Favorite Frank Herbert Books?

Favorite Frank Herbert Books?

  • The Green Brain (1966)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Destination: Void (1966)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Eyes of Heisenberg (1966)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Santaroga Barrier (1968)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Heaven Makers (1968)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Worlds of Frank Herbert (1970) [collection]

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Whipping Star (1970)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Soul Catcher (1972) [non-SF]

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The God Makers (1972)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Book of Frank Herbert (1973) [collection]

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Dosadi Experiment (1977)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The White Plague (1982)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Eye (1985) [collection]

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    4

J-Sun

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I can't believe a poll like this hasn't been done before, but I couldn't find one after a quick search. This poll lists all his novels except collaborations and posthumous books and all his collections which appeared in both the US and UK prior to his death. All are SF novels unless otherwise noted in brackets. You can select 0-6 of your favorites and, if you want, discuss them (or whatever else related that you want to) here.

(I need a meta-poll, too - I'm not sure if most people prefer to have their votes public or not. The default is not and I left it that way and, if you really want them public, you can always just say what they were. ;))
 

Rodders

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I’m rather embarrassed to say that I’ve only read Dune. I started Dune Messiah, but struggled with it. Perhaps I should give it another go.
 

Swank

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I love the Dune books and several others. The poll allows only six books. Dune is six books.

Help!
 

Foxbat

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Hellstrom’s Hive is a particular favourite of mine. Quite chilling.
The Pandora Sequence was difficult to get into but, once I did, I found it is another that I eventually cane to like. It probably doesn’t qualify here because it’s a collaboration with another author (Bill Ransom).
 

J-Sun

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I’m rather embarrassed to say that I’ve only read Dune. I started Dune Messiah, but struggled with it. Perhaps I should give it another go.
Some people love them all, so maybe so, but I felt the series didn't hold up. At one time I thought I liked the first three but now I'm thinking it's possible that, if I ever read them again, I might just stick with the first one after that.
I love the Dune books and several others. The poll allows only six books. Dune is six books.

Help!
Sorry - I started to limit it to an abstract "top 5" but then realized there were six Dune books and some people might want to select them all, so made it six. I guess if you want to add others, just knock off your least favorite of the series? You can talk about everything you'd like to vote for here.
Hellstrom’s Hive is a particular favourite of mine. Quite chilling.
The Pandora Sequence was difficult to get into but, once I did, I found it is another that I eventually cane to like. It probably doesn’t qualify here because it’s a collaboration with another author (Bill Ransom).
Yeah, I haven't read any collaborations and didn't exclude them out of any bias but just because I felt like I had to knock off certain objective categories to keep the list somewhat manageable.

Kind of surprised - I thought there would have been a flood of poll voters but not so far. Maybe if I'd posted it in the Herbert sub-forum, but I wanted to get a more general response from casual Herbert fans or even people who don't like his stuff.
 

Swank

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So I voted for non-Dune books, but with Jesus Incident and Lazarus Effect missing it doesn't make a lot of sense. Those two books are the same series as Destination Void.

Also missing is the colab he did with Brian Herbert - Man of Two worlds.

Kind of surprised - I thought there would have been a flood of poll voters but not so far.
The fact that you eliminated most of his better works might be a problem.
 

Bick

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The fact that you eliminated most of his better works might be a problem.
An exaggeration? A couple of collaborative books he wrote with Bill Ransom which you happen to like are not on the list. Every novel he wrote on his own are there.

I ended up choosing all 6 Dune books. I’ve not read much of his other work and remember it less well.
 

Foxbat

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I know the low number of votes can mean that certain observations need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt but, putting that to one side, I’m pleasantly surprised to see that God Emperor is second only to Dune itself if you look at the votes for all six Dune books. It’s been my experience in the past that many folk who read Dune don’t like God Emperor. I must be among kindred spirits:)
 

Robert Zwilling

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You might have 2 polls here. The first is the original purpose, the second could show how many people only read Dune books, something which I did. I never thought about it before, but usually I read other books by an author besides a series I really liked.
 

Bick

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You might have 2 polls here. The first is the original purpose, the second could show how many people only read Dune books, something which I did. I never thought about it before, but usually I read other books by an author besides a series I really liked.
Yes, Herbert is probably unique here in that I have read some other Herbert (many year’s ago*), but I’m really a Dune fan, and I suspect most readers start and stop with his most famous series. I can’t think of another SF author who’s like this. There are probably very few Asimov fans who only read the Foundation books, for instance. But I expect more than half of Herbert’s readers have only read Dune books.

* I read The Santaroga Barrier about 35 years ago, but have no memory of the book or it’s plot (Lordy, my memory…), so couldn’t give it a vote.
 

Brian G Turner

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I'm terribly sorry, but the poll results got accidentally wiped so I'm afraid you'll have to vote again!

As for myself, Dune is a brilliant and classic book, but I found the sequels became progressively terrible - just people stood around talking about not much. I've really wanted to try some more Frank Herbert, if there is anything even approaching his writing in Dune, but I'm put off by the idea it might be more like his sequels.
 

