Bookwaves/Artwaves – October 14, 2021: Mary Roach – Frank Herbert

Bookwaves/Artwaves is produced and hosted by Richard Wolinsky.

Links to assorted local theater & book venues



Mary Roach discusses her latest book, “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” with host Richard Wolinsky.

The author of several non-fiction works that examine specific areas of life that are rarely covered elsewhere, Mary Roach brings a sharp eye and excellent research skills to explain how things work, how they don’t work, and the various things that happen in between.

“Fuzz” deals with such issues as animals killing humans, pests in the fields, attempts to control invasive species, animal burglaries (watch out, Yogi Bear!) and even birds destroying flowers in the Vatican.

In this interview, she discusses many of these issues, plus adds some information that never found its way into her book.

Complete 47-minute interview.



Frank Herbert, author of Dune and other works, in conversation with Richard Wolinsky, Lawrence Davidson and Richard A. Lupoff, recorded July, 1981 at Westercon in Sacramento.

During the July 4th weekend of 1981, the Probabilities crew, Richard Lupoff, Lawrence Davidson and Richard Wolinsky, went to the Westercon Science fiction convention in Sacramento.

One of the guests that weekend was Frank Herbert. By that point, he’d written several novels, including what had become known as the Dune trilogy – Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune. Earlier that year, a sequel to the trilogy had been published, God Emperor of Dune.

The three managed to corral the author for an interview that lasted, including some socializing, to just under a half hour. Back at KPFA, it turned out that the tape had screwed up, and the final portion of the interview had speed variations that made it unlistenable. Perhaps ten minutes were aired at the time. Digitizing it in 2021, it became clear that at least some more of the interview could be manipulated sufficiently to allow listeners to follow the conversation.

The final question in the interview did not survive. Here’s what happened:

In 1977, Ballantine Books published a novel called Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. After reading the novel, Richard Wolinsky drew up a long list of plot points the book shared with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so many in fact that the publisher, Judy-Lyn Del Rey, also the publisher of the Tolkien books, admitted with a nodthat any other publisher could have been sued for plagiarism. What turned Sword of Shannara into a best-seller, however, was a very positive review by Frank Herbert that appeared in the New York Times. Dick Lupoff became obsessed with the review, and how it ignored the similarities between the two books. In that final question, he asked Herbert about the review. At first, Herbert admitted that he overlooked the Tolkienesque prose style because most new authors copy others. When Dick pressed him further about the content, Herbert finally said that he had never read Lord of the Rings. After that answer, he said abruptly, “times up.”

After 1981, Frank Herbert wrote two more Dune sequels, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune before dying at the age of 65. After his death, his son Brian Herbert along with Kevin J. Anderson used Herbert’s notes for several other novels and one collection of short stories, which at this point stands at 15 additional books set in the universe of Dune. The chronological history of Dune concluded with Hunters of Dune (2006) and Sandworms of Dune (2007)  based on Frank Herbert’s original chronology and outlines for the final books in the series.

The David Lynch version of Dune came out in 1984 and is streaming on HBO Max. The story of the Dune movie that was never made, Jodorowsky’s Dune, was released as a documentary in 2013 and can be rented on various streaming services. A new version of Dune, (first of two parts) directed by Denis Villeneuve, opens in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021.

Complete Radio Wolinsky podcast


Book Interview/Events and Theatre Links

Note: Most in-person events require proof of full vaccination for all audience members over 12 (some may allow unvaccinated audience members with recent negative Covid tests), and masks. Check the venue before arrival.

Bay Area Book Festival   Festival events streaming on-demand. Today, October 14 at 4 pm: Bob Woodward & Robert Costa, authors of “Peril,” free, register on the Book Festival site.
Book Passage.  Calendar for October. Mix of on-line and in-store events.
Books Inc.  Mix of on-line and in-store events.
The Booksmith   Calendar for October. On-line events only.
Center for Literary Arts, San Jose. Check website for archived events.
Kepler’s Books  On-line Refresh the Page program listings.

