Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946, and raised in Los Angeles. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA (1968, 1969) he spent two years as a copywriter for a small advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, California.
His writing career began when August Derleth bought a long Lovecraftian letter of Foster’s in 1968 and, to his surprise, published it as a short story in Derleth’s bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. Other sales to magazines followed. His first attempt at a novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was bought by Betty Ballantine at Ballantine Books in 1972, and edited by SF editor John W. Campbell.
Since then, Foster’s short fiction has appeared in all the major SF magazines, as well as in original anthologies, and several “Best of the Year” compendiums. His published works include more than 100 books, including hard science-fiction, fantasy, horror, detective, western, historical, and contemporary fiction, as well as numerous nonfiction articles on film, science, and scuba diving. He has also produced the novel versions of many films, including such well-known productions as Star Wars, the first three Alien films, Alien Nation, The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, and both Transformers films. Other works include scripts for talking records, radio, computer games, and the story for the first Star Trek movie. His novel Shadowkeep was the first ever book adaptation of an original computer game. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages and has won awards in Spain and Russia. His novel Cyber Way won the Southwest Book Award for Fiction in 1990, the first SF work ever to do so. He is the recipient of the Faust, the IAMTW lifetime achievement award.
Foster has traveled extensively, visiting French Polynesia, Europe, throughout Asia and the Pacific, Tanzania, Kenya, the “Green Hell” region of the Southeastern Peruvian jungle, and Western Australia. His activities have included rappelling into New Mexico’s Lechugilla Cave, white-water rafting Zambezi’s Batoka Gorge, driving solo the length and breadth of Namibia, crossing the Andes by car, sifting the sands of unexplored archeological sites in Peru, swimming with giant otters in Brazil, surveying remote Papua New Guinea and West Papua, and diving unexplored reefs throughout the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. His film footage of great white sharks feeding off South Australia appeared on both American television and the BBC.
He enjoys both classical music and heavy metal. Other pastimes include basketball, hiking, body surfing, and scuba diving. He is a current world and Eurasian champion in powerlifting (bench press) in his age and weight class. He studied karate with Aaron and Chuck Norris before Chuck took up acting. He’s taught screenwriting, literature, and film history at UCLA and Los Angeles City College, as well as having lectured at universities and conferences around the world. He’s a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Author’s Guild of America, and the Writer’s Guild of America (West). Foster’s correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University.
He resides in Prescott, Arizona, in a house built of brick salvaged from a turn-of-the-century miners’ brothel. He cohabitates with assorted dogs, cats, fish, several hundred houseplants, visiting local wildlife, and the ensorcelled chair of the nefarious Dr. John Dee. He is presently at work on several new novels and media projects.