I was organizing my Google Photos recently and I came across a screenshot that I don’t think I remembered to share with you.

"There was an adult beefswelling in his loins and he felt his mouth open, holding, clinging to the girder-shape of ecstasy. Then a sigh, a lingering groundswelling sweetness, a collapse."

This is from Children of Dune by Frank Herbert, an otherwise pretty good book, except for this absolutely fucking weird-ass passage. I kind of understand it in a way — the character experiencing this, Leto, is nine years old, even though he has the continuum of knowledge passed onto him by the spice / water of life. Still, though, where the hell did Frank Herbert even find the word “beefswelling”?

Look, I get it, the Dune books generally don’t delve into explicit sexual descriptions, and they don’t need to to still be great books. But come on, bro, just because you wrote this in the 70s doesn’t mean you have to use words like “beefswelling”. (Nor does it mean the authors of the Dune wiki needed to do a page about it.)

How did any editor let this pass? Not only that, but they let it pass both in the serialization of the novel and the publication of the novel itself. If I’m the editor of Children of Dune, I’m sending this back with a note: This is fucking ridiculous. Find another way to say what you’re trying to say. (Yes, I can be a harsh critiquer/editor. Doesn’t mean I’m a bad one.)

It is kind of a fun word to say, though.


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