Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Was Dune meant to be a trilogy, which Children of Dune finished, before Frank Herbert decided to write more? The first three books are often grouped together, and have a similar time-frame and subject matter, so I wonder.

If there is no information on this matter, letting me know of that (whether as an answer or in the comments) would also be helpful.

share|improve this question
It wasn't originally a trilogy (as stated in the answers below) but I like to think of it as a quadrilogy. After all, the first four books are the only good ones. ;P – Omegacron Dec 15 '14 at 19:37

Dune was originally published as two shorter serialised novels called Dune World and The Prophet of Dune, and I know of no evidence to suggest that Herbert was already planning any other sequels at that time. So Dune was originally a two-part novel rather than a trilogy, and both parts are contained in the novel now published as Dune.

share|improve this answer
Might be worth mentioning that they usually did this due to a book overflowing the maximum pages they could bind. They obviously have gotten a lot better at this these days :) – Dreamwalker Aug 29 '14 at 10:16
Not in the 1960s, they didn't -- that's more an 80s or 90s thing. In the 60s, nearly all SF novels were first published as serials in magazines, with Dune being no exception, and they wouldn't run a serial lasting more than four months or taking up more than a certain amount of the magazine. – Mike Scott Aug 29 '14 at 11:54
The end of the third book also sets up future books, so i feel if he had a trilogy in mind he would not have ended children of the dune in the way he did. – Himarm Aug 29 '14 at 13:09
Originally it was to be an article called They Stopped the Moving Sands. That article wasn't published until much later as part of The Road to Dune. – Elliott Frisch Aug 29 '14 at 14:09
The editions I had were labelled "The Dune Trilogy" and "The Second Dune Trilogy". – Jon B Feb 24 at 2:46

If I remember right from one of the (fairly) recent anniversary editions of Dune (don't have it in front of me at the moment, think it was the 50th), the forward written by Frank Herbert says that he did tons and tons of research into economics, agriculture, religion, and more for writing Dune, and he did so much preparation for the novel that by the time he finished writing Dune he had the material and plans for writing the first three novels. I think the second was mostly finished when Dune was published, and the third was at least all planned out.

I don't remember it saying how the stories were originally published in magazines. He may not have started with the intent of writing a trilogy, but when he was done he knew it would be a trilogy and more.

I may try to update this answer with excerpts from the forward when I have a chance to check it.

share|improve this answer

My understanding is that Dune was originally published by Frank Herbert serialized in a magazine. His original intention was not write a trilogy. That happened purely due to pressure from his publisher.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.