Alan Dean Foster

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Anyone else (in addition to AE35Unit) who is an ADF fan? I just read Nor Crystal Tears , which I really enjoyed. It's a nice first contact book, told from the perspective of the alien thranx. Foster clearly had a lot of fun describing humans from the alien point if view.

I've now started his book Dirge, which is the second book in his Founding of the Humanx Commonwealth. I read the first book in this series, 'Phylogenesis' years ago and thought it was very good, so I have high hopes for this too.

What are your favourite ADF novels? Do you rate him? He seems to be a bit forgotten when I read about favourite SF authors...
 

Cat's Cradle

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I've read the first two Alien books, and thought they were quite good. I read the first of the Spellsinger books, and thought it was a good read...not sure why I never got back to the series. And I've read a few short stories.

Overall I think he is a really solid writer...I read these many years ago, but I seem to recall that he is a...smooth writer, if that makes sense. His style is easy to get into, and his books make for a comfortable, enjoyable read. I wonder if he might not come up in conversations about great SF writers because people categorize him mainly as a writer of movie novelizations, and not one who writes original, unique stories? I'm not sure, I've been away from SF for much too long. :)
 

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I've read a lot of ADF over the years - I've always had him pegged as a reliable writer, not too demanding but someone who tells a good story well.

My favourites have to be the Icerigger novels - must have re-read them dozens of times over the years. My well-worn copy of Icerigger itself is a 1976 1st edition NEL paperback, bought for Christmas that year, and never off my shelves since.

Icerigger (Icerigger, #1) by Alan Dean Foster
 

steve12553

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He did a fair share of novelizations, like the Alien novels that Cat's Cradle mentioned and I read a few of those back when if felt really important to me to read novelizations of any movie I really liked. I later ran across one of his Flinx novels and found it quite comfortable. Likeable characters and concepts that weren't too deep. Kinda like good TV. I've read a couple of those. I found the stuff of his that I've read to be good for occupying your mind in "idle" rather than anything that going to make you discover a new plane of existence. And frequently that's a good thing.
 

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Spellsinger - brilliant 'musician lost in a sword and sorcery universe' silliness, that went pear shaped for me when he expanded it into a series.

Splinter of the Mind's Eye - the Star Wars sequel that should have been.
 

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I picked up Splinter of the Mind's Eye with my SF book club membership and I think I wrote him off as a fan fiction writer at the time although I have a copy of Nor Crystal Tears I don't recall reading it- but it is quite old 1982 I'll have to check now that you mention it.

I should read it; I could be missing out on some good stuff he wrote.
 

psikeyhackr

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Anyone else (in addition to AE35Unit) who is an ADF fan? I just read Nor Crystal Tears , which I really enjoyed. It's a nice first contact book, told from the perspective of the alien thranx. Foster clearly had a lot of fun describing humans from the alien point if view.

I usually recommend it as a first contact novel.

I have read a bunch of his Flinx stories. Enjoyable but get somewhat more unrealistic the further it goes. Trying too hard to get more suspenseful rather than just delivering a good story I think.

And there is Icerigger. That may have been his first story I ever read. He does decent adventure stories, not too serious or thought provoking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icerigger

psik
 

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Thanks for feedback guys. Yes, he is well known for novelisations, and this may have impacted his reputation, I'm not sure, but I think he is very good at them. I recall reading his treatment of Alien, and thinking it was great. Because he got the screenplay early, the book contained scenes that never made it to film, and I liked this about it too. The other novelisation I've read that comes to mind is The Black Hole! Hmm, not sure the movie was so great was it? I don't recall the book at all.

I like your description of his writing as "smooth" Cat's Cradle; I get that. He is an easy read that's for sure. His style reminds me a bit of Harry Harrison, in that its direct, uncomplicated, full of good SF ideas and he gets on with it. He doesn't need 500 pages to tell his story. I like this about him. I'm interested that Icerigger gets several recommendations. I've ordered a couple of Flinx books from Ebay, but I've not found good copies of the Icerigger trilogy available for shipping to NZ yet. They are not currently in print I think, which seems to be a travesty.
 

