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    The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

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      Native inhabitants of Arrakis, descendants of the Zensunni Wanderers

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    The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Deliverator » 09 Jul 2009 09:48

    I have not read past the first three Dune books so I apologise for my ignorance, but I have some questions about the Fremen and their changing of Arrakis.

    The Fremen follow Liet-Kynes' teaching about collecting up water in order to turn Arrakis into a verdant paradise, but when they do this it damages and ultimately kills off Shai-Hulud, the Great Gods Below, that they worship. Are they aware this will happen? Is it a mistake? Is there a sensible explanation for this apparent contradiction?

    The reason I'd like to know is that I am one of a group creating a Dune Mod for Civilization 4. Link:http://forums.civfanatics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=358. We are trying to work out how a terraforming victory might work and this aspect of the Fremen being pro-terraforming bothers me...
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SadisticCynic » 09 Jul 2009 10:25

    I think there is a quote where someone (Stilgar?) thinks about how the planet will be divided up, with the deep desert reserved for Shai-hulud; but I could be wrong, have to wait for Freak... :)
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby A Thing of Eternity » 09 Jul 2009 10:29

    Yes, I think they intended to leave some room for Shai Hulud. (Welcome to the forums!)

    You might want to jump into God Emperor of Dune ASAP and be careful what you read around here, there are spoilers beyond belief.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Omphalos » 09 Jul 2009 11:38

    I dont think that they understood the long term effects of thier plans to remake Arrakis in the first few books. In God Emperor Leto adapted Kynes' ecological plan as an element of his master plan, remaking it a little bit to suit his needs.

    You really should read God Emperor. I think it would help you a lot with your project by showing you the long term consequences of things that happened in the first three books.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Jul 2009 11:59

    The plan was for a reservation for Shai-Hulud but it didn't work. Water is poisonous to them, it is one of the species immature forms that seals off the water so it can live.

    Once a certain level of moisture is reached it will kill the sandtrout and worms.

    "The sandtrout," he repeated, "was introduced here from some other place.
    This was a wet planet then. They proliferated beyond the capability of existing
    ecosystems to deal with them. Sandtrout encysted the available free water, made
    this a desert planet . . . and they did it to survive. In a planet sufficiently
    dry, they could move to their sandworm phase."
    "The sandtrout?" She shook her head, not doubting him, but unwilling to
    search those depths where he gathered such information. And she thought:
    Sandtrout? Many times in this flesh and other had she played the childhood game,
    poling for sandtrout, teasing them into a thin glove membrane before taking them
    to the deathstill for their water. It was difficult to think of this mindless
    little creature as a shaper of enormous events.
    Leto nodded to himself. Fremen had always known to plant predator fish in
    their water cisterns. The haploid sandtrout actively resisted great
    accumulations of water near the planet's surface; predators swam in that qanat
    below him. Their sandworm vector could handle small amounts of water -- the
    amounts held in cellular bondage by human flesh, for example. But confronted by
    large bodies of water, their chemical factories went wild, exploded in the
    death-transformation which produced the dangerous melange concentrate, the
    ultimate awareness drug employed in a diluted fraction for the sietch orgy. That
    pure concentrate had taken Paul Muad'Dib through the walls of Time, deep into
    the well of dissolution which no other male had ever dared.
    Ghanima sensed her brother trembling where he sat in front of her. "What
    have you done?" she demanded.
    But he would not leave his own train of revelation. "Fewer sandtrout -- the
    ecological transformation of the planet . . ."
    "They resist it, of course," she said, and now she began to understand the
    fear in his voice, drawn into this thing against her will.
    "When the sandtrout go, so do all the worms," he said. "The tribes must be
    warned."
    "No more spice," she said.
    Words merely touched high points of the system danger which they both saw
    hanging over human intrusion into Dune's ancient relationships.
    "It's the thing Alia knows," he said. "It's why she gloats."
    "How can you be sure of that?"
    "I'm sure."
    Now she knew for certain what disturbed him, and she felt the knowledge
    chill her.
    "The tribes won't believe us if she denies it," he said.
    His statement went to the primary problem of their existence: What Fremen
    expected wisdom from a nine-year-old? Alia, growing farther and farther from her
    own inner sharing each day, played upon this.
    "We must convince Stilgar," Ghanima said.


    You can terraform Arrakis but doing so successfully kills the worms, and no more spice.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SandChigger » 09 Jul 2009 12:56

    Achlan wasachlan. :)

    You have to have some way of keeping the sandtrout out of your accumulated water (predator fish seemed to work) or they'll just encapsulate it and stop you in your tracks.

