Sep 2 2010 4:16pm

Out of Print For Decades, The Dune Encyclopedia Surfaces Online

Fans of Frank Herbert’s Dune series are in for a long, lost treat. A fully illustrated and searchable online version of the long out of print Dune Encyclopedia has surfaced.

The book itself has a controversial history. Published in 1984, the Encyclopedia consists of 200 essays regarding the Dune universe, from Al-Harba to Jehanne Butler to the evolution of Arrakis and much, much more. The book was considered authorized at first, but was quietly given non-canon status as Herbert’s son continued to expand the Dune mythos through his own books. With the Dune universe continuing onwards, the Encyclopedia is now considered completely apocryphal.

You can find a magnificent breakdown of the book, its history, and its contents here. Or you can plunge right in to the book itself.

Scot Taylor
1. flapdragon
Sorry, but to this Dune-iac, the Encyclopedia is canon and Brian Herbert is apocryphal. Yes, I still have my 25-year-old trade-paperback copy.
2. Aspoiu
Dune started and ended with Frank.
"With the Dune universe continuing onwards...", Tor would like to believe so.
Dean Tucker
3. StoryCottage
I wish I could ignore the Dune prequels. I would prefer Frank Herbert's books and (I would suspect) this Encyclopedia as the true Dune canon and the Brian Herbert prequels/sequels as the alternate Dune-reality.
4. Lloydv
I haven't read the Encyclopedia, but I've read to tatters the original Dune novels and The Eye short story collection. I tried to get immersed in Anderson's and the younger Herbert's take on the Dune Universe, and succeeded for awhile. As I recall, I somewhat liked their collaborations up until Hunters of Dune. Looking back, I think I grudgingly read Sandworms of Dune, just wanting to get the saga finished.

I tried to like Paul of Dune, but I guess Sandworms soured me on the B. Herbert-Anderson continuation of and elaborations on the Dune universe. To begin with, they didn't try to write like Frank, which is probably for the best. But between Hunters and Sandworms, the conclusion just felt completely at odds with the cliffhanger ending of Chapterhouse: Dune and I thought didn't quite mesh with the universe that Frank laid down in the originals.

This is of course a personal opinion, and judging by the ongoing additions to Dune, probably in the minority. Perhaps someday I'll work up the desire to pick up where I left off and see what Brian and Kevin were and are up to since Sandworms. Until then I'll have to revisit every now and then Dune as Frank as envisioned it.
Julio Marchini
5. jfmarchini
I agree with above. BH-KJA continuations are undeserving.
Mouldy Squid
6. Mouldy_Squid
Yahoooo! A good friend of mine had a copy of this back in the 1980s and I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Life being what it is, I haven't seen one since then despite searching high and low.

Flash forward to last year… While scouring a local used book store, I noticed a copy of this book behind glass and asked to see it. It was in fairly rough shape, tears in the dust jacket, loose binding, the usual symptoms of a well used book. On the frontispiece the shopkeep had penciled the price: $430.00 CND.

Now I can have a copy without mortgaging the house!
David Betz
7. RDBetz
To be honest, much as I did and still do love the original Dune, I never really cared much for any of Herbert's sequels. I read Dune Mesiah and Children of Dune but God Emporer lost me and I gave up. I don't see any of Brian's sequels/prequels as serving any useful purpopse.
Aaron Nowack
8. anowack
When I was a kid, I checked this out from the library at least a half-dozen times, and was very annoyed when it dissappeared from theshelves.

Fortunately for me, my sister was able to find me a copy a few years back as a birthday present, making me a very happy camper at being able to finally read it through cover-to-cover, which I never had the patience to do when I was reading it way back when.
9. Joseph Crow
1) Anything published after Frank kicked it is fanfic, as far as I'm concerned. Money-grubbing, poorly thought-out, badly misguided fanfic, at that.

2) The Dune Encyclopedia is canon. In-universe canon, for that matter.

3) Quite a few of the illustrations for the Encyclopedia were done by Matt Howarth, of Those Annoying Post Bros and Savage Henry fame. (If you needed more reasons to desire a copy.)

(You can't have mine.)
Christopher Turkel
10. Applekey
I downloaded a copy, just in case it vanishes from the Internet. Someone, somewhere is bound to get it taken down.
Christopher Turkel
11. Applekey
I downloaded a copy, just in case it vanishes from the Internet. Someone, somewhere is bound to get it taken down.
12. SandChigger
Frank Herbert gave the Encyclopedia his "delighted approval" but never considered it canon himself. (Have you read the foreword?)

The way the two hacks currently publishing books with "DUNE" on their covers have treated Dr. McNelly and his work is truly shameful. TOR must be very proud of the part it has played in the "extension" of the Dune universe.
13. Gregory Tidwell
I'd rather read the gian-clam/ornithipter article than anything written by Brian Herbert and his buddy, KJA. The DE is excellent. The new "Dune" books will probably be forgotten a few years after they stop writing new ones.
14. Gorbag
Well, FWLIW, I've also downloaded the Dune encyclopedia - I've long regretted never putting forth my superpowers and purchasing it back in the mid-eighties. :)

As far as the modern "sequels" and "prequels" go, I would've very much preferred Brian Herbert to have followed in Christopher Tolkien's footsteps and done something rather more fascinating and infintiely more thought-provoking, and done a scholarly study of the documents and stories, etc, that Frank Herbert used to create Dune; Brian Herbert, from my perspective, never wrote anything better than Sudanna Sudanna, and I FWIW, rank it as one of the best SF novels I have ever read. I wish he had've stuck to writing stories of that caliber instead of spending a decade getting half-speed on his father's work and world.
Ian Gazzotti
15. Atrus
There are no Brian Herbert's Dune books, just like there were no sequels to The Matrix. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Chris Lough
16. TorChris
Hi everyone, this is Chris, the production assistant here at, chiming in with a clarification. The "Encyclopedia is now considered completely apocryphal." line should read "is considered completely apocryphal by the Herbert estate" as per the established controversy of the book itself. (The omission is my fault, as I checked the post before publishing it on the site.) This post should not be taken as speaking for TOR/Forge Books. We found the link independently and thought the lore in and about the book to be too fascinating not to share.
jon meltzer
17. jmeltzer
I agree with Gorbag. (But you still can't have the mithril-coat!) 

In particular, I would have liked to have seen the "Dune 7" unfinished manuscript published _as is_, without Brian/Kevin "improvements". 
Mike Conley
18. NomadUK
I remember taking a science-fiction course in school in which Dune was required reading; the teacher commented at the time that the rest of Herbert's output, particularly the sequels, was so largely forgettable that the standard joke was, 'Who ghost-wrote Dune?'
Robert James
19. DocJames
I used to talk to the author upon occasion, since he taught in my major at CSU Fullerton. Nice man, from the few contacts I had with them. I remember him bitterly complaining about how the school was shifting from a focus on teaching to "publish or perish". He was not happy.
Jason Ramboz
20. jramboz
I came here to say more or less what's been said. I consider the Encyclopedia to be more canon--or at least truer to the original works--than the horrid schlock now clogging SF shelf space.

I remember that I bought House Atreides when it first appeared, and was incredibly enthused at the idea of new Dune material. I breathlessly read the introduction, with its mention of Herbert's newfound Dune 7 notes, and became even more excited.

Then I read the rest of the book.

Even before House Harkonnen appeared in print (which, by the way, I never even wasted my time reading), I and several friends wrote letters to Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson urging them to leave well enough alone and just publish the extant Dune 7 materials with no attempts at reworking them. None of us ever received a response.

Fast forwarding a number of years, I forced myself to read Hunters and Sandworms of Dune. I was even willing to, grudgingly, forgive them for splitting the book in two, thus destroying what would have been an absolutely beautiful chiastic structure to the Dune series as a whole. I figured I could manage to look past the hokey additions and dig down enough to find the diamond of authentic Frank Herbert in the pile of offal.

I was wrong.

If anything, I found more references to Herbert & Anderson's novels than to the last two authentic Dune novels. I only wish that they would have listened to the voices of the fans--and artistic merit--instead of their wallets.

As a postscript, the webcomic Penny Arcade did a strip some years back which neatly summarizes my views on the "new" Dune books. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find it.
21. Noel Lynne Figart
My God... I still have a copy of this!
Eli Bishop
22. EliBishop
NomadUK @18: Good grief! I sort of agree that Dune is his
best novel, and I would describe some of his other work as "frustrating" or "messy" or other things... but definitely not "forgettable." Even when he was tossing out somewhat hasty short books, or later on when the Dune series was kind of disappearing up its own behind, there's something about his peculiar voice and the density of his images and ideas that stands out for me. And his idiosyncracies are pretty prominent in Dune too, so it's hard for me to imagine someone just not digging Herbert but still loving Dune.

Anyway, back on topic, I LOVE the Dune Encyclopedia and I know how several dozen hours of my time are going to be spent in the next few weeks. I can't remember how I ran across it before, but it's great to see it again. There's something very perverse about how many of the major narrative points in the novels (like Leto II's transformation) are totally glossed
over in the encyclopedia articles because the author just takes them for granted, while other pieces of backstory like the career of I.V. Holtzmann are given in effect a full short-story treatment but in a distanced academic voice... but it's perverse in a way that feels appropriate to Herbert's world. And the pseudo-science is very, very fun - I so much want the Holtzmann Effect to work as described.

Also, Joseph Crow @9, I had no idea Matt Howarth did those drawings - thanks!
25. The SandRider
Lloydv sez: "This is of course a personal opinion, and
judging by the ongoing additions to Dune, probably in the minority."

well, maybe ... but people who read Classic American Literature in a 3D-Comic Book society are a minority,too ... on this issue, it just means you're smarter than the juvenile adults who buy, read & enjoy "The KJA" ....

and "didn't quite mesh with Frank" is quite an understatement ... take a look at the Jacurutu forum,
(#2 on a google search for "dune forum", behind the
Official Corporate Dune Forum, where ALL of these posts would be deleted and users banned & IP blocked); there you will find hundreds of pages of posts documenting, in great and obsessive detail, all the things Spanky McDune got wrong while dictahiking "Perfect Polished Prose", from simple story elements, people and places, to completely misunderstanding most of Frank's larger philosophical and political statements ....

and if someone reads McDune"7" and can accept that Marty & Daniel were Killer Transvestite Robots, they were too dense to actually understand Frank's Dune, anyway; their opinion is invalid in a discussion among adults ...

and anyone who thinks that "TheKJA" and The OtherGuy found a "Dune7 Outline" on 5 and a quater inch floppy discs where Frank himself said Marty and Daniel were Killer Transvestite Robots is probably named Arnoldo and is one of the three active posters on the Official Corporate Dune Forum - not including The Freaking Almight SpiceGrandson, of course; Byron Merritt can't really be considered an "active poster" ....

and yes, all of you, download the DE NOW !!

once this blahg post is brought to the attention of the Rot/Gorge lawyers, they will contact the HLP lawyers who will file against google as soon the office opens up after labor day ...

NomadUK, nice story, I don't believe it at all.
27. sushisushi
This is great, I've been keeping an eye out for a copy of this book for years, but have never been lucky enough to spot one. I recommend the entry on Gamont - it's totally hilarious.
Mouldy Squid
29. Mouldy_Squid

As it turns out, not one, but two of the Science Fiction in Literature the I attended at university also had Dune on the reading list. In fact, I have written academic papers on Dune. Just because you never had the chance to attend a university where the literature department saw the worth in science fiction does not make NomadUK a lier.

Please crawl back under your bridge; the adults are talking.
Joe Romano
30. Drunes
Dune is one of my favorite books and I've recommended it to many a person unfamiliar with SF that's asked, "What science fiction book should I read?" Because of my love for the book, or maybe in spite of it, I've never read any of the sequels or prequels, regardless of whether they were written by Frank Herbert or his son and Kevin Anderson.

I remember seeing the DE when it was first available, but didn't read it either. Now that it's "resurfaced," it certainly deserves a look. I may even tackle the Herbert sequels.
Matthew Brown
31. morven
I had this back when I was a teenager. I have no idea where it went -- possibly my parents still have it. Amazing to find it online.
Heather Johnson
32. HeatherJ
I've only read one of the Brian Herbert books. It was fun to revisit Dune after so many years but that's all I can really say about it.

That said, I think I actually have a copy of this on my shelf beside my old paperbacks of the original Dune books - SWEET!
34. The SandRider
hey Mouldy, I'd like to see those academic papers,
and post them with the others in the Basement Archive
@T(A)U ...

drop by for directions ....

I'll just overlook your snarky little aside -
I'm a professional troll; I built that bridge ....

and NomadUK is a sock-puppet ... so ....
35. Ampoliros
Bait Sand Rider at your own peril. Bait is the wrong word. Wave red meat in his face but don't be suprised when he ignores it for a softer, more tender area.

Not to mention it sounds like Nomad's story was more one of a Lit Professor that couldn't wrap his head around an Author like Frank spending the next 3 books destroying his own hero. Just like Brian and KJA think that "Paul of Dune" makes Dune Messiah make more sense.

(For the uninitiated, you've stumbled across a literary warzone. There are Six Dune books, and Frank is there Author. More appropriately, since not all of us are totally opposed to new Dune works (if done by a competent author) the battle cry should be:

Paul was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there.

That's on the first page of the series, if you can't respect that then you are not writing Dune.

The Dune Encyclopedia is admittedly inaccurate and not accepted as canon, BUT it was written with respect towards the work with the intention of expanding the mythos rather than profiting off it.
36. The SandRider
there you go again, messing up my record of thread-killing posts ...

I'm still waiting for the moldy squid to slither into jacurutu ....
still waiting to catalog his "academic papers" in the archive, too ...

I don't believe one of two things about Mike:
if the avatar photo is actually him, I just can't do the math
to place him in any kind of classroom where Frank's Dune
and sequels would be discussed; this sounds like an anecdote
he's picked up somewhere & claimed as his own experiance ...

and no, the university I attended did not teach Frank's Dune;
at the time, I'd guess no more than 20 folks on campus had
read it ... Dune Messiah had just been published ...
Deborah Shearer
37. DeborahShearer
Finally, I bought this as a remainder back inthe late eighties and about 5 years ago lent it to someone and have never gotten it back. I don't like the new Dune stuff. This will fill a gap in my book life as I feel this is the only real continuation of Dune.

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