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The Green Brain Mass Market Paperback – September 16, 2002

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765342502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765342508
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,735,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Herbert does more than carry events forward: he deals with the consequences of events, the implications of decisions."-St. Louis Post-Dispatch

About the Author

Frank Herbert (1920-1986) created the most beloved novel in the annals of science fiction, Dune.  He was a man of many facets, of countless passageways that ran through an intricate mind.  His magnum opus is a reflection of this, a classic work that stands as one of the most complex, multi-layered novels ever written in any genre.  Today the novel is more popular than ever, with new readers continually discovering it and telling their friends to pick up a copy.  It has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold almost 20 million copies.

As a child growing up in Washington State, Frank Herbert was curious about everything. He carried around a Boy Scout pack with books in it, and he was always reading.  He loved Rover Boys adventures, as well as the stories of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and the science fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  On his eighth birthday, Frank stood on top of the breakfast table at his family home and announced, "I wanna be a author."  His maternal grandfather, John McCarthy, said of the boy, "It's frightening. A kid that small shouldn't be so smart." Young Frank was not unlike Alia in Dune, a person having adult comprehension in a child's body.  In grade school he was the acknowledged authority on everything.  If his classmates wanted to know the answer to something, such as about sexual functions or how to make a carbide cannon, they would invariably say, "Let's ask Herbert. He'll know."

His curiosity and independent spirit got him into trouble more than once when he was growing up, and caused him difficulties as an adult as well.  He did not graduate from college because he refused to take the required courses for a major; he only wanted to study what interested him.  For years he had a hard time making a living, bouncing from job to job and from town to town. He was so independent that he refused to write for a particular market; he wrote what he felt like writing.  It took him six years of research and writing to complete Dune, and after all that struggle and sacrifice, 23 publishers rejected it in book form before it was finally accepted. He received an advance of only $7,500.

His loving wife of 37 years, Beverly, was the breadwinner much of the time, as an underpaid advertising writer for department stores.  Having been divorced from his first wife, Flora Parkinson, Frank Herbert met Beverly Stuart at a University of Washington creative writing class in 1946.  At the time, they were the only students in the class who had sold their work for publication.  Frank had sold two pulp adventure stories to magazines, one to Esquire and the other to Doc Savage.  Beverly had sold a story to Modern Romance magazine.  These genres reflected the interests of the two young lovers; he the adventurer, the strong, machismo man, and she the romantic, exceedingly feminine and soft-spoken.

Their marriage would produce two sons, Brian, born in 1947, and Bruce, born in 1951. Frank also had a daughter, Penny, born in 1942 from his first marriage.  For more than two decades Frank and Beverly would struggle to make ends meet, and there were many hard times.  In order to pay the bills and to allow her husband the freedom he needed in order to create, Beverly gave up her own creative writing career in order to support his.  They were in fact a writing team, as he discussed every aspect of his stories with her, and she edited his work.  Theirs was a remarkable, though tragic, love story-which Brian would poignantly describe one day in Dreamer of Dune (Tor Books; April 2003).  After Beverly passed away, Frank married Theresa Shackelford.

In all, Frank Herbert wrote nearly 30 popular books and collections of short stories, including six novels set in the Dune universe: Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune.  All were international bestsellers, as were a number of his other science fiction novels, which include The White Plague and The Dosadi Experiment.  His major novels included The Dragon in the Sea, Soul Catcher (his only non-science fiction novel), Destination: Void, The Santaroga Barrier, The Green Brain, Hellstorm's Hive, Whipping Star, The Eyes of Heisenberg, The Godmakers, Direct Descent, and The Heaven Makers. He also collaborated with Bill Ransom to write The Jesus Incident, The Lazarus Effect, and The Ascension Factor.  Frank Herbert's last published novel, Man of Two Worlds, was a collaboration with his son, Brian.

More About the Author

Frank Herbert (1920-86) was born in Tacoma, Washington and worked as a reporter and later editor of a number of West Coast newspapers before becoming a full-time writer. His first sf story was published in 1952 but he achieved fame more than ten years later with the publication in Analog of Dune World and The Prophet of Dune that were amalgamated in the novel Dune in 1965.

