It seems logical that the six books written by Frank Herbert are considered canon, but what other works of his are part of the Dune canon?

Are the works done by his son considered part of the official canon?

What about the trilogy of books that complete book 7 (themselves largely based on Frank Herbert's own notes)?

  • Good question. I'm interested to see if there's any official word on the subject – Valorum May 19 '15 at 14:28
  • My gut instinct says that the six Dune books are canon. The encyclopedia is mixed/dubious canon and the extended universe books are non-canon. – Valorum May 19 '15 at 14:29
  • i know that the 2 books they made to finish "book 7" had a full outline by herbert they followed, however they also tied in the prequel series they themselves wrote, though again they claim that alot of the characters in there houses trilogy had already been written about extensively in the thousands of pages of notes they had. its kind of a toss up, but when we talk about the wheel of time, we def consider the books written by brandon sanderson as cannon, even though they were written after jordans death. – Himarm May 19 '15 at 14:32
  • 3
    -The new books are total dross. Not helpful in context, just my two cents – Valorum May 19 '15 at 14:35
  • So disappointed I can upvote Richard's comment about 19 times. – Lighthart Jun 5 '15 at 21:03

Herbert Properties LLC owns the Dune copyright and all rights to Frank Herbert's work. From a legal perspective, they have the final word on what is officially "Dune". Their opinion is that Frank Herbert's original 6 novels, and all published & upcoming books by Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson are canon.

However, Herbert Properties is chiefly ran by Brian Herbert. So Brian Herbert says Brian Herbert is canon.

Since Frank Herbert's notes have never been published, we cannot know how closely Brian Herbert's books follow Frank's original vision. We cannot even know if these notes are even real. Until the notes are someday released, I would recommend considering them separate canons. Brian's novels are legally Dune, but so is David Lynch's Dune.

  • Im leaning towards your answer, because its really the same situation as the Wheel of time has, basically Robert jordans wife handed off his notes, and then declared that sandersons books finished the series and where cannon, she being the head of the company owns all the rights and ability to say this. Can you provide a link showing that Brian herbert owns the rights? – Himarm May 20 '15 at 13:06
  • Here is the corporation's registration, showing Brian as the manager (along with Frank's grandson by his daughter): sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=602271984 You can find the Herbert Properties LLC copyright in recently published Dune books (or Herbert Limited Partnership, the corp's former name), and you can find it listed on Brian Herbert's official site dunenovels.com (you may have to view source to see it, the styling currently covers the text) – friggle May 20 '15 at 13:40

There's a similar question: How true to the original vision of Frank Herbert were the sequels published by his son?

Many Dune fans have a problem calling the last 2 books, Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune and the other books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, canon with the original 6 books.
Quality of these books aside, there are some discrepancies that many readers cannot accept:

  • Daniel and Marty
    The final chapters of book 6, Chapterhouse: Dune, introduces us to two mysterious characters called Daniel and Marty. Their conversation seems to indicate that they are Face Dancers who have become independent of the Masters. However, in book 7, they are revealed to be Omnius and Erasmus, the leaders of the thinking machines.
  • The Butlerian Jihad
    Frank Herbert described the Butlerian Jihad more like a religious and philosophical revolution to ban the use of computers instead of a physical war between humans and machines. Frank Herbert may never have invented the character Omnius. However, since Frank Herbert never elaborated, we don't know the details of this event.
  • The Golden Path
    The Golden Path was necessary to ensure humanity's survival. In book 4, God Emperor of Dune, Leto says humanity would already be extinct if it weren't for him. This means the threat that was going to end the human race was internal. It is implied that the destruction is caused by "seeking machines", but where do they come from?
    On the other hand, there is the "Unseen Enemy" that scared the Honered Matres back into the Old Empire. Who or what is this Enemy? Frank Herbert never told us.

There are other things, but it's been years since I've read any of these books.
I do believe there was an outline for book 7 written by Frank Herbert. However, that's all it is: an outline. I'm sure Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson had to fill in a lot of blanks. What is easier than to delve into the prequel books they had already written?
I believe Brian Herbert cares about his father's work and made a genuine effort to finish it.

Officially, these books may be canon, simply because they say they are.
But they are probably not what Frank Herbert intended. You can either accept it as canon or see it as a separate work based on Frank Herbert's work.

  • it really comes down to, do you trust his son/outline. Its funny the fights the dune books gets, the last 3 wheel of time books though written by another author are 100% considered cannon. So even though his son said that this is what the notes and outline says how the book should be finished, since these notes where never released everyone thinks they just made it all up. – Himarm May 19 '15 at 19:17

There isn't an official canon. We can say that the Dune Encyclopaedia is definitely not canon - it's written from an in-universe, post-Scattering perspective, and is therefore only a guide to what people there might have believed about the earlier times.

Whether or not you come any of Brian's books as canon is really up to you: personally, I'm not even inclined to count the one supposedly written from Frank's notes.


I didn't read them myself, but I read critics (in german, http://neueabenteuer.com/category/rezensionen/buecher/dune-buecher/ ) that state that the later works retcons the original ones as "propaganda" stuff written by in universe authors, explaining the contradictions. And they seem to be much influenced by starwars and are much more mainstream like. So if you are a fan of the original work and its style, you will be disappointed by the later works.

  • What "critics" think really is neither here nor there. – Valorum Feb 25 '18 at 20:24

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