Cat's Cradle

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Thanks for feedback guys. Yes, he is well known for novelisations, and this may have impacted his reputation, I'm not sure, but I think he is very good at them. I recall reading his treatment of Alien, and thinking it was great. Because he got the screenplay early, the book contained scenes that never made it to film, and I liked this about it too.

Ahh, I hadn't known he saw the script before the film was made, that makes a lot of sense to me now...I had wondered at the time if he was given artistic license to add on to the story (maybe to bring the work to a proper novel length). (I seem to recall one scene where a crew member found the alien, at random, wandering along a passageway of the ship, and tried to lure it into an airlock, and blast it directly into space...the attempt, of course, failed!).

I was really impressed with the two Alien novelizations of his I read; it inspired a spate of Alien-universe-books reading in me, and I went on to a series of books by...was it Steve Perry, maybe? Great fun, all!
 

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I read quite a lot of his stuff in my late teens, but nothing recently. I thought he had an easy style of writing and enjoyed the books that I read.

I think I have a couple of first editions at home somewhere.
 

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The only ADF I've ever read is his novelization of The Thing. I remember quite enjoying it, but I never gave anything else of his a try. Perhaps I should download something onto my Kindle.
 

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I don't kindle unfortunately, pyan. I'm on of the those weird dichotomies: a luddite SF fan. I have to have an actual paper book. Ebay will sort me out sooner or later, I've no doubt. I'll report back if I find one! "Dirge" (crap name for a book, but heh), is proving to be as enjoyable as every other Alan Dean Foster novel, btw.

Definately download something Vince - and let us know which one.
 

martin321

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I picked up Splinter of the Mind's Eye with my SF book club membership and I think I wrote him off as a fan fiction writer at the time ...

That made me laugh. Alan Dean Foster was the ghostwriter for the Star Wars novel, which had George Lucas's name on the cover. So "fan fiction writer" just doesn't do him justice. Mind you, I only discovered this fact many years after the book came out.

I've read a few of his novels: Star Wars, Splinter..., Spellsinger etc, and I enjoyed them at the time.
 

Vince W

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I don't kindle unfortunately, pyan. I'm on of the those weird dichotomies: a luddite SF fan. I have to have an actual paper book. Ebay will sort me out sooner or later, I've no doubt. I'll report back if I find one! "Dirge" (crap name for a book, but heh), is proving to be as enjoyable as every other Alan Dean Foster novel, btw.

Definately download something Vince - and let us know which one.

Just downloaded the Icerigger trilogy from amazon. All three books for a really low price.
 

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I just came across an ADF forum on his own site (alandeanfoster.com) where he respond to questions. I read this fascinating comment on one thread :

Alan Dean Foster said:
As for future Commonwealth stories, publishers just don't seem interested. Perhaps one day I'll go the Kickstarter or self-pub route. I've got a number of writer friends who've done the latter and are quite happy with the results, as are their fans. It's just a matter of having enough time to devote to doing it properly.

I have four recently written, unsold novels in hand. Not Commonwealth: three fantasy and one SF. Plus a short story collection. Nobody seems interested (except for the eBook rights, of course, which everybody wants). Perhaps I should attend more parties and flatter more people...but I'd rather write.
Four unpublished novels no-one wants! What criminality is this? This will be why we only see Pip and Flinx books from him - no one wants anything else, I guess. A real shame.
 

Vince W

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That's strange. Although I'm not hugely familiar with his work as a whole I've recognised ADF's name since I was a child. He's published enough that I would think he'd have no trouble having anything he's written published. Perhaps these books are outside his norm and his publishers don't want to risk any sort of failure.
 

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Well I finished "Dirge", which started brightly then lagged a touch but finished very satisfyingly. This is another book that deals with events that helped found the Humanx Commonwealth, and specifically looks at contact with the Pitar. It could easily be read as a standalone novel.

I've now picked and started "The Tar Aiym Krang", which was Foster's first Flinx novel. Looking forward to this one particularly.
 

psikeyhackr

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I've now picked and started "The Tar Aiym Krang", which was Foster's first Flinx novel. Looking forward to this one particularly.

The first written but not the first by internal chronology.

That would be For Love of Mother Not.

For Love of Mother-Not - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I recently re-listened to it again. I bought the book ages ago. But I have downloaded it and did a text-to-speech and listened to it.

psik
 

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