|Name: Axolotl Tank|
|Function: Biological Growth Housing|
|Affiliation: Bene Tleilax|
Technology OverviewThe Axlotl Tank (a combination of the term "Axlotl", a small animal capable of regenerating limbs) was a device used by the Bene Tleilax to create and nurture their products, especially gholas and other complete organisms. Tank" is a misnomer term. The actual artifact consists of a sessile human female who has been modified to dormantly accept chemical and biological cues necessary to grow the needed biological artifacts. These may be "grown" in another Axlotl tank or may be formed from a sexually mature human female. Normally the personality of the adult female is either suppressed or destroyed during the process of "formation" or "installation".
The Tleilaxu's use of their females for this purpose was beleived to demonstrate either a profound sense of devotion to their God or a horrific ultimate gesture of "utilitarianism". In any case, supressing the wisdom and complementary mental and emotional skills of their females may have doomed the all male Bene Tleilax to destruction at the hands of the "Honored Matres" and was certainly a immense and profound flaw in their culture.
Out of Universe InformationThere is a not so subtle "message" from Frank Herbert contained in the story of the Bene Tleilax. Herbert condemns the objectification of women, the denial of their contributions due to their "hard wired" perspective which differs in some ways from the hardwired perspective of human males, and the process of living things being turned into sources of goods that do not promote their own interests or well being. Some may extrapolate the former to include "factory farming", but Herbert had a definite attitude about exploitation taken to extremes. Herbert places an immense emphasis upon balance, whether it is balance between men and women, artistic balance in his writing and in his choice of artists whom he esteemed or his expositions on Ecosystems. Even his comments on "maturity" and the dignity of some of his characters shows the import that he placed on balance, integrity and mutual exchange. The Bene Tleilax are an example of an unbalanced culture, one that denies feminine expression at any level, which objectifies biological organisms as products and goods and which ultimately destroys even the individuality of "masters" by condemning them to eternal resurrection as gholas.
Retrospectively, the characters of Pardot Keynes, both Letos, and a few other "dominant characters" were Frank Herbert's "voice " to the reader about various topics. In addition, the characters of Jessica, Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam and the Reverend Mothers "Dar'" and "Tar" were special voices to the reader culled from Herbert's life, especially his wife and female caregivers.