"Operation Haystack" and "The Missing Link"
by Frank Herbert

"Behold!  As a wild ass in the desert, go I forth to do my work!"
-Gurney Halek "Dune"-






Operation Haystack by Frank Patrick Herbert

This week's Free Reading was a special treat for me, and I hope it will be for you.  Ever since I was ten, sitting in the air conditioned movie theater in the summer of 1984, watching "Dune", I have been a fan of Frank Herbert.  Despite the completel odd vision of David Lynch being realized on screen (something that forever after would cast doubt in my mind on the idea that he was a talented director), there was enough action, spaceships, and other scifi stuff to feed an already voracious appetite for the genre.  Frank Herbert, with that novel, would cement himself as one of the greatest all time scifi writers due to the fact that it became the highest selling scifi novel of all time.  This is a bit strange when you consider that Herbert did not have the archetypal science fiction writer background.  When you consider that many of his era had technical or scientific backgrounds (formally or informally), or began writing Science Fiction at a young age.  Herbert spent most of his early adulthood kicking around at various journalism jobs, and never completed his formal education.  Despite this, Dune is full of complex and interwoven religious, political, philosophical, and ecological themes.  The two stories we are presenting to you today are not prequels to the Dune series, but rather forerunners.  Many of the concepts and roles you will see in Dune will be seen in these two short works.

I chose these two books of Herberts because they have a commone main character.  Despite the fact that it is a character that was never actually serialize, it is interesting to read and see the possibility for that to happen, particularly in Herberts mind.  "The Missing Link" is about a primitive race of beings that capture and hold the more advanced humans and their spaceship hostage, while using the technology of the ship to wreak havoc and destruction.  Enter Lewis Orne, galactic diplomat who must disarm the aliens and free the hostages before the Terran government can respond in force.  "Operation Haystack" is another story featuring Lewis Orne.  This time he is following a trail of deceit and subterfuge to uncover a government conspiracy that could re-ignite a centuries old conflict.  The link for these two stories is located below.

Note:  While I ultimately enjoyed "Dune" the movie, I was heartbroken when I watched "Jodorowsky's Dune".  It is a documentary about a man who spent his career trying to get Dune made into a movie.  He got some of what would become many of the art and film world's greatest artists to do storyboards and concept art for the film.  People such as Dan O'bannon, H.R. Giger, and Moebius.  He even went as far as to do a storyboard for every scene of the script.  If you have the time and inclination, I suggest you watch this film.

Operation Haystack

The Missing Link