13.9k voters

The Best Science-Fiction Authors

Updated September 17, 2020 125.3k votes 13.9k voters 367.4k views208 items

List RulesAuthor 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.
  • 1

    Isaac Asimov

    I, Robot

    BirthplacePetrovichi, Russia

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Isaac Asimov (; c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science....  more
  • 2

    Ray Bradbury

    Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451

    BirthplaceWaukegan, Illinois, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Ray Douglas Bradbury (; August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter. He worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery...  more
  • 3

    Arthur C. Clarke

    2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010

    BirthplaceMinehead, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,Sri Lanka

    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He co-wrote...  more
  • 4

    Jules Verne

    Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth

    BirthplaceNantes, France


    Jules Gabriel Verne (; French: [ʒyl vɛʁn]; 8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. Verne's collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the...  more
  • 5

    Robert A. Heinlein

    Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers

    BirthplaceButler, Missouri

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Anson Heinlein (; July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer. Sometimes called the "dean of science fiction writers",...  more
  • 6

    H. G. Wells

    The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man

    BirthplaceBromley, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, history,...  more
  • 7

    Philip K. Dick

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Man in the High Castle

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories...  more
  • 8

    Frank Herbert

    Dune, Dune Messiah

    BirthplaceTacoma, Washington

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Franklin Patrick Herbert Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction author best known for the 1965 novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for his...  more
  • 9

    Douglas Adams

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    BirthplaceCambridge, United Kingdom


    Hitchhikers "trilogy", Dirk Gently
    Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, screenwriter, essayist, humorist, satirist and dramatist. Adams was author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which...  more
  • 10

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed

    BirthplaceBerkeley, California

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (; October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) was an American author. She is best known for her works of speculative fiction, including science fiction works set in her Hainish...  more
  • 11

    George Orwell

    Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm

    BirthplaceMotihari, India


    Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is characterised by lucid...  more
  • 12

    Larry Niven

    Ringworld, Lucifer's Hammer

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Laurence van Cott Niven (; born April 30, 1938) is an American science fiction writer. His best-known works are Ringworld (1970), which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, Nebula awards, and The Mote in...  more
  • 13

    Frederik Pohl

    The Space Merchants, Man Plus

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Frederik George Pohl Jr. (; November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science-fiction writer, editor, and fan, with a career spanning more than 75 years—from his first published work,...  more
  • 14

    William Gibson

    Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic

    BirthplaceConway, South Carolina, USA

    NationalityCanada, United States of America

    William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian speculative fiction writer and essayist widely credited with pioneering the science fiction subgenre known as cyberpunk. Beginning...  more
  • 15

    Anne McCaffrey

    Dragonflight, Dragonsong

    BirthplaceCambridge, Massachusetts

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland, United States of America

    Anne Inez McCaffrey (1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011) was an American-born writer who emigrated to Ireland and was best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. Early in McCaffrey's...  more
  • 16

    Poul Anderson

    The Broken Sword, Conflict

    BirthplaceBristol, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Poul William Anderson (November 25, 1926 – July 31, 2001) was an American science fiction author who began his career in the 1940s and continued to write into the 21st century. Anderson authored...  more
  • 17

    Philip José Farmer

    Dayworld, Gods of Riverworld

    BirthplaceTerre Haute, Indiana

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories....  more
  • 18

    Joe Haldeman

    The Forever War, Robot Jox

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Joe William Haldeman (born June 9, 1943) is an American science fiction author. He is best known for his novel The Forever War (1974). That novel, and other of his works, including The Hemingway...  more
  • 19

    Terry Pratchett

    Good Omens, Small Gods

    BirthplaceBeaconsfield, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sir Terence David John Pratchett (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of 41...  more
  • 20

    Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein

    BirthplaceSomers Town, London, London, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (UK: , US: ; née Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also...  more
  • 21

    Roger Zelazny

    The Chronicles of Amber, Lord of Light

    BirthplaceEuclid, Ohio, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Roger Joseph Zelazny (May 13, 1937 – June 14, 1995) was an American poet and writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for The Chronicles of Amber. He won the Nebula...  more
  • 22

    Kurt Vonnegut

    Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (; November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays, and...  more
  • 23

    Andre Norton

    The Stars Are Ours!, Sea Siege

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Andre Alice Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, who also wrote works of historical fiction and contemporary...  more
  • 24

    Alan Dean Foster

    Krull, The Mocking Program

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Alan Dean Foster (born November 18, 1946) is an American writer of fantasy and science fiction, who has written several book series, more than 20 standalone novels and many faithful novelizations of...  more
  • 25

    Iain Banks

    The Wasp Factory, The Player of Games

    BirthplaceDunfermline, United Kingdom

    NationalityScotland, United Kingdom

    Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013) 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...  more