Total Nerd The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors  

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The best female sci-fi authors are the women who, despite the odds, found success in the science fiction writing genre. Typically a male-dominated field, as evidenced by the many male names on lists of the greatest science fiction authors, these ladies not just became best-selling authors with their science fiction books but also influenced the genre with their works. Which of these female sci-fi writers is the best? Vote for your favorites, add those not listed or re-rank this all below!

The history of women among the top science fiction authors is a spotted one. Initially, women in scifi writing was quite common with Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, a pioneer in the field, writing what has been called the first science fiction novel ever. After her, however, the industry was very much taken over by men, at least until the 1960s when women reemerged as fierce competition for the guys.

Fast forward to the present and there are numerous female science fiction authors, many of whom are household names. Ursula K. Le Guin, Octavia E. Butler, Lois McMaster Bujold and Kelly Link are just a few on this list who have won Nebula Awards for their achievements in the science fiction genre. J.K. Rowling made a fortune and became the author of the best-selling book series in history with her “Harry Potter” franchise.

But perhaps overlooked in their numerous literary awards, movie deals and authorship of some of the best science fiction novels of all time is the inspiration these talented female science fiction authors have given to young writers around the globe. That accomplishment cannot be measured but that doesn’t stop us from ranking the best female sci-fi authors right here.
list ordered by

1
+ - 49 17
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, The Last Man, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour

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2
+ - 48 23
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Casual Vacancy

3
+ - 53 27
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Ursula K. Le Guin The Left Hand of Darkness, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Dispossessed

4
+ - 44 20
Madeleine L'Engle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

5
+ - 30 10
Andre Norton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Andre Norton The Stars Are Ours!, Sea Siege, Star Man's Son

6
+ - 32 12
Marion Zimmer Bradley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon, Darkover series, Avalon series

7
+ - 26 13
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, MaddAddam

8
+ - 18 6
Leigh Brackett is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Leigh Brackett Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep

9
+ - 21 10
Thea von Harbou is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Thea von Harbou Metropolis, M, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

10
+ - 23 14
C. J. Cherryh is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
C. J. Cherryh Cyteen, Downbelow Station, The Pride of Chanur

11
+ - 23 15
Lois McMaster Bujold is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Lois McMaster Bujold Barrayar, The Warrior’s Apprentice, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance

12
+ - 27 22
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Prince Lestat

13
+ - 21 16
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own

14
+ - 15 11
Jane C. Loudon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Jane C. Loudon The Mummy!, Gardening for Ladies, Stories of a Bride

15
+ - 11 7
Mercedes Lackey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Mercedes Lackey This Rough Magic, Sword and Sorceress III, Sword and Sorceress V

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16
+ - 18 16
Connie Willis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Connie Willis Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear, To Say Nothing of the Dog

17
+ - 7 5
Diana Wynne Jones is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Diana Wynne Jones Howl's Moving Castle, Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant

18
+ - 19 18
Octavia E. Butler is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Octavia E. Butler Kindred, Parable of the Sower, Xenogenesis

19
+ - 15 14
Suzanne Collins is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, The Hunger Games

20
+ - 13 13
James Tiptree, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
James Tiptree, Jr. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, Brightness Falls From the Air, Ten Thousand Light-Years From Home

21
+ - 10 10
Elizabeth Moon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Elizabeth Moon Winning Colors, Sporting Chance, Hunting Party

22
+ - 6 6
Patricia Wrede is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Patricia Wrede Sorcery and Cecelia, Talking to Dragons, Calling on Dragons

23
+ - 13 14
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass is Singing, The Fifth Child

24
+ - 10 11
Veronica Roth is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Veronica Roth Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

25
+ - 8 10
Susanna Clarke is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Mr Simonelli

26
+ - 8 11
Janet Morris is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Janet Morris The Sacred Band, Tempus With His Right Side Companion Niko, Beyond Wizardwall

27
+ - 6 9
Jacqueline Carey is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Jacqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Banewreaker, Godslayer

28
+ - 6 10
Karen Traviss is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Karen Traviss HALO: The Thursday War, HALO: Mortal Dictata, Star Wars Republic Commando: Hard Contact

29
+ - 5 9
C. L. Moore is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
C. L. Moore The Last Mimzy, Shambleau and Others, The Twonky

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30
+ - 5 11
Jeanette Winterson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Jeanette Winterson Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Written on the Body

31
+ - 8 15
Angela Carter is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus, The Magic Toyshop

32
+ - 5 12
Catherine Asaro is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Catherine Asaro Primary Inversion, The Quantum Rose, The Radiant Seas

33
+ - 5 12
Charlotte Perkins Gilman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper, Herland, Women and Economics

34
+ - 2 9
Mary Doria Russell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Mary Doria Russell The Sparrow, Children of God, A thread of grace

35
+ - 6 14
Judith Merril is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Judith Merril Shadow on the Hearth, Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, Gunner Cade

36
+ - 6 14
Catherynne M. Valente is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Catherynne M. Valente Fairyland, Deathless, Palimpsest

37
+ - 6 14
Kelly Link is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Kelly Link Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters

38
+ - 5 13
Johanna Sinisalo is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Johanna Sinisalo Troll: A Love Story, Not Before Sundown, The Blood of Angels

39
+ - 4 12
Kaja Foglio is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Kaja Foglio Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank, Girl Genius

40
+ - 3 11
Elizabeth Hand is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Elizabeth Hand Generation Loss, Waking the Moon, Mortal Love: A Novel

41
+ - 3 11
Gwyneth Jones is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Gwyneth Jones Bold as Love, White Queen, North Wind

42
+ - 3 11
Karen Joy Fowler is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Karen Joy Fowler We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, The Jane Austen Book Club, Sarah Canary

43
+ - 3 11
Pat Cadigan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Pat Cadigan Synners, Mindplayers, Tea from an Empty Cup

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44
+ - 6 15
Joanna Russ is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Joanna Russ The Female Man, How to Suppress Women's Writing, We Who Are About To…

45
+ - 4 13
Margaret Cavendish is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Margaret Cavendish The Blazing World, Sociable Letters, The Convent of Pleasure and Other Plays

46
+ - 2 10
Greer Gilman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Greer Gilman Moonwise, Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter's Tales, A Crowd of Bone

47
+ - 2 11
Carol Emshwiller is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Carol Emshwiller The Mount, Carmen Dog, I Live With You

48
+ - 2 12
Suzy McKee Charnas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Suzy McKee Charnas The Vampire Tapestry, Motherlines, The Bronze King

49
+ - 2 12
Aliette de Bodard is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Aliette de Bodard Immersion, The Jaguar House, Shipbirth

50
+ - 1 9
Nicola Griffith is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Nicola Griffith Hild, Ammonite, Slow River