Everyone knows Frank Herbert's Dune. This amazing and complex epic has captured the imagination of generations of readers. One of the most popular science fiction novels ever written, it has become a worldwide phenomenon, winning awards and selling millions of copies.In the prophetic year of 1984, Dune was made into a motion picture directed by David Lynch, and it has recently been produced as a three-part mini-series on the Sci-Fi Channel. Though he is best remembered for Dune, Frank Herbert was the author of more than twenty books at the time of his tragic death in 1986, including such classic novels as The Green Brain, The Santaroga Barrier, The White Plague and The Dosadi Experiment. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
Frank Herbert's oldest son (playfully called "number one son" by his father) paints an extraordinary portrait of the visionary behind the ecological SF classic Dune (1965), its bestselling sequels, the David Lynch film and many other works. Compulsively readable, despite the often extraneous detail, the biography explores the evolution of a "modern day Socrates" who "tore into... unexamined linguistic and cultural assumptions," extrapolating "words and traditions he thought might exist in the future." At age eight, Herbert, the child of impoverished, "on-again, off-again alcoholic" parents, announced, "I wanna be a author" and went on to sell his first short story at 17. Brian charts the influences on his father's masterpiece, from T.E. Lawrence and Jung to world religions, particularly Zen Buddhism. The author also depicts the symbiotic relationship between Herbert and his second wife, Beverly (Brian's mother), a talented copywriter, but admits that Herbert, an incessant nitpicker, never quite accepted "number two son" Bruce's gay lifestyle and regularly used a lie detector on both boys. Estranged for many years, Brian and his father eventually made peace, learning "how to talk story" and collaborating on Man of Two Worlds (1986) shortly before Frank's death from cancer at age 65. This moving, sometimes painfully obsessive biography is an impressive testament of family loyalty and love. A must-read for Herbert fans (both senior and junior), it includes family photos and a bibliography. (Apr. 14) Forecast: Brian Herbert is the author of The Dune Concordance, a trilogy of Dune prequels written with Kevin J. Anderson, as well as the first volume in a second prequel trilogy (also co-written with Anderson), Dune: The Butlerian Jihad (Forecasts, Sept. 9, 2002). Copyright 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 30, 2004
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Excerpt from Dreamer of Dune by Brian Herbert
Adventures in Darkest Africa
FRANK HERBERT'S paternal grandfather, Otto, was born in 1864 on a boat while coming to America from Bavaria with other immigrants. As a young man, Otto met Mary Ellen Stanley, an illiterate Kentucky hill-woman. By the turn of the century the couple was living in Cairo, Illinois, with five sons. Otto worked as a solicitor for a steam laundry there, and subsequently on the line in a bottling works. A restless, energetic man, he began attending meetings sponsored by the Social Democracy of America. This was a socialist group, founded and led by Eugene V. Debs. The SDA had a plan to colonize certain Western states, including the state of Washington, in order to dominate the politics of those regions. Eventually they hoped to alter the moral and economic order of the entire country. But the colonization idea was steeped in controversy, and socialist leaders, including Debs himself, came to feel that it was not the most efficient utilization of people and assets on behalf of the socialist cause. Political action in the cities and mill towns would produce better results, they thought.
Still, Burley Colony in Washington State was founded in 1898 by "the Co-operative Brotherhood," an SDA splinter group that pushed forward with the colonization plan. Burley Colony was on Burley Lagoon at the head of Henderson Bay, just north of Tacoma. This was a shallow lagoon where whales were sometimes trapped when the tide went out.
The colonists were idealistic, advocating universal brotherhood, equal pay for all jobs and equal rights for women. They had mottoes like "Make way for brotherhood, make way for man" and "Do your best and be kind." They liked to say "ours" instead of "mine," and "we" instead of "I." Each colonist received broad medical insurance.
At its zenith, Burley was headquarters for an organization having 1,200 members all over the world -- only a minority of whom actually lived in the commune. There were affiliated "Temples of the Knights of Brotherhood" all over the United States, including facilities in Seattle, Tacoma, Fairhaven (Washington), Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Reno and Chicago. Contributions came in from powerful social organizations in Chicago, New York City and Rochester.
It was a short-lived colony, an experiment in socialist utopia that would last only a decade and a half. But at its height, the colony had a large church, community hall, library, schoolhouse, post office, sawmill, shingle mill, hotel and dining hall, general store, blacksmith's shop, dairy, laundry, and many other mercantile businesses. They printed a socialist newspaper and colony currency, in the form of coupons good for purchases at commune businesses. They had factories for the preserving of catsup and pickles, and a cigar factory -- the largest in Washington State. The cigar factory produced Marine Cigars, selling for three to six cents apiece. They were excellent and popular, made of fine Kentucky burley tobacco, imported to the colony. Hence the colony's name: Burley. Cigar boxes and labels were produced locally as well.