Brian Herbert biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Brian Herbert.

Author Biography  |  Interview  |  Books by this Author  |  Readalikes

Brian Herbert

Brian Herbert

Brian Herbert Biography

Brian Herbert, the author of numerous novels and short stories, has been critically acclaimed by leading reviewers in the United States and around the world. The eldest son of science fiction superstar Frank Herbert, Brian moved 23 times before graduating from high school. Finances were tight in those days, as his father (with success still years away) worked on and off as a newspaperman and sometimes solely as a writer, neither of which brought in enough money to support a family of three children, including Brian, his younger brother, Bruce, and their older sister, Penny.

Funds were in such short supply that Brian's mother, Beverly, would sometimes pick only a few bills out of a hat to be paid and disregard the rest. In one of the places they lived, a small shack on the Tacoma tide flats, the children slept on an unheated porch, and in another—a remote cabin reached by traversing a steep trail— their father heated the house by intentionally getting on mailing lists and then burning the junk mail. There were even years in which the children received no presents on Christmas Day.

Life was never dull, however. An impulsive, restless man, Frank Herbert constantly sought out new opportunities, fresh adventures. This included two writing sojourns with his family to Mexico, including one with fantasy author Jack Vance and another in an old Cadillac LaSalle hearse—the family car.

An honor student, Brian was skipped ahead, so that he graduated from high school at the age of 16. He married at a young age as well, and while a full-time student at UC Berkeley (where he received a BA in Sociology), he worked in order to support his wife, Jan, and their baby daughter, Julie. The marriage has lasted for more than three decades and has produced three daughters, Julie, Kimberly, and Margaux.

Brian has been involved in a wide variety of professions and endeavors, including work as an author and editor, a business manager, an inventor of board games, and as a creative consultant for television and for collectible card games. He did not begin his writing career until he was nearly 30 years old. Prior to that he worked as an insurance underwriter and agent, an award-winning encyclopedia salesman, a waiter, a busboy, a maid (not a typo), and a printer. He and his wife once owned a double-decker London bus, which they converted into an unusual gift shop. Brian also operated a mail-order record and tape business, in which he sold "golden oldies" music to remote regions of the world, including the Australian outback.

His first two books were humor collections, INCREDIBLE INSURANCE CLAIMS and CLASSIC COMEBACKS. After that a steady stream of novels ensued, including SIDNEY'S COMET, THE GARBAGE CHRONICLES, SUDANNA SUDANNA, MAN OF TWO WORLDS (with Frank Herbert), PRISONERS OF ARIONN, THE RACE FOR GOD (preliminary Nebula nominee in 1990), MEMORYMAKERS (with Marie Landis), and BLOOD ON THE SUN (with Marie Landis). Among his edited books are THE NOTEBOOKS OF FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE and SONGS OF MUAD'DIB.

When Brian was in his late 20s and early 30s he began to grow close to his father, a complex, enigmatic man. The son's effort to unravel the intriguing mysteries of his father began with a detailed journal that Brian maintained for years, chronicling the fascinating events of the Herbert family—a document which ultimately encompassed the tragic deaths of his mother and father, and which he expanded into a comprehensive biography of Frank Herbert—DREAMER OF DUNE. The quest to understand one's father—which Joseph Campbell has described as one of the epic hero journeys of mankind, continued as Brian studied the entire six volume DUNE series and created a massive DUNE CONCORDANCE. This would prove to be an invaluable reference book in the writing of additional DUNE books in the three-volume PRELUDE TO DUNE series, which Brian undertook with Kevin J. Anderson in 1998.

Today Brian and his sister Penny manage the magnificent legacy of their father's works, and through projects such as PRELUDE TO DUNE are opening new realms of Frank Herbert's vivid imagination to millions of his loyal fans.

Link to Brian's website

This biography was last updated on 08/02/2010.

A note about the biographies
We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate. However, with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, please send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Interview

The Story Behind Dune: House Atreides
by Brian Herbert

When my father first sat down with me to go over one of my manuscripts, he told me that he couldn't teach me how to write; instead, he would teach me what he called "the care and feeding of editors": how to make manuscripts look presentable so that they wouldn't be tossed into a slush pile, unread. He then proceeded to teach me how to write. I remember many instances when we would brainstorm ideas and dissect my own novel manuscripts. He taught me how to develop worlds, to create characters, to invent action...and to describe all of it. We collaborated on the novel Man of Two Worlds, Frank Herbert's last published work, and even talked about working together on a new Dune novel, but we'd set no date, had established no specific details or direction.

That novel was not to be. When my father died in 1986, he left several projects unfinished. For years there were rumors that I would write another novel set in my father's Dune universe, a sequel to the sixth book in the series, Chapterhouse: Dune. Prominent writers approached me with offers of collaboration, but in tossing ideas around with them I couldn't visualize the project coming to fruition. They...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Brian Herbert at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Dune: House Harkonnen
Dune: House Harkonnen

by Brian Herbert

Follow Leo Atreides, Duke Leto, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Jessica, Gurney Halleck, and Duncan Idaho on the inexorable and fascinating journey that will lead to Dune.
Read More

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Brian Herbert but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Greg Bear

    Greg Bear

    Greg Bear was born in San Diego, California, on August 20th, 1951, to Wilma M. and Dale F. Bear. His father was in the navy so as a child he had traveled extensively to Japan, the Philippines and Alaska, as well as touring... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Dune: House Harkonnen

    Try:
    Darwin's Children
    by Greg Bear

  • Stephen R. Donaldson

    Stephen R. Donaldson

    Born in 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio, Stephen R. Donaldson lived in India (where his father was a medical missionary) until 1963. He graduated from the College of Wooster (Ohio) in 1968, served two years as a conscientious ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Dune: House Atreides

    Try:
    The Runes of The Earth
    by Stephen R. Donaldson

We recommend 10 similar authors

View all 10 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.