Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Analog December 1963

Analog December 1963The Magazine of the Week is the December 1963 issue of Analog magazine (formerly known as Astounding), containing the first appearance of Frank Herbert's landmark novel Dune. In the early 1960's, before Dune appeared, Frank Herbert was regarded as a second-tier science fiction writer at best, having published only one novel and a couple dozen short stories. When he wrote Dune, it was rejected by every major SF book publisher. It was too long, too confusing and too strange, the editors agreed. The dissenting voice was John W. Campbell, Jr., who saved the novel (and perhaps Frank Herbert) from possible obscurity by purchasing the rights to serialize Dune in Analog, beginning with the Magazine of the Week.

Campbell published the first portion of the novel in three parts under the title Dune World. Even though it was only part of a novel, with no real resolution, Dune World was an instant success, receiving Frank Herbert's first Hugo Award nomination. After the readers' positive reaction, Campbell published the rest of the lengthy novel in five more installments, under the title The Prophet of Dune. The success of the magazine version helped Frank Herbert's agent to find a hardcover publisher for the book, and Dune became one of the most successful SF novels ever printed, both commercially and artistically. It was filmed with mixed results by David Lynch in 1984 and by John Harrison for the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000.

John Schoenherr's cover for the Magazine of the Week really doesn't do justice to the fascinating world Frank Herbert created in Dune, but not to worry--John Schoenherr ended up making a career out of cover art for Dune and got much better with practice. He did the cover art for the first part of The Prophet of Dune serialization, which was also used as the cover for the first hardcover edition of Dune, next week's Book of the Week.

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