Book Review

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

scott visits canada's "museum of immigration" and gets reflective. Dune Messiah is barely mentioned.

cw: body image, purging behaviours, colonialism, human rights abuses, depression

November 19th, 2021

Argh. And I am back. 

Halifax was a fucking shithole and I’m glad to be out of it. 

My holiday was neither fun enough nor long enough.

The one night in Montreal was fun, of course, and the idea of being on a 24-hour train was fun, even if in reality it all got a little dry by the end, especially when the final hour of traintime was spent in a siding waiting for a platform to open up…


Although I felt ready to leave London for the last couple of years I was there, returning to London from time away – wherever it was – still felt magical… Arriving into Paddington after a weekend in Wales visiting old university friends, pulling into Euston or Marylebone coming back from the Midlands, or – most glamorously of all – sliding into Saint Pancras or Kings Cross after time in Europe or Scotland, both of which are different to England. There’s none of that feeling, returning to Toronto, and no I don’t think it would be different if I had any friends here.

When I was in Halifax I spent an afternoon wandering around the Museum of Immigration on my own. My lover had some work to do, and so was occupied in the hotel room on Zoom all afternoon. I wandered sadly down to the waterfront via every secondhand bookshop Google Maps could show me, and for lunch I ate the worst pizza I’ve ever had outside of Italy (while listening to my favourite scripted comedy podcast, Brian & Roger). I arrived at the museum feeling pretty rough, the holiday weight gain from a combination of over-eating and a total absence of exercise (walking from bar to bookshop to bed isn’t exercise) making the terrible pizza sit very unpleasantly in my stomach. I’d gotten into the habit for the past few days of sticking my fingers down my throat before bed and trying to throw up the excess food I’m consumed. Although this purging behaviour limited the extent of any hangover I might have earned (though really it was food rather than booze I was over-indulging in (by my own standards, rather than general ones)), emotionally the sense of shame, not only at my fatness but at my failure to you deal with it in a healthy way, weighed me down like a fucking rock.

So, I entered into the Museum of Immigration and read and watched videos and saw slide shows about the hundreds of reasons why people have moved to Canada. There was discussion, obviously, of the early colonial transportation of thousands of English and French colonists, but the vast majority of the museum (for understandable political reasons) was dedicated to people who had arrived to Canada in the past 60 to 100 years. People who have come here due to displacement caused by war, by genocide, by discrimination. There was a section focusing on LGBTQ people fleeing oppressive regimes in the global South, there was a lot about the people whose homes were destroyed during the first world war as well as, of course, extended information about the lives of the many many Jewish people who had to run from Austria and Germany and the rest of Nazi-controlled Europe during that incredibly dark period that ended barely more than one lifetime ago.

That was real emotion evoked by the testimonies provided by immigrants about their relationship with Canada and with other people within it. There was a lot about community building, about support networks, about quality of life, about economic and political and sexual freedom, and obviously it is fucking relative and there exist vast iniquities within Canada (particularly as regards the country’s indigenous populations), and even though I knew I was experiencing blunt, heavy-handed propaganda about the benefits of the country I currently live in, it made me feel very small and very alone. It made me conscious, irrevocably, of the fact that I have been here for three fucking years and I’ve done nothing. I don’t have a single friend here (other than my lover and my dog, and one of those isn’t even technically a human). I have colleagues I get on with, sure, I have acquaintances, but I don’t have a single [new] friend. I’m not lonely, I don’t have the time to be lonely, but I am alone.

I’m too depressed to write.

I’m too tired to send to contact my friends across the ocean so my WhatsApp now is just fifteen unread conversations with people I would love to talk to but feel like I have nothing to say.

I’ve done nothing to build on the career I started to make in the middle of the last decade and I’ve just gotten sucked into dead-end working in hospitality again and I fucking hate it. I don’t like that the only way I know how to reliably earn money is by being fucking servile – when do I get to be “me”? Everything’s compartmentalised, everything’s disassociated, everything’s not good.


What would happen if I had friends here? Would they read my blog and express concern and worry? Would the info reach my employer that I’m… eugh… “not well”, psychologically, and would I be fired? Should I not be working anyway? Obviously, it’s nice to not be poor (I can buy books whenever I want!), but it’s okay to have little or no disposable income when you’re somewhere you want to be. It’s okay to have little or no disposable income when you have people you care about, people you like close by, right? All of my people are twelve hours and $1,000 away, and that doesn’t make you feel good.

I haven’t come to Canada and “made a better life” like all of the people profiled in that museum, I’ve come here and made nothing.

I’m just here getting sadder and fatter and balder and less inspired and less creative and less hopeful. I’m pretty fucking suicidal atm. I wish I’d killed myself years ago, y’know, and I probably shouldn’t fucking type that or publish this post but what’s going to happen? Nothing is going to happen tomorrow, just as nothing happened today or yesterday or any other fucking day for as long as I can remember.

I will just persist with the excess of despair hounding me like a hound.

I’m back in Europe for a bit in the spring, and the idea of returning to Toronto terrifies me. The summer is beautiful here (it is!), but the winter is fucking hell on earth and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to survive seeing people and places that I want to be near and then coming back across the ocean to this dull life on stolen land.


I wrote my first piece of fiction in almost three years yesterday. Is that a good sign? Is that a bad sign? Probably a bad sign, as it was not the kind of writing I write anymore, but instead the kind of writing that comes easy, writing of cruelty and anger and rage and hate. Maybe I should lean into it and get all this fucking frustration out somehow. But I don’t think filth flies any more…


Oh and I really enjoyed Dune Messiah. Absolutely going to crack on with this whole series.

This one is shorter than the first one and has someone getting their eyes eaten by radiation but then they can still see cuz of the magic spice powers. I wish this one had had more intrigue and scheming, but it’s a much simpler story, stranger than the first one, but very much the same kind of fun.

I realise that this post might have attracted some non-regular readers (Dune is popular, unlike most books I “discuss”), so for any of those people who have made it to the end and wished there had been more about reincarnation and sand and worms and stuff, I say: “Boo-yah, you just got TriumphoftheNow-ed.”

See ya next time!

2 comments on “Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

  1. Pingback: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong – Triumph Of The Now

  2. Pingback: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert – Triumph Of The Now

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