Written by Thomas Chi
Frank Herbert plays with words including the planet Arrakis which is also Dune. Herbert states, “Dune is Arrakis.” Arrakis is “Iraq is” thus Herbert is saying, “Dune Iraq is.” I grew up in Santa Rosa, California a part of the San Francisco Bay Area where Frank Herbert lived. He was Editor of our local newspaper titled The Press Democrat. Frank Herbert wrote a science fiction novel about a community representing individual idealism which Frank Herbert referred to as very American in culture. The name for Herbert’s novel was The Santaroga Barrier, which sounds exactly as if Herbert is saying, “The Santa Rosa Bay Area.”
Thomas Chee explains, “A famous English teacher from San Francisco Bay Area working at one of the oldest schools in Prague, Czechoslovakia, brought Frank Herbert’s entire collection of novels in English to Prague. I often read the books over and over as I traveled as a war correspondent throughout Europe to Yugoslavia, Romania, Istanbul, Bosnia, Serbia. The Dune novels were the only books I had. Everyone familiar with Frank Herbert stopped to explain their theories to me on the train, at the airport, inside the hallways at important meetings. The famous teacher from San Francisco shared his philosophies with me as we reviewed the novels in Prague. In Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, bookstores could not keep Frank Herbert’s novels on their book shelves. I began checking on sales. To each bookstore owner, I asked questions. The novels sold out quick. Many readers in the Middle East thought Frank Herbert was writing about their culture, language and lives from Istanbul to Asian borders of Mongolia along China’s western border.