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Dune Graphic Novelists Brian Herbert And Kevin Anderson Discuss Inspiration In Unexpected Places - Exclusive

Ever since "Dune" by Frank Herbert first came out in 1965, it's served as an inspiration for many other science-fiction projects that have come after. With its use of single-system ecosystem plants, themes related to both politics and religion, and of course, giant sandworms, it's hard not to see certain parallels with modern sci-fi films and books. Some of these are more opaque than others, such as when "Futurama" has a beauty pageant contestant named "Miss Arrakis." In other instances, you may need to dig beneath the surface to see how an author may have been influenced by "Dune."

But what inspires the current torch bearers of the "Dune" mythos? Brian Herbert (son of the late Frank Herbert) and Kevin J. Anderson continually work on new "Dune" projects, including the recently released "Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad'Dib," which brings the original story of "Dune" into stunning graphic novel form. What do they read to inform their choices? They actually spoke about precisely that in an exclusive interview with Looper

From nonfiction to giant, epic pieces

One may initially assume that as big "Dune" fans, Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson would be into other epic science-fiction pieces. However, they seem to prefer reading outside of that genre and expanding their horizons in other ways. Herbert explained, "I tend to read nonfiction, so I don't really like to quote too much about fiction. I read a lot of history. That's what I'm reading every day." 

He shared that his father was much the same way and would often read about history and be inspired by that: "He would read encyclopedias, literally. He'd look something up. He was in the Smithsonian Library — sometimes he would do that in Washington, DC — he'd look something up and he couldn't avoid the temptation of reading what was on the other page."

Meanwhile, Anderson discussed how he enjoys reading big, sprawling epics. Among his favorite books are "Shogun" by James Clavell, "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry, "The Godfather" by Mario Puzo," and "The Stand" by Stephen King. Of course, the book he finds himself coming back to time and time again is, naturally, "Dune." "My last count, I think is 23 times I've read 'Dune.' I don't think I'd live long enough to read 'Lonesome Dove' 23 times, but 'Dune' is something that we go back to again and again," he said.

Anderson also provided a good explanation for why they don't exactly read a ton of science-fiction. "It's like eating leftovers all the time," he explained. "I [don't] want to read the stuff that I'm writing. I want to read outside that, just like Brian reads nonfiction." For a work of art as dense as "Dune," it makes sense it would have numerous influences outside of the obvious. 

"Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad'Dib" is available now. You can order from Abrams Books.