arrive. Time marched rubato, stretching and bending to the individual rhythms of the players. As long as you stuck to the spirit of the arrangement, Time would turn a blind eye to a few extra minutes here or there.

To those with a pragmatic turn of mind, the view must’ve seemed an unmitigated failure. You found Sophie forever running late, out of petrol and waiting on her next paycheque to make the phone work again. Repossession agents chivvied her in flocks while friends she’d failed to meet crammed her answering machine with irate messages. Continue reading

Arrakis [pt.1]



Herbert, Frank (New English Library, ISBN 978-0450011849)

Sophie kept a boyfriend named Alan – the same way that one might keep a housecat or a gerbil. Alan belonged to that shadowy class of persons who somehow leave no discernable impression in your thoughts. You would’ve found him listed in the credits as ‘fireman #3’ or ‘guest at party’.



He had a genial temperament; he’d amble out to see you when you arrived and make small talk. He just appeared underwritten. When you looked up from a conversation, you’d find him standing in the background fiddling with something, as if his actor didn’t have any lines and needed to full up the time pretending to do something. His presence left so scant an impression that to this day I can remember only two facts about him: he owned a video camera and slept heavily. Continue reading

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