Frank Herbert

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(October 8, 1920 -- February 11, 1986)

Frank Patrick Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington. He was educated at the University of Washington, 1946-1947, and married three times: 1) Flora Parkinson, 1940 (divorced), one daughter; 2) Beverly Ann Stuart, 1946, two sons; 3) Theresa Shackleford, 1985.

A man of wide-ranging interests, Herbert worked at a variety of jobs (including newspaper reporter and editor) before becoming a full-time writer in 1972. His first publication: "Survival of the Cunning" in Esquire (March, 1945); First SF story: "Looking for Something?" in Startling Stories (April, 1952); First Novel: The Dragon in the Sea (Doubleday, 1956) [reprinted by Avon as 21st Century Sub]; First SF collection: The Worlds of Frank Herbert (New English Library, 1971/a PBO).

He became famous in the mid-1960s with the first in his "Dune" series of novels, the idea for which originated in 1958 when he was a reporter dispatched to an Oregon coast research station to write about shifting sand dunes. The 1984 movie based on his original novel was less successful than the book, but entertaining nonetheless.

He was nominated for the 1956 Most Promising New Author Hugo and won the 1966 Best Novel Hugo for Dune.

Although he published many other novels, including five more in the "Dune" series, Herbert's reputation rests upon only a few: Dune (1965); The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966); The Heaven Makers (1968); and Hellstrom's Hive (1973). All these works are carefully researched and highly detailed studies of people and their interactions with their environments.

In the 1997 Locus poll of the "all-time best novelist" Herbert placed second (to Robert Heinlein).

Herbert was interviewed in the October 1973 issue (Volume 1, #4) of Vertex; in the May 1975 issue (#3) of Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction; in the April 1978 issue of Ariel: The Book of Fantasy; and he was the subject of the December, 1978 "Biolog" department in ASF. He was also interviewed on the filming of Dune in the November 1979 issue (#14) of Future Life.

Herbert: "Dune was rejected by twenty-two editors and was panned by all of the major critics. Still, it was a best seller and sold thirteen million copies" [written in 1984].

The Road to Dune, a collection credited to Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, appeared in 2005.

In the 1960s he served on a committee of SF writers that lobbied to save TV's "Star Trek."

Manuscript/Book Collection: California State University Library, Fullerton.

References: Frank Herbert: Prophet of Dune (1979) by George Edgar Slusser; Frank Herbert (1981) by Timothy O'Reilly; Dune Master: A Frank Herbert Bibliography (1988) by Daniel J. H. Levack.

Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert's son, published Dreamer of Dune: The Biography of Frank Herbert in 2003. Brian had collaborated with his father on an earlier work, Man of Two Worlds (1986). Brian Herbert also has written several novels that carry on the "Dune" saga.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

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