After long delay, I dispatched my response to Alison's letter today. Indirectly, doing so was a reminder of the sheer number of important, interesting people who are out there to keep in touch with. There are even many fellow Oxford students who I see much less than I would like. Thankfully, there have also been reminders of late that even those with whom I lack contact for extended periods do not become entirely alienated from me as a result. At different times, Kate, Viktoria P, and Sarah W have all been reminders of this. To know that is comforting to someone off-continent from family and the bulk of friends.
I also finished re-reading Dune today. I read it for the first time during the first Bowron Lakes expedition, many years ago, with Alison Benjamin and my friend Chevar. Back then, I remember finding it very long and difficult, though enjoyable. It's certainly a book with extensive verisimilitude. Herbert does an impressive job of constructing a whole universe for it to take place within: complete with politics, history, and religion. Like all the best science fiction, the themes of Dune speak to enduring human concerns and possibilities.