    There's also something about a protein incompatibility between Terrestrial and Arrakeen life that kills the sand plankton around planting areas, but I don't know if you'll want to factor that in. ;)

    But something else, slightly more important, you might want to include in a victory scenario is the fact that it is the adult sandworms that produce most of the oxygen in the Arrakeen atmosphere. Unless you have enough vegetation established to take over as the worms begin dying, you could end up with an "oxygen crisis" and have people and animals start dying. (Frank Herbert doesn't mention this in his books, but they do in the Dune Encyclopedia fan fiction and it kinda makes sense, although I don't know if anyone has ever sat down and done any realistic calculations on it. ;) )
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Deliverator » 09 Jul 2009 13:02

    Thanks for the responses folks. And I certainly intend to read God Emperor soon.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 09 Jul 2009 13:33

    SandChigger wrote:Achlan wasachlan. :)There's also something about a protein incompatibility between Terrestrial and Arrakeen life that kills the sand plankton around planting areas, but I don't know if you'll want to factor that in. ;)


    A report came up from the palmaries:
    At the desert edge of the plantings, the sand plankton is being poisoned
    through interaction with the new forms of life. The reason: protein
    incompatibility. Poisonous water was forming there which the Arrakis life would
    not touch. A barren zone surrounded the plantings and even shai-hulud would not
    invade it.
    Kynes went down to the palmaries himself -- a twenty-thumper trip (in a
    palanquin like a wounded man or Reverend Mother because he never became a
    sandrider). He tested the barren zone (it stank to heaven) and came up with a
    bonus, a gift from Arrakis.
    The addition of sulfur and fixed nitrogen converted the barren zone to a
    rich plant bed for terraform life. The plantings could be advanced at will!


    ~Appendix I: The Ecology of Dune

    You might want to revisit that whole appendix.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby mrpsbrk » 10 Jul 2009 16:57

    Freakzilla wrote:"The sandtrout," he repeated, "was introduced here from some other place.
    This was a wet planet then. They proliferated beyond the capability of existing
    ecosystems to deal with them. Sandtrout encysted the available free water, made
    this a desert planet . . . and they did it to survive. In a planet sufficiently
    dry, they could move to their sandworm phase."


    From some other place? What?

    This has always puzzled me: the worm life-cycle is different from terraforming-like lifeforms at the molecular level. This would point to a non-Earth origin. To my knowledge, there are no other lifeforms in the Chronicles that don't seem to descend from Earth.

    This lead me (a long time ago) to the theory that the melange effects on human beings are a sort of communication attempt from a kind of life that is so different from us that it actually lacks any form of common experience upon which to base a language. Like, how would you describe what "white" means to a blind person? How would a lifeform that didn't have our chemical basis convince us to understand it's worldview?

    But, even more mystifying: if not Earth, where? Sure humanity did have lot's of other planets (and i guess i even remember an allusion about alien encounters in Dune, something like we killed them all, but maybe i'm imagining this...), but what kind of ecosystem would produce an animal that, confronted with big quantities of water, explodes creating melange and turns the planet into a desert?
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SandChigger » 10 Jul 2009 18:45

    mrpsbrk wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:"The sandtrout," he repeated, "was introduced here from some other place.
    This was a wet planet then. They proliferated beyond the capability of existing
    ecosystems to deal with them. Sandtrout encysted the available free water, made
    this a desert planet . . . and they did it to survive. In a planet sufficiently
    dry, they could move to their sandworm phase."


    From some other place? What?

    Haven't actually read the books much, have you?

    This has always puzzled me: the worm life-cycle is different from terraforming-like lifeforms at the molecular level. This would point to a non-Earth origin. To my knowledge, there are no other lifeforms in the Chronicles that don't seem to descend from Earth.

    Repeat above, and note for example:

    INKVINE: a creeping plant native to Giedi Prime and frequently used as a whip in the slave cribs. Victims are marked by beet-colored tattoos that cause residual pain for many years.

    Or how about cholisters, the sea creatures that create soostones. Sheesh.

    This lead me (a long time ago) to the theory that the melange effects on human beings are a sort of communication attempt from a kind of life that is so different from us that it actually lacks any form of common experience upon which to base a language. Like, how would you describe what "white" means to a blind person? How would a lifeform that didn't have our chemical basis convince us to understand it's worldview?

    Another fascinating over-analysis.

