And so the story begins...
Living life is nothing that any moron or better couldn't accomplish, even without setting one's mind to it. The trick is to do something with that life. Or live several at once, so that one could at least be a success in one of them.
Herbert, having endured his mid-life crisis with all the aplomb possibly available to him, now was set on making a new life for himself. This is his book.
Such a book has parallels with our own. That is life for you - it sneaks up on you and drops some odd segue or link into some other person's scene and then just nips away, as if it was mainlining pixie dust or some super-quantum Dune drug. Blue eyes and all.
You see, Herbert does live more than one life at once. Shackled to the mundane world of the Midwest warehouse laborer, he yet lives in worlds of extreme science, wild fantasy environments and incredibly sensuous surroundings. For Herbert reads books, surfs the Internet and has an overactive imagination.
But let's meet our hero...