In 1965, Frank Herbert introduced the world of Dune and opened up a whole new style of science fiction writing. This is the kind of book that contributed to Star Wars and other space fantasy books. He developed an entire solar system. Arrakis is a spice world. The spice, known as melange, is highly addictive […]
Born in Tacoma,Washington in 1920, Frank Patrick Herbert, Jr. left a troubled home at the age of eighteen to live with his aunt and uncle in Salem, Oregon. Although, he graduated high school, he never finished college, preferring instead to only study the subjects that interested him. Lying about his age at nineteen, Herbert took a job as a newspaper reporter.
In 1940, he was hired as a reporter and photographer for the Oregon Statesman. Before being given a medical discharge, he spent six months in the United States Navy as a photographer during World War II. In 1940 he married his first wife and had a daughter, Penny. They divorced in 1945. He married his second wife, Beverly, in 1946. They were both writers studying journalism at the time. The two went on to have two sons, Brian, who later continued the world of Dune, and Bruce, who was a photographer and gay rights activist.
During the 1950's Herbert became interested in the environment and Zen Buddhism. His beliefs influenced his writing a great deal. When he contrived Dune, Herbert was researching the Oregon Dunes for an article. He gathered so much information, that he decided to write a book instead. Herbert's method of world building and science fiction with a bent towards environmental change was unheard of at the time. His book was awarded two of the highest awards for writing, the Nebula, and the Hugo. At the time, science fiction covered technology and space travel, but Herbert deliberately left out as much of the technology as she could, and instead, concentrated on ecology and character development.
Although none of his prior and subsequent work reached the notoriety of Dune, most of his books afterward have been on the best sellers list. He continued to tour and lecture on ecology, general studies, and interdisciplinary studies. He also worked as a consultant in Vietnam and Pakistan on social and ecological impact in 1972. Herbert even spent some time in 1973 as a director and photographer for a television show called, The Tillers, a documentary done in Vietnam and Pakistan.
Frank Herbert passed away in 1986, in Madison, Wisconsin, at the age of sixty-five. He was one of the greatest science fiction novelists of all time. He was revolutionary in his ability to build a completed world in his works. His world building of Dune was so complete that his son was able to continue the world after his death by translating his notes. The majority of Herbert's novels deal with survival, evolution and ecology. His beliefs were translated so well in his novels that cults were formed around his novels. This, of course, was extreme, and made him uncomfortable, but, this does not take from the lessons of Dune and books of that type. The greatest science fiction writers, Herbert included, take a grain of thought and follow it through to its conclusion. The planet Arrakis could easily be Earth in the distant future if we don't take care of it.