Author Anthony Nanson explores the green themes in Dune….
Something else celebrated its fiftieth year in 2015 besides me and my age-mates. Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune was published in that same fateful year of 1965. Some say it’s the best science fiction novel there’s ever been. It’s also one of the most ecological.
It was a student giving a presentation on space opera who introduced me to the notion of ‘sword and planet’ – derived from ‘sword and sandal’ movies like Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments – to refer to epic SF whose action takes place mainly on a planetary surface and involves picturesque low-tech impedimenta (e.g. swords) future-primitively mixed with more advanced tech. It covers things as varied as Flash Gordon, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom and Venus books, Jack Vance’s Planet of Adventure, and Dune.
This kind of fiction isn’t always going to concern itself with profound explorations of science, but the choice of a…
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