Dune does possess these things, sometimes in abundance, but the differentiating feature of Dune is that it presents these elements as background for the more important–albeit–larger than life and often melodramatic–characterization and plot movement.
The novel’s titular planet has two names–one by natives (Dune) and the other by the Empire (Arrakis)–and is situated so carefully within the narrative that it is impossible to not consider the planet itself the main character, much like Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica‘s ships. It has a life and personality of its own within the book. While the narrative certainly emphasizes the importance of Paul Atreides living among the Fremen or the feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen, no one character or is able to steal the show away from the ever-present Dune itself.
The technology within the book is interesting, but only in so far as it pertains to the storyline. Readers find out how the guild navigators approach interstellar travel, but are never bogged down by mathematical proofs regarding the concept. Other works, such as Larry Niven’s Ringworld, detract from their own narrative and storytelling, appearing to be little more than novel-length masturbatory aids for the author’s brilliance. Herbert uses the science behind his ideas well (in fact, it may not be science as much as fantasy in terms of the mechanics of it), and he is able to allow readers to put their attention on the story being told rather than the plausibility of science.