FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
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Anthologies A - R
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Anthologies T - Z
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Reviewing Literature
The Books of Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster has written books in a variety of genres and, as well as having written many original stories, he has also penned the novelisations of several movies; including the Alien trilogy and Star Wars (a novelisation which that cheeky git George Lucas took credit for).  He was also the first author to write a non-movie story for the Star Wars franchise.  Foster lives with his wife, JoAnn Oxley, in Prescott, Arizona.
Average Review Score: 3.3 out of 5

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
Billed as a prelude to Episode II, this book is worse than that rather disappointing movie.  Not having learned his lesson when he wrote the dreadful 'Splinter Of The Mind's Eye', Foster returns to the Galaxy Far Far Away.  The story takes place on Ansion, a planet which Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, along with fellow Jedi Luminara Unduli and Barriss Offee (both from Episode II), have to persuade to remain in the Republic.  The links to Episode II are tenuous (a vague idea of a Separatist movement, the appearance of Count Dooku on the very last page etc) and did nothing to make the film any deeper, nor reveal any real backstory to it.  The story presented here is a rather boring one in which the Jedi wander around a bit and talk to a few people.  Worse, there's a Jar-Jar Binks style character in the form of Tooqui.  There is one very good scene which does more to reveal the Jedi's characters than the entire rest of the book.  The Jedi are forced to entertain a crowd and reveal a little of their souls in doing so; Obi-Wan tells a story, Anakin sings, Barriss performs acrobatics with a lightsaber and Luminara uses the Force to make sandstorm art.  Other than that one scene, rubbish.
3 out of 5
'"It seems to me that mine is becoming a very important planet, Honorable Shu Mai."'
Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind's Eye
The first novel ever written as part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, published when George Lucas was only beginning to pen the story for 'The Empire Strikes Back'.  Sadly, this book suffers terribly from being written when the franchise was so young.  The story is largely pretty boring and (admittedly because Foster wouldn't have known) there is none of the interesting my-father-wants-to-kill-me-and-I-want-to-have-sex-with-my-sister dynamic that defines Luke's character following the later two movies.  Basically, this book is a really minor story of little interest and which is full of continuity holes that will really bugs fans (or 'geeks' depending on your viewpoint).  In it's defence, however, it does feature a brilliantly tension-building line when Luke senses Vader's approach: "Something blacker than night stirs in the Force."  Also, if you find the edition with cover art by Star Wars Production Designer Ralph MacQuarrie, it's worth buying just for that.
2 out of 5
The Complete Alien Omnibus
The collected novelisations of 'Alien', 'Aliens' and 'Alien 3'.  The Alien movies are science fiction classics, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that Foster's novelisations are even better.  The story is written with great attention to detail and each character is described well enough that when they finally snuff it, you're genuinely sorry to see them go (in the films, you're glad half the time).  Also, with the novelisations, we get the versions of the stories before they fell prey to the inevitable editing-for-time-constraints process.  This means we get a fair bit more information about the alien lifecycle (such as the fact that the alien in 'Alien' had layed an egg itself - a queen egg), but better than all that we get the scene in 'Aliens' in which the Marines set up several automatic machine guns, which on paper comes across with a wonderful amount of tension as the ammo runs down (I was so disappointed when I saw the film version in the Special Edition).  The only problem I can think of is that in 'Alien 3' Foster features an ox-alien, rather than the much more effective dog-alien seen in the film.
5 out of 5
'Seven dreamers.'

If you liked Foster:
You may well enjoy the Star Wars books of Brian Daley (who wrote the second Star Wars Expanded Universe book; 'Han Solo At Star's End') and James Luceno (who wrote 'Cloak Of Deception', a prelude to Episode I).

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