"What television does is rent us friends and relatives who are quite satisfactory. This is quite something, to rent artificial friends and relatives right inside the house."
This very puzzling item is introduced early in the story; it is not until mid-way through that the reader discovers the incredible purpose of this device. The rhythmic vibration produced when a thumper is placed in the sand calls one of the enormous sandworms of Dune.
Why would the Fremen want to call this fearsome creature, from which all others on the planet fled? Read the book for the astonishing answer.
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'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'
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'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'
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