"Getting inside the mind of a terrorist wasn't difficult at all. Even as children, human beings fabricate elaborate revenge fantasies. We're not a particular species. Check out popular video games." -- Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster (born November 18, 1946) is an American author of fantasy and science fiction. He currently resides in Prescott, Arizona, with his wife, and is also known for his novelizations of film scripts. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Advances have fallen, generally, for everything except the biggest potential bestsellers. Given all the changes, both economic and technological, SF hasn't done too badly.""Besides the mistakes that are pointed out, I love the way readers become involved with the characters. When readers start asking about character motivations instead of concentrating on the special effects, it means you're connecting with them on a personal level.""Dawn was written well before 9/11. People speak a lot today about the banality of evil, but not all evil is banal. Some of it is carefully structured and well-thought-out. That's where the real danger lies.""Don't try to write to the trend of the moment.""Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting.""Growing up, I never gave a thought to being a writer. All I ever wanted to be was a traveler and explorer. Science-fiction allowed me to go places that were otherwise inaccessible, which is why I started reading it. I was going to be a lawyer, but I got saved.""How much research I have to do depends on the nature of the story. For fantasy, none at all.""I enjoy listening to classical music and heavy metal. I play basketball and try to go diving at least once a year. I don't really have hobbies in the traditional sense... I engage in too many activities already through the actions of my characters.""I have a bad tendency to get rapidly bored with my own material, so rewriting is hard for me. I mean, I already know the story and would rather read something new.""I hear entire symphonies, oratorios, in my head, but I can't write a note.""I see the Jedi mission as giving up a normal life in exchange for protecting the innocent. It's a life of sacrifice. There are rewards, but also a certain degree of sterility.""I try to challenge myself as much as possible, as often as possible.""I usually do one con a year as a GoH and try to make the World Fantasy Convention for business purposes. Last year I went to a worldcon for the first time in two decades. I may go again this year.""I write early in the morning, usually after reading portions of at least half a dozen newspapers on the web.""I've been writing full-time since 1978.""In one book, CACHALOT, just for my own amusement, every character is based directly on someone I have known.""Keep writing. Try to do a little bit every day, even if the result looks like crap. Getting from page four to page five is more important than spending three weeks getting page four perfect.""Living gives you a better understanding of life. I would hope that my characters have become deeper and more rounded personalities. Wider travels have given me considerably greater insight into how cultural differences affect not only people, but politics and art.""The overwhelming triumph of the international multimedia conglomerate has resulted in less diversity within the field and has made it much harder for newer writers not only to break in, but to make any kind of a living while doing so.""There's certainly more new SF available than when I started writing. That means there's also more bad SF available. Whether there is also more good is a matter for future historians of the field.""Writing allows me the time to travel and see the world, which is what I always wanted to do. I'd really like to have been Sir Richard Francis Burton, but it's the wrong century."
He is best known for his science fiction novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar ethical/political union of species including humankind and the insectoid Thranx. Many of these novels feature Philip Lynx , an empathic young man who has found himself involved in something which threatens the survival of the Galaxy. Flinx's constant companion since childhood is a minidrag named Pip, a flying, empathic snake capable of spitting a highly corrosive and violently neurotoxic venom.
Foster's best-known fantasy work is the Spellsinger series, in which a young musician is summoned into a world populated by talking creatures where his music allows him to do real magic whose effects depends on the lyrics of the popular songs he sings (although with somewhat unpredictable results).
Many of Foster's works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist. Often the villains in his stories experience their downfall because of a lack of respect for other alien species or seemingly innocuous bits of their surroundings. This can be seen in such works as Midworld, about a semi-sentient planet that is essentially one large rainforest, and Cachalot, set on an ocean world populated by sentient cetaceans. Foster usually devotes a large part of his novels to descriptions of the strange environments of alien worlds and the coexistence of their flora and fauna. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Sentenced to Prism, in which the protagonist finds himself trapped on a world where life is based on silicon rather than carbon, as on Earth.
Foster has been so prolific that he is often rumored to have been the ghostwriter on novels with which he had little direct involvement, such as the novelization of The Motion Picture, which was credited to (and actually written by) Gene Roddenberry. Foster wrote the treatment on which the film was based, perhaps accounting for the misattribution of the novel to him. He also authored 10 volumes of novelizations based upon The Animated Series, several of which involving taking the script for a half-hour episode and expanding it into a full-length novel. He later wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years.
It has long been known that Foster co-wrote the original novelization of Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) which had been credited solely to George Lucas. When asked if it was difficult for him to see Lucas get all the credit for Star Wars, Foster said "Not at all. It was George's story. I was merely expanding upon it. Not having my name on the cover didn't bother me in the least. It would be akin to a contractor demanding to have his name on a Frank Lloyd Wright house."