Dune

Single Biome Worlds in fiction

Desert planets in scifi wouldn’t actually be inhabitable*- there’s not enough plants to produce the necessary oxygen without other climates and ecosystems on the planet. Then there are a host of other problems as well- giant sandstorms being just one of them. Tatooine, Vulcan, so on and so forth- they absolutely fill science fiction, and show up semi-regularly in fantasy.

The problem isn’t just restricted to desert planets, either- forest planets would suffer gargantuan firestorms caused by higher oxygen levels, ocean planets would have giant storms and unstoppable rogue waves of enormous size, city planets… well, city planets have a LOT of problems. There is, of course, one series that is the most serious offender- Star Wars. Tatooine (desert), Kashykk (forest of giant trees), Hoth (ice), Endor (jungle), Coruscant (city), Alderaan (floating rubble), and so on.

While it presents some advantages- namely making each world more easily memorable, the primary apparent rationale is one of laziness. Not everyone can go to the effort of worldbuilding that Frank Herbert or J. R. R. Tolkien went through, or even to the lesser, but still damn impressive efforts of Brandon Sanderson or Dan Simmons, but even a basic, two or three page document on the ecosystem of the world you’re using can be incredibly useful in fleshing out a world.

*The big exception, of course, is Arrakis, from Frank Herbert’s Dune, but that is because Herbert went to the actual effort to create a functional ecology and climate for the world, including carbon dioxide reclamation and a hydrologic cycle (or lack thereof). It’s actually quite impressive- he spent years on it, putting in levels of work comparable to Tolkien’s on Middle Earth- it’s one of the many reasons they’re compared so often.

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Weekly Reading List- 1/18/15-1/24/14

Thanks to one thing and another, I didn’t get many books read this week. Largely due to sleep deprivation, which makes me read really, really slow.

Firefight- Brandon Sanderson

YA, SF, Reread

I told you, I reread books a lot, especially Brandon Sanderson.

To be fair, I reread this one on my phone- which is what I read on in the bathroom, when waiting in line, etc. If I only have a minute or two, I’ll just read on here. I get a surprising amount of reading done this way, including, weirdly enough, most of the YA novels I read. My Kindle is still the format I do more of my reading on than any other device, but not by a ton- dead tree format is right behind it, with my phone in a distant, but by no means insignificant third. Audiobook comes in dead last. I listened to all of two audiobooks last year. Before that, it was something like 2010 since the last audiobook I’ve read, and before that? I couldn’t even tell you.

The Wanderer- Fritz Lieber

SF

I’ll have more on this one soon, I’m gearing up to reboot the Hugo Readthrough.

I meant to have the readthrough up and ready to go by now, but I’ve just not gotten much done and ready to go in the last week- I’ve been dealing with a major sleep shortage, which makes me move at about a quarter speed.

The Goblin Emperor- Kathleen Addison

Fantasy, Reread

The Goblin Emperor was one of my favorite fantasy novels from last year- it’s a breath of fresh air in the genre. There is very little violence, it doesn’t particularly leave itself open to a sequel- it’s pretty frankly excellent. 2014 was a really good year for fantasy, but it would not surprise me to see this one as a Hugo contender, even for the normally very science fiction dominated award.

Dune- Frank Herbert

SF, Reread

Man, what really needs to be said about this one? A lot, actually, but I’ll wait a couple weeks. Absolutely love this book, one of my all time favorites.