Customer Reviews

Dune was one of the first science fiction books that I read.
Joseph A. Capdepon II
Everything about this story screams for another two hundred pages of plot development, but alas, it isn't to be.
The Master brings so much into the writing in ways that only he can do.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By theButterfly on December 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some time in the future, people are trying to make the Earth more habitable by destroying all of the world's insects and replacing them with genetically engineered ones that are more favorable to human populations. As the insects are faced with extinction, mutations appear that are better able to combat the new threat. Things get pretty strange, but this is by no means a bad thing.
Oh no! A *CHIGGER* has appeared inside of the insect-free zone! By the way, the chigger is half a meter long and spits acid. Yes, I realize that that is technically impossible. Don't worry: technicalities like that are taken care of.
Anyway, it gets better. The insects have also managed to copy the human idea of INTELLIGENCE--hence the title of the book.
The introduction and exploration of these ideas are done admirably during the first half of the novel. Then, around the half-way point, the whole tone and direction of the story changes. And this is when it gets REALLY good. The final chapters are composed of pages and pages of description. Sound boring, does it? Not in the least. This is the best description I have ever read in my life. The mood is perhaps described best as "Poe-esque"--subtle psychological descriptions that pull you right into the story, make you really understand how the characters feel. It takes you right along with the characters, providing real empathy, fear, love, anger and understanding all the way. Of course, it's more than JUST description. The Master brings so much into the writing in ways that only he can do. There's just no way to describe it--like everything Frank Herbert, you need to read it for yourself to know what it's like. I didn't really like the very last chapter, but I suppose nine out of ten ain't too bad.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Frappel on November 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dune was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It was a feast for the mind. This book on the other hand was a light snack. Wich I think Mr. Herbert intended. I have nothing bad to say about this novel. It is an interesting story with a cool ending. The guy who did the first reveiw took it too seriously. Lighten up!
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "a9farns" on May 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here the concept of consciousness is grappled with. The insects are part of a greater collective mind that manifests itself and communicates with human adversaries. Very interesting interface, makes your own brain start to cook in its very juices just to think about it all. Reminds me of the Death World series by "Harry Harrison" I wonder if it's ok to plug both in this one space.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a science fiction novella first published in 1966, one year after the classic Dune. One of the big themes of Dune is, of course, ecology. In The Green Brain, Herbert explores ecology in another setting - the jungles of a future Brazil, on Earth. In this future Brazil, the humans are trying to eliminate all insects in an effort to decrease disease and increase food production (they will keep some bees around to pollinate the crops). Needless to say, this is an ecological disaster in the making. And the bugs find a rather unique way to fight back - they develop a group brain that is every bit as bright (or brighter) than the humans. But the Green Brain does not want to fight a war with humans - it wants to find a way to communicate with them, and get them to stop the destruction of the ecosystem that all life depends upon.

Herbert has some really interesting ideas here, but the short length of the work prevents him from fully developing them. He also does not fully develop the three main characters (a Brazilian who fights the bugs on the front line, a beautiful Irish entomologist who also acts as a seductive spy, and a Chinese scientist who helped eliminate insects in China with very bad results). I was particularly puzzled on what the Chinese man's motivations were, as he knew what happened in China was a disaster, yet still pushing for the destruction of insects in Brazil.

Great ideas, but simply not fully developed...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An interesting book in the light it sheds on Dune. You can read the entire Dune series a number of times and get so caught up in the political/religious/sexual etc. themes that you can miss the larger point he begins to make as the story progresses, which is that ecology, when taken to its logical conclusion and extended beyond its customary limits of flora/fauna systems, is the ultimate science, uniting hard and soft disciplines from physics to economics to religion by studying their interactions.

Not a fantastic book by any stretch, but still really interesting, and essential if you want to really understand Herbert and Dune. Completely worth 7 bucks and an afternoon of your time. It will make the Dune series more meaningful.

Rob Darling
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Packo on July 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A story of pending ecological apocalypse that takes place
in the rain forests of Brazil sometime later in this century.
In the best B-movie tradition, the first part of Herbert's
sophisticated nature/monster revenge tale sustains plot
and character development along a trail of action scenes that
are admirably realized. Unfortunately this pace stalls at the
halfway point (and this is actually a novella rather than a
novel, so the disappointment hits home quite soon!),
and the remainder of the story quite literally floats,
and floats... and floats away to a memorable
but ultimately unsatisfying and abrupt ending.
The Green Brian suffers from its sketchy conception and rushed,
slap-dash execution. This is a shame because the basic idea,
setting, characters and themes had so much potential.
Frank could also have availed us a small glossary
for all those Spanish/South American titles and terms he constantly used here.
Obviously his pot had boiled over in the middle 60's,
with so many projects cooking - not to mention the
incomparable Dune and its still nascent sequel.
Nonetheless,in the hands of a decent film script writer
(or is that an oxymoron?)
an updated and more fully developed version of this story's plot and characters would make a very interesting, intelligent and exciting science fiction movie...
Something rarely ever accomplished. So I suppose we should just
let that idea just...drift away too.
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