One of the first major SF novels that I picked up was Dune. Something about the copy at the library was striking: a figure against a desert. I tore into it and to this day, I can still visualize various parts of the book. It got me thinking about science fiction in ways that I hadn’t before, and I still count it as one of my favorite books. I’ve never read the sequels: I never wanted to be disappointed or let down by the other novels (much like I’ve never read the 2nd and 3rd installments of the Ringworld and Foundation trilogies).
I read Dreamer of Dune a number of years ago, and reading through it again to source this article, I was surprised at how much of an unlikable person Herbert was – he seemed to have a number of character flaws that made him cranky, angry and generally in trouble with the IRS. At the same time, it’s interesting to see just how big of a hill he had to climb to reach the heights he achieved over the course of a career. It’s a bit of a shame that he didn’t live long enough to really enjoy it or continue his series by himself.
- Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert. I read this a number of years ago, and reading it again, this is a really painful book to read. It’s disorganized, not terribly well written, and not critical in any sense of the imagination. However, it did provide a number of details into when and how Herbert went about writing.
- Frank Herbert, Timothy O’Reilly. This is an early biography of Herbert published in 1981, and it provides some outstanding detail to Herbert and his work.
- The History of Science Fiction, by Adam Roberts. Roberts’ text, as always, is a helpful book for figuring out the context for Dune in the grand scheme of things, and provides some excellent information on the literary side.
- Frank Herbret, William F. Touponce. This text mainly analysis the literary elements of Herbert’s books (most of them), and it’s a useful resource here.
- Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ holds timely – and timeless – appeal, Scott Timberg – This provides some thumbnail information, as well as a great quote from Kim Stanley Robinson.
- Frank Herbert, The Dune Man (Part 1) / (Part 2), Frederik Pohl – Pohl has two remembrances of Herbert, both of which are excellent.
It’s also worth mentioning that Jodorosky’s Dune is a phenomenal documentary that you should see if you have any interest in Dune.