Geek Trivia

Sci-Fi Classic Dune Was Published By A Publisher Specializing In?

Automotive Manuals
Legal Encylopedias
Artillery Guides
Phonebooks
Pandora's Box Wasn't A Box At All But A?

Answer: Automotive Manuals

If you’re a mechanic, professional or amateur, you’re well familiar with the Chilton Books, the publisher of thousands of automotive repair handbooks for nearly every automobile under the sun. What you may not realize, however, while looking over pages devoted to spark plug changes and timing belt replacements is that a company specializing in automotive repair manuals is also responsible for putting Frank Herbert’s iconic book Dune in the hands of hungry Sci-Fi readers.

Back in the early 1960s, Herbert had published an early version of Dune in a serialized format in the Sci-Fi magazine Analog. When he edited and expanded the works to full novel length, he had significant trouble pitching it; he was rejected by over twenty publishers before finding somebody to put the book into print. Curiously, that somebody was Chilton Books, a company that specialized in printing automotive repair manuals.

Despite the success of the book, Chilton Books wasn’t interested in getting into the popular fiction business and handed the sequels off to Putnam, a publisher more experienced in mass producing fiction novels. The remainder of the original six book series was published under the Putnam name.

Image courtesy of Chilton Books.