Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles #6)

ISBN: 0441102670
ISBN 13: 9780441102679
By: Frank Herbert

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About this book

The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. Now, the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune's power, have colonized a green world--and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. Here is the last book Frank Herbert wrote before his death. A stunning climax to the epic Dune legend that will live on forever...

Reader's Thoughts

Eric Allen

Chapterhouse: DuneDune Chronicles Book 6By Frank HerbertA Dune Retrospective by Eric AllenChapterhouse: Dune is the final Dune book published by Frank Herbert, the second in the storyline began with Heretics of Dune. Though he did leave behind a 20 page summary of "Dune 7" he never wrote that book, and we'll take a closer look at that next month with Hunters of Dune. Ten years have passed since the destrution of Dune and the Bene Gesserit are beginning their own scattering, taking Sandworm larva to the corners of the known universe and beyond that the species and the pearls of Leto's awareness that they carry will not die out, creating new Dunes throughout space.Meanwhile, the Honored Matres are hunting the Bene Gesserit planets down and utterly destroying them one by one, slowly but surely exterminating them.The Bene Gesserit have cloned Miles Teg, and have planned a final desperate attack upon the Honored Matres to bring them under control, or, if that fails, buy time for the remaining Bene Gesserit scatterers to escape. Everything comes together in an explosive confrontation between the two orders for a truly unpredictable outcome.The Good? One of the biggest problems of the previous book was that it didn't explain a single thing. Not who the characters were, why they did things, why we should care about them, why anything is happening, why any of it is important, and why anyone should give a damn. This book is far less vague and seems to have an eventual goal in mind throughout it's entirety, and it does eventually reach it. These were things that were lacking in Heretics so greatly that the book is nearly unreadable. Chapterhouse makes some vast improvements upon that. The writing has improved drastically over the previous two novels and it feels a lot tighter and more focused. It actually seems to have a point and purpose, two things that have been lacking in this series for a long, long time.The blatant and offensive sexism of the previous two books has been toned down significantly. It still exists if you are keeping an eye out for it, but it's not right up in your face throughout the entirety of the book, and I count that as a plus. Honestly, reading the previous two books made me rather uncomfortable because of Herbert's blatant and utter hatred of women. Here it's more an annoying buzz in the background like it was in the first two books. While not exactly good, it is an improvement and a step in the right direction.The Bad? I could almost consider this to be a good book if not for two huge, glaring flaws. The first is irrelevance. There are so many scenes in this book that serve no purpose whatsoever to the plot. They just take up space. They're rather boring to read through, and I found myself constantly asking why these scenes and conversations and whatnot were even in the book at all. I could edit this book down by one third to one half of the word count and had you never read it before, you would be none the wiser. The rest of the book suffers greatly for the inclusion of all the irrelevant crap and I'll bet that the editor was utterly terrified to even mention it to Herbert for fears that he would take his book to another publisher. Every scene, every page, every sentence and word should be absolutely VITAL to the story. If you can remove any of them, you SHOULD remove them before it is published.Secondly, this book is built upon the foundation laid out by the previous book, and that foundation was about as flawed as is possible. It explained nothing. It gave no motivation for ANYTHING at all, not the characters or the events. It didn't do a very good job of introducing characters and conflicts in a way that anyone could give half a crap about any of them. And so, as the followup, Chapterhouse suffers greatly because it details the further adventures of the same characters whose motivations were unclear to begin with, if they even had any at all, and the same situations which were vague, out of context, and uninteresting. As a result, we still have no idea who any of the characters are at heart, even if some of their motivations have been made much clearer in this volume. We still don't know why anything is happening, what is driving events, and why we should care about any of it. The foundation upon which this story is built is so weak that even though the events of the book itself are rather enjoyable, the entire thing collapses under its own weight because we literally have no idea why any of this is going on, and why any of it is important because, the author failed to tell us in the previous book, and assumes that he did in this one.The Ugly? Child rape. Okay, the teenaged Duncan Idaho having two MUCH older women fighting over which one gets to force herself on him, resulting in the unveiling of his sexual super powers was bad enough. It's made slightly less icky by the fact that he had the memories of a grown man and the body of a child. Not by much, mind you, I ranted pretty hard about how disgusting and wrong it was in the previous review. Here we have a ten year old boy, with no memory of his past life, being raped by a woman in her thirties, graphically and in disgusting detail. There is no excuse for this. There is no defense for this. This is a horrific abomination that should not be justified in any way shape or form. Any child being forced into sexual situations is horrific, offensive, and downright uncomfortable to read about. Why is this in this book? Why does Herbert keep throwing child rape at us like it's a good thing? I don't get it. He more than makes up for toning down his sexism by having a ten year old boy getting screwed by someone three times his age in graphic detail. This is not cool. This is not okay. This is not acceptable under any meaning of the term. I hope that Herbert was ashamed of himself for this before his death, and anyone that finds it to be entertaining or not all that bad should also be ashamed of themselves. Child rape is never acceptable, whether the victim is male or female, it is still just as horrific for one or the other.In conclusion, though this book makes some vast improvements upon the previous volume, it still must try to stand upon the weak foundation that that book laid for it, and frankly it just failed to do so. The narrative collapses under its own weight because the basic building blocks of storytelling used to prop it up were so weak. Far too much of the book can be removed from it without notice, and Herbert really doesn't seem to know where he wants to take the series as a whole from this point. The story was enjoyable, and it had a great climax, it just would have benefitted from a bit more editorial influence and a much stronger foundation to build the story upon. And yeah, child rape... NOT COOL!!! Herbert started out very promising with Dune and Dune Messiah, but the series really started to fall apart after that and get out of his control. He appeared to be trying to rein things in with this book, but, unfortunately, he died soon after its publication and was unable to. It's probably the third best book in the series for pure enjoyment, but the drop between second and third is a rather steep one. Check out my other reviews.