    But, even more mystifying: if not Earth, where? Sure humanity did have lot's of other planets (and i guess i even remember an allusion about alien encounters in Dune, something like we killed them all, but maybe i'm imagining this...), but what kind of ecosystem would produce an animal that, confronted with big quantities of water, explodes creating melange and turns the planet into a desert?

    You MISremember and are imagining. There's NOTHING about any alien encounters in Dune. There's mention of the excuse of keeping nuclear weapons IN CASE humanity ever met a hostile alien intelligence, but that's it.

    How something like the worms could evolve is an interesting question, but "explodes creating melange" betrays a serious misunderstanding of the spice cycle as well.

    But please, continue overanalyzing. It's becoming quite amusing. :D
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Omphalos » 10 Jul 2009 18:52

    Let's not go down those alien roads again, all. K?
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 11 Jul 2009 13:15

    You're missing the point. It was not that the sandtrout came from somewhere else but that if they were killed off the planet would go back to its wet state and the worms and spice would be gone.

    If it was important for us to know where they came from, FH would have told us.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby mrpsbrk » 12 Jul 2009 04:19

    SandChigger wrote:Haven't actually read the books much, have you?

    Repeat above, and note for example:

    INKVINE: a creeping plant native to Giedi Prime and frequently used as a whip in the slave cribs. Victims are marked by beet-colored tattoos that cause residual pain for many years.

    Or how about cholisters, the sea creatures that create soostones. Sheesh.


    Ummm... A "vine" doesn't sound to you as something likely to be descendant from an earth specimen? How so?

    Admit it, Chig, you only go to all that trouble to tease me...
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby mrpsbrk » 12 Jul 2009 04:23

    Freakzilla wrote:You're missing the point. It was not that the sandtrout came from somewhere else but that if they were killed off the planet would go back to its wet state and the worms and spice would be gone.

    If it was important for us to know where they came from, FH would have told us.


    No, really, i see that, i know he was pointing to an imbalance... But where does this come from? The worm cycle proceeds to conquer the whole Arrakis ecosystem. I'm talking energy sources here. It is a chemical chain amongst others that tries to sequester some resources, chiefly water. Why, when, and how does it to proceed to exclude all other chemical chains that try to do the same thing? Why didn't it do it in the other planet from where it came?
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Jul 2009 06:35

    mrpsbrk wrote:
    Freakzilla wrote:You're missing the point. It was not that the sandtrout came from somewhere else but that if they were killed off the planet would go back to its wet state and the worms and spice would be gone.

    If it was important for us to know where they came from, FH would have told us.


    No, really, i see that, i know he was pointing to an imbalance... But where does this come from? The worm cycle proceeds to conquer the whole Arrakis ecosystem. I'm talking energy sources here. It is a chemical chain amongst others that tries to sequester some resources, chiefly water. Why, when, and how does it to proceed to exclude all other chemical chains that try to do the same thing? Why didn't it do it in the other planet from where it came?


    Maybe it evolved on Arrakis or there was something unique to the chemistry of Arrakis.

    We will never know.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Ampoliros » 12 Jul 2009 10:40

    I've always felt that Frank Herbert meant the worms to be a bio-weapon/tool. Whoever developed/discovered/transplanted the worms, (lets not call them the Muadru) must have come to appreciate the usefulness. Worms represent a nigh-unstoppable bio-weapon that would be very effective in interstellar war. Drop Sandtrout en mass, let them start converting the environment into a vicious wasteland. The attacked civilization must stop and direct all of its efforts to eradicate or contain the worms. Is it fast? heck no, but it is inevitable and costly to overcome. In the end, you are left with a planet that produces the only resource you really need in great quantity, spice.

    However, its obvious that the worms were never used in this way, at least within the Known Universe, otherwise you'd have Spice producing planets everywhere.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SandChigger » 12 Jul 2009 10:52

    mrpsbrk wrote:Ummm... A "vine" doesn't sound to you as something likely to be descendant from an earth specimen? How so?

    WTF? Pay fucking attention, moron. Not every form of life in the Dune books is descended from Terrestrial life. Period.

    Freakzilla wrote:
    mrpsbrk wrote:No, really, i see that, i know he was pointing to an imbalance... But where does this come from? The worm cycle proceeds to conquer the whole Arrakis ecosystem. I'm talking energy sources here. It is a chemical chain amongst others that tries to sequester some resources, chiefly water. Why, when, and how does it to proceed to exclude all other chemical chains that try to do the same thing? Why didn't it do it in the other planet from where it came?

