Monday, April 20, 2015

Author Bio: Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert - 1984.jpg

Frank Herbert (1920-1986) was best known for the Dune series, and we're reading the first book of that series (appropriately titled Dune) this week. That book is the best-selling sci-fi book in history, and is unquestionably one of the classics of sci-fi, so Herbert is kind of a big deal.

He's from Washington, but had a bad home life and ran away to live with family in Salem, Oregon. His first job was at a newspaper. He served in the Navy as a photographer during WWII, then went to University of Washington and did all sorts of writing, but he only took classes that interested him, so he never finished an actual degree.

Dune - along with Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, published a few years before it - helped turn sci-fi into a literary genre. Before that, all you really needed for a successful sci-fi story was a good technological idea; it didn't matter if you wrote a good story alongside it.

I always think it's interesting to see what an author thought of film adaptations of their greatest works, so I'm pleased to share that Herbert was overall pretty happy with the movie Dune (1984). There was also a TV series adaptation in 2000 but that was 14 years after Herbert's death, so I don't know what he might have thought of it. Since his death, Herbert's son Brian has added a few more books to the series using Herbert's old notes.

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