I am a reader who sometimes enjoys books that make me work hard. This book (this series) is one of those. I loved it, but I fully understand that not everyone will.In addition to being one of the greatest science fiction sagas ever, the Dune Chronicles were a massive sociological "thought experiment" on Herberts part, and I for one am thankful he had the time to share his thoughts with us. These books (especially the later ones) are the kind you have to put down from time to time to just think about... and then re-read the last few pages. You will have to refer to the appendix for definitions and clarifications. If you manage to finish all six books, you will find that parts of them come back to you unbidden years later, and you will pleasantly sit and wonder at the meaning of some passage and the vastness of Herberts imagination. It's hard work, but as with most strenuous climbs up high mountains, the view from the top makes it all worth it.

Jared Krauss

I'm a fan. I love Frank Herbert for the headspace he gives me with his stories, at the same time he forces me to think. While reading I hear his narrator voice so clearly, yet the materials engage with questions of morals and ethics such that I can't help but hear my own voice examining and questioning. This was a fun story, a good conclusion to the core series. However, the best part of this book is the dedication at the end to his wife. He wrote it the morning after she died. He died two years later. I'm close to saying the whole series is worth reading just to ride the ride and reach this dedication.

steve ross

Now, having read all of Frank Herbert's Dune books, I find myself depressed.

Robyn Blaber

This is the first time I've ever read a series of books one after the other and I find it remarkable how immersed I am in Herbert's universe. As the last of his series (I won't count the ones written by his son and others), I feel a prolonged sadness. Like the other books in the series Chapterhouse reads like a future history, drawing heavily from our past. I found it remarkable how I could apply the various statements made by characters to modern governments today. The Bene Gesserit protagonists in this book were formerly the antagonists in the previous books, having learned mankind's need for 'good' government.When is government good? When it's fair? When it makes the most people happy? What if happiness is derived from non-sustainable circumstances? Again, this book left me with more to think about than any science fiction I've read ever before.


Frank Herbert's last Dune novel suffers from the same flaws as Heretics of Dune. One that I didn't mention in my review of that novel, but which certainly applies to both, is the lack of a character to care about. In the first four Dune books, Leto, Paul, and Leto II provide central figures whose rises and falls the reader becomes invested in.None of the characters in Heretics or Chapterhouse stand out in that same way. The fact that almost every character is a Bene Gesserit, trained by a Bene Gesserit, or belongs to a similar order only exacerbates the problem, as does the fact that dead characters keep returning as gholas. Maybe another part of the problem is that I was never impressed with or interested in Duncan Idaho, the only character who appears in all six Dune novels.

