Frank Herbert

Early Life

One of the iconic American writers, educationist, and journalist, Frank Herbert, was born on the 8th of October in 1920, in Washington, the United States. He was the son of Frank Patrick Herbert Sr. and Eileen Herbert. Despite his interest in books, his parents failed to provide him a comfort zone where he could polish his writing abilities. Therefore, he preferred leaving the suffocating environment and started living with his uncle in Oregon.


Since he started living with his uncle, he got admission over there in Salem High School and graduated in 1938. The following year, he joined a newspaper to go on the writing hunt. After trying a variety of writing jobs, he joined the US Navy as a photographer during WWII. After the war, he attended the University of Washington but left the institute without completing his degree.

Personal Life

Frank met his first wife, Beverly Ann Stuart while studying at the University at Washington. They developed a love for each other and tied the knot on 20th June in 1946. The couple produced two children named Brian Patrick Herbert and Bruce Calvin Herbert. Since both shared the same passion, they traveled to California and started working for a newspaper, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. They supported each other in their writing pursuits until 1974 when Beverly was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, the lady died on the 7th of January in 1894. The following year, he remarried Theresa Shackleford and stayed with her until his death.

Some Important Facts about Him

  1. Frank Herbert died of pancreatic cancer on the 11th of February in 1986.
  2. He is widely known for his outstanding science fiction work, Dune. The novel was adapted for a film in 1984.
  3. His best-selling work, Dune, won Nebula Award in 1965 and Hugo Award in 1966.

His Career

Due to being passionate about writing from an early age, Herbert left the unpleasant environment of his home that did not suit his fondness for writing and started working on his passion. He started his writing career by writing articles for various magazines and newspapers including The Seattle Star, Oregon Statesman, San Francisco Examiner’s California Living magazine, and Oregon Statesman. After working for various newspapers, he turned toward science fiction in 1973 inspired by the works of Jack Vance, Robert A. Heinlein, and Poul Anderson. His first story, “Looking for something” won accolades in April 1952, followed by several stories. However, he emerged as a novelist in 1955 when he published his first fictional serial work, Under Pressure in Astounding. The work spotlighted the madness and sanity of the 21st century. Later, after six years of intensive research, he came up with his masterpiece, Dune, which got published in two parts; Dune World in December 1963 and Prophet of Dune in 1965. His other notable publications are Chapterhouse: Dune, Dune Messiah, and Heretics of Dune.

His Style

Frank Herbert is widely known for his artistic style. He creates creative and unique characters in his works with imaginative plots. Then he introduces realistic aspects to non-realistic worlds such as he has done in Dune. His science fiction works, too, explores complex ideas such as ecology, religion, psychology, and philosophy through similar characters. The underlined objective of his creation of such characters evolves around the basic instincts of human beings; their evolution and survival. Keeping man’s nature in the center of his creative works, he presents various key themes such as human concern for leadership, the relationship between politics, power, and religion, human potential, and possibilities. Besides this, he also talks about the language, cultural norms, and systematic thinking about how they shape and reshape human minds. In fact, he tries to explore the changing and adaptive nature of human beings how they easily adapt to changes, and to what extent the external forces impact their life. To present his ideas more effectively, he uses literary devices such as powerful imagery, allusions, foreshadowing, and symbolism.

Some Important Works of Frank Herbert

  • Best Woks: Some of his best writings include The Dosadi Experiment, The White Plague, The Godmakers, The Jesus Incident, The Dragon in the Sea, The Lazarus Effect, The Ascension Factor, and

Frank Herbert’s Impact on Future Literature

Frank’s distinct writing approach has not only mesmerized the audience, writers, and critics of his time but also has cast an equal impact on today’s world. His ideas about human psychology and its very existence still impact the readers even after years of his works having got published. For example, in his piece Dune, he grapples with various issues pressing the present era such as the shortage of fossil fuels, the fragility of the environment, religious extremism, the circulation and usage of drugs, and exploitation of humanity. In fact, he has documented his ideas in his pieces so well that even today writers tend to follow in his footsteps while writing fiction that fits the bill in the far future.

Important Quotes

  1. “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” (Dune)
  2. “When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.” (Dune)
  3. “Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class – whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy. (Children of Dune)