"...in fifty years, do you believe that people will be recognizably human?"
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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Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
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'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
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'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
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'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
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'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
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