Peter Jones

The biggest problem with Chapterhouse: Dune is that we never get the story Frank Herbert wanted told to conclude it. Nevertheless, the book ends in such a way that it is still satisfying. Murbella really comes into her own here, the fascinating mixture of Bene Gesserit and Honored Matre. Dar is again a powerful force. The building menace of the threat that drove the Honored Matres back from the Scattering is intriguingly written. I would have loved to know how Frank Herbert wanted to end this conflict (not the hack attempts from his son and KJ Anderson), but am content with my own vision of how it ended, based on what Frank wrote. All in all, a good ending to the series.


As the last Dune book that was written by Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse is a little disappointing at the end. Herbert clearly planned to extend the series before his death.That aside, the book is a decent read. I lost some steam during some of the dry sections, and the major plot twist towards the end was too heavily foreshadowed for me. I enjoyed the read, but I probably won't pick it up again.


** spoiler alert ** Book: 3 starsAudio CD: 3 starsIn Dune, Frank Herbert achieved a near perfect balance of story, character and exposition. In fact, the story and characters expressed the themes of the book, and Herbert avoided long, philosophical discursions. Dune is a self-contained novel needing no prequels or sequels. However, Herbert had more to say and produced five further novels set in the Atreides Imperium that were interesting to the compulsively completist amongst us (and I number myself one in this case) but came no where near the power and passion of the original. IMO, the series hit its nadir with God Emperor. The two subsequent novels - Heretics of Dune and the one under discussion - recaptured a bit of that original power though they, too, suffered from far too much plodding, philosophical distractions.For the most part, I like what Herbert has to say about politics, emotions, the role of history and other themes but they destroy the books' pacing, threatening to turn them into Platonic dialogs rather than novels.The plot: It's several thousand years after the Tyrant's death. The Old Empire fell, and humanity was Scattered, breaking the iron bonds of Leto's prescience and presumably ensuring Man's survival. Now, elements of the Scattering are returning. In particular, a group known as Honored Matres - women who exhibit inhumanly fast & deadly combat skills and enslave males through sexual domination. Herbert never reveals their exact origins but they display Fish Speaker and Bene Gesserit origins, with perhaps a dash of Tleilaxu. Whatever the case, they rampage through the Old Empire, destroying any opposition with insane orgies of violence that leave entire planets (including Dune) "sterilized." And the Bene Gesserit are the particular targets of their wrath.The best aspect of these latter works is that we deal with an almost entirely new cast of characters, with the exception of the ubiquitous Duncan ghola. Duncan Idaho was never a favorite character from earlier novels but I've grown resigned to his presence in every book. Far more interesting were the new characters, in particular two. There's Miles Teg, a military genius and the BG's military leader. He represents a further advance in the Atreides' gene line, having the ability to "see" no-ships and is able to function at superhuman speeds for brief periods of time (faster even than Honored Matres). Then there's Darwi Odrade (another Atreides descendant), who eventually becomes Mother Superior and the architect of the plan that saves the BG from destruction at the hands of the Honored Matres.I enjoyed the novel well enough in both is print and audio forms but I would recommend it only to those I mentioned above who need to know how things turn out.I'll take this opportunity to close with a few comments on the abominations that Herbert's son, Brian, and his collaborator, Kevin Anderson, have produced. I tried reading Dune: House Atreides but the writing was so atrocious, I gave up in disgust. From what I gather, I am not alone in my reaction. For my money, the best post-Dune, non-Frank Herbert resource, if uncanonical, is Willis McNelly's The Dune Encyclopedia. It's only failing is that it was published before Heretics or Chapterhouse so there are only a few, tantalizing entries discussing the post-Leto universe, and we're forced to rely on the amateurish scribblings of Herbert fils and Anderson to complete the saga.

