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Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert at the Octocon II convention in Santa Rosa, California, October 1978 (Robert E. Nylund).
Born October 8, 1920(1920-10-08)
Tacoma, Washington
Died February 11, 1986 (aged 65)
Madison, Wisconsin
Occupation Novelist
Nationality United States
Period 1945-1986
Genres Science fiction
Literary movement New Wave

Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986)[1] was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Although a short story author, he is best known for his novels[2], most notably Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. Dune itself is the "best-selling science fiction novel of all time," and the series is widely considered to be among the classics in the genre.[3][4]



Frank Herbert was born October 8, 1920 in Tacoma, Washington to Frank Patrick Herbert Sr. and Eileen McCarthy Herbert. He graduated from high school in 1938, and in 1939 he lied about his age in order to get his first newspaper job at the Glendale Star.[1]

A temporary hiatus occurred during his career when he served in the U.S. Navy's Seabees for six months as a photographer during World War II until he was given a medical discharge. He married Flora Parkinson in San Pedro, California in 1941. They had a daughter, Penny (b. February 16, 1942), but divorced in 1945.

After the war he attended the University of Washington, where he met Beverly Ann Stuart at a creative writing class in 1946. They were the only students in the class who had sold any work for publication; Herbert had sold two pulp adventure stories to magazines, the first to Esquire in 1945, and Stuart had sold a story to Modern Romance magazine. They married in Seattle, Washington on June 20, 1946. They had two sons, Brian Patrick Herbert (b. June 29, 1947, Seattle, Washington), a best-selling novelist, and Bruce Calvin Herbert (b. June 26, 1951, Santa Rosa, California).

In 1947 Frank Herbert sold his first science fiction story, "Looking for Something", to Startling Stories.

Frank Herbert did not graduate from college, according to his son Brian, because he wanted to study only what interested him and so did not complete the required courses. After leaving college he returned to journalism and worked at the Seattle Star and the Oregon Statesman; he was a writer and editor for the San Francisco Examiner's California Living magazine for a decade.

His career as a novelist began with the publication of The Dragon in the Sea in 1955, where he used the environment of a 21st century submarine as a means to explore sanity and madness. The book predicted worldwide conflicts over oil consumption and production. It was a critical success but not a major commercial one.

Florence, Oregon, with sand dunes that served as an inspiration for the Dune saga

Herbert began researching Dune in 1959 and was able to devote himself wholeheartedly to his writing career because his wife returned to work full time as an advertising writer for department stores, becoming the main breadwinner during the 1960s. Herbert later related in an interview with Willis E. McNeilly that the novel originated when he was supposed to do a magazine article on sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon, but he became too involved in it and ended up with far more raw material than needed for a single article. The article, entitled "They Stopped the Moving Sands," was never written, but it did serve as the seed for the ideas that led to Dune.

Dune took six years of research and writing to complete. Far longer than commercial science fiction of the time was supposed to run, it was serialized in Analog magazine in two separate parts ("Dune World" and "Prophet of Dune"), in 1963 and 1965. It was then rejected by nearly twenty book publishers before finally being accepted. One editor prophetically wrote back "I might be making the mistake of the decade, but..." before rejecting the manuscript.

Chilton, a minor publishing house in Philadelphia known mainly for its auto-repair manuals, gave Herbert a $7,500 advance, and Dune was soon a critical success. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1965 and shared the Hugo Award in 1966 with ...And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny. Dune was the first major ecological science fiction novel, embracing a multitude of sweeping, inter-related themes and multiple character viewpoints, a method that ran through all Herbert's mature work.

The book was not an instant bestseller. By 1968 Herbert had made $20,000 from it, far more than most science fiction novels of the time were generating, but not enough to let him take up full-time writing. However, the publication of Dune did open doors for him. He was the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's education writer from 1969 to 1972 and lecturer in general studies and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Washington (1970 – 1972). He worked in Vietnam and Pakistan as social and ecological consultant in 1972. In 1973 he was director-photographer of the television show The Tillers.

A man is a fool not to put everything he has, at any given moment, into what he is creating. You're there now doing the thing on paper. You're not killing the goose, you're just producing an egg. So I don't worry about inspiration, or anything like that. It's a matter of just sitting down and working. I have never had the problem of a writing block. I've heard about it. I've felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I'd much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, "Well, now it's writing time and now I'll write." There's no difference on paper between the two.

