Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for his long novels, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant and lecturer.
The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with complex themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics, and power. Dune is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time and the series is widely considered to be among the classics of the genre.
Frank Herbert 1984
|Born||Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.|
October 8, 1920
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 1986 (aged 65)|
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Washington (no degree)|
|Literary movement||New Wave|
Frank Herbert was born on October 8, 1920, in Tacoma, Washington, to Frank Patrick Herbert, Sr. and Eileen (McCarthy) Herbert. Because of a poor home environment, he ran away from home in 1938 to live with an aunt and uncle in Salem, Oregon. He enrolled in high school at Salem High School (now North Salem High School), where he graduated the next year. In 1939 he lied about his age to get his first newspaper job at the Glendale Star. Herbert then returned to Salem in 1940 where he worked for the Oregon Statesman newspaper (now Statesman Journal) in a variety of positions, including photographer.
He served in the U.S. Navy's Seabees for six months as a photographer during World War II, then he was given a medical discharge. He married Flora Parkinson in San Pedro, California, in 1940. They had a daughter, Penny (b. February 16, 1942), but divorced in 1945.
After the war, Herbert attended the University of Washington, where he met Beverly Ann Stuart at a creative writing class in 1946. They were the only students who had sold any work for publication; Herbert had sold two pulp adventure stories to magazines, the first to Esquire in 1945, and Stuart had sold a story to Modern Romance magazine. They married in Seattle, Washington on June 20, 1946, and had two sons, Brian Patrick Herbert (b. June 29, 1947, Seattle, Washington) and Bruce Calvin Herbert (b. June 26, 1951, Santa Rosa, California d. June 15, 1993, San Rafael, California, a professional photographer and gay rights activist.)
In 1949 Herbert and his wife moved to California to work on the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. Here they befriended the psychologists Ralph and Irene Slattery. The Slatterys introduced Herbert to the work of several thinkers who would influence his writing, including Freud, Jung, Jaspers and Heidegger; they also familiarized Herbert with Zen Buddhism.
Herbert did not graduate from the university; according to his son Brian, he wanted to study only what interested him and so did not complete the required curriculum. He returned to journalism and worked at the Seattle Star and the Oregon Statesman. He was a writer and editor for the San Francisco Examiner's California Living magazine for a decade.
In a 1973 interview, Herbert stated that he had been reading science fiction "about ten years" before he began writing in the genre, and he listed his favorite authors as H. G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson and Jack Vance.
Herbert's first science fiction story, "Looking for Something", was published in the April 1952 issue of Startling Stories, then a monthly edited by Samuel Mines. Three more of his stories appeared in 1954 issues of Astounding Science Fiction and Amazing Stories. His career as a novelist began in 1955 with the serial publication of Under Pressure in Astounding from November 1955; afterward it was issued as a book by Doubleday, The Dragon in the Sea. The story explored sanity and madness in the environment of a 21st-century submarine and predicted worldwide conflicts over oil consumption and production. It was a critical success but not a major commercial one. During this time Herbert also worked as a speechwriter for Republican senator Guy Cordon.
Herbert began researching Dune in 1959. He was able to devote himself wholeheartedly to his writing career because his wife returned to work full-time as an advertising writer for department stores, becoming the breadwinner during the 1960s. He later told Willis E. McNelly that the novel originated when he was supposed to do a magazine article on sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon. He became too involved and ended up with far more raw material than needed for an article. The article was never written, but instead planted the seed that led to Dune.
Dune took six years of research and writing to complete and it was much longer than commercial science fiction of the time was supposed to be. Analog (the renamed Astounding, still edited by John W. Campbell) published it in two parts comprising eight installments, "Dune World" from December 1963 and "Prophet of Dune" in 1965. It was then rejected by nearly twenty book publishers. One editor prophetically wrote, "I might be making the mistake of the decade, but ...".
