"I was perfectly satisfied to write science fiction knowing that it would pay very little, that it would be seen by only a very few people."
Frank Herbert loved the sea, having written books about it before his Dune series established him as a science fiction writer. Designs for undersea dwellings usually included air-filled tubes connecting different buildings; the use of a water-filled tube connecting land dwellings of amphibians is a great inversion of the idea.
As always, the invention serves to emphasize the alien nature of the Gowachin, a frog-like people that are just one of the interesting alien races in this novel. All Gowachin keep a graluz, a pond for fertile females and offspring. Herbert spends a lot of time in the novel exploring the idea of what a sentient frog might be like; would males feel guilt when (as in nature) eating the slowest and least fit offspring? The Gowachin prided themselves on staying true to their animal nature and heritage while achieving a high level of civilization.
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'What fabric can take that kind of a load? Synthetic spider silk.'
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