Alan Dean Foster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Alan Dean Foster
Foster at BayCon in 2007
Foster at BayCon in 2007
Born (1946-11-18) November 18, 1946 (age 74)
New York City, New York, United States
Pen nameJames Lawson[1]
OccupationFiction writer
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Notable worksHumanx Commonwealth and Spellsinger series

Alan Dean Foster (born November 18, 1946) is an American writer of fantasy and science fiction, who has written several book series, more than 20 standalone novels and many novelizations of film scripts.

Education and personal life[edit]

Foster earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and currently resides in Prescott, Arizona, with his wife. He is a cousin of singer Lesley Gore. Foster also holds multiple state and one world record in senior powerlifting.[citation needed]


Foster has written a number of 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 ("Flinx"), 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.

His fantasy Spellsinger series, features 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 unpredictable results).

Many of Foster's works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist.[citation needed] 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.

Star Wars[edit]

Foster was the ghostwriter of the original novelization of Star Wars, which was credited solely to George Lucas.[2] 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 idea. 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."[3]

Foster also wrote the follow-up novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), written with the intention of being adapted as a low-budget sequel to Star Wars if the film was unsuccessful. However, Star Wars was a blockbusting success, and The Empire Strikes Back (1980) would be developed instead. Foster's story relied heavily on abandoned concepts that appeared in Lucas's early treatments for the first film.[4]

Foster returned to the franchise for the prequel-era novel The Approaching Storm (2003), and also wrote the novelization of the first sequel trilogy film, The Force Awakens (2015).[5]

Star Trek[edit]

Foster has the story credit for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.[6] He also wrote 10 books based on episodes of the animated Star Trek, the first six books each consisting of three linked novella-length episode adaptations, and the last four being expanded adaptations of single episodes that segued into original story. In the mid-seventies, he wrote original Star Trek stories for the Peter Pan-label Star Trek audio story records. He later wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years.[7] He later wrote the novelization for Star Trek's sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.[8]

Dispute with Disney[edit]

In 2020, Foster accused The Walt Disney Company, which acquired rights to his old Star Wars novels via their 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm as well as rights to the Alien Franchise via their 2019 purchase of 20th Century Fox, of not paying him royalties for ebook sales of his books via the SFWA.[9][10][11]


Foster won the 2008 Grand Master award from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.[12]


Humanx Commonwealth Universe[edit]

Pip and Flinx[edit]

Novels are listed in chronological order of the story (not chronological order of publication). Foster comments, in a foreword to a re-issued edition of Bloodhype, that it is the eleventh novel in the series, and should fall between Running from the Deity and Trouble Magnet.[13]

  1. For Love of Mother-Not (1983) ISBN 0-345-30511-6
  2. The Tar-Aiym Krang (1972) ISBN 0-345-29232-4
  3. Orphan Star (1977) ISBN 0-345-25507-0
  4. The End of the Matter (1977) ISBN 0-345-25861-4
  5. Flinx in Flux (1988) ISBN 0-345-34363-8
  6. Mid-Flinx (1995) ISBN 0-345-38374-5
  7. Reunion (2001) ISBN 0-345-41867-0
  8. Flinx's Folly (2003) ISBN 0-345-45038-8
  9. Sliding Scales (2004) ISBN 0-345-46156-8
  10. Running from the Deity (2005) ISBN 0-345-46159-2
  11. Bloodhype (1973) ISBN 0-345-25845-2
  12. Trouble Magnet (2006) ISBN 0-345-48504-1
  13. Patrimony (2007) ISBN 978-0-345-48507-6
  14. Flinx Transcendent (2009) ISBN 978-0-345-49607-2
  15. Strange Music (2017) ISBN 978-1-101-96760-7

Founding of the Commonwealth[edit]

  1. Phylogenesis (1999) ISBN 0-345-41862-X
  2. Dirge (2000) ISBN 0-345-41864-6
  3. Diuturnity's Dawn (2002) ISBN 0-345-41865-4

Icerigger Trilogy[edit]

  1. Icerigger (1974) ISBN 0-345-23836-2
  2. Mission to Moulokin (1979) ISBN 0-345-27676-0
  3. The Deluge Drivers (1987) ISBN 0-345-33330-6

Standalone Commonwealth novels[edit]

In chronological order:

  1. Nor Crystal Tears (1982) ISBN 0-345-29141-7
  2. Voyage to the City of the Dead (1984) ISBN 0-345-31215-5
  3. Midworld (1975) ISBN 0-345-35011-1
  4. "The Emoman" (1972) short story
  5. "Surfeit" (1982) short story
  6. Drowning World (2003) ISBN 0-345-45035-3
  7. Quofum (2008) ISBN 978-0-345-49605-8
  8. "Mid-Death" (2006) short story
  9. The Howling Stones (1997) ISBN 0-345-38375-3
  10. Sentenced to Prism (1985) ISBN 0-345-31980-X
  11. Cachalot (1980) ISBN 0-345-28066-0

The Damned Trilogy[edit]

  1. A Call to Arms (1991) ISBN 0-345-35855-4
  2. The False Mirror (1992) ISBN 0-345-35856-2
  3. The Spoils of War (1993) ISBN 0-345-35857-0

Dinotopia Universe[edit]

Journeys of the Catechist[edit]

