Frank Herbert (Frank Patrick Herbert, Jr) was an American author of science fiction. Critically acclaimed and hugely successful, Frank Herbert is best known for his series of Dune novels which have become successful computer games, Films and TV mini-series.
The Dune series was originally conceived when Frank Herbert was researching a magazine article on sand dunes. He ended up with far more material than needed and became inspired to write a science fiction novel. Dune took 6 years to research and write and was rejected by almost 20 publishers before being accepted by minor publishing house Chilton. In won the Nebula Award in 1965 and shared the Hugo Award in 1966 with the Roger Zelazny novel "...And Call me Conrad".
Frank Herbert used many of the science fiction stories he wrote to explore complicated ideas involving philosophy, religion, psychology, politics and ecology. He was influenced by many different ideas, such as Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics which shows how language shapes thought along with Sociobiology which explores how our instincts influence our behaviour. There is also a strong element of his fascination with human evolution present in much of his work and he is generally considered to be the first science fiction author to write about ecology and the need for humans to think systematically and long term about it's effects.
Dune and it's series has had a huge impact in the genre of science fiction, one of the world's best selling series it not only won some of the most prestigious awards but received acclaim from critics and his contemporary's including Robert A Heinlein who stated that Herbert's opus was "powerful, convincing, and most ingenious."
Dune is one of those landmark novels that show a turning point in science fiction, along with Author's like Robert A Heinlein, Frank Herbert's work showed that the story, characterisation and the big ideas were given priority over the technology in a time when it was considered that all you needed for a good scifi novel was a great technological idea. Dune was also an epic, world building series that was almost unmatched in sheer scale, no other series had so widely realised life on another world and Frank Herbert lovingly included glossaries, quotes, documents, and histories, to bring his universe alive to his readers.
Frank Herbert wrote a good deal of science fiction after Dune but none received the same level of success or acclaim, and much of his work is of varying quality and some quite difficult to read. At his best though his work of a speculative intellect has few rivals in modern science fiction.
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