Sterling E. Lanier, an editor of Chilton Book Company (known mainly for its auto-repair manuals) had read the Dune serials and offered a $7,500 advance plus future royalties for the rights to publish them as a hardcover book. Herbert rewrote much of his text. Dune was soon a critical success. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965 and shared the Hugo Award in 1966 with ...And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny. Dune was the first major ecological science fiction novel, embracing a multitude of sweeping, interrelated themes and multiple character viewpoints, a method that ran through all Herbert's mature work.
Dune was not an immediate bestseller. By 1968 Herbert had made $20,000 from it, far more than most science fiction novels of the time were generating, but not enough to let him take up full-time writing. However, the publication of Dune did open doors for him. He was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's education writer from 1969 to 1972 and lecturer in general studies and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Washington (1970–1972). He worked in Vietnam and Pakistan as a social and ecological consultant in 1972. In 1973 he was director-photographer of the television show The Tillers.
A man is a fool not to put everything he has, at any given moment, into what he is creating. You're there now doing the thing on paper. You're not killing the goose, you're just producing an egg. So I don't worry about inspiration, or anything like that. It's a matter of just sitting down and working. I have never had the problem of a writing block. I've heard about it. I've felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I'd much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, "Well, now it's writing time and now I'll write." There's no difference on paper between the two.— Frank Herbert
By the end of 1972, Herbert had retired from newspaper writing and become a full-time fiction writer. During the 1970s and 1980s, Herbert enjoyed considerable commercial success as an author. He divided his time between homes in Hawaii and Washington's Olympic Peninsula; his home in Port Townsend on the peninsula was intended to be an "ecological demonstration project". During this time he wrote numerous books and pushed ecological and philosophical ideas. He continued his Dune saga, following it with Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune. Other highlights were The Dosadi Experiment, The Godmakers, The White Plague and the books he wrote in partnership with Bill Ransom: The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect, and The Ascension Factor which were sequels to Destination: Void. He also helped launch the career of Terry Brooks with a very positive review of Brooks' first novel, The Sword of Shannara, in 1977.
Herbert's change in fortune was shadowed by tragedy. In 1974, Beverly underwent an operation for cancer. She lived ten more years, but her health was adversely affected by the surgery. During this period, Herbert was the featured speaker at the Octocon II science fiction convention held at the El Rancho Tropicana in Santa Rosa, California, in October 1978. In 1979, he met anthropologist James Funaro with whom he conceived the Contact Conference. Beverly Herbert died on February 7, 1984, the same year that Heretics of Dune was published; in his afterword to 1985's Chapterhouse: Dune, Frank Herbert wrote a eulogy for her.
In 1983, British heavy metal band Iron Maiden requested permission from Herbert's publisher to name a song on their album Piece of Mind after Dune, but were told that the author had a strong distaste for their style of music. They instead titled the song "To Tame a Land".
1984 was a tumultuous year in Herbert's life. During this same year of his wife's death, his career took off with the release of David Lynch's film version of Dune. Despite high expectations, a big-budget production design and an A-list cast, the movie drew mostly poor reviews in the United States. However, despite a disappointing response in the US, the film was a critical and commercial success in Europe and Japan.
After Beverly's death, Herbert married Theresa Shackleford in 1985, the year he published Chapterhouse: Dune, which tied up many of the saga's story threads. This would be Herbert's final single work (the collection Eye was published that year, and Man of Two Worlds was published in 1986). He died of a massive pulmonary embolism while recovering from surgery for pancreatic cancer on February 11, 1986, in Madison, Wisconsin, age 65. He was raised a Catholic but adopted Zen Buddhism as an adult.
Herbert was a strong critic of the Soviet Union. He was a distant relative of the controversial Republican senator, Joseph McCarthy, whom he referred to as "Cousin Joe." Herbert was appalled to learn of McCarthy's blacklisting of suspected Communists from working in certain careers and believed that he was endangering essential freedoms of citizens of the United States. Herbert believed that governments lie to protect themselves and that, following the infamous Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon had unwittingly taught an important lesson in not trusting government.