Dorian D-W

A disappointing conclusion to Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi hexology. Though not intended as a conclusion—Herbert passed away before finishing his story-arc—it wasn't the ending that was the problem with this book.Each novel in the series had something special. Dune and Heretics of Dune were fantastic for their political settings and different portrayals of leadership. Dune Messiah and Children of Dune explored interesting philosophies on the nature of causality and time. All the books had brilliant characters, none more so than the titular God Emperor of Dune.Not so Chapterhouse:Dune. It was all right, enjoyable reading at parts, but nothing particularly stood out about it. A few too many subplots made it less engrossing than others in the series. There was too much for the reader to follow, and while it all tied together neatly in the end, both the character development and plot suffered from being spread too thin. Before I leave the Dune universe and finally return to reading non-Dune books (it's been months, or, at least it's felt like months!), a few thoughts on the series as a whole. The Dune series has plenty to appeal readers for whom sci-fi isn't regular fare, a testament to Herbert's skill as an author. It speaks volumes of his universe and planning that he was able to create a storyline credibly and coherently spanning millennia: over seven thousand years pass between the coming of Maud'Dib in the first book and the events of Chapterhouse, yet none of the books feel out of place or time. Finally, the characters are as memorable as they are varied, the jewels set in Herbert's gilded writing.Would I recommend Chapterhouse:Dune to others? Not particularly. But the Dune series as a whole? Most definitely worth reading.