Frank Herbert

By 1972, Herbert retired from newspaper writing and became a full-time fiction writer. During the 1970s and 1980s, Herbert enjoyed considerable commercial success as an author. He divided his time between homes in Hawaii and Washington's Olympic Peninsula; his home on the peninsula was intended to be an "ecological demonstration project".[5] During this time he wrote numerous books and pushed ecological and philosophical ideas. He continued his Dune saga, following it with Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune. Other highlights were The Dosadi Experiment, The Godmakers, The White Plague and the books he wrote in partnership with Bill Ransom: The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect, and The Ascension Factor which were sequels to Destination: Void.

Herbert's change in fortune was shadowed by tragedy. In 1974, Beverly underwent an operation for cancer. She lived ten more years, but her health was adversely impacted by the surgery.[citation needed] During this period, Herbert was the featured speaker at the Octocon II science fiction convention at the El Rancho Tropicana in Santa Rosa, California in October 1978. Beverly Herbert died on February 7, 1984, the same year that Heretics of Dune was published. In his afterword to 1985's Chapterhouse: Dune, Frank Herbert wrote a moving eulogy for his wife of 38 years.

1984 was a tumultuous year in Herbert's life. During this same year of his wife's death, his career took off with the release of David Lynch's film version of Dune. Despite high expectations, a big-budget production design and an A-list cast, the movie drew mostly poor reviews in the United States. However, despite a disappointing response in the USA, the film was a critical and commercial success in Europe and Japan.[6]

After Beverly's death, Herbert married Theresa Shackleford in 1985, the year he published Chapterhouse Dune, which tied up many of the saga's story threads (though ending with a cliffhanger intended to lead into his planned Dune 7). This would be Herbert's final single work (the anthology Eye was published that year, and Man of Two Worlds was published in 1986). He died of a massive pulmonary embolism while recovering from surgery for pancreatic cancer on February 11, 1986 in Madison, Wisconsin age 65.

Ideas and themes

I think science fiction does help, and it points in very interesting directions. It points in relativistic directions. It says that we have the imagination for these other opportunities, these other choices. We tend to tie ourselves down to limited choices. We say, "Well, the only answer is...." or, "If you would just. . . ." Whatever follows these two statements narrows the choices right there. It gets the vision right down close to the ground so that you don't see anything happening outside. Humans tend not to see over a long range. Now we are required, in these generations, to have a longer range view of what we inflict on the world around us. This is where, I think, science fiction is helping. I don't think that the mere writing of such a book as Brave New World or 1984 prevents those things which are portrayed in those books from happening. But I do think they alert us to that possibility and make that possibility less likely. They make us aware that we may be going in that direction

Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert used his science fiction novels to explore complex[7] ideas involving philosophy, religion, psychology, politics and ecology, which have caused many of his readers to take an interest in these areas. The underlying thrust of his work was a fascination with the question of human survival and evolution. Herbert has attracted a sometimes fanatical fan base, many of whom have tried to read everything he wrote, fiction or non-fiction, and see Herbert as something of an authority on the subject matters of his books. Indeed such was the devotion of some of his readers that Herbert was at times asked if he was founding a cult,[8] something he was very much against.

There are a number of key themes in Herbert's work:

  • A concern with leadership. He keenly explored the human tendency to slavishly follow charismatic leaders. He delved deeply into both the flaws and potentials of bureaucracy and government.
  • Herbert was probably the first science fiction author to popularize ideas about ecology and systems thinking. He stressed the need for humans to think both systematically and long term.
  • The relationship between religion, politics and power.
  • Human survival and evolution: Herbert writes of the Fremen, the Sardaukar, and the Dosadi, who are molded by their terrible living conditions into dangerous super races.
  • Human possibilities and potential: Herbert offered Mentats, the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax as different visions of human potential.
  • The nature of sanity and madness. Frank Herbert was interested in the work of Thomas Szasz and the anti-psychiatry movement. Often, Herbert poses the question, "What is sane?", and while there are clearly insane behaviors and psychopathies as evinced by characters (Piter De Vries for instance), it is often suggested that "normal" and "abnormal" are relative terms which humans are sometimes ill-equipped to apply to one another, especially on the basis of statistical regularity.
  • The possible effects and consequences of consciousness-altering chemicals, such as the spice in the Dune saga.
  • How language shapes thought. More specifically, Frank Herbert was influenced by Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics.
  • Sociobiology. How our instincts unconsciously influence our behavior and society.
  • Learning, teaching and thinking.

