Total Nerd The Best Science-Fiction Authors  

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92.8k votes 9.4k voters 264.6k views 242 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.
list ordered by

1
2,751 693
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
I, Robot, Foundation Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was prolific and ...more

2
1,909 689
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Man in the High Castle, Ubik Philip Kindred Dick was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher whose published works mainly belong to the genre of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, ...more

3
1,636 468
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come Herbert George Wells — known as H. G. Wells — was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. ...more

4
1,952 473
Arthur C. Clarke is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, 2001: A Space Odyssey Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He is perhaps most famous for ...more

5
1,797 452
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings Ray Douglas Bradbury was an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction and horror stories ...more

6
1,511 601
Frank Herbert is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dune, Dune Messiah, The Lazarus Effect Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper ...more

7
1,949 441
Robert A. Heinlein is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was an influential and controversial author of the genre in his ...more

8
1,444 473
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Down and Out in Paris and London Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 21 January 1950), better known by his psuedonymGeorge Orwell, was an English author. His work is marked by a profound conscientiousness of social injustice, an ...more

9
1,564 354
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction. Verne was born to ...more

10
1,216 443
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, A Wizard of Earthsea Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author of novels, children's books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays. First ...more

11
1,046 508
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was an American writer. His works, such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions, blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen, he ...more

12
801 405
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer, philosopher and a prominent member of the Huxley family. He was best known for his novels including Brave New World, set in a dystopian London, and ...more

13
926 343
Larry Niven is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Ringworld, Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye Laurence van Cott Niven is an American science fiction writer. His best-known work is Ringworld, which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science ...more

14
956 523
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 14 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. Virtually unknown and only published in ...more

15
1,022 235
Douglas Adams is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Roger Glover added The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, So Long Hitchhikers "trilogy", Dirk Gently Douglas Noel Adams was an English writer, humorist, and dramatist. Adams is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy ...more

16
780 324
Roger Zelazny is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Chronicles of Amber, Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for his The Chronicles of Amber series. He won the Nebula award three times and ...more

17
886 340
Terry Pratchett is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
beernbugs added Good Omens, Small Gods, The Colour of Magic Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, Kt, OBE was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for his Discworld series of about 40 volumes. ...more

18
740 313
William Gibson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic, Mona Lisa Overdrive William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian speculative fiction novelist and essayist who has been called the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre. Gibson coined the term ...more

19
608 309
Harlan Ellison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dreams with Sharp Teeth, The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, The Glass Teat Harlan Jay Ellison is an American writer. His principal genre is speculative fiction. His published works include over 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, comic book scripts, teleplays, ...more

20
558 231
Frederik Pohl is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
MatthewDuncan added The Space Merchants, Man Plus, Gateway Frederik George Pohl, Jr. was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem "Elegy to ...more

21
552 235
Poul Anderson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Countermoon added The Broken Sword, Conflict, Conan the Rebel Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during the Golden Age of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson ...more

22
772 346
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
PauldeBakker added Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and ...more

23
541 288
David Brin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
randomjane added Startide Rising, The Transparent Society, The Uplift War Glen David Brin is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has received the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards. His Campbell Award winning novel The Postman ...more

24
1,012 536
Orson Scott Card is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Ender's Shadow Orson Scott Card is an American novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist and columnist. He writes in several genres but is known best for science fiction. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel ...more

25
538 236
Robert Silverberg is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Shadrach in the Furnace, Nightfall, Roma Eterna Robert Silverberg is a prolific American author and editor, best known for writing science fiction. He is a multiple winner of both Hugo and Nebula Awards, a member of the Science Fiction and ...more

26
704 293
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
714 290
Stanisław Lem is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
606 288
Neal Stephenson is listed (or ranked) 28 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

29
643 256
Iain Banks is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
723 389
Michael Crichton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Jurassic Park, Twister, Westworld John Michael Crichton, MD was an American best-selling author, physician, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller ...more

31
659 270
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
515 259
Dan Simmons is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
434 271
Kim Stanley Robinson is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
467 211
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
434 164
Andre Norton is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
379 163
Theodore Sturgeon is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
458 226
Philip José Farmer is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
316 233
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
781 549
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which ...more

40
413 172
Clifford D. Simak is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
462 224
Piers Anthony is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
383 193
Michael Moorcock is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
364 180
Jack Vance is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
355 154
Alfred Bester is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
401 183
C. J. Cherryh is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
296 187
John Wyndham is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
308 209
Richard Matheson is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
297 164
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
337 168
Lois McMaster Bujold is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
BeccaMcMaster added The Spirit Ring, Barrayar, Falling Free Lois McMaster Bujold is an American speculative fiction writer. She is one of the most acclaimed writers in her field, having won the Hugo Award for best novel four times, matching Robert A. ...more

50
311 202
Samuel R. Delany is listed (or ranked) 50 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