Between 1999 and 2009 Lightsabre.co.uk brought news, fanfic, podcasts and much, much more to the masses. Our seventh guest kicked off the literary era of Star Wars back in 1976 – Alan Dean Foster.
Lightsabre – Alan, welcome to Lightsabre.
ADF – Hi…nice to be here.
Lightsabre – What are your major influences as a writer?
ADF – In SF; Eric Frank Russell, Murray Leinster, and Robert Sheckley. Outside SF; Herman Melville & Carl Barks.
Lightsabre – How did you get into writing science fiction?
ADF – My father always read the stuff. My Uncle, Howie Horwitz (a noted television producer of the 50’s & 60’s) also loved it, but never got the opportunity to really work in the genre.
Lightsabre – Do you find it easier to write movie novelisations or your own material? After all, a lot of the content for the movie novels are already laid out for you?
ADF – Yes, the novelisations are easier…if the script is good. If the script sucks (i.e, The Black Hole, Krull, etc.) the work becomes far more difficult.
Lightsabre – You turn over three to four novels a year which must mean you work hard and have a passion for what you do. Considering the amount of effort that goes into a novel, how do you prepare and how long does it take?
ADF – I do write fairly fast, but it’s more a matter of discipline than sheer speed. As to preparation, an idea may sit around for a year or more before I actually try to make a book out of it. Sometimes it can take as little as a couple of weeks
Lightsabre – How large and important a part does the internet play in the modern day world, in relation to books?
ADF – The internet is a supplement to the world of books, and a good one. The species it has endangered serious ain’t books…it’s magazines and newspapers.
Lightsabre – Which of the four films stands out as your personal favourite, and why?
ADF – The Empire Strikes Back. First, because sequels are so hard to bring off, and second, because of the notably more adult tone to the storyline. Also the technical improvements. Snow White vs. Pinocchio might be a useful analogy.
Lightsabre – You were the first Star Wars author, not only the Episode IV novelization but also your own story, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, and now you have the Episode I novel and a new Star Wars novel on its way. What is it about the Star Wars genre you find most appealing?
ADF – George maintaining his sense of wonder above all else. It’s clear that he’s still enjoying what he’s doing, and making the films for himself.
Lightsabre – What do you foresee in the future for yourself outside of the Star Wars universe?
ADF – Continuing the development of the Universe of the Commonwealth. More of everything else. Seeing the rest of the planet. A few special expeditions. Maybe writing some (classical) music.
Lightsabre – What surprises are you anticipating when Episode II arrives on Thursday May 16th 2002?
ADF – Naughty, naughty…no peeking!
Lightsabre – Any thoughts on our site? Any advice, we guarantee, will be gratefully accepted!!
ADF – Not familiar enough to comment intelligently (or even stupidly)
Lightsabre – And, finally, the movie novel question. Perseus, Lt. Ellen Ripley and Darth Maul are all in a restaurant having a friendly meal. A hefty bill arrives and each one of them refuses to pay it, resulting in a horrendous fight. Who wins
ADF – Easy…Ripley. Perseus would be too much of a gentleman to foist the bill on her, and he and Maul would get into it. When they’d both exhausted themselves, Ripley would take out the survivor. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, SF-style.
Lightsabre – Thanks for your time Alan.
ADF – Regards and you are most welcome.
This interview was originally posted on lightsabre.co.uk on 27th January 2001.