Frank Herbert carefully refrained from offering his readers formulaic answers to many of the questions he explored.

Status and impact in science fiction

Dune and the Dune saga constitute one of the world's best-selling science fiction series and novels; Dune in particular has received widespread critical acclaim, winning the Nebula Award in 1965 and sharing the Hugo Award in 1966, and is frequently considered one of the best science fiction novels ever, if not the best.[9] According to contemporary Robert A. Heinlein, Herbert's opus was "powerful, convincing, and most ingenious."

Dune is considered a landmark novel for a number of reasons:

  • Like Heinlein's 1961 Stranger in a Strange Land, Herbert's 1963 novella and 1965 novel, Dune, represented a move toward a more literary approach to the science fiction novel. Before this period, it was often said that all a science fiction novel needed to be successful was a great technological idea. Characterization and great story took a distant second place.
  • Dune is a landmark of soft science fiction. Herbert deliberately suppressed technology in his Dune universe so he could address the future of humanity, rather than the future of humanity's technology. Dune considers the way humans and their institutions might change over time.
  • Dune was the first major ecological science fiction novel. Frank Herbert was a great popularizer of scientific ideas; many of his fans credit Frank Herbert for introducing them to philosophy and psychology. In Dune he helped popularize the term ecology and some of the field's concepts, vividly imparting a sense of planetary awareness. Gerald Jonas explains in the New York Times Book Review: "So completely did Mr. Herbert work out the interactions of man and beast and geography and climate that Dune became the standard for a new sub-genre of 'ecological' science fiction." As popularity of Dune rose, Herbert embarked on a lecture tour of college campuses, explaining how the environmental concerns of Dune's inhabitants were analogous to our own.
  • Dune is considered truly epic world-building. The Library Journal reports that "Dune is to science fiction what The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy." Frank Herbert imagined every facet of his creation. He lovingly included glossaries, quotes, documents, and histories, to bring his universe alive to his readers. No science fiction novel before it had so vividly realized life on another world.

Herbert wrote more than twenty novels after Dune that are regarded as being of variable quality. Books like The Green Brain, The Santaroga Barrier seemed to hark back to the days before Dune, when a good technological idea was all that was needed to drive a sci-fi novel. And some fans of the Dune saga are critical of the follow-up novels as being subpar.[citation needed]

Herbert never again equalled the critical acclaim he received for Dune. Neither his sequels to Dune nor any of his other books won a Hugo or Nebula Award, although almost all of them were New York Times Bestsellers. Some felt that Children of Dune was almost too literary and too dark to get the recognition it may have deserved; others felt that The Dosadi Experiment lacked an epic quality that fans had come to expect.[citation needed]

Largely overlooked because of the concentration on "Dune" was Herbert's 1973 novel, Hellstrom's Hive, with its minutely worked-out depiction of a human society modeled on social insects, which could be counted a major utopia/dystopia.

Malcolm Edwards in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction wrote:

Much of Herbert's work makes difficult reading. His ideas were genuinely developed concepts, not merely decorative notions, but they were sometimes embodied in excessively complicated plots and articulated in prose which did not always match the level of thinking ... His best novels, however, were the work of a speculative intellect with few rivals in modern science fiction.

Film adaptations

A film of the novel, Dune, was directed by David Lynch in 1984. Although panned by many fans and film critics, Frank Herbert was pleased with the movie. It has done well on video and DVD.

The Sci Fi Channel produced a commercially successful 2000 television miniseries called Frank Herbert's Dune. The Dune saga continued with a sequel miniseries in 2003 entitled Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, which combined the novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.

