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The Best Science-Fiction Authors  

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Originally by Ranker Community
111.8k votes 11.3k voters 315.9k views 236 items

List Rules Author of science fiction or any sub-genre

The best science-fiction writers are among some of the most creative writers ever. Instead of only making up a story, they make up entire universes, time dimensions, alien technologies - it's really incredible. Truth be told, some are more successful than others - it is really easy to write bad scifi. But those who can actually pull the genre off are right here on this list of the top science-fiction authors. These are the best science-fiction authors of all time, ranked by readers and fans.

This list include some highly recognizable and classic names, like Isaac Asimov and George Orwell, along with some contemporary science-fiction writers who are just beginning to make their mark on the genre. This list of the best sci-fi authors includes some of the best horror writers and the best fantasy authors, but since the genres elements all go together nicely, it's to be expected. Fans of science-fiction know that there is always some overlap. All of the famous sci fi authors on this list have one thing in common: they've written fantastic, horrifying, mystical works of science-fiction for fans to enjoy for years to come. Vote for your favorite sci-fi authors here and add your own personal faves if you don't see them listed!

Listed among the best science-fiction authors are some of the most well-known, popular sci-di authors ever, including a few that may not always show up on a 'best of' list. Disagree with a choice? Vote it down. The aforementioned (brilliant) writers are responsible for some of the best science-fiction novels and series of all time - but other sci-fi writers like Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) are excellent sci-fi writers as well. All of these authors, in my opinion, deserve a place of honor on this list.

Hopefully, this list will grow and become totally comprehensive. Readers who are new to sci-fi can use it as a great guide to find new science fiction authors and books.
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26
Theodore Sturgeon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
rlpoin added Killdozer!, Venus Plus X, Isaac Asimov Presents
Theodore Sturgeon was an American science fiction and horror writer and critic. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database credits him with about 400 reviews and more than 200 stories. Sturgeon's ...more
27
Iain Banks is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
averagej123 added The Wasp Factory, The Player of Games, Consider Phlebas
Iain Banks was a Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. Following ...more
28
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror and Others
Howard Phillips Lovecraft —known as H. P. Lovecraft—was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. He is now regarded as one of the most ...more
29
Andre Norton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
JoanneM.McGinniss added The Stars Are Ours!, Sea Siege, Star Man's Son
Andre Alice Norton was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy with some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She wrote primarily under the pen name Andre Norton, but ...more
30
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern ...more
31
Stanisław Lem is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Solaris, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, Fiasco
Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 45 million copies. From the 1950s to 2000s he ...more
32
Michael Moorcock is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Land That Time Forgot, Elric at the End of Time, Elric of Melniboné
Michael John Moorcock is an English writer, primarily of science fiction and fantasy, who has also published literary novels. He is best known for his novels about the character Elric of ...more
33
Piers Anthony is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
mammut added A Spell for Chameleon, Air Apparent, Golem in the Gears
Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob is an English American author in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony. He is most famous for his long-running novel ...more
34
Greg Bear is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
tottman added Eon, The Mongoliad, The Forge of God
Gregory Dale "Greg" Bear is an American science fiction and mainstream author. His work has covered themes of galactic conflict, artificial universes, consciousness and cultural ...more
35
Philip José Farmer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
bojanthebest added Dayworld, Gods of Riverworld, To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Philip José Farmer was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Farmer is best known for his sequences of novels, ...more
36
Clifford D. Simak is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
borr added Ring Around the Sun, Isaac Asimov Presents, Galaxy Magazine
Clifford Donald Simak was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo Awards and by colleagues with one Nebula Award. The Science Fiction Writers of America made ...more
37
Kim Stanley Robinson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Red Mars, The Years of Rice and Salt, Sixty Days and Counting
Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer, best known for his Mars trilogy. Robinson's work has been labeled by reviewers as "the gold-standard of realistic, and highly ...more
38
J. G. Ballard is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Empire of the Sun, Crash, The Unlimited Dream Company
James Graham "J. G." Ballard was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with ...more
39
C. J. Cherryh is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
freelancerrh added Legions of Hell, Kings in Hell, Sword and Sorceress II
Carolyn Janice Cherry, better known by the pen name C. J. Cherryh, is an American writer of speculative fiction. She has written more than 60 books since the mid-1970s, including the Hugo Award ...more
40
Alfred Bester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
tottman added The Stars My Destination, The Demolished Man, Psychoshop
Alfred Bester was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books. Though successful in all these fields, he is best ...more
41
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dragonflight, Dragonsong, Sassinak
Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-born Irish writer, best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. Early in McCaffrey's 46-year career as a writer, she became the first woman ...more
42
Jack Vance is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Countermoon added The Dying Earth, Star King, Bad Ronald
John Holbrook "Jack" Vance was an American mystery, fantasy, and science fiction writer. Though most of his work has been published under the name Jack Vance, he also wrote 11 mystery ...more
43
Dan Simmons is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Carrion Comfort, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion
Dan Simmons is an American science fiction and horror writer and author of the Hugo Award-winning science fiction series, the Hyperion Cantos, and the Locus-winning Ilium/Olympos cycle. His work ...more
44
John Wyndham is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos, Chocky
John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was an English science fiction writer who usually used the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John ...more
45
Richard Matheson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Omega Man, Duel, The Last Man on Earth
Richard Burton Matheson was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He may be known best as the author of I Am Legend, a 1954 horror ...more
46
A. E. van Vogt is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
eyeball2002308 added Ghor, Kin-Slayer, Masters of Time
Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded as one of the most popular, influential and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the ...more
47
George R. R. Martin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
scififan added A Game of Thrones, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons
George Raymond Richard Martin, often referred to as GRRM, is an American novelist and short story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, a screenwriter, and television ...more
48
Brian Aldiss is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Life in the West, Brothers of the Head, Trillion Year Spree
Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE is an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for science fiction novels and short stories. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss, ...more
49
Samuel R. Delany is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dhalgren, The Fall of the Towers, Silent Interviews
Samuel Ray Delany, Jr., Chip Delany to his friends, is an American author, professor and literary critic. His work includes fiction, memoir, criticism, and essays on sexuality and society. His ...more
50
Neal Stephenson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age
Neal Town Stephenson is an award-winning American writer and game designer known for his works of speculative fiction. His novels have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical ...more