In Chapterhouse: Dune, he wrote:
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.— Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune
Frank Herbert used his science fiction novels to explore complex ideas involving philosophy, religion, psychology, politics and ecology. The underlying thrust of his work was a fascination with the question of human survival and evolution. Herbert has attracted a sometimes fanatical fan base, many of whom have tried to read everything he wrote, fiction or non-fiction, and see Herbert as something of an authority on the subject matters of his books. Indeed, such was the devotion of some of his readers that Herbert was at times asked if he was founding a cult, something he was very much against.
There are a number of key themes in Herbert's work:
Frank Herbert refrained from offering his readers formulaic answers to many of the questions he explored.
Dune and the Dune saga constitute one of the world's best-selling science fiction series and novels; Dune in particular has received widespread critical acclaim, winning the Nebula Award in 1965 and sharing the Hugo Award in 1966, and is frequently considered one of the best science fiction novels ever, if not the best. Locus subscribers voted it the all-time best SF novel in 1975, again in 1987, and the best "before 1990" in 1998.
Dune is considered a landmark novel for a number of reasons:
Herbert never again equalled the critical acclaim he received for Dune. Neither his sequels to Dune nor any of his other books won a Hugo or Nebula Award, although almost all of them were New York Times Best Sellers. Some felt that Children of Dune was almost too literary and too dark to get the recognition it may have deserved; others felt that The Dosadi Experiment lacked an epic quality that fans had come to expect.
Much of Herbert's work makes difficult reading. His ideas were genuinely developed concepts, not merely decorative notions, but they were sometimes embodied in excessively complicated plots and articulated in prose which did not always match the level of thinking [...] His best novels, however, were the work of a speculative intellect with few rivals in modern science fiction.
Beginning in 2012, Herbert's estate and WordFire Press have released four previously unpublished novels in e-book and paperback formats: High-Opp (2012), Angels' Fall (2013), A Game of Authors (2013), and A Thorn in the Bush (2014).
In recent years, Frank Herbert's son Brian Herbert and author Kevin J. Anderson have added to the Dune franchise, using notes left behind by Frank Herbert and discovered over a decade after his death. Brian Herbert and Anderson have written two prequel trilogies (Prelude to Dune and Legends of Dune) exploring the history of the Dune universe before the events within Dune, as well as two post-Chapterhouse Dune novels that complete the original series (Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune) based on Frank Herbert's own Dune 7 outline.
Frank Herbert was born Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. in Tacoma, Washington on October 8, 1920.
Since its debut in 1965, Frank Herbert's Dune has sold over 12 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling science fiction novel of all time ... Frank Herbert's Dune saga is one of the greatest 20th Century contributions to literature.
The new prequels ... will be based on notes and outlines Frank Herbert left at his death in 1986.
Frank Herbert wrote a detailed outline for Dune 7 and he left extensive Dune 7 notes, as well as stored boxes of his descriptions, epigraphs, chapters, character backgrounds, historical notes—over a thousand pages worth.
I got a call from an estate attorney who asked me what I wanted to do with two safety deposit boxes of my dad's ... in them were the notes to Dune 7—it was a 30-page outline. So I went up in my attic and found another 1,000 pages of working notes.
Brian was cleaning out his garage to make an office space and he found all these boxes that had 'Dune Notes' on the side. And we used a lot of them for our House books.
We had already started work on House Atreides ... After we already had our general outline written and the proposal sent to publishers, then we found the outlines and notes. (This necessitated some changes, of course.)
... we are ready to tackle the next major challenge—writing the grand climax of the saga that Frank Herbert left in his original notes sealed in a safe deposit box ... after we'd already decided what we wanted to write ... They opened up the safe deposit box and found inside the full and complete outline for Dune 7 ... Later, when Brian was cleaning out his garage, in the back he found ... over three thousand pages of Frank Herbert's other notes, background material, and character sketches.
Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. 'But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things,' he said. 'Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand...'
the co-authors have expanded on Herbert's brief outline
Brian Patrick Herbert (born June 29, 1947) is an American author who lives in Washington state. He is the elder son of science fiction author Frank Herbert.
Brian Herbert's novels include Sidney's Comet, Prisoners of Arionn, Man of Two Worlds (written with his father), and Sudanna Sudanna. In 2003, Herbert wrote a biography of his father: Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert. The younger Herbert has edited The Songs of Muad'dib and the Notebooks of Frank Herbert's Dune. Brian has also created a concordance for the Dune universe based on his father's notes, though, according to the younger Herbert, there are no immediate plans to publish it.Children of Dune
Children of Dune is a 1976 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the third in his Dune series of six novels. Initially selling over 75,000 copies, it became the first hardcover best-seller ever in the science fiction field. The novel was critically well-received for its gripping plot, action, and atmosphere, and was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1977. It was originally serialized in Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1976, and was the last Dune novel to be serialized before book publication. The novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were published in one volume by the Science Fiction Book Club in 2002 and the two were adapted into a well-received television miniseries entitled Frank Herbert's Children of Dune by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003.
At the end of Dune Messiah, Paul Atreides walks into the desert, a blind man, leaving his twin children Leto and Ghanima in the care of the Fremen, while his sister Alia rules the universe as regent. Awakened in the womb by the spice, the children are the heirs to Paul's prescient vision of the fate of the universe, a role that Alia desperately craves. House Corrino schemes to return to the throne, while the Bene Gesserit make common cause with the Tleilaxu and Spacing Guild to gain control of the spice and the children of Paul Atreides.Dune (franchise)
Dune is a science fiction media franchise that originated with the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert. Dune is frequently cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history. It won the 1966 Hugo Award and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel, and was later adapted into a 1984 film and a 2000 television miniseries. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the first two were presented as a miniseries in 2003. The Dune universe has also inspired some traditional games and a series of video games. Since 2009, the names of planets from the Dune novels have been adopted for the real-world nomenclature of plains and other features on Saturn's moon Titan.Frank Herbert died in 1986. Beginning in 1999, his son Brian Herbert and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson published a number of prequel novels, as well as two which complete the original Dune series (Hunters of Dune in 2006 and Sandworms of Dune in 2007), partially based on Frank Herbert's notes discovered a decade after his death.The political, scientific, and social fictional setting of Herbert's novels and derivative works is known as the Dune universe, or Duniverse. Set tens of thousands of years in the future, the saga chronicles a civilization which has banned artificial intelligence but has also developed advanced technology and mental and physical abilities. Vital to this empire is the harsh desert planet Arrakis, only known source of the spice melange, the most valuable substance in the universe.
Due to the similarities between some of Herbert's terms and ideas and actual words and concepts in the Arabic language—as well as the series' "Islamic undertones" and themes—a Middle Eastern influence on Herbert's works has been noted repeatedly.Dune (novel)
Dune is a 1965 science fiction novel by American author Frank Herbert, originally published as two separate serials in Analog magazine. It tied with Roger Zelazny's This Immortal for the Hugo Award in 1966, and it won the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. It is the first installment of the Dune saga, and in 2003 was cited as the world's best-selling science fiction novel.Set in the distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society in which noble houses, in control of individual planets, owe allegiance to the Padishah Emperor, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts the stewardship of the planet Arrakis. It is an inhospitable and sparsely populated desert wasteland, but is also the only source of melange, also known as "spice", a drug that enhances mental abilities. As melange is the most important and valuable substance in the universe, control of Arrakis is a coveted—and dangerous—undertaking. The story explores the multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion, as the factions of the empire confront each other in a struggle for the control of Arrakis and its spice.Herbert wrote five sequels: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. The first novel also inspired a 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch, the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune and its 2003 sequel Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (which combines the events of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune), computer games, several board games, songs, and a series of followups, including prequels and sequels, that were co-written by Kevin J. Anderson and the author's son, Brian Herbert, starting in 1999. A new film adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve is scheduled to begin production in 2019.
