Brian Herbert on ‘Dune’: ‘My Father Can See the Future’
Perhaps the most relevant layer, today, is environmentism.
Yes Frank Herbert read it all. He had told me before that he could not read a page in an encyclopedia without reading the opposite page. One of the things he noticed was that historically there was something he called hydraulic despotism. And what this means is that the party – the group that controls water, say, Mesopotamia – will control the environment. So he started thinking about that and he started thinking about finite resources, and he zeroed in on water. So if water is your limited resource, well, let’s make it a waste. He thought ahead. the Worldwide Catalog, which used to be… I don’t want to say it’s a hippie publication. I mean, I went to school in Berkeley, so I didn’t want to be disappointed. But the Worldwide Catalog love Dune. He spoke on the first Earth Day in April 1970 in Philadelphia. He said, “I don’t want to tell my grandchildren, ‘There’s no more Land left for you. We’re done with it all.'” People were shocked to learn that he was a Republican. He was very complicated.
Did you know that your dad was a big deal when you were a kid?
I didn’t get along very well with my father until I was in my twenties. But I remember one day I was hitchhiking in Carmel or Big Sur, and I was sitting in the back of this Volkswagen. The kids took me with hair and hair, we just started talking, and they said, “Well, what is your father doing?” I said, “Well, he’s a newspaper, he’s a reporter at San Francisco Examiner. Oh, and he writes, he also writes a little. “And they said: What has he written? I said,”The Dragon of the Sea and Dune. “And they literally pulled the car out of the way and they looked at me and they said,”Dune?! “I had no idea. I was 19. I didn’t know it was a very good book.
As a Bay Area person, have you seen that too Dune ‘s influence on technology?
When I was growing up in the 1950s, we didn’t have a television, [my father] that’s not like being around. So he took, as we did, science fiction. Ingon ana what if … what if … what if … and what if the computer runs everything and they enslave us and then have to get out? He had achieved all that, of course, before Terminator and all things. He’s old, you know; he sees the future, as do some of his characters.
Russian hackers who attacked Ukraine a few years ago, they made encoded references Dune in their malware. Such is the name Sandworm. Do you know about that?
No, but I’m not surprised it’s widespread. I wish they weren’t using Dune names for that kind of thing.
Yes Creators end up losing control of their creations, right? You can’t always help what your fans do with your ideas once they get out into the world.
Have you thought about Dunethe influence of something like Burning Man? They both go to the desert to do drugs and find yourself.
We live in what Dad called a “light switch society.” He wants to think about what would happen if you couldn’t access all the technology. When he was a professor at the University of Washington, he taught a class called Utopia Dystopia. He loves to take his students into the woods and camp there with them and really make them live in the woods like he did when he was a kid. He would teach them how to live on earth. You don’t bring things there. You go fishing. You can find things you eat, grub worms from under a log. You eat red ants, you know, things like that. So Burning Man is a similar thing where we have to think about what it would be like if we didn’t have things we didn’t pay for.