  1. Carnivores of Light and Darkness (1998) ISBN 0-446-52132-9
  2. Into the Thinking Kingdoms (1999) ISBN 0-446-52136-1
  3. A Triumph of Souls (2000) ISBN 0-446-52218-X


  1. Builder (unpublished)[14][15]

Spellsinger series[edit]

  1. Spellsinger (1983) ISBN 0-446-97352-1
  2. The Hour of the Gate (1984) ISBN 0-446-90354-X
  3. The Day of the Dissonance (1984) ISBN 0-446-32133-8
  4. The Moment of the Magician (1984) ISBN 0-446-32326-8
  5. The Paths of the Perambulator (1985) ISBN 0-446-32679-8
  6. The Time of the Transference (1986) ISBN 0-932096-43-3
  7. Son of Spellsinger (1993) ISBN 0-446-36257-3
  8. Chorus Skating (1994) ISBN 0-446-36237-9

"Serenade" (2004), a novelette set immediately after The Time of the Transference,[16] was first published in the anthology Masters of Fantasy and was later reprinted in Foster's short story collection Exceptions to Reality.[17]

The Taken trilogy[edit]

  1. Lost and Found (2004) ISBN 0-345-46125-8
  2. The Light-Years Beneath My Feet (2005) ISBN 0-345-46128-2
  3. The Candle of Distant Earth (2005) ISBN 0-345-46131-2

The Tipping Point trilogy[edit]

Montezuma Strip[edit]

Standalone novels[edit]


Anthologies edited[edit]

  • Smart Dragons, Foolish Elves (1991) with Martin H. Greenberg
  • Betcha Can't Read Just One (1993)
  • Short Stories from Small Islands: Tales Shared in Palau (2005)


Star Trek universe[edit]

Star Trek: The Animated Series[edit]
  1. Star Trek Log One (1974) ISBN 0-345-24014-6
  2. Star Trek Log Two (1974) ISBN 0-345-25812-6
  3. Star Trek Log Three (1975) ISBN 0-345-24260-2
  4. Star Trek Log Four (1975) ISBN 0-345-24435-4
  5. Star Trek Log Five (1975) ISBN 0-345-33351-9
  6. Star Trek Log Six (1976) ISBN 0-345-24655-1
  7. Star Trek Log Seven (1976) ISBN 0-345-24965-8
  8. Star Trek Log Eight (1976) ISBN 0-345-25141-5
  9. Star Trek Log Nine (1977) ISBN 0-345-25557-7
  10. Star Trek Log Ten (1978) ISBN 0-345-27212-9[19]
Star Trek movies[edit]

Star Wars universe[edit]

Alien Nation[edit]

Alien universe[edit]

  1. Alien (1979) ISBN 0-446-82977-3
  2. Aliens (1986) ISBN 0-446-30139-6
  3. Alien 3 (1992) ISBN 0-446-36216-6
  4. Alien: Covenant (2017) ISBN 1-785-65478-0
  5. Alien: Covenant - Origins (2017) ISBN 9781785654763

Terminator universe[edit]


Standalone novelizations[edit]

Film and television storylines[edit]


  1. ^ This pen name was used for the first publication of many of the Montezuma Strip stories
  2. ^ Wenz, John (January 1, 2018). "The First Star Wars sequel: Inside the writing of Splinter of the Mind's Eye". Syfy. SyFy Channel. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  3. ^ Bently, Lionel; Biron, Laura (2014). "The author strikes back: Mutating authorship in the expanded universe". Law and Creativity in the Age of the Entertainment Franchise. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-107-03989-6.
  4. ^ "Kaiburr crystal". Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  5. ^ Osborn, Alex (18 April 2015). "Star Wars Celebration: Alan Dean Foster Writing The Force Awakens Novelization". Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  6. ^ Gross, Edward; Altman, Mark A. (28 June 2016). The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years. St. Martin's Press. pp. 372–374. ISBN 978-1-4668-7285-1. Archived from the original on 25 July 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Alan Dean Foster Writing Star Trek Movie Adaptation". Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  8. ^ "Gallery To Release Star Trek Into Darkness Novel". Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  9. ^ Flood, Allison. "Star Wars author appeals to Disney in fight over royalties". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Star Wars Novelist Says Disney Won't Pay Him Royalties it Owes Him". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  11. ^ "#DisneyMustPay Alan Dean Foster". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  12. ^ "IAMTW 2008 awards". Archived from the original on November 19, 2008. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Bloodhype foreword, Del Rey, March 2002.
  14. ^ "Builder by Alan Dean Foster - FictionDB". Archived from the original on November 19, 2020. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  15. ^ "Title: Builder". Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  16. ^ Patten), Fred (Fred (Aug 4, 2001). "New Alan Dean Foster". Flayrah. Archived from the original on June 4, 2019. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "Publication: Exceptions to Reality". Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  18. ^ The human blend. WorldCat. Online Computer Library Center. OCLC 548412878.
  19. ^ Ayers, Jeff (2006). Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. Pocket Books. p. 65. ISBN 1-4165-0349-8. Archived from the original on 2020-11-18. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  20. ^ Osborn, Alex (18 April 2015). "Star Wars Celebration: Alan Dean Foster Writing The Force Awakens Novelization". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  21. ^ Athans, Philip (20 September 2011). "The Fantasy Author's Handbook Interview XVI: Alan Dean Foster". Fantasy Author's Handbook. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.

External links[edit]