    Maybe it evolved on Arrakis or there was something unique to the chemistry of Arrakis.

    We will never know.

    NO, they didn't evolve on Arrakis. That's not what it says in the books.

    FH in DM wrote: "The sandtrout," he repeated, "was introduced here from some other place. This was a wet planet then. ..."

    The sand plankton/sandtrout/sandworm life forms create a closed ecosystem that kills everything else in a planet's biosphere. It's difficult to imagine how something like that could evolve in the first place (which is why some people have suggested they were engineered ... like by some alien race trying to communicate, for example :roll: ) and Frank Herbert didn't tell us where they're from or how they arose or who brought them to Arrakis.

    Like the small details of what happened during the "gaps" between the original books, he must not have thought the questions that important or interesting.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Jul 2009 11:38

    SandChigger wrote:
    mrpsbrk wrote:Ummm... A "vine" doesn't sound to you as something likely to be descendant from an earth specimen? How so?

    WTF? Pay fucking attention, moron. Not every form of life in the Dune books is descended from Terrestrial life. Period.

    Freakzilla wrote:
    mrpsbrk wrote:No, really, i see that, i know he was pointing to an imbalance... But where does this come from? The worm cycle proceeds to conquer the whole Arrakis ecosystem. I'm talking energy sources here. It is a chemical chain amongst others that tries to sequester some resources, chiefly water. Why, when, and how does it to proceed to exclude all other chemical chains that try to do the same thing? Why didn't it do it in the other planet from where it came?

    Maybe it evolved on Arrakis or there was something unique to the chemistry of Arrakis.

    We will never know.

    NO, they didn't evolve on Arrakis. That's not what it says in the books.

    FH in DM wrote: "The sandtrout," he repeated, "was introduced here from some other place. This was a wet planet then. ..."

    The sand plankton/sandtrout/sandworm life forms create a closed ecosystem that kills everything else in a planet's biosphere. It's difficult to imagine how something like that could evolve in the first place (which is why some people have suggested they were engineered ... like by some alien race trying to communicate, for example :roll: ) and Frank Herbert didn't tell us where they're from or how they arose or who brought them to Arrakis.

    Like the small details of what happened during the "gaps" between the original books, he must not have thought the questions that important or interesting.


    Well, there's a problem with that. Leto was speaking from OM, so the Sandtrout were brought there by or it was witnessed by one of his ancestors. It also would mean that they were brought from a world of the Imperium which did not have worms or spice but did have sandtrout. I'd say that rules out aliens.

    This leads me to believe that there was something special about Arrakis that allowed them to progress into their sandworm phase.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby inhuien » 12 Jul 2009 12:50

    Freakzilla wrote:This leads me to believe that there was something special about Arrakis that allowed them to progress into their sandworm phase.


    It could only have been that Arrakis did not have any natural predators that would act as a control to prevent the sandtrout from causing Total Global Desertification.

    Or the Wizards could have done it! :)
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Jul 2009 12:59

    That would do it.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SadisticCynic » 12 Jul 2009 13:39

    How come we can rule out aliens (read: other intelligent life) but not other "alien" life forms? Perhaps there are no other life forms on any other planets in the Duniverse. Instead maybe when humanity was able to move to other planets they had to terraform to make them habitable, and could bring different creatures with them.

    New environments and a taste for genetic experimentation could account for the presence of sandtrout, i.e they are a powerful terraforming force. Arrakis as I recall is fairly close to Earth and could have been a first stopping site. Perhaps the desert planet effected by the sandtrout is a mistake by early terraform attempts; remember the old testing stations in the desert... (unless, of course, there is evidence that they do not predate desert Arrakis, I only recall that they are abandoned and are owned by the Emperor).
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby Freakzilla » 12 Jul 2009 14:19

    SadisticCynic wrote:How come we can rule out aliens (read: other intelligent life) but not other "alien" life forms? Perhaps there are no other life forms on any other planets in the Duniverse. Instead maybe when humanity was able to move to other planets they had to terraform to make them habitable, and could bring different creatures with them.

    New environments and a taste for genetic experimentation could account for the presence of sandtrout, i.e they are a powerful terraforming force. Arrakis as I recall is fairly close to Earth and could have been a first stopping site. Perhaps the desert planet effected by the sandtrout is a mistake by early terraform attempts; remember the old testing stations in the desert... (unless, of course, there is evidence that they do not predate desert Arrakis, I only recall that they are abandoned and are owned by the Emperor).


