Dust For Life

Dust in fiction

  • In JM Barrie‘s children’s novel Peter Pan (1911), “pixie dust” is a substance used to help make people who can’t already, fly.
  • In Clark Ashton Smith‘s short horror story “The Treader In The Dust” (1935) [3], a scholar unwittingly calls forth a demon that personifies dustiness.
  • In the Peanuts comic strip, the character Pig-Pen (1954) is constantly surrounded by a cloud of dust.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke‘s A Fall of Moondust (1961), 21st century tourists “cruise” across the Moon’s “Seas” that have filled over eons with very fine dust, which is so fine that it almost behaves like water.
  • In Hal Clement‘s short science fiction story “Dust Rag” (1965), two astronauts struggle with dust that stuck to their helmets, blinding them.
  • In Philip Pullman‘s best-selling series His Dark Materials (1995), dust (or “Dust“, as it is spelled in the books) plays an important part by creating a connection between different worlds.
  • In the TV comedy Little Britain (2003), Fat Fighters group leader Marjorie Dawes distinctively instructs the dieters to eat dust as it is “low in fat.”
  • In “The Dust Has Landed“, an episode of Graham Duff‘s science-fiction radio comedy Nebulous, sentient dust declares war against humanity, forcing the reinvention of the vacuum cleaner.
  • In Arthur Slade‘s Dust (2001), a stranger comes to the small town of Horshoe, promising rain. Children begin to disappear. Young adult fiction.
  • In the science fiction series Babylon 5, Dust was a psychoactive illegal drug that enhanced latent telepathic abilities in non-humanoids, that often led to fatalities in both the user and “victim”.
  • The fantasy fiction series His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman explores the interation of ‘Dust’, a substance which gathers on conscious beings, across universes.

Dust in religion

In ancient Sumerian mythology:

  • The afterlife consists of the dreary “House of Dust and Darkness”.

In the Bible:

  • In Genesis 3:19, God — following The Fall, Adam and Eve’s transgression — states to the couple:
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. [Emphasis added]

This latter clause is used in the Ash Wednesday service in some churches for the administering of ashes, and is adapted in funeral services to the common prayer “Dust to Dust“.

I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.

Note however that in both of these Biblical passages, the Hebrew word is עפר (`âfâr), which can also mean earth or dirt.

  • Micah 7:17, “They shall lick dust like a serpent…”
  • John 8:1-11 features Jesus “writing on the ground.” Many translators substitute “dust” for “ground”. This scripture provides the only witness of any writing by Jesus. The choice of dust as a medium for writing has created speculation as to what Jesus wrote.

One Response to “Dust For Life”

  1. baby says:

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