Elckerlyc

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I have re-cast my votes, consisting of 3 votes for the first 3 Dune books.
I haven't read awfully much of Herbert's work, next to Dune. They were more of a struggle than enjoyable reads.
 

J-Sun

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Yes, Herbert is probably unique here in that I have read some other Herbert (many year’s ago*), but I’m really a Dune fan, and I suspect most readers start and stop with his most famous series. I can’t think of another SF author who’s like this.
Yeah, that's been my impression, too, and part of what I was wondering - if there'd be 10 times as many votes for Dune as anything else. :)
I've really wanted to try some more Frank Herbert, if there is anything even approaching his writing in Dune, but I'm put off by the idea it might be more like his sequels.

I haven't read awfully much of Herbert's work, next to Dune. They were more of a struggle than enjoyable reads.
I haven't read a whole lot of Herbert and I forget which but I don't recall anything else like Dune. As far as the struggle, a lot of his works are conceptually dense but the prose is a lot more dense than the concepts require. That's one reason I liked Dragon in the Sea: it's still definitely touching on some complex concepts (deep psychological, religious, and social issues), but all in a simple concept of dealing with madness and treason on a sub and it's written in a remarkably straightforward style, which proved he could do it when he wanted to. I don't know if it would satisfy either of you, as it's not very Dune-like but it's also not like much of his other stuff, either. :)
 

J-Sun

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I got curious and looked it up - this is incomplete, because I only found Dune 1-4 when I know I read 5 and so other things may be missing, too, but it's at least

The Dragon in the Sea
Dune 1-4
Destination: Void
The God Makers
Hellstrom's Hive
The Dosadi Experiment
The White Plague
Eye

I voted for Dune, Dragon, and Hellstrom and couldn't really recommend the rest, though I still haven't made up my mind about Dune 2-3. Like Brian, I think they got worse, but I'm not positive about where it becomes critical. They're probably not necessary, but they seemed better and more integrated than 4-5, at least. (I've never read 6.)
 

Bick

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...I still haven't made up my mind about Dune 2-3. Like Brian, I think they got worse, but I'm not positive about where it becomes critical. They're probably not necessary, but they seemed better and more integrated than 4-5, at least. (I've never read 6.)
It's interesting how the Dune books are appreciated less as they go on, and many feel they get worse. I don't pretend to have any insights anyone else is missing (I'm sure I don't), but I have been re-reading these as you may know and I have a different take on them, which comes down simply to taste I'm sure.

I think the style changes somewhat, from Dune itself, to the sequels, but not the quality. I also think the style change doesn't suit many readers who really enjoyed the immediacy, transparency and action in Dune. With Messiah onwards, Herbert started writing denser books, more idea-based, and with hints and suggestions replacing a transparency of events. I quite like the style, though, and there's a power and sense of grandeur in the sequels that expand his universe in very interesting ways. From my re-readings started late last year, I would say the sequel books are very good. Rather than drop off in quality as they progress, I would say they actually pick up. Messiah is a little difficult, I feel. Coming straight after Dune, the style change is slightly jarring and almost problematic, though there are events in the books that are very well captured, and it has strong merits. Children is somewhat better (or more satisfying), feels broader in scope than Messiah, and Herbert seems more in control of his world again. The story arc is satisfying, and it's well written. God Emperor is actually better still. This book is really good - possibly the best sequel - and many of the ideas, and Herbert's imagery, is top notch. It's very thoughtful, and deeper than most SF. Heretics and Chapter-House are a pair story-wise, and I'm actually re-reading Heretics now. I'm not that far through, so it would be premature to place it in order of quality among the sequels. That said, it's started well, and is very readable. It has a reputation for having more action than God Emperor, so it shouldn't be too off-putting to those who are wondering whether to try it. I'm enjoying it anyway, and it's not a chore to read at all.
 

J-Sun

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Yeah, you're in a much better position to discuss them than I am - I haven't read them for many, many years and think I've only read them twice altogether. Based on Destination: Void and whatever else, I think his style was changing even before he revisited Dune and was applied to the non-Dune books later on, too. That probably is a matter of taste, like you say. I do remember Heretics really feeling like an epilogue or something and I don't have it anymore but I'll try to keep your comments in mind if ever get around to re-reading what I do have. Interesting, thoughtful post.
 

Bick

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Very odd poll — I'm pretty sure I voted here earlier in the week, but my picks are gone and the poll now only records 3 voters.

Is it periodically reset for some reason? Maybe a glitch?
No, the thread was cleaned by Brian and the mods to remove a few posts and it accidentally got reset; it’s not a standard issue.
 

J-Sun

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Yep, Brian addressed this in post #11. If you haven't voted since it got reset, you can vote again now, if you'd like. Same with everyone, of course: if you've never voted, please do; if you've voted but not since it got reset, please vote again.
 

Parson

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Over the years I've read all of the Dune books Herbert wrote, and the Dorsai Experiment. The Dune books after Dune seemed to me to drop precipitously. They were just too convoluted as the tale went on.
 

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