    So, what does this have to do with aliens?
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby loremaster » 12 Jul 2009 15:10

    msrbpk wrote: This has always puzzled me: the worm life-cycle is different from terraforming-like lifeforms at the molecular level
    .

    This is just gibberish. what are terraforming-like lifeforms, and what is the variation at the molecular level? Are you comparing their (unknown) internal chemistry to that of early microbes which drove our own planets development? What is your own summation of sandworm internal chemistry?

    The air on arrakis is oxygenated, one of the products of sandworm metabolism appears to be ozone, although maybe only as a by product?

    Are they anaerobes? seems possible but unlikely given their "oxygen factories". So what is their primary energy releasing reaction? Their food appears to be a mix of sand and sand-plankton which might suggest some silicon dioxide breakdown?

    Embarassing techno-babble.

    "terraforming" as you probably refer to it, is PHENOMENALLY complicated. even during early atmosphere evolution it took millions of years to convert the steam, methane and ammonia in our air to carbon dioxide etc we know today, driven by the capture of massive amounts of elements by biological life. We know almost nothing about what really shaped our early atmosphere on earth, to go babble-pothesising like you appear to be.

    The idea of someone "engineering" a lifeform to terraform a planet, is just about plausible. The idea of it happening in SEVERAL THOUSAND years by those creatures, is just laughably poor.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SandChigger » 12 Jul 2009 16:03

    Freakzilla wrote:Well, there's a problem with that. Leto was speaking from OM, so the Sandtrout were brought there by or it was witnessed by one of his ancestors. It also would mean that they were brought from a world of the Imperium which did not have worms or spice but did have sandtrout. I'd say that rules out aliens.

    What's the problem? The indefiniteness of "from some other place" probably indicates that one of his ancestors wasn't directly involved, was only a witness. That means it could have been anytime after human space exploration began. (And if my supposition that FH's use of spacefolding meant no FTL before, it would necessarily be after the advent of spacefolding and before the Guild.)

    I see no reason to conclude that the sandtrout had to be from a world within the Imperium. They could have been discovered and brought back from far outside by explorers. And since planets seem to be destroyed with alarming frequency in the Duniverse, maybe the original was destroyed and that's why it was never found. (Hey, maybe it's sun was about to go nova and that's why they moved the sandtrout! Anything's possible once you start speculatin'. ;) )

    This leads me to believe that there was something special about Arrakis that allowed them to progress into their sandworm phase.

    Textual evidence?

    loremaster wrote:
    msrbpk wrote: This has always puzzled me: the worm life-cycle is different from terraforming-like lifeforms at the molecular level.

    This is just gibberish.

    Thank you!

    The idea of someone "engineering" a lifeform to terraform a planet, is just about plausible. The idea of it happening in SEVERAL THOUSAND years by those creatures, is just laughably poor.

    Still, that is the universe FH gave us. (The areoforming of Chapterhouse Planet was taking much less than several thousand years.)

    SadisticCynic wrote:Arrakis as I recall is fairly close to Earth and could have been a first stopping site.

    320 light years away. Unless you have spacefolding and everything is close, NO.
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    Re: The Fremen, Shai-Hulud and the changing of Arrakis

    Postby SadisticCynic » 12 Jul 2009 19:32

    SandChigger wrote:
    SadisticCynic wrote:Arrakis as I recall is fairly close to Earth and could have been a first stopping site.

    320 light years away. Unless you have spacefolding and everything is close, NO.


    :oops: Sorry, just checked a reference, I was remembering wrong. And I meant with spacefolding.

    Freakzilla wrote:
    SadisticCynic wrote:How come we can rule out aliens (read: other intelligent life) but not other "alien" life forms? Perhaps there are no other life forms on any other planets in the Duniverse. Instead maybe when humanity was able to move to other planets they had to terraform to make them habitable, and could bring different creatures with them.

    New environments and a taste for genetic experimentation could account for the presence of sandtrout, i.e they are a powerful terraforming force. Arrakis as I recall is fairly close to Earth and could have been a first stopping site. Perhaps the desert planet effected by the sandtrout is a mistake by early terraform attempts; remember the old testing stations in the desert... (unless, of course, there is evidence that they do not predate desert Arrakis, I only recall that they are abandoned and are owned by the Emperor).


    So, what does this have to do with aliens?



    Sandchigger mentioned that not all life forms were descended from Terrestial life which means that life must have evolved elsewhere, I wondered then how we could definitely rule out aliens while keeping other life forms. Sorry if its too off-topic.
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