|Though born in New York City, Alan Dean Foster was raised in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA, graduating in 1968 with a degree in political science and the next year with a master's degree in cinema. Also in 1968, he sold his first fictional work, a long H. P. Lovecraft-inspired story called "The Horror of the Beach." After he graduated, his love of the exotic led him to French Polynesia for a year, where he lived with a Tahitian family. He continued to write short stories until his first novel, THE TAR-AIYM KING, was published in 1974. He has continued to write numerous short works in a variety of styles--westerns, horror, and mystery, as well as science fiction and fantasy--and has become one of the most sought-after writers in the field of movie novelizations. One of his first novels of this type was 1976's STAR WARS, which Foster wrote under the name of the film's director, George Lucas. In 1978 he wrote the first--and some consider the best--of the Star Wars novels, SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE. Icerigger and Flinx, his two best-known series, are notable for both their standpoints on ecology, and their sly humor. In addition to writing, Foster has traveled extensively, studied karate with Chuck Norris, taught film and screenwriting at the college level, and even filmed footage--in a professional capacity--of Great White sharks off of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.