Friday, February 19, 2010


Dune Author Dynasty

I read "Dune" by Frank Herbert in the late winter or early spring of 1974; a friend had recommended it -- and possibly loaned me his copy.  I later read "God Emperor of Dune," "Children of Dune" (both of which I own) and "Dune Messiah" (borrowed and returned). I haven't read "Chapterhouse: Dune" nor "Heretics of Dune." So when a classmate asked me today if I'd read the "Dune" books, I confidently replied that I'd read three of four, which I supposed to be most of them.  He blithely informed me that there are fourteen, and he was looking for someone who had read them all, preferably in order. Since I'm not familiar with a large part of the opus, I don't know whether "in order" by date of publication would differ from  "in order" by story line, as in the "Star Wars" movies, and other than having read "Dune" first, I'm not sure I read them "in order."

The discrepancy between five or six (my prior estimate, since I didn't believe I'd read them all, but that I'd read the majority) and fourteen intrigued me: how could this be?  So, I consulted LibraryThing to see which works, not necessarily still available, are catalogued as "Dune" books.  Those which I recollected, by Frank Herbert, were (the numbers seem to indicate their place in the "overall timeline of Dune" scheme; the order is that of their publication, if I am not mistaken) :
  • Dune by Frank Herbert    7
  • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert    9
  • Children of Dune --the third Dune novel, by Frank Herbert    10
  • God Emperor of Dune--the fourth Dune novel, by Frank Herbert    11
  • Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert    12
  • Chapterhouse: Dune --the sixth Dune novel, by Frank Herbert    13
I  found that Frank Herbert's son Brian has continued the series.  In no particular order (just the order LibraryThing served up) :
  • Dune: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert   
  • Fremen Justice by Brian Herbert
  • Dune: Whipping Mek by Brian Herbert    1.5
  • Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert    2
  • Dune: The Faces of Martyr [Legends of Dune #2.5] by Brian Herbert   
  • Dune: The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert  
  • Dune: House Atreides by Brian Herbert  
  • House Harkonnen by Brian Herbert
  • House Corrino by Brian Herbert
  • Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert 
  • The Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert
  • The Road to Dune by Brian Herbert 
  • Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert   
  • Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert   
To anyone who has read even a couple of the books I have read from the early works, it should not be surprising that issue (descendants) continue the work: a central theme is that of family, breeding, destinies and dynasties. It would presumably be hard for his issue to be indifferent to this theme that so clearly Frank Herbert believed important, and believed others also thought important; consequently, Brian Herbert was likely to either be a believer and carry on, or hate it. In the latter case, he could play "indifferent" and ignore his father's opus; carry on, second-degree, producing sequels and prequels that ultimately make ridicule of the central drivers of his father's opus; directly attack his father's "arguments" in some way.

Not having read any of Brian Herbert's books, I must reserve judgment. They may be very good, but if they were so much better as to totally overshadow their predecessors, I hope I would have heard or read about it, and can't believe that they have totally displaced the original six by Frank Herbert as "the Dune books." But there are fourteen of them, the count my classmate mentioned. I hope there has been some mistake.

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