Bob R Bogle

[Nota Bene: As Frank Herbert's last two published novels in the Dune series, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune, along with the unwritten Dune 7, in fact comprise a single story that happened to be divided into three parts, I'll post the same review for both of the two published volumes. This review contains no spoilers.]During the first half of his literary career, Frank Herbert focused most on coming to terms with what it meant to be conscious. The evolution of his thinking on the subject can be traced from real-world events which happened to him in his youth, through his earliest published science fiction stories, crude as they were, and on into novels like The Dragon in the Sea and the stories that would coalesce into The Godmakers, and certainly The Santaroga Barrier and Destination: Void. This line of thinking reached its fruition in the novels Dune and Dune Messiah.Having expanded his understanding of the full spectrum of consciousness about as far as it could go (although admittedly he never stopped tinkering with the subject), in the second half of his career Herbert refocused his attention on how the limitations imposed upon individual consciousness – or perhaps it might be better to say the limited perspective encompassing a single human lifetime – leaves humanity ill-equipped to confront an infinite and ever-changing universe. In effect we end up in a continuous crisis mode, always vainly insisting that the world of tomorrow conform to the expectations of yesterday. We're persistently and comically always shocked to discover our assumptions are wrong. Elsewhere I have described this aspect of Herbert's thinking, the human failure to deal with, or even to recognize, the implications of an unbounded universe, as an absolute-infinity breach. This theme begins to emerge in Children of Dune and is especially prominent in God Emperor of Dune, for a final surmounting of the absolute-infinity breach is the primary target of Leto II's Golden Path. But we also encounter the concern in Herbert's final trilogy: Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse: Dune, and (by implication) in the unwritten Dune 7.It is a hallmark of Herbert's imagination that he pursues an ever-elaborating expanse of concerns, always tracing a spectral pathway across a continuum of broadening bandwidth, chasing after considerations of widening implications across grander and grander scales of magnitude. An original interest in a fleeting moment of hyperconsciousness ultimately led Herbert into defining consciousness, hyperconsciousness and subconsciousness in all their aspects and dramatizing what he had learned and concluded in his stories; likewise his contemplations of the diverse implications of the absolute-infinity breach. And it might be added that he pushed his spectral analytical approach through time as well, so the Dune saga becomes probably the most temporally discontinuous series ever written. The first three novels take place roughly around the year 21,200 AD. The drama of God Emperor of Dune unfolds 3,500 years later, and that of the last three books (Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune are difficult novels, and attempting to distinguish them as separate novels, or independent from the unwritten Dune 7, is an artificial and arbitrary exercise) takes place an additional 1,500 years after that, placing us circa 26,200 AD.As the primary goal of Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune was to shatter the innate mythmaking in humanity that compels us to conservative convergence, these last three books are intended to unveil the consequences of living in a multiverse that has become irreparably divergent. This divergence followed in the wake of the downfall of the God Emperor and the subsequent Scattering of humanity not throughout multiple star systems or galaxies, but across multiple universes which are discontinuous with one another. Any threat can now come upon our heroes and heroines from any direction, but with all the eggs no longer in one basket, no matter what catastrophe might befall locally, the whole story can never come to a final end.In Heretics of Dune (1984) and Chapterhouse: Dune (1985), the Bene Gesserit has recovered substantially from the tribulation of the era of the God Emperor, and now we're allowed a far more intensive view of the inner workings of the Sisterhood than ever before. But the Bene Gesserit and the remnants of the old Imperium, as ever, are confronted by a host of power-hungry enemies, new and old, in the usual style of Herbert's Machiavellian plotting. It is these plots-within-plots that seemingly all other reviewers have focused on, and I'll forego doing the same here.Herbert said it wasn't until he was writing Children of Dune that he came to understand that an important role of an author was to entertain his readership. That will come as surprising news to some of you who like Herbert, and not to some of you who don't. But it's important to note that the word "entertainment" carries different connotations for readers than it does for hacks or more seriously-aspiring authors. Entertainment is something that is doled out to the action-adventure-thriller crowd, to those who love reading or going to the movies in no small part for the sheer escapism of the thing. Now I'm not overly bigoted about this. There's nothing more boring than a book that's, well, boring. But I think what Herbert was getting at was that as he matured as a writer he came to see, as many writers do, that plot per se is less interesting than character, no matter how many car chases or lasgun exchanges are involved.I for one can't separate a reading of the last books of the Dune series from knowledge of what was going on in Herbert's life as he wrote them, which he did, by that way, at an absolutely furious pace. This happened to be during the most stressful part of his entire life. His wife, Beverly, had been dying for ten years, and the last two years of her life were especially painful for her and for her husband, both physically and emotionally. I believe that, had he lived, Frank Herbert would have easily written the Dune 7 novel to complete the series. I am less sanguine that he could ever have written another coherent novel after that one.By the time God Emperor of Dune was published in 1981, and with the signed contracts for the later Dune novels in hand, Herbert was financially secure but, as I've suggested, he was suffering from increasing emotional instability. Furthermore, I can't help believing he was struck by a supreme irony, which is that, like Paul Maud'Dib, he now found himself hemmed in by the conservative mythology of his own image which he himself had created. To this day you can still see this in reviews of his later books, wherein readers who were born after Herbert's death still bemoan the fact that his later books are not like Dune in style. Everyone wanted, and continues to want, Frank Herbert to write books that seem like quote-unquote Frank Herbert books: everyone wanted, and wants, Herbert to remain frozen unchanging in 1965. But in his later years Herbert, with his financial security, felt free to try to break out of that myth regardless of the demands and expectations of his fans, and for this I applaud him. I'm sure he did have basic plot elements in mind for the last three books of the series – call this the "entertainment" necessary to bring the masses along – but it's quite obvious that he had already grown more interested in character development than in weaving such masterful webs of palace intrigue anymore.Herbert wanted to change course, but he had not yet found a new direction. I see hints of this in Children of Dune, in which Duncan Idaho tells Alia about the practice of setting out blocks of marble in the desert to be etched by the blowing sand of a Coriolis storm. Idaho argues that the sculpted pieces produced are beautiful but they are not art, as they are not carved according to human volition. But in the latter books it is Sheeana who creates an abstract sculpture she calls "The Void," which is art. How might these two kinds of sculpture compare? What is the symbolic significance of Sheeana's abstract work? The question is particularly relevant, it seems to me, when Sheeana's piece is recognized as a symbol set in tension with a Van Gogh which, at the end of Chapterhouse: Dune is carted off into a new, uncharted universe. Clearly, I think, the matter can be read as a form of self-psychoanalysis undertaken by the author. "The Void" is the primitive and unformed new expression welling up inside him; the old and familiar, even conventional Van Gogh has been let slip away with a fond farewell.A kind of quantum uncertainty pervades Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune which are, after all, a single story occupying multiple volumes. We do not have enough pieces to interpret this story or to fairly critique its parts, which must therefore remain finally unadjudicated and unjudgeable. This is because the unwritten Dune 7 was also to have comprised a full third of the complete tale. We can see that Herbert was bending writing to a new direction, and we can hazard some educated guesses about (entertaining) plot elements that would have informed the third book, but we can never know. The best we can do is ponder any written records or notes that Herbert may have left behind as poles in the sand to mark the path he intended to follow. Anyone who possesses any such notes, it seems to me, can be a good steward to the memory of Frank Herbert only by publishing them in unexpurgated form: lacking that, Herbert's career accomplishments can never be properly assessed. And that is an injustice to an important 20th century American writer.


