Guest Author - Laura Lehman
Frank Herbert (1920-1986)
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Frank Herbert was a very precocious child and knew early in life that he wanted to be an author. He began his career as a journalist, but during World War II served in the U.S. Navy as a Photographer. After an honorable discharge in 1943, he worked as a copy editor for the Oregon Journal in Portland, Oregon.
In 1941 Herbert married Flora Parkinson, but they divorced in 1945. He met Beverly Stuart at a University of Washington creative writing class in 1946 and they married soon after. They had two children, Brian, born in 1947, and Bruce, born in 1951. Frank also had a daughter, Penny, born in 1942 from his first marriage.
Because he refused to tailor his writing to a particular market and wrote only what he felt like writing, he had a hard time making a steady living. Herbert began researching Dune in 1959. Beverly gave up her own creative writing to support his. Herbert discussed every aspect of his stories with her, and she edited his work. After six years of research and writing, Dune was completed in 1965. Twenty-three publishers rejected it before it was finally accepted. Because Dune was much longer than contemporary science fiction novels, it was serialized as Dune World and first published in Analog (December 1963-February 1964). Before the work appeared in book form, Herbert rewrote much of his text. While the book won both a Hugo and a Nebula, it was not an instant best seller.
His wife, Beverly passed away in 1984, the same year David Lynchís film version of Dune was released. Later that same year, he married Theresa Shackelford. On February 11, 1986, at the age of 65, Frank Herbert died of pancreatic cancer in Madison, Wisconsin.
Dune was perhaps the first literary science fiction novel. Herbert went beyond his contemporaries in terms of characterizations and plot, raising philosophical and ecological questions. None of the novels in the series could be considered light reading. He wrote over twenty novels after Dune, but many critics donít believe them to be good. There are six novels set in the Dune universe: Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune.