I was asked – some time ago to be honest – to review this book –Frank Herbert: The Works by Bob R Bogle – who spotted me as a keen Frank Herbert fan – i.e. someone who has read more than just Dune. Anyway, I have finally got around to it and posted it on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s the first review I have ever tried so I thought I put it out on here as well.
For many, the name Frank Herbert is associated only with the sci-fi masterpiece that is Dune. Indeed for many, their appreciation doesn’t go beyond Children of Dune – a mistake in my view as God Emperor is the best!
There is, of course, a whole body of work left by Herbert outside of the Dune series, both before and after. Bogle presents an extremely comprehensive and in depth look at Herbert’s literary legacy.
From the early, faltering beginnings he takes us on a journey of development and we can witness the growth of Herbert’s, style and talent. This is is enhanced by the colour of the times he was writing in. Bogle gives a flavour of the politics and culture surrounding Herbert and therefore, on some level influencing his writing. Even the drugs he was dabbling in are given space. But he goes further, he looks at the very philosophies and science that Herbert was reading and digesting at each stage. And it is here that Bogle really shows real deep understanding. Whether it be the science of genetics or the concepts of higher consciousness Bogle has an astoundingly broad and detailed knowledge to back up his critiques of the works discussed.
If you are an ardent fan of Herbert’s then be prepared. Bogle does not pull his punches and is harsh in some of his appraisals – especially of the early books. It is not though like many critics, just bellyaching – he has good arguments for being hard on some of the works – though in some cases I find I can’t quite agree – in most I do.
In short, this book is a valuable addition to any sci-fi library. It will greatly enhance understanding and enjoyment of Herbert’s work but give a fascinating insight into the influences that work upon a writer and how they manifest themselves into plots, characters and good fiction. If you are anything like me it will also leave you with a long list of books to get and subjects to read up on. Next up – researching Karl Jasper’s crises.