"Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think of as civilization."
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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