Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Sliding Scales
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, 246 pages

Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA in 1968-69 and then spent two years as a copywriter for an advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, CA.

His first sale as a writer was a long Lovecraftian letter, purchased by August Derleth for the bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Many, many novels followed. Alan Dean Foster's correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Foster and his wife live in Prescott, Arizona.

Alan Dean Foster Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Flinx's Folly
SF Site Review: The Mocking Program
SF Site Review: Dinotopia Lost
SF Site Review: Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
SF Site Review: Interlopers
SF Site Review: Phylogenesis
SF Site Review: Into the Thinking Kingdoms
SF Site Review: Carnivores of Light and Darkness
Alan Dean Foster Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Sliding Scales Every adventure Flinx has seems to bring him more troubles. Hunted all over the universe, the very same universe that depends on him to save it, and separated from his one true love, who is very ill, he is understandably stressed. And depressed. So his ship mind makes a rather pleasant suggestion. Take a vacation. A real vacation. To a little, not very well known planet called Jast on the edge of the Commonwealth. When he gets there, he meets a group of AAnn, who are not so certain that they want him there. They give him a guard... ummm... a guide, to show him the amazing sites of this world. An "accident," leaves him without his memory. He is saved by a group of AAnn, who have formed an artist colony on the planet.

Despite the problems that have haunted Flinx throughout the previous books, he no longer knows they exist. This allows us to explore the character in new ways. As he rediscovers himself, we are freed from the burdens of his past as well. I loved watching how he interacted with the AAnn. The AAnn take him in as one of their own. True, they are outcasts from the regular AAnn. If you remember, the AAnn are a reptilian race of aliens, determined to add steadily on to their empire. They have a very strict hierarchy, and, reptile-like, don't care really, one way or the other, who they have to kill, as long as they add to their personal glory. In a way, we get to learn much more about the AAnn, because we get to contrast these much more gentle creatures with what we are familiar. The exact type of AAnn that we are used to seeing is actually one of the main views of the book. Takuuna, the AAnn who is supposed to be Flinx's guide until he reports him for dead actually gets almost equal book time with Flinx, as we watch him use various machinations to rise in the ranks. When he discovers that Flinx is still alive, he realizes everything he has worked for may be lost. Spending time with both types of AAnn contrasts the difference between the groups beautifully, increasing our understanding of the two cultures.

Another suprise is the planet itself. Jast is a very unusual world, populated by some truly fascinating creatures. The most sentient, the Vssey, are quite unusual, like the rest of the planet's fauna they are somewhat fungal. In fact, Flinx observed that they look a bit like a hopping mushroom when they move. There is also the barrunou, who dwelled in the air by day thanks to methane filled sacs on their backs, sleeping in the sunshine, and who, at night, float back down to earth.

Sliding Scales is an enjoyable side trip on Flinx's journey, I enjoyed the well-drawn planet with its unusual people, both native and foreign.

Copyright © 2005 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide