The Road to Dune

ISBN: 0765353709
ISBN 13: 9780765353702
By: Frank Herbert Brian Herbert Kevin J. Anderson

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Reader's Thoughts


Frank Herbert, creator of Dune, left behind for his son Brian boxes and boxes of ideas, outlines, and unpublished materials. This book contains SPICE PLANET, an earlier and never-published adventure in which Herbert first shaped the world of Dune. There are sections that were left out of DUNE when it went to publication. Brian and Kevin Anderson together wrote several short stories set in the Dune universe. None of these give an idea of DUNE as the work of genius it is. THE ROAD TO DUNE is intended to give further dimension to that universe, and is specifically targeted for Dune fans.

Jeremiah Depta

It is interesting to see the evolution of a great story, although some of the deleted chapters and early short stories force mental back flips to see how they were intended to fit in. I enjoyed it. I wish there was more about Frank Herbert himself.


This book, among other things, has a copy of the original Dune short story, and it is a terrible story! It is, however, rather interesting because even in this old abortion of a manuscript, you can see Herbert's legendary focus on the hidden currents of power. It is also interesting to see where he developed some of the character ideas, before he took his philosophy - altering trips into the wilderness.


I found this very interesting. Lots of insight into not only Frank's Dune World and the creation of the first novel, but also into the publishing process in general. The alternate version of Dune is an engaging story that truly is an apocrypha to the Dune canon. I loved the insight into the relationship between Jessica and the Duke.


The Road To Dune reminded me of the special features you might find on a DVD. It includes a short novel based on an early outline for what would become Dune. There are also some ‘deleted scenes’—chapters that Frank Herbert cut from Dune and it’s sequel to keep their lengths manageable. The collection is rounded out with a few interesting letters sent and received by Frank, and four short stories by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert. Some of this stuff is good, some is bad. A lot depends on what sort of a Dune fan you are.The collection starts with Spice Planet, an alternate dune novel by Kevin J and Brian. It’s supposedly based on an early outline of Frank’s which they found after his death. Not surprisingly, it feels like a stripped-down, unfinished version of Dune. I didn’t enjoy it. My biggest gripe is Kevin J Anderson’s writing. I just don’t dig it. I find it bland at best, clumsy and amateurish at worst. The dialogue is especially irritating to me. It sounds like something a talented high school student might come up with. Blech. The plot isn’t much better. It retains the most basic elements from Dune but has none of the really interesting stuff. No prescience, no messiah, no Bene Gesserit, no Mentats, no Fremen. Just noblemen fighting over a dessert. On the bright side, it serves as a reminder of just how much interesting and compelling content the elder Herbert managed to include in his finished novel. Fans of Kevin J. Anderson and hardcore Dune fans may get some enjoyment from Spice Planet, but as a casual fan I don’t feel that this was something I really needed to read.The deleted scenes were better. They weren’t all consistent with the published books, so they can’t be considered cannon, but they still provided some interesting insights into the characters and situations in Dune and Dune Messiah. It’s been quite a while since I read Messiah, so I sometimes couldn’t remember/ figure out how these snippets would have fit into the narrative, but they were interesting none-the-less. It was especially refreshing to get back into Frank’s prose, complete with lengthy ruminations, exclamation marked thoughts, words glued together with hyphens (Hyphen-words) and all. Any idea what a ruh-chasm is? Me neither, but that’s part what makes Frank so great. An excellent pallet cleanser after Spice Planet.The four short stories at the end were fine. The writing seemed a bit better than that of Spice Planet, and I appreciated their fast pace and brevity. Two of the stories take place between books in the Legends of Dune prequel trilogy, which I have yet to read. They were a bit more difficult to follow, given my unfamiliarity with the characters. Still, they were entertaining enough as stand-alone works, and should prove to be especially interesting to fans of the prequels.So there you have it. Rabid Frank Herbert fans will appreciate the deleted scenes and letters. Big fans of the prequels will really appreciate the short stories. I’m not sure if anyone will enjoy Spice Planet. As for me, I’m neither a huge Frank fan nor a huge Kevin & Brian fan. I bought this because I found it in a bargain bin. I suppose got what I paid for.

Birgitt Williams

I have read this book and all of the Dune series more than once, each time gaining new insights as I read and as I simultaneously understand more about life on earth. These books read as though the story is down-loaded, 'channeled'.

Randy Mccallum

What a fantastic book. There is a great story that serves to explain how the idea of Dune came out and then a novella that is the precursor to Dune. While not everything is the same as the book it gives you a great idea of how ideas developed throughout the process. There are also a few stories about how the book came to be published and John W. Campbell's influence on the Dune universe. There are also several short stories that fill some gaps in the Dune universe. Unfortunately it's been a while since I've been to Arrakis and Caladan so the later short stories in the book didn't hold a lot of resonance for me. I will probably re-read the series and then come back and end up giving this book five stars since the stories will mean more then. Wonderful insight into Frank Herbert, the writing process, and the publishing process. How many publishers said "We may regret not publishing this book (Dune), but...?"


I really liked the 'Spice Planet' (Duneworld) novel this book opened with. It wasn't nearly as long or complex (or good) as Dune, but had a lot of similar (and similarly exciting) material, but was set much more like a 50s/60s pulp sci-fi novel in complexity and length. I also enjoyed the letters between Frank Herbert and his agent, editor, and publishers which gave a very interesting insight into his goals in writing and the process of the writing of Dune. After that I thought the quality and cohesiveness of this book started to fall. There were many scenes and chapters edited out of early drafts of Dune (and Dune Messiah), and then several short stories by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, based on outlines and background envisioned by FH. The cut scenes were mildly interesting--especially the ones that had been cut from the later drafts of Dune--some of the early cut scenes didn't make much sense, or add anything to the original novel. I think the short stories would have made more sense in a short story book on their own, or in the writings nearest to which they occur (e.g. BH and KJA's 'Butlerian Jihad'). That being said, they didn't ruin the book... just seemed tacked on (like the excerpt of the then-forthcoming 'Hunters of Dune') in my opinion. I'm under the impression that there were other short story precursors to Dune that FH wrote... I think they would have fit marvelously in this collection. This book has piqued my interest in reading the FH biography, which I'll have to pick up at a used book store.


Collected works like this are a mixed bag. Some of the entries are interesting, some not so much. The short story, "Spice Planet" was interesting in that it was an early pass at what turned out to be Dune. The letters of Frank Herbert, not so interesting. The 4 short stories that close the book are the best of the lot, I think, and are best read when reading the books that they take place during, if only for continuity's sake. Overall, enjoyable but not very necessary.


Sort of alternate story & character development from Frank Herbert's own development of the Dune universe plus some fleshing out of the Dune universe with prequel shorts by Frank's son Brian and co-author Kevin Anderson.A book you can pick up and read a short bit of at a time. Will most likely prompt me to read some more of the Dune collection beyond the first 3 of Frank's. Some of the shorts in this book dealing with the Butlerian Jihad were intriguing... how the Dune universe was shaped by a war against intelligent machines.

Jon Vandeyacht

I love all of the Dune series; this one answers alot of questions. Personally, I would like to read one that takes place just after this one ended. There has to be more between the end of this one and Dune.


The one thing that I loved the most about this book was the unique oportunity to get a glimpse of the creative process that takes a writer from a blank page into a masterpiece. The first story is basicly a Dune draft, but combined with the comments Brian and Kevin, it offers an amazing insight. A must for Dune fans, but also for those interested in the process of writing.

Ethan I. Solomon

I only got to read this once before I foolishly lent it out and never got it back. I can't say enough about this book. Being given a "behind-the-scenes" look at Herbert and his work was a real treat, not to mention the included short-stories that blew my mind away. especially Herbert's original take on the Dune universe, which reads like an exercise in writing by perhaps one of the most gifted writer's to have ever put an idea down on a page.

Dave Johnson

its no surprise that i am a Dune nerd. i've read nearly all of them. i've even read other Herbert books and have enjoyed them. so, i guess im a Herbert nerd. im not as big of a fan of the newer dune books that Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson have authored, though. this was a mix of both. i know that sounds strange, but there are tidbits of all three in here. what drew most of the readers were the deleted scenes from Dune and Dune Messiah. those were alright. but when you read them, you figure out why they were deleted: they didnt agree with the final draft. there were age differences and numerous discrepancies. they were still fun reading, though. most of the book, however, is a novella based on Herberts original notes. it was entitled Spice Planet. this was Herberts original plan, since most scifis of that time were short. he took a big risk by publishing his book the way it was, and no book publisher wanted it. he actually had to go to a magazine and first published it in three sets; hence, the three sections of Dune. i didnt like Spice Planet, though. it was too campy and general. it wouldnt surprise me if it was just a ploy to get fans to bite at another of the BH/KJA books. oh well. it was okay. you can live without it, though.


This book is more of an historical document for fans of the great Frank Herbert. It gives you insight into how he created and refined his masterworks. The book includes two parts. Part one is all about how Frank created, which is an awesome but short read. Then we have the long part two, which is a straight dump of cutting room floor material and old drafts of the Dune series. This material, frankly is just not easy to read. Granted, it is fascinating to see that Mr. Herbert created in one huge swoop that grand story of Dune. So read ABOUT it. But don't actually READ the rough drafts unless you a real dedicated trooper. Good luck!

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