Thursday, March 17, 2011

Living Legend Alan Dean Foster!

Predators I Have Known, available on Amazon!

It's appropriate that Alan Dean Foster be my first Legend featured on Writing Insight because the Star Trek Logs were among the first books I read and I've read them countless times over the years. If you're a fan of science fiction then you've probably read (and loved) something of Foster's as well. He is famous for writing novel adaptations of movies, including the books for Star Wars, Alien, and Transformers to name a few. He's also had many successful individual novels and series, including his Humanx Commonwealth books and Spellsinger series. With over 100 books to his credit Foster has also written fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns. It turns out that Foster is so great at telling us adventure stories because he's a bit of an adventurer himself. This year he is publishing Predators I Have Known, a non-fiction book about his travels. And face it, you're going to buy it for the chapter "Teenage Killer Ninja Otters" alone.

Mr. Foster, thanks for being interviewed here at Writing Insight! It seems that your adventurous nature informed all those great stories you've written over the years. I noticed that the trips for Predators I Have Known start about ten years after you began to be published. In the beginning of your writing career before you could go on big trips what adventures did you draw on?

Only the ones I could think up and read about.  My father subscribed to National Geographic Magazine, which issues I devoured as soon as they arrived at our house.  When I left, I picked up my own subscription: unbroken now for more than forty years.  I also was heavily influenced by the travels and adventures depicted in the Uncle Scrooge comics written and drawn by the great Carl Barks.  Just the names Barks alluded to in his stories were enough to spark my imagination.  In one issue, Scrooge is required to make his annual world inspection tour of his vast property holdings, and he reels off a list of wonderful place names.  One of them is Famagusta, which rolls off the tongue (and the brain) so mnemonically I could never forget it.  Half a century after first reading that comic I finally made it to the real Famagusta (it's an ancient city in northern Cyprus).  I also never forgot the book BRING 'EM BACK ALIVE by the famous animal collector Frank Buck.  One of the stories in that volume led to the creation of the character Pip, the Alaspinian minidrag.

What was your very first "adventure" trip and did it make it into Predators I Have Known?
I'd always dreamed of sailing to Tahiti.  Everyone knows the vision from the movies: lying in a hammock on a beach beneath overarching palm dreams, sipping some exotic drink with a little umbrella poking out of it, gazing at the turquoise water and some beautiful vahine.  I went there in 1973.  First thing I learned was, all the really pretty vahines were either married or ladies of the evening, and the French authorities gaze askance on visitors who opt to beachcomb.  They want you in the fancy hotels, paying taxes.  Yet because of a remarkable woman, Princess Maheta Miri Rei, I ended up having quite the summer adventure.  Look for her briefly, at age 27, as the drum dancer in the second-highest grossing film of 1938, WAIKIKI WEDDING, starring Bing Crosby.  Wonderful as that particular story is, there are no predators involved, and therefore nothing from that trip made it into PREDATORS I HAVE KNOWN.  Although I suppose I could have included the bit about me snorkeling on Raiatea's reef and being followed by a small shark, of whose presence I was utterly unaware until I emerged from the water and was so informed of my follower by a frightened friend.

If you could do a safari on another world, one that either you've written or someone else has created, which world would you pick?
That's easy.  I'd have to go to MIDWORLD.   Suitably protected and guided, of course.  It would be fun to visit future Earth, and the thranx homeworld of HIVEHOM, but there would be more to see and marvel at on Midworld than any dozen other planets.

If you were an animal which animal would you be and why?
Otter.  What other animal has so much obvious fun, whether its playing hide-and-seek, sliding down snowbanks or waterfalls, is equally at home on land or in water, is quite capable of defending itself against much larger animals, and is downright cute to boot.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, I read all those Star Trek books as a kid too! Nice to see Mr. Foster is still writing! Teenage Killer Ninja Otters sounds like a winning chapter title. :)