Production is underway at Paramount Pictures for a new film based on Dune, directed by Pierre Morel and with the participation of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. The studio hopes the remake will be a "tentpole film," and potentially lead to a new franchise based on Herbert's series.[10][11][12]

Continuation of the Dune series

In recent years, Frank Herbert's son Brian Herbert and author Kevin J. Anderson have added to the Dune universe, stating that they in part used notes left behind by Frank Herbert and discovered over a decade after his death. Brian Herbert and Anderson have written two prequel trilogies (Prelude to Dune and Legends of Dune) exploring the history of the Dune universe before the events within Dune, as well as two post-Chapterhouse Dune novels that complete the original series (Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune) based on Frank Herbert's own Dune 7 outline.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19]


Books about Frank Herbert and Dune

  • Cliffs Notes on Herbert's Dune & Other Works, by L David Allen, Lincoln, NE: Cliffs Notes, 1975, ISBN 0-8220-1231-6
  • Frank Herbert, by Timothy O'Reilly Serial publication: none First edition: New York: Frederick Ungar, 1980.
  • Starmont Reader's Guide 5: Frank Herbert, by David M Miller, Mercer Island, WA: Starmont, 1980, ISBN 0-916732-16-9
  • The Dune Encyclopedia, compiled and edited by Dr. Willis E. McNelly, New York: Berkeley Publishing Group, 1984 (trade paper), ISBN 0-425-06813-7 (US edition).
  • The Maker of Dune, edited by Timothy O'Reilly, New York: Berkeley Publishing Group, 1987 (trade paper).
  • Dune Master: A Frank Herbert Bibliography, by Daniel JH Levack and Mark Willard, Westport, CT: Meckler, 1988, ISBN 0-88736-099-8
  • SparkNotes: Dune, Frank Herbert, by Jason Clarke, New York: Spark Publishing, 2002, ISBN 1-58663-510-7
  • Dreamer of Dune : The Biography of Frank Herbert, by Brian Herbert, New York: Tor Books, 2003.
  • The Science of Dune, by Kevin R. Grazier, PhD, Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2008, ISBN 1933771283[20][21]


  1. ^ a b "Frank Herbert, author of sci-fi best sellers, dies". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 13, 1986.,3769073. Retrieved July 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ "During the next decade, he was an infrequent contributor to the sf magazines, producing fewer than 20 short stories (which nevertheless constituted a majority of his short fiction; he never made a significant impact with work below novel length). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Clute & Nicholls.
  3. ^ "SCI FI Channel Auction to Benefit Reading Is Fundamental". Retrieved 2006-07-13. ""Since its debut in 1965, Frank Herbert’s Dune has sold over 12 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling science fiction novel of all time ... Frank Herbert's Dune saga is one of the greatest 20th Century contributions to literature."" 
  4. ^ Touponce, William F. (1988), Frank Herbert, Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co, pg. 119, ISBN 0-8057-7514-5. Locus ran a poll of readers on April 15, 1975 in which Dune "was voted the all-time best science-fiction novel...It has sold over ten million copies in numerous editions."
  5. ^ Touponce, William F. (1988), Frank Herbert, Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co, ISBN 0-8057-7514-5; PS3558.E63Z89  - Chronology
  6. ^ Liukkonen P. (2008). "Frank (Patrick) Herbert (1920-1986)". Books and Writers. Pegasos. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  7. ^ "With its blend (or sometimes clash) of complex intellectual discourse and Byzantine intrigue, Dune provided a template for FH's more significant later works. Sequels soon began to appear which carried on the arguments of the original in testingly various manners and with an intensity of discourse seldom encountered in the sf field. Dune Messiah (1969) elaborates the intrigue at the cost of other elements, but Children of Dune (1976) recaptures much of the strength of the original work and addresses another recurrent theme in FH's work - the evolution of Man, in this case into SUPERMAN;..." "Frank Herbert," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
  8. ^ Omni Magazine, June 1980
  9. ^ "His dominant intellectual impulse was not to mystify or set himself up as a prophet, but the opposite – to turn what powers of analysis he had (and they wree considerable) over to his audience. And this impulse is as manifest in Dune, which many people consider the all-time best science fiction novel, as it is in his computer book, Without Me You're Nothing. ppg 2, Touponce 1988
  10. ^ "Berg to direct Dune for Paramount.". 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  11. ^ "New Dune Film from Paramount.". 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  12. ^ HT Syndication. "Peter Berg to direct Dune adaptation." Hindustan Times. 18 March 2008.
  13. ^ "Dune 7 blog: Conspiracy Theories." (December 16, 2005). (Internet Archive). Retrieved October 12, 2008. "Frank Herbert wrote a detailed outline for Dune 7 and he left extensive Dune 7 notes, as well as stored boxes of his descriptions, epigraphs, chapters, character backgrounds, historical notes — over a thousand pages worth."
  14. ^ Neuman, Clayton (August 17, 2009). "Winds of Dune Author Brian Herbert on Flipping the Myth of Jihad." Retrieved August 19, 2009. "I got a call from an estate attorney who asked me what I wanted to do with two safety deposit boxes of my dad's ... in them were the notes to Dune 7 -- it was a 30-page outline. So I went up in my attic and found another 1,000 pages of working notes."
  15. ^ "Before Dune, After Frank Herbert." Retrieved November 12, 2008. "Brian was cleaning out his garage to make an office space and he found all these boxes that had "Dune Notes" on the side. And we used a lot of them for our House books."
  16. ^ "Interview with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson." (2004). Retrieved November 12, 2008. "We had already started work on House Atreides ... After we already had our general outline written and the proposal sent to publishers, then we found the outlines and notes. (This necessitated some changes, of course.)"
  17. ^ Ascher, Ian (2004). "Kevin J. Anderson Interview." (Internet Archive). Retrieved July 3, 2007. "... we are ready to tackle the next major challenge — writing the grand climax of the saga that Frank Herbert left in his original notes sealed in a safe deposit box ... after we'd already decided what we wanted to write ... They opened up the safe deposit box and found inside the full and complete outline for Dune 7 ... Later, when Brian was cleaning out his garage, in the back he found ... over three thousand pages of Frank Herbert's other notes, background material, and character sketches."
  18. ^ Adams, John Joseph (August 9, 2006). "New Dune Books Resume Story." (Internet Archive). Retrieved December 19, 2007. "Anderson said that Frank Herbert's notes included a description of the story and a great deal of character background information. 'But having a roadmap of the U.S. and actually driving across the country are two different things,' he said. 'Brian and I had a lot to work with and a lot to expand...'"
  19. ^ Snider, John C. (August 2007). "Audiobook Review: Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson." Retrieved February 15, 2009.
  20. ^ The Science of Dune (January 2008) -
  21. ^ Evans, Clay (March 14, 2008). "Review: Exploring Frank Herbert's Duniverse". Retrieved 2008-10-10. 