Since 2009, the names of planets from the Dune novels have been adopted for the real-life nomenclature of plains and other features on Saturn's moon Titan.Dune Messiah
Dune Messiah is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the second in his Dune series of six novels. It was originally serialized in Galaxy magazine in 1969. The American and British editions have different prologues summarizing events in the previous novel. Dune Messiah and its sequel Children of Dune were collectively adapted by the Sci-Fi Channel in 2003 into a miniseries entitled Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. In 2002, the Science Fiction Book Club also published the two novels in one volume.Eye (short story collection)
Eye (1985) is a collection of 13 science fiction short stories by American writer Frank Herbert. All of the works had been previously published in magazine or book form, except for "The Road to Dune".Frank H. Foss
Frank Herbert Foss (b. Augusta, Maine, September 20, 1865 – d. Fitchburg, Massachusetts, February 15, 1947) was a United States Representative from Massachusetts.
He attended public schools in Augusta, Maine and graduated from Kent Hill (Maine) Seminary in 1886. He moved to Fitchburg in 1893.
Foss was a member of the Bricklayers, Masons, and Plasterers International Union of America Union, number 19, until 1895 when he took out an honorable withdrawal card and became a general contractor engaged in the construction of industrial plants.
He was a member of the Fitchburg city council (1906–1912); water commissioner (1913–1915); mayor of Fitchburg (1917–1920); member of the Republican State committee (1915–1946), and served as chairman (1921–1924).
He was a delegate to every Republican State Convention held between 1915 and 1946. He was elected as a Republican to the 69th Congress and the following four Congresses (March 4, 1925 - January 3, 1935). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1934 to the 74th Congress, and resumed management in the contracting business.
He resided in Fitchburg until his death there on February 15, 1947, aged 81; interment in Forest Hill Cemetery.Frank Herbert bibliography
This is a list of works by the science fiction author Frank Herbert.Frank Muir
Frank Herbert Muir (5 February 1920 – 2 January 1998) was an English comedy writer, radio and television personality, and raconteur. His writing and performing partnership with Denis Norden endured for most of their careers. Together they wrote BBC Radio's Take It From Here for over 10 years, and then appeared on BBC radio quizzes My Word! and My Music for another 35. Muir became Assistant Head of Light Entertainment at the BBC in the 1960s, and was then London Weekend Television's founding Head of Entertainment. His many writing credits include editorship of The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose.Frank Wilde
Frank Herbert David Wilde (1 March 1911 – 6 February 1982) was a British tennis and table tennis player who played in the Davis Cup. He reached the final of the Wimbledon Championships on three occasions, twice in the men's doubles and once in mixed doubles.God Emperor of Dune
God Emperor of Dune is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert published in 1981, the fourth in his Dune series of six novels. It was ranked as the number 11 hardcover fiction best seller of 1981 by Publishers Weekly.Heretics of Dune
Heretics of Dune is a 1984 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the fifth in his Dune series of six novels. It was ranked as the #13 hardcover fiction best seller of 1984 by The New York Times.Soul Catcher (novel)
Soul Catcher is a 1972 novel by Frank Herbert about a Native American who kidnaps a young white boy, and their journey together.
In 2014 producer Dimitri Villard acquired the film rights to the novel.The Book of Frank Herbert
The Book of Frank Herbert (1973) is a collection of ten short stories written by science fiction author Frank Herbert. The first edition of this book contained cover art and interior artwork by Jack Gaughan. Three of the stories in this collection appeared here for the first time.The Road to Dune
The Road to Dune is a collection of science fiction works and related material by American writers Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. A companion book to the Dune novels, the book was released in September 2005.The Worlds of Frank Herbert
The Worlds of Frank Herbert (1970) is a collection of eight short stories written by science fiction author Frank Herbert. All of the stories in this collection had been previously published in magazines.