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Herbert, Brian

Entry updated 18 September 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1947-    ) US author, son of Frank Herbert, who began publishing sf with his third book and first novel, Sidney's Comet: Being an Account of the Remarkable Events Which Occurred During the Approach of the Great Garbage Comet (1983), a comic Satire which launched the short Garbage Chronicles series; the eponymous Comet, composed of human garbage, threatens Earth in the twenty-seventh century; the sequel, The Garbage Chronicles: Being an Account of the Adventures of Tom Javik and Wizzy Malloy in the Faraway Land of Catapulted Garbage (1985), is also perhaps somewhat desultory. Both feature, inter alia, amusing parodies of his father's stylistic quirks, also visible in Man of Two Worlds (1986) with Frank Herbert, which frolics rather cumbrously with reality games; its presentation of Aliens who dream us up is not always coherent, though the final pages, when humans dream back, are more exhilarating. Sudanna, Sudanna (1985), set on a surreally conceived planetoid, describes the lives of its resident bureaucracy-ridden Aliens in a tone that determinedly shifts from Humour to gravity and back. Prisoners of Arionn (1987) again juxtaposes aliens (conceived with an elaborate though somewhat skittish lightness of touch) and human society (in this case San Francisco) in a plot which uneasily details the former's kidnapping of the latter, while at the same time examining with genuine insight some family relationships. If Herbert was in fact wrestling with genres in an attempt to intermingle them fruitfully, an inadequate control over narrative structure was proving detrimental to the attempt. This sense of virtuous effort and only partial success persists through The Race for God (1990) and Memorymakers (1991) with Marie Landis.

After this point in his career, Herbert changed tack and began to write Sequels by Another Hand to his father's famous Dune sequence, all of them with Kevin J Anderson. Though they do not attempt to replicate or vie with the cognitive drive of the original series, or in any way to continue its complex arguments, they have won admirers. The Space Opera Hellhole sequence, comprising Hellhole (2011) and Hellhole: Awakening (2013), both with Kevin J Anderson, is not connected to Dune. Nor are two later novels, Ocean (2013) with Jan Herbert and The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma (2014), in both of which Ecological extremists disrupt the planet in order to save it, and in The Green Book establish a Dystopia where humans are penned into crammed Keeps, allowing the rest of the world to revert to "nature". In both novels, through a process of "topsy-turvy" Satire, ecological extremism is seen as a mirror reversal of early twenty-first century Climate Change denial. [JC]

see also: Telekinesis; Transportation.

Brian Patrick Herbert

born Seattle, Washington: 29 June 1947




Dune: Prelude to Dune

Dune: Legends of Dune

Dune: Frank Herbert's Original Dune Chronicles

Dune Stories

  • Tales of Dune (Monument, Colorado: WordFire Press, 2011) with Kevin J Anderson [coll: ebook: Dune Stories: na/]
    • Tales of Dune (Monument, Colorado: WordFire Press, 2017) with Kevin J Anderson [coll: exp of the above: one story added: Dune Stories: hb/Stephen Youll]
  • Sands of Dune (New York: Tor, 2022) with Kevin J Anderson [coll: Dune Stories: hb/]

Dune: Origins Trilogy

Dune: Caladan Trilogy

other series

Garbage Chronicles

Timeweb Chronicles

  • Timeweb (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2006) [Timeweb Chronicles: hb/Alan M Clark]
  • The Web and the Stars (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2007) [Timeweb Chronicles: hb/Alan M Clark]
  • Webdancers (Waterville, Maine: Five Star, 2008) [Timeweb Chronicles: hb/Alan M Clark]

Hellhole Trilogy

individual titles

collections and stories


works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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