Historical Figure- Frank Herbert
By Aaron Hicks
Member of the Greatest Generation (born c. 1901-1924)
From a young age, he provided food for the family by hunting
Father and mother were alcoholics and had unstable work
Raised in very poor conditions of the Great Depression
Ran away from home at age 18 to live with his aunt and uncle
Served in the US Navy during WWII
Married a fellow writer in college, Beverly Stuart
Never graduated from college, because he only took "interesting" courses instead of those required
- Read the complete works of Shakespeare, Herman Melville, and Marcel Proust
- Favorite science fiction authors were Jack Vance, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells
- Began writing at 14, when he received his first typewriter as a gift
- Worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist and as a political speechwriter for a senator for 25 years before becoming a short story author and eventually a full-time novelist.
- Read many psychologists' works, including Freud and Jung
- Raised Catholic, but later practiced parts of Zen Buddhism
Frank Herbert wrote many of his works as a precaution against human luxury; his dedication in Dune reads "this effort in prediction" instead of 'this tale of fiction.'
Frank Herbert Inside Jacket photo
This is one of the most famous photographs of Frank Herbert, but he actually only had that beard for a very short period in his life.
Herbert's Major Success
Frank Herbert's first full novel was rejected by 23 publishers because it was either "too long to be science fiction" or that it would only be a cult hit.
One of the most recognizable creatures from the Dune saga, the sandworms play a key role in the plot to every book.
Frank Herbert Inside Jacket photo
Herbert's Major Success
"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty."
Ahead of His Time
If I were Frank Herbert and I were alive today, I would definitely be actively working on my self-sufficient, self-contained ecological demonstration project that I began in my house, and be geared towards adapting it to a larger scale, possibly a community. Another goal of mine would be educational reform and public speaking. The only reason I, Frank Herbert, had earned my success, was through steely, teeth-gritting determination and self-discipline. If I were to share my ideas about this to an audience, then I feel like I could benefit their lives. I would also try to make a change in the youth of the world to inspire passion for reading and writing and introspection to lead to a greater understanding of the self.
How the Times Shaped Frank Herbert
Impact of Dune on Today
Dune was written when the Space Race was just heating up, the height of the Civil Rights movement in America was approaching, psychology was rapidly expanding, the future potential of computers was being discovered, and the Cold War was looming over America and the world.
Some prominent themes in Dune include human evolution and advancement; space exploration; ecology; interplay between politics, religion, and power, and psychology and sociology.
Dune reflects the period it was produced in because a rapid advancement in science and technology was leading to whole new visions of the future, and Frank Herbert was one of the first to extrapolate the dangers of rapid advancement and the impact this could have on the environment and society.
Dune would have been less impactul if it had been published more recently, because science fiction is now a more established genre, with classics like Star Wars, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Ender's Game now defining science fiction.
Frank Herbert writes in a very rich, deep style, using lots of vivid descriptors and constantly calling back to earlier phrases and quotes within his own story. He really allows the reader inside the mind of many of his dynamic, real characters, changing the viewpoint constantly and switching to internal dialogue. This internal dialogue is key to understanding the deep psychological twists and turns of the novel's intricate plot and the character motivations. This was his most prominent literary device in the book, and was shown in italics whenever it occurred.
"The hooded head turned at Paul's movement, opening a wedge of face to moonlight. Jessica saw a sharp nose, one glinting eye- dark, so dark the eye, without any white in it- a heavy brown and upturned mustache.
'A likely cub,' the man said. 'If you're fugitives from the Harkonnens, it may be you're welcome among us. What is it, boy?'
The possibilities flashed through Paul's mind: A trick? A fact? Immediate decision was needed" (Herbert, 272).
There are only a few authors I can compare Frank Herbert to, and they only really relate in a few aspects of their writing styles.
- Isaac Asimov has a similar imagination and vision of the future's possibilities in his Foundation series.
- Orson Scott Card writes his novels in the Ender saga in the same structure as Herbert, referencing other characters and parts of the universe at the beginning of each chapter.
- For Frank Herbert's diction and syntax, a good comparison would Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall books.
- J.R.R. Tolkien is the only author I can think of who also singlehandedly created a vast universe, complete with languages and maps, in his Lord of the Rings series.
- Dune. N.d. The Folio Society. Tor.com. By Sam Weber. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
- "Frank Herbert." Frank Herbert. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
- Frank Herbert. N.d. Post Defiance. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
- Hanberg, Erik. "Son of Tacoma, Father of Dune." Postdefiance.com. Post Defiance, 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
- Herbert, Brian. Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert. New York: Tor, 2003. Print.
- Herbert, Frank, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson. The Road to Dune. New York: Tor, 2005. Print.
- Herbert, Frank. Chapterhouse, Dune. New York: Putnam, 1985. 344. Print.
- Herbert, Frank. Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton, 1965. Print.
- Maine, Hugo. Dune - Ride the Sandworm. N.d. DeviantArt.com. Deviant Art, 2005. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
- "The Official Dune Website." The Official Dune Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.