HERBERT Frank (1970)



Third printing of this later UK edition. 8vo., 18x11cm, 510pp +2pp ads. Publisher's original paperback binding, cover illustration by Bruce Pennington. London, New English Library.

Presentation inscription by Frank Herbert on title 'For Humphrey Evans / In London 2nd July '81'.

Good, spine faded and creased from opening, crease to bottom corner of upper cover, small notes in pen to ffep., p.9 and rear inner cover, all by Humphrey Evans. T.L.S. from Nellie Flexner, publicity manager for Victor Gollancz, to Humphrey Evans, and Frank Herbert's neat business card both loosely tipped in.

  Humphrey Evans is a British journalist who was, as the tipped in letter from Gollancz describes, invited 'to interview Frank on Thursday, July 2 at 10am at the Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge'. Frank Herbert was present in London as part of a publicity tour for the fourth book in the Dune series, God Emperor of Dune, and a pair of delightful photographs reproduced by the veteran science fiction retailer Forbidden Planet show him present at a signing in their premises on July 4th of the same year.

  The interview with Evans sadly went unpublished, but one can hazard a guess at what may have been discussed: By 1981 Ridley Scott's attempt at filming the novel had finally been abandoned, after three attempts at drafting a script, and David Lynch had been approached to direct the film in his place. Despite having recently declined to direct The Return of the Jedi because, as he admitted, 'I’ve never even really liked science fiction', Lynch accepted the offer to direct Dune in June 1981.

  The tipped in letter from Gollancz to Evans refers to an interview with Frank Herbert published in The Mother Earth News in May/June of the same year, which rather charmingly refers to the author as 'a homesteading technopeasant'. In this interview, Herbert explains that 'even though I try to write entertaining, future-oriented stories, my books always contain messages that-I believe-are relevant to our situation today' ... 'I look upon our involvement with the environment—and by the way, all of man's intrusions into the environment are totally natural phenomena—as a continual learning process in which there are no absolutes' ... 'The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action in mind.' 

'The bulk of science fiction authors—and there are some notable exceptions to this rule—are heavily into what I call the technological toy syndrome. Writers and scientists who believe that technology alone can solve problems have fallen into a common scientific fallacy: the belief that science can answer any question in absolute terms, that it's possible to reduce phenomena to one explanation that will operate in a vacuum'... 'Let's face it, our society has a tiger by the tail in technology. We can't let go. We can't all go back to the farm and be self-sufficient'... instead, Herbert favours 'drawing support from technology, but doing so imaginatively. We have to ask the question, "What elements of technology should I use and how should I use them?" A peasant knows, you see, when and why to grab a shovel or a hoe. In the same way, we have to think out our own relationship to the complete environment, our own values and technological options, and make decisions consciously.'




Stock Code: 244766

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