I've been halfway following this thread,
but with little interest ... maybe we need to
have a discussion of "hard science fiction" vs
whatever it is you want to call Frank's work.
I understand the fun & entertainment in pondering
the scientific realities of a "science fiction" novel,
but for most works, it's just a vehicle for story telling.
the all-powerful transporter technology in Star Trek
is a good example. Scientifically bullshit, but necessary
for furthering the plots. Think too hard about it & you
"lose the magic" of the story. (JRR Tolkien talked alot
about this, the "willing suspension of disbelief", but also
the care an author had to take in his fictional world to be
internally consistent, else he would risk losing the reader's
"suspension of disbelief", and the story would fall apart
under its own weight. (Hi there, Kevin !!))
anyway, I kept looking at this thread with Spinrad
in my head :
Norman Spinrad, from Introduction to Dune wrote:The so-called ecological theme of DUNE does not stand up to serious scrutiny because the ecology of Herbert's fictional Arrakis is extremely simplified and unrealistically schematic. Arrakis is a vast planetary desert, its ecospheres only varying somewhat in degree of dessication, and indeed the main native food chain seems to consist of only two organisms--the tiny ones that produce the raw material of the "spice" and the huge Sandworms which graze upon them and convert it into the precious melange.
and this, from the Jacurutu Interview :
Spinrad wrote:certainly DUNE is not primarily an ecology-themed novel. Indeed, with the depicted ecology of Arrakis consisting of the Worms, the Spice, and humans, it's hardly a novel with ecologial sophistication on a scientific level.