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
65 23
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

2
70 32
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
69 32
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
57 24
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
40 12
Andre Norton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
mysmith50 added Andre Norton The Stars Are Ours!, Sea Siege, Star Man's Son

6
43 16
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
24 8
Leigh Brackett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Leo Doroschenko added Leigh Brackett Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep

8
35 19
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, MaddAddam

9
26 12
Thea von Harbou is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Mollevangsvagen added Thea von Harbou Metropolis, M, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

10
31 17
Lois McMaster Bujold is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Lois McMaster Bujold Barrayar, The Warrior’s Apprentice, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance

11
19 9
Mercedes Lackey is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
MarylyleMcCue added Mercedes Lackey This Rough Magic, Sword and Sorceress III, Sword and Sorceress V

12
26 17
C. J. Cherryh is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
C. J. Cherryh Cyteen, Downbelow Station, The Pride of Chanur

13
32 27
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, Prince Lestat

14
24 20
Octavia E. Butler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Octavia E. Butler Kindred, Parable of the Sower, Xenogenesis

Famous Schizophrenics

15
7 2
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Andrew Miller0 added Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight, Dragonsong, Sassinak

16
22 19
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own

17
5 1
C.S. Friedman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Howard Heim added C.S. Friedman Black sun series, Magister trilogy

18
16 13
Jane C. Loudon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Jane C. Loudon The Mummy!, Gardening for Ladies, Stories of a Bride

19
11 8
Diana Wynne Jones is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
MarylyleMcCue added Diana Wynne Jones Howl's Moving Castle, Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant

20
14 12
Elizabeth Moon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Anna Åhlin added Elizabeth Moon Winning Colors, Sporting Chance, Hunting Party

21
19 18
Connie Willis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Connie Willis Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear, To Say Nothing of the Dog

The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

22
15 15
James Tiptree, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
2 1
Kathy Tyers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Marci Haigh added Kathy Tyers Tales from Jabba's Palace, Tales from the Empire, Balance Point

24
2 1
Tanya Huff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Howard Heim added Tanya Huff Blood Price, Scholar of Decay, Wizard of the Grove

25
8 8
Patricia Wrede is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
MarylyleMcCue added Patricia Wrede Sorcery and Cecelia, Talking to Dragons, Calling on Dragons

26
16 18
Suzanne Collins is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
mysmith50 added Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, The Hunger Games

27
1 1
Barbara Hambly is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Howard Heim added Barbara Hambly Ghost-Walker, Tales from Jabba's Palace, Magic time

28
1 1
c. s. Friedman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Howard Heim added c. s. Friedman Black sun series, Magister trilogy

The Best '70s Sci-Fi Movies

29
0 0
Sheri S. Tepper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Teresa Singleton added Sheri S. Tepper The Gate to Women's Country, A Plague of Angels, Six Moon Dance

30
10 12
Susanna Clarke is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
13 17
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass is Singing, The Fifth Child

32
12 16
Veronica Roth is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
mysmith50 added Veronica Roth Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

33
9 13
Janet Morris is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
christopher-crosby-morris added Janet Morris The Sacred Band, Tempus With His Right Side Companion Niko, Beyond Wizardwall

34
7 12
Karen Traviss is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
6 11
Jacqueline Carey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
jess-hart added Jacqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Banewreaker, Godslayer

The Best Biographical Novels Ever Written

36
6 11
C. L. Moore is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Leo Doroschenko added C. L. Moore The Last Mimzy, Shambleau and Others, The Twonky

37
6 11
Mary Doria Russell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
jess-hart added Mary Doria Russell The Sparrow, Children of God, A thread of grace

38
5 12
Jeanette Winterson is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
7 15
Catherynne M. Valente is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Catherynne M. Valente Fairyland, Deathless, Palimpsest

40
7 15
Kelly Link is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Kelly Link Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters

41
6 14
Catherine Asaro is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Catherine Asaro Primary Inversion, The Quantum Rose, The Radiant Seas

42
5 13
Charlotte Perkins Gilman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper, Herland, Women and Economics

If You've Read More Than Four Of These Books Or Series, You're A Real Fantasy Nerd

43
8 17
Angela Carter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Angela Carter The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus, The Magic Toyshop

44
4 12
Elizabeth Hand is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Elizabeth Hand Generation Loss, Waking the Moon, Mortal Love: A Novel

45
4 12
Pat Cadigan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Pat Cadigan Synners, Mindplayers, Tea from an Empty Cup

46
6 15
Judith Merril is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
8 18
Joanna Russ is listed (or ranked) 47 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…

48
5 14
Johanna Sinisalo is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Johanna Sinisalo Troll: A Love Story, Not Before Sundown, The Blood of Angels

49
4 13
Kaja Foglio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors
Kaja Foglio Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank, Girl Genius

50
3 12
Karen Joy Fowler is listed (or ranked) 50 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