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The Best Science-Fiction Authors 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated October 13, 2018 130.3k votes 12.7k voters 340.8k views 218 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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list ordered by
1
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
I, Robot, Foundation

Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia

Nationality: United 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
Arthur C. Clarke is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Birthplace: Minehead, United Kingdom

Nationality: Sri Lanka, United Kingdom

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 ...more
3
Robert A. Heinlein is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

Birthplace: Butler, Missouri

Nationality: United 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 ...more
4
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

Birthplace: Bromley, United Kingdom

Nationality: United 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
5
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island

Birthplace: Nantes, France

Nationality: 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
6
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States of America

Nationality: United 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
7
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, The Man in the High Castle, Ubik

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

Nationality: United 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 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dune, Dune Messiah, The Lazarus Effect

Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington

Nationality: United 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
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, A Wizard of Earthsea

Birthplace: Berkeley, California

Nationality: United 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
10
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Down and Out in Paris and London

Birthplace: Motihari, India

Nationality: England

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
11
Douglas Adams is listed (or ranked) 11 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

Birthplace: East of England, Eurasia, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, Cambridge, + more

Nationality: England

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
12
Larry Niven is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Ringworld, Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

Nationality: United 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 ...more
13
Terry Pratchett is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
beernbugs added Good Omens, Small Gods, The Colour of Magic

Birthplace: Beaconsfield, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

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 novels. ...more
14
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions

Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America

Nationality: United 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 ...more
15
Roger Zelazny is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
The Chronicles of Amber, Lord of Light, Isle of the Dead

Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States of America

Nationality: United 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 ...more
16
William Gibson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic, Mona Lisa Overdrive

Birthplace: Conway, South Carolina, United States of America

Nationality: Canada, 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. ...more
17
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
PauldeBakker added Beowulf, Marvel 1602, American Gods

Birthplace: Portchester, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (born November 10, 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the ...more
18
Frederik Pohl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
MatthewDuncan added The Space Merchants, Man Plus, Gateway

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United 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 ...more
19
Iain Banks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
averagej123 added The Wasp Factory, The Player of Games, Consider Phlebas

Birthplace: Dunfermline, United Kingdom

Nationality: 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 ...more
20
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice

Birthplace: Godalming, United Kingdom

Nationality: United Kingdom, England

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He authored nearly fifty books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, ...more
21
Poul Anderson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Countermoon added The Broken Sword, Conflict, Conan the Rebel

Birthplace: Bristol, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Nationality: United 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
22
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Dragonflight, Dragonsong, Sassinak

Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Nationality: Republic 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 ...more
23
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

Birthplace: Somers Town, London, London, United Kingdom

Nationality: United 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). ...more
24
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
starwarssuperfan added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa

Nationality: United Kingdom

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and academic, who is best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The ...more
25
Andre Norton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Science-Fiction Authors
JoanneM.McGinniss added The Stars Are Ours!, Sea Siege, Star Man's Son

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America

Nationality: United 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