Alter Theatre. Brer Peach, an audio play by Andrew Saito, on-line October 21-December 12.
American Conservatory Theatre Freestyle Love Supreme opens January 21, 2022 at the Geary Theater. Out Loud: In Person Readings: Cymbaline by William Shakespeare, directed by Pam MacKinnon, Nov. 4-6 at the Strand
Aurora Theatre Father/Daughter by Dael Orlandersmith, By Kait Kerrigan, directed by M. Graham Smith, performances start Nov. 12; streaming Dec. 7-12.
Berkeley Rep Wintertime by Charles L. Mee, opens November 12, 2021, Roda Theater. The Ripple, That Wave That Carried Me Home by Christina Anderson, has been postponed until 2022.
Brava Theatre Center: See website for live and streaming events.
California Shakespeare Theatre (Cal Shakes)  Check website for streaming archive.
Central Works Audio plays: Bystanders by Patricia Milton, streaming now. The Human Ounce by Nicole Parizeau, streaming now.  2022 season to be announced.
Cinnabar Theatre. Dancing Lessons by Mark St. Germain, opens October 15, 2021, on stage, weekends only. Streaming October 29-31.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre Our Town by Thornton Wilder, on stage October 1-31, 2021.
Curran Theater: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set to resume January 11, 2022 as a single evening play. Taylor Mac videos available on-line.
Custom Made Theatre Season schedule to be announced.
42nd Street Moon. A Little Night Music, November 4-13, Alcazar Theater.
Landmark Musical Theater. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, through November 7, 2021 at the Children’s Creativity Theater.
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Upcoming season to be announced.
Magic Theatre. Black Fire, a live recording event with Tongo Eisen-Martin, two performances only. October 15, 2021; 7 pm & 9:30 pm. Theatre season resumes in 2022.
Marin Theatre Company On stage: Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, November 2021. The Sound Inside postponed.
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts Upcoming Events Page.
New Conservatory Theatre Center Streaming: Hold Me The Forgotten Way, through December, 31, 2021. In Theater: Interlude by Harrison David Rivers, October 8 – November 7, 2021.
Oakland Theater Project. In Theater: Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan, October 8 – 31.
Pear Theater. In Theater: Somewhere by Marisela Trevino Orta and The Tempest by William Shakespeare, in repertory, October 1 – October 24, 2021.
Ray of Light: The Rocky Horror Show, October 7-31, 2021, at the Oasis.
San Francisco Playhouse. In Theatre/Streaming On Demand, The Great Khan by Michael Gene Sullivan, October 13 – November 13, 2021.
SFBATCO See website for upcoming streaming and in theatre shows.
Shotgun Players. In person with streaming options: The Claim by Tim Cowbury, October 14-30.
The Breath Project. Streaming archive.
The Marsh: MarshStream updated calendar.
Theatre Rhino Essential Services Project, conceived and performed by John Fisher, all weekly performances now available.  Saturday October 16: The Romanovs.  On stage: At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen by Terry Guest, Oct. 28 – Nov. 14.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley.  On stage: Lizard Boy, a new musical by Justin Huertas, October 6 – October, 31, 2021.
Word for Word. Wordcast streaming: A Pair of Eyeglasses by by Anna Maria Ortese; Home by George Saunders; two by Toni Cade Bambara, live November 4. Each will be streamed through summer, 2022.

National, Misc:
Chamber Music San Francisco: Live concerts return February, 2022.
Dance Mission Theatre. On stage events calendar.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: New 2022 season announced.

Playbill List of Streaming Theatre: Updated weekly, this is probably the best list you’ll find of national and international streaming plays and musicals. Each week has its own webpage, so scroll down.
National Theatrical Streaming: Upcoming plays from around the country.

If you’d like to add your bookstore or theater venue to this list, please write [email protected]