Alan Dean Foster

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 faithful novelizations of film scripts.

Alan Dean Foster
Foster at BayCon in 2007
Born (1946-11-18) November 18, 1946
New York City, New York, United States
Pen nameJames Lawson[1]
OccupationFiction writer
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Notable worksHumanx Commonwealth and Spellsinger series

Education and personal life

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 may be 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 ("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.

One of Foster's better-known fantasy works 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.

Star Wars

Foster was the ghostwriter of the original novelization of Star Wars, which was credited solely to George Lucas.[2] After two other writers had declined his offer of a flat fee of $5,000 for the work, Lucas brought the original screenplay to Foster, after which Foster fleshed out the backstory of time, place, planets, races, history and technology in such detail that it became canonical for all subsequent Star Wars novels. 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 was stunned when Return of the Jedi (1983) revealed that Luke and Leia were siblings; in his novel, the characters exhibit some level of romantic energy. Although the book was largely ignored by later entries in the Star Wars film canon, it was the first Star Wars Expanded Universe entry written (although not the first published—a Marvel Comics story holds that honor).

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

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]


Foster won the 2008 Grand Master award from the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.[9]


Humanx Commonwealth Universe

Pip and Flinx

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.[10]

  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

  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

  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

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

  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

  • Dinotopia Lost (1996) ISBN 1-57036-279-3
  • The Hand of Dinotopia (1997) ISBN 1-57036-396-X

Journeys of the Catechist

  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)[11][12]

Spellsinger series

  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,[13] was first published in the anthology Masters of Fantasy and was later reprinted in Foster's short story collection Exceptions to Reality.[14]

The Taken trilogy

  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

  • The Human Blend (2010) ISBN 978-0-345-51197-3[15]
  • Body, Inc. (2012) ISBN 978-0-345-51199-7
  • The Sum of Her Parts (2012) ISBN 978-0-345-51202-4

Montezuma Strip

Standalone novels

  • The Man Who Used the Universe (1983) ISBN 0-446-90353-1
  • The I Inside (1984) ISBN 0-446-32027-7
  • Slipt (1984) ISBN 0-425-07006-9
  • Into the Out Of (1986) ISBN 0-446-51337-7
  • Glory Lane (1987) ISBN 0-441-51664-5
  • Maori (1988) ISBN 0-441-51925-3
  • To the Vanishing Point (1988) ISBN 0-446-51338-5
  • Quozl (1989) ISBN 0-441-69454-3
  • Cyber Way (1990) ISBN 0-441-13245-6
  • Cat-a-lyst (1991) ISBN 0-441-64661-1
  • Codgerspace (1992) ISBN 0-441-71851-5
  • Greenthieves (1994) ISBN 0-441-00104-1
  • Design for Great-Day (1995) ISBN 0-312-85501-X, with Eric Frank Russell)
  • Life Form (1995) ISBN 0-441-00218-8
  • Voyage of the Basset (Illustrated by James C. Christensen) (1996) ISBN 1-885-18358-5
  • Jed the Dead (1997) ISBN 0-441-00399-0
  • Parallelities (1998) ISBN 0-345-42461-1
  • Primal Shadows (2001) ISBN 0-312-87771-4
  • Interlopers (2001) ISBN 0-441-00847-X
  • Kingdoms of Light (2001) ISBN 0-446-52667-3
  • Sagramanda (2006) ISBN 1-59102-488-9
  • Relic (2018) ISBN 978-1101967638


  • With Friends Like These ... (1977) ISBN 0-345-25701-4
  • ... Who Needs Enemies? (1984) ISBN 0-345-31657-6
  • The Metrognome and Other Stories (1990) ISBN 0-345-36356-6
  • Mad Amos (1996) ISBN 0-345-39362-7
  • Impossible Places (2002) ISBN 0-345-45041-8
  • Exceptions to Reality (2008) ISBN 0-345-49604-3
  • The Flavors of Other Worlds (2019) ISBN 978-1-61475-986-7

Anthologies edited

  • 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

Star Trek: The Animated Series
  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[16]
Star Trek movies

Star Wars universe

Alien Nation

Alien universe

  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


Standalone novelizations

Film and television storylines


  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. 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".
  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.
  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". Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  9. "IAMTW 2008 awards". Archived from the original on Nov 19, 2008. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  10. Bloodhype foreword, Del Rey, March 2002.
  11. "Builder by Alan Dean Foster - FictionDB". Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  12. "Title: Builder". Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  13. Patten), Fred (Fred (Aug 4, 2001). "New Alan Dean Foster". Flayrah. Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  14. "Publication: Exceptions to Reality". Retrieved Jun 4, 2019.
  15. "The human blend". WorldCat. Online Computer Library Center. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  16. Ayers, Jeff (2006). Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. Pocket Books. p. 65. ISBN 1-4165-0349-8.
  17. Osborn, Alex (18 April 2015). "Star Wars Celebration: Alan Dean Foster Writing The Force Awakens Novelization".
  18. Athans, Philip (20 September 2011). "The Fantasy Author's Handbook Interview XVI: Alan Dean Foster". Fantasy Author's Handbook.
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