Title: Dreamer of Dune
Author: Brian Herbert
Page Count/Review Word Count: 588
This book is fascinating because of its subject matter and the person who wrote it. It’s a biography of Dune creator Frank Herbert, and it’s written by the person who’s best placed to tell the story – his oldest son, Brian.
I’m already familiar with Brian’s writing because I’ve read all of Frank’s Dune books as well as all of the ones that Brian wrote with Kevin J. Anderson. I’ve also read a good few of Frank’s non-Dune books, although by no means all of them. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fan.
Reading this gave me some great insights into the way that Frank thought and the kind of person he was, and his son did a pretty good job of showing both the positive and the negative. Frank was a real person, and like all real people, he had his good sides and his bad sides. He was particularly sucky with children, and so Brian’s relationship with his father didn’t really develop until they were both a little older.
It turns out that Frank was also kind of crazy, and we’re lucky that he lived long enough to write his novels in the first place. For example, he was attacked by a dog when he was a baby, leaving him with a scar that he carried for the rest of his life. He was also attacked by a colleague with a pair of scissors when he first started working for a newspaper, and he almost drove the entire family off the round in an incident where he ended up flooring it and jumping the car over a gap in a bridge.
These stories all add a heap of colour to Frank’s character and help to illuminate what he was actually like, but they’re not the most interesting parts of this biography. For me, those bits where the parts where Brian shows how his father got his inspiration and where some of the ideas from his stories came from. This covers everything from an interest in zen Buddhism to the time that Frank tried to test whether ESP existed with a girlfriend and ended up guessing every card in a pack of cards, twice.
The result is a fascinating literary biography that looks intimidating when you first pick it up but which you’ll end up whizzing through, with the whole book only taking me three days or so, despite it having a ton of pages and pretty small print.
And so if you’ve read the Dune books and you want to know more about the author, or even if you just like a good biography, you should pick this one up. It’s a pretty good masterclass in what a biography should be like, and Brian clearly put a lot of love, work and thought into this one too.
The result is one of the best biographies I’ve ever come across. It even beats out a lot of the autobiographies that I’ve read, too. It’s just a solid non-fiction book, a hefty tome that’s a pleasure to read. I can honestly say that when I finished it, I was sad that I didn’t have any left, because I just wanted to keep reading it. It was made even worse by the fact that I saved reading this until I’d finished the Dune series, so I had none of that left, either. Meep.