GeekDad Interview: Alan Dean Foster on Predators I Have Known

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I recently downloaded and reviewed Alan Dean Foster’s captivating new book Predators I Have Known. Foster, of course, is a science-fiction and fantasy master, but now turns his sights on the fierce creatures on our own planet Earth. About the book:

An adrenaline-fueled travel memoir of life in the wild among the planet’s most ferocious and fascinating predators.

Over the last forty years, bestselling science-fiction writer Alan Dean Foster has journeyed around the globe to encounter nature’s most fearsome creatures. His travels have taken him into the heart of the Amazon rain forest on the trail of deadly tangarana ants, on an elephant ride across the sweeping green plains of central India in search of the elusive Bengal tiger, and into the waters of the Australian coast to come face-to-face with great white sharks.

Packed with pulse-pounding adventure and spiked with rapier wit, Predators I Have Known is a thrilling look at life and death in the wild.

The ebook is on sale now at Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo Books, Overdrive, and the Sony Reader Store. Open Road will be releasing a print-on-demand paperback edition of Predators I Have Known in the coming weeks.

GeekDad Interview with Alan Dean Foster

Geek Dad: Did you get inspiration for your other works from these same predators?

Alan Dean Foster: Inevitably. I’ve learned never to go into a situation with animals or people with preconceived ideas (i.e., this Russian streetwalker would make a great character in my next novel). That’s because both animals and people invariably act in ways you never expect and can’t possibly anticipate. In Tanzania, I once encountered an elephant so old that his skin was had wrinkled into deep folds and his tusks were so long they crossed at the tips. How he avoided poachers for his seventy or so years was an astonishment. When he walked he made no noise, and when he vanished into the high brush it was if he had quietly rendered himself invisible. He appeared as the King of the Elephants in my novel Into The Out Of, and there was no way I could have anticipated anything like him without actually encountering him. Similarly, seeing a great white shark leap completely out of the water enables you visualize it in other than usual ways. Being noshed on by leeches offers insights that are different (not to mention more personal) than one would acquire from simply reading about them in a biology text.

GD: Which is your favorite predator? Why?

ADF: The giant otter of South America. It smiles, it chirps, it barks, it plays hide-and-seek (including once, in the Pantanal of Brazil, with me). Playful, cute, fun-loving creature. Then it goes out and devours piranhas for breakfast, bones and all.

GD: Which is your favorite fictional predator? Why?

ADF: The monster from the Id in Forbidden Planet. The only movie monster that ever scared me as a kid. Dracula? Blah… decadent European aristocrat. Frankenstein? Poor schmo, I felt sorry for him the instant I saw him. Wanted to give him diction lessons. The Wolfman? I like furry creatures. But the monster from the Id? I wasn’t just a nightmare made tactile, it was an alien nightmare. It looked like one, it acted like one and, boy, it sure sounded like one. No way to relate to it, and therefore no way to mentally domesticate it.

GD: You have written many published books. Why choose this one for an ebook only format? What made you decide not to have this book printed?

ADF: Ebook only for now. The future brings many things. Of course, a print version would be absent the video that accompanies the ebook, some of which is taken from footage I shot of the animals that actually appear in Predators. That’s pure serendipity, that footage I shot for my own reference purposes can now be shared in book form. Read about the lions and the flat tire, see the lions. Wondrous lies the mantle of technology.

GD: What are you working on currently?

ADF: The Cold Plains, which is the second volume of a heroic fantasy trilogy titled Oshanurth. The first book, Blue Magic, is completed and in submission. I’m also working on a proposed SF animated series/film called The Zenoids, which is a project of William Shatner’s, and am in preliminary discussions about filming the first two Spellsinger books in Australia.

GD: Anything else you would like to add?

ADF: Sick Inc., the sequel to The Human Blend, will be out later this year. I wish I could take everyone to the places I’ve been to see the things I’ve seen. I reckon Predators I Have Known is the closest I’ll ever be able to come to doing that.

GeekDad contributor Jenny Williams also had the pleasure of interviewing Alan Dean Foster in 2009. Here are the links to that three part interview: Part One, Two, and Three

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