After tens of thousands of years, the theme of ultimate prophetic prediction, spice (i.e. water/oil) dependence, universal religious programming, not to mention a great primer on behind-the-scenes political activities, comes to a close. and what a perfect way to bring this series to an end. Well worth the devotion, this series follows one genetic line with supra-sensory perceptions which gave birth to a messianic figure and his son, whom became a galactic tyrant in the name of progress, nay, of love. i could gloss over the insane amounts of information and wealth of ideas/ research Mr. Herbert put into this story-line, but would rather you deduce for yourself. The series gets bigger and better with each new book. Do yourself a favor; there's a reason why this series is considered the Sci-fi LotR.........


If you’ve made it this far into Frank Herbert’s epic Dune series, then you know what to expect. (As an aside, if you haven’t read the preceding five books in the series, you must do so before reading this one. The beginning is the only place to start this series.) Much like Heretics of Dune and the rest before it, Chapterhouse: Dune is an ambitious look into the future, filled to the brim with cryptic dialogue, elaborate plans and pithy proverbial pronouncements. Like some of its predecessors in the series, this book starts slow. And it continues that way for a long time. If I had to write a plot summery for the first 300 pages or so (my paperback is about 400 pages in length) I would be in trouble. People talk to each other. Often they think to themselves while they talk. Often these thoughts are followed by exclamation points. Often I don’t know what these people are talking about. I absolutely respect Herbert’s decision to take science fiction out of the usual realm of explosions and fireworks, but it does take a bit of patience to sink into the rhythm of this book. Of course, there is a payoff at the end. As with Heretics, some pretty galaxy shattering events take place in the final pages of this novel. Without revealing anything spoilersome, it’s safe to say that the Bene Gesserit will be changed forever! So things do come to a pretty impressive boil, I just wish there wasn’t quite so much simmering before they gets there. I still feel that the original Dune had a balance of pacing that hasn’t been matched since. It’s still good stuff, it just feels a bit unbalanced. One of my biggest worries going into this book was the ending. As I understand it, Herbert didn’t plan for this to be the last book in the Dune series. I was concerned that the epic six book saga might come to a frustrating conclusion with lots of loose ends never to be tied, like an unexpectedly canceled television series. In part this is the case. There are plenty of unknowns at the end of Chapterhouse and lots of material for a potential sequel. But the more I think about it, the more I feel this is as good a way as any for the series to end. Over the course of six books we’ve followed the human race for thousands of years. There is really no way to write a nice neat ending for such a grand tale. It would be ludicrous to say “Finally the Bene Gesserit were satisfied that mankind had reached maturity, and the human race lived happily ever after.” I actually like the idea of leaving loose ends. It feels like, even though I’ll never know about them, there are still plenty of fascinating adventures left in store for humans.***Update! Apparently the series was eventually capped off by Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I guess I will get an ending after all. We'll see if that turns out to be a good thing or not...) I could dredge up some of my usual complaints about the series. I don’t really care about any of the characters. I’m not smart enough to tell if some of the blurbs are insightful or just drivelous gobbledegook. Too many exclamation marks. But seriously, six books into the series, I’ve accepted that stuff as part of the ride and it really doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the experience anymore. I knew what to expect, and Chapterhouse delivered just that: Thoughtful, viscous, and somewhat chewy sci-fi.


The last chronological book in the series by the original author, ends with... a cliffhanger =pMost of the action of the book takes place at the Bene Gesserit headquarters, Chapterhouse. It is a nice follow-up of the previous book, and it is good to see some characters return =) In one hand, the pace feels a bit slow, since most of the book is around the preparations of the final attack to the Honored Matres, who are destroying the Bene Gesserit. However, there is a lot going on between many characters, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding these fearful enemies. His son continued the story with at least two more books (not counting prequels and short stories), I'm curious to see how he handled the series ;p

Scott Ferry

I believe this was one of my favorite of the series. The last book which leaves you amazed at the end. The whole series though speaks to me in various ways. The things that interested me alot were the ideas of possession, multiple personalities, children born with abilities, godlike powers, distortion of time, environment as an ally.

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