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Dune's Desert

Updated on November 27, 2014
Caladan | Source

The Relevance of Locale

In considering the relevance of locale to a story, what could be more appropriate an example than that of "Dune" by Frank Herbert? There's the barren wasteland of Giedi Prime, the opulent wonders of planet Kaitain and the water world of Caladan. The peoples of these planets are in many ways products of their respective domains. The brutishness of the Harkonnen matches the barren unnaturalness of the planet. The contrived and elegant beauty of the Emperor's world of Kaitain mirrors the facade of refinement and breeding which masks a more sinister nature beneath. The ancestral world of House Corrino, Salusa Sucundus, more closely reflects the actual harsh fierceness of the imperial family's brand of rule and politics. The planet Caladan is water rich and capable of sustaining its inhabitants without much in the way of technical contrivance.

So where, in all of this, does the planet Dune fit? Dune is a planet more harsh than the anscestral home of the Corrinos, more barren than Giedi Prime, and more truly rich than the planet Caladan. However, the wealth of Dune, Arrakis, as it is otherwise known, isn't necessarily only in the rich supply of melange, "the spice." Each society in the Landsraad, the assembly of noble houses in the Imperium, depends on the spice extensively for one thing or another. It's the native people, the Fremen of Dune, which are the wealth of the planet. They are a people suckled by the harshness of its deserts, trained in the survival it teaches and more fierce than any fighting force in the known universe. Fierce but not brutal. Trained but not controlled. Suckled but not coddled. These are a people that could no more be native to any other planet than the great worm of Arrakis can survive in water.

The story of the marriage of the House of Atreides with the wild Fremen of Dune could not unfold on any other planet in the Landsraad nor could the combined roots of Fremen ancestry be better complemented had their forefathers settled on any other planet. With the sand worm of the planet being so integral to the plot of the novel and unable to exist on any other world, there would be no riveting page-turner to keep a reader up all night. The importance of water would have no relevance if this tale were told on Caladan, Geidi Prime, Salusa Sucundus or Kaitan. Without the barren desert sands of Arrakis, there could be no "Dune."

Are you a Dune fan?

Have you read the books, watched the movie, both or neither?

See results
Dune Messiah (The Dune Chronicles, Book 2)
Dune Messiah (The Dune Chronicles, Book 2)

Once you get drawn into the first book, the subsequent books in the series are a must.

Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, Book Three)
Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles, Book Three)

This series is well crafted and very complex in plot, but enjoyable all the same.


Frank Herbert was a noted writer of science fiction. His novel, "Dune," is his masterwork. His writing career was long and distinguished. The focus of his writing seemed to revolve around a number of interrelated themes of which politics, religion and power were most prominent. The novel "Dune" is touted as one of the best selling science fiction novels of all time.

God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, Book 4)
God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, Book 4)

Fortunately, after you've read the original books in the series, you can move on to the books written by his son which continue the saga.


The Place for Setting in Writing

Setting is the place and time of story.

variations in degree of sharing detail in establishing the setting

© 2014 Tanya Jones

Thanks for visiting. I appreciate your stopping in. Please feel free share any comments you have reagarding this hub or a related topic.

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    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @MarleMac: You're right about the book, MarleMac. That's why Dune is one of SF's reads over the decades since it was written. There are so many themes, misogyny contrasted with misandry, animalistic brutality vs humanity, just to name a few. I will check out the books by Herbert's son based on your recommendation. Thank you.

    • MarleMac profile image


      4 years ago from South Africa

      Oh nicely done! A great different take of looking at this focal desert environment and what it spawned. Although I do not usually read pure SF, Dune was an exception and I had to read it 3 times before its vastness of background and themes penetrated my understanding, simply because I wasn't really interested in history at the time. Frank Herbert intrigued me so much in this novel that it changed my whole perception towards the grand scheme of things! Thanks to his epic I started understanding a lot of things and although some of the novels were cumbersome and not really flowing very well, it was still a remarkable achievement. Dune changed the SF world like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings changed fantasy. Remarkable visionaries both.

      I loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They were awesome!

      I definitely recommend you reading the books written by his son, the conclusion is quite mindblowing and all of them are very well written, a better read than some of the later ones by Frank Herbert.

      A great review. Thanks for inspiring!

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @paulahite: It would appear so at first, PaulaLeDuigou, but when I clicked on the "play arrow" the video proceeded to play. Thank you for taking the time, however, to visit and also let me know of a potential problem.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 

      4 years ago from Virginia

      One of your videos is missing...

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @DeborahDian: Thank you, Deborah-Diane, for stopping in and commenting. I agree. The whole series and some of his son's contributions would be great reads for sure.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 

      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Sounds like the entire series of books would be an interesting one to read.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @adragast24: You're welcome. Let me know what you think when you get done. Thanks for taking a moment to visit and comment.

    • adragast24 profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for reminding me about this book. I bought it a while ago but never took the time to read it.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      4 years ago from Alabama USA

      What a great review, thanks for sharing this book with us.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @RinchenChodron: Thank you, RinchenChodron, for visiting my lens. I appreciate your comment. I think it really feels great that someone can appreciate the lens though the topic isn't necessarily their cup of tea. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I do not read much Sci Fi - but I did enjoy your review of this book.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @Jo-Jackson: Thank you, AussieWriter, for taking the time to visit. I appreciate your comments. Yes, after each read, I realize a little more just how significant Dr. Kines' plans for Dune's ecosystem were.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      4 years ago

      I love the Dune books and Frank Herbert's detailed descriptions of the planet and its ecosystem. Enjoyed your review.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @Lionrhod: Thank you, Lionrhod. I appreciate your stopping in and commenting.

    • Lionrhod profile image


      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Well done!

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @John Dyhouse: Thank you, artyfax, for stopping in and commenting. I wish there were more in the series. I haven't tried any of his son's books yet. Glad you liked the review.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      4 years ago from UK

      I must admit I have read and enjoyed the series and thought the title of the review was a new book. A very good review and description however.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @boneworld: Thanks for liking this lens and stopping in to comment, boneworld. That could very well be true about Herbert. Well, worth a little more research on my part. Yes, I agree with you about the caliber of the book.

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      I have never heard anyone put it like this before. The location, and landscape are paramount to the story. I once read that this story began in Herbert's mind while he researched writing an article for a travel magazine. I heard, he researched so much on the climate, that the article wasn't enough for him, so he began writing the book. I don't know if that's true, but Dune is one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time.

    • Arachnea profile imageAUTHOR

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you, Susan52, for stopping in and commenting. I hope they do.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great example! I'm sure Dune fans will agree.


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