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

When a wise man does not understand, he says: "I do not understand." The fool and the uncultured are ashamed of their ignorance. They remain silent when a question could bring them wisdom.

Frank Herbert (8 October 192011 February 1986) was an American science-fiction writer, most famous for his Dune novels.

See also: Dune (the series of novels), Dune (film), and Dune (TV miniseries).



Muad'Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson. ~ Princess Irulan in Dune
There is only one true wealth in all the universe.

Dune (1965)

These are just a couple sample quotes, for more quotes from this novel see Dune
  • 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.
    • Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear
  • Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad'Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.
    • Princess Irulan in The Humanity of Muad'Dib

The Green Brain (1966)

  • Without coming fully awake, Rhin felt his presence beside her, experienced a primitive demand for his protective masculinity. She nestled against him, murmured, "its so hot. Doesn’t it ever cool off?"
  • "I only believe in certain kinds of hell," she said, and again she was looking at him, the green eyes steady.
    "To each his own, eh?"
    "You said it; I didn’t."
  • It wasn’t the kind of answer he'd expected — too subtly penetrating and leaving too much uncommitted. He reminded himself that it was difficult to control uncommitted people. Once a man had invested his energies, he could be twisted and turned at will... but if the man held back, conserved those energies...
  • A person cries out against life because it's lonely, and because life's broken off from whatever created it. But no matter how much you hate life, you love it, too. It's like a caldron boiling with everything you have to have — but very painful to the lips.
  • Is it possible this triviality is a code of some sort? the Brain wondered. But how could it be ... unless there's more to these emotional inconsequentials and this talk of a God than appears on the surface?
    The Brain had begun its career in logics as a pragmatic atheist. Now doubts began to creep into its computations, and it classified doubt as an emotion.
  • "A slave is one who must produce wealth for another," the Brain said. "There is only one true wealth in all the universe. I have given you some of it. I have given your father and your mate some of it. And your friends. This wealth is living time. Time. Are we slaves because we have given you more time to live?"

