Monday, October 12, 2015

Jet City Comic Show preview: Q&A with Dune Writer Brian Herbert

To get geared up for the Jet City Comic Show, I managed to set up a quick Q&A with Dune writer and Jet City guest, bestselling author Brian Herbert. 

Mr. Herbert was gracious enough to take a few minutes from writing to answer some questions about the 50th anniversary of Dune (written by his father, legendary sci fi author, Frank Herbert), his own fantasy novel OCEAN, and the Jet City Comic Show.

TheSteveStrout: First off all, what have you been working on as of late? 

Brian Herbert: I just completed NAVIGATORS OF DUNE, written in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson.  We sent the manuscript to the publisher a few days ago, and hope that it will be published sometime in 2016.  Also, recently I completed a new solo novel, THE ASSASSINATION OF BILLY JEELING, and sent it to my agent.  Then around a week ago, I started writing a new solo novel.

TSS: You've probably been asked a million times, but how hard was it to take over a popular franchise in the Dune series, from your father? 

BH: I spent 5 years writieng a biography of Frank Herbert, DREAMER OF DUNE, a Hugo Award finalist.  While writing that book, I read or re-read everything my father wrote, including the 6 novels he wrote in the Dune series.  Then, after meeting Kevin J. Anderson and agreeing to continue the series with him, we didn’t write a word together until I had completed a huge DUNE CONCORDANCE, a 600 page (single-spaced) encyclopedic reference work to the whole series, showing all of the characters, locales, and other details in Dad’s complex Dune universe.  After completing all of that intense work, much of it involving the Dune novels that Dad wrote, I felt I was ready for the big challenge of writing our first new novel, DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES.  I never felt daunted by the task of taking the series on. Rather, I felt that it was my duty, and that it was something Frank Herbert’s fans wanted to read.

TSS: Are there any big plans for a Dune 50th anniversary celebration?
BH: We’ve been celebrating it all year, with numerous interviews in magazines, newspapers, and on line, in addition to convention appearances that both Kevin and I are making. 

TSS: You're appearing at the Jet City Comic Show on Halloween weekend. Is there anything you're looking forward to at the convention?
BH: I always enjoy meeting fans of the Dune series, and of my other writings, whether I’m talking with the fans at conventions or on the various book tours I have been on, around the United States and Canada.  I devote a great deal of work to each book that I write—so it’s nice to hear first-hand what the readers have to say about them. 

TSS: What can we expect from your panel at Jet City? What are your topics for discussion? 

BH: There will be a panel on the 50thanniversary of the publication of DUNE. There also could be a panel on OCEAN, a fantasy novel that I wrote, based upon a story idea suggested by my wife, Jan.  In that epic novel, dangerous marine animals declare war against humankind in retaliation for polluting the oceans—and begin by staging military attacks (including huge tidal waves) against the United States, the biggest per-capita polluter in the world.  I am currently working with an artist on illustrations for the novel, and hope to publish it in hardcover soon, in addition to an earlier publication of the book online and in trade paperback.  Presently the book is only available in a trade paperback edition, in very limited quantities, while we prepare for the publication of a new hardcover edition.  

TSS: Anything you'd like to add or plug?

BH: Many of my novels (such as OCEAN) involve huge, epic-scale social issues.  In THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA, a far-left street movement takes over the continents of North and South America, creating a vast green utopia.  But is it really a utopia?  The society is militaristic, and there are strict rules for anyone violating environmental rules—violators are recycled!  In SIDNEY’S COMET, humans have been catapulting garbage into deep space—until a huge garbage comet hurtles back toward Earth, threatening to destroy the planet.  In THE STOLEN GOSPELS and THE LOST APOSTLES, it is revealed that Jesus Christ had female apostles as well as male apostles—and the female apostles have come back to life as babies who are babbling new biblical passages in ancient Aramaic—creating a new Holy Women’s Bible that contains holy passages that were stolen from women by ancient church authorities.  In the 3-volume TIMEWEB series, the entire galaxy is a single, connected ecosystem, and it is crumbling in a massive catastrophe.

As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully you can make it to the Jet City Comic Show on Halloween weekend in Tacoma, Wa. It's one of the most fan friendly comic cons around! I will be in artists alley sharing a table with my good friend Scott Adams, who'll be showing off issue 5 of his great series, Sukotto! Come by. Say hi. Grab Scott's comics and a pin and hang out...

For more info on Brian Herbert and his novels check out: http: 

Jet City Comic Show details can be found at:

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Comic Book Swap Meet mini convention, and Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout