Inspired by the late Frank Herbert's birthday yesterday, io9 pal Joshua Glenn posted an interesting meditation on the awesomeness of Dune over on Hilobrow. He talks about the social issues Herbert was responding to, and writes:

The influence of Herbert's secret muse - environmentalist Rachel Carson, whose Silent Spring appeared shortly before Analog began serializing Dune - distinguishes his own from these other entertainments. Inspired by Carson's defense of the balance of nature, her criticism of man's despoliation of the planet in the name of progress, the desert ecosystem portrayed in Herbert's Dune is far more than a setting: it's a mise en scène, a worldview.

via Hilobrow