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 anothera 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 hearsethe 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 familya document which ultimately encompassed the tragic deaths of his mother and father, and which he expanded into a comprehensive biography of Frank HerbertDREAMER OF DUNE. The quest to understand one's fatherwhich 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.
This biography was last updated on 08/02/2010.
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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...
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