Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Oregon connection

It's the birthday of science fiction writer Frank Herbert, born in Tacoma, Washington (1920). He got an assignment from the [San Francisco Examiner] magazine California Living to write about a project that the government was sponsoring in Oregon to slow the spreading of the sand dunes on the coast. He went to Oregon to research, and he became so fascinated with the project that he ended up collecting far more material than he could ever fit into his piece. He wrote an article called "They Stopped the Moving Sands," which California Living never published. But Herbert couldn't stop thinking about the ecological implications of the growing sand dunes. He spent six more years researching and envisioning what would happen if the situation on the Oregon Coast was magnified to the scale of an entire planet. The result was his novel Dune (1965), considered one of the best science fiction novels ever written.

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