The Godmakers (1972)

A novel expanding four short stories, first published in serial form between May 1958 and February 1960
  • When a wise man does not understand, he says: "I do not understand." The fool and the uncultured are ashamed of their ignorance. They remain silent when a question could bring them wisdom.

Dune Genesis (1980)

No matter how finely you subdivide time and space, each tiny division contains infinity...
The scarce water of Dune is an exact analog of oil scarcity. CHOAM is OPEC.
"Dune Genesis", an essay in Omni, Vol. 2, No. 2 (July 1980), p. 72
  • Don't give over all of your critical faculties to people in power, no matter how admirable those people may appear to be. Beneath the hero's facade you will find a human being who makes human mistakes. Enormous problems arise when human mistakes are made on the grand scale available to a superhero. And sometimes you run into another problem.
    It is demonstrable that power structures tend to attract people who want power for the sake of power and that a significant proportion of such people are imbalanced — in a word, insane. … Heroes are painful, superheroes are a catastrophe. The mistakes of superheroes involve too many of us in disaster.
    It is the systems themselves that I see as dangerous.
  • No matter how finely you subdivide time and space, each tiny division contains infinity.
    But this could imply that you can cut across linear time, open it like a ripe fruit, and see consequential connections. You could be prescient, predict accurately. Predestination and paradox once more.
    The flaw must lie in our methods of description, in languages, in social networks of meaning, in moral structures, and in philosophies and religions — all of which convey implicit limits where no limits exist. Paul Muad'Dib, after all, says this time after time throughout Dune.
  • Do you want an absolute prediction? Then you want only today, and you reject tomorrow. You are the ultimate conservative. You are trying to hold back movement in an infinitely changing universe. The verb to be does make idiots of us all.
  • In the beginning I was just as ready as anyone to fall into step, to seek out the guilty and to punish the sinners, even to become a leader. Nothing, I felt, would give me more gratification than riding the steed of yellow journalism into crusade, doing the book that would right the old wrongs.
    Reevaluation raised haunting questions.I now believe that evolution, or deevolution, never ends short of death, that no society has ever achieved an absolute pinnacle, that all humans are not created equal. In fact, I believe attempts to create some abstract equalization create a morass of injustices that rebound on the equalizers. Equal justice and equal opportunity are ideals we should seek, but we should recognize that humans administer the ideals and that humans do not have equal ability.
  • Reevaluation taught me caution. I approached the problem with trepidation. Certainly, by the loosest of our standards there were plenty of visible targets, a plethora of blind fanaticism and guilty opportunism at which to aim painful barbs.
    But how did we get this way? What makes a Nixon? What part do the meek play in creating the powerful? If a leader cannot admit mistakes, these mistakes will be hidden. Who says our leaders must be perfect? Where do they learn this?
  • The scarce water of Dune is an exact analog of oil scarcity. CHOAM is OPEC.

The Bureau of Sabotage series

Whipping Star (1969)

  • Where is the weapon with which I enforce your bondage? You give it to me every time you open your mouth.
    • "Laclac Riddle"; p. 68
  • You can say things which cannot be done. This is elementary. The trick is to keep attention focused on what is said and not on what can be done.
    • "BuSab [Bureau of Sabotage] Manual"; p. 87
  • Learning a language represents training in the delusions of that language.
    • "Gowachin Aphorism"; p. 111
  • Providence and Manifest Destiny are synonyms often invoked to support arguments based on wishful thinking.
    • "From The Wreave Commentary"; p. 136

The Dosadi Experiment (1977)

  • That is one of the Law's purposes, of course: to test the qualities of those who choose to employ it.
    • Gowachin Aritch to Jorj X. McKie; p. 68
  • Does a population have informed consent when a ruling minority acts in secret to ignite a war, doing this to justify the existence of the minority's forces? […] failure to provide full information for informed consent on such an issue represents an ultimate crime.
    • "From The Trial of Trials", p. 246
  • Does a population have informed consent when that population is not taught the inner workings of its monetary system, and then is drawn, all unknowing, into economic adventures?
    • "From The Trial of Trials", p. 252
  • Governments always commit their entire populations when the demands grow heavy enough. By their passive acceptance, these populations become accessories to whatever is done in their name.
    • Gowachin Mrreg to Jorj X. McKie; p. 297

See also

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