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Famous Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors
Page 1: The List of Famous Authors


Related pages:
Criteria used to determine fame - Lists of the best, favorite, best-selling, etc. SF/F authors and writing
Other SF/F Authors of Various Faiths (more)
Religion References in Science Fiction Database
SF/F Authors Who are Major Characters in Feature Films
Famous Actors Who have Written Science Fiction

This list is an attempt to list the most famous and influential science fiction/fantasy writers. Although this list certainly includes the giants of the field, such as Asimov, Heinlein, Card, and Clarke, it does not necessarily include
all writers of outstanding literary merit. Some of the "famous" science fiction and fantasy writers on this list may be included because they have been particularly prolific or have had significant influence on the field.

Obviously this is a somewhat subjective list, but a large variety of resources have been consulted: awards lists, historical commentaries, university literature course materials, best seller lists, internet portals and other web sites, etc. Most of these references have been summarized on the Famous Science Fiction Authors: Criteria Lists page.

A few people are included on this list because they are very famous and they have written science fiction/fantasy, but they aren't necessarily famous primarily for their SF/F writing. The authors in this category are Carl Sagan, Anne Perry, G. K. Chesterton, Stephen King, George Lucas, Deepak Chopra, Glen A. Larson, J. Michael Straczynski and Andrew Greeley.

The primary criteria for inclusion on this list has been fame and influence, not literary merit. Few people would rank the science fiction novels of Carl Sagan or George Lucas on the same level as those of C. J. Cherryh or Gene Wolfe, but Sagan and Lucas are much more well known to the general public, outside the SF/F audience.

Book titles shown in Typewriter font face are on in the Modern Library Board's "Readers' Survey of the Best 100 Novels of the Century." Books and stories in bold have won Hugo awards. Books and stories in purple have won Nebula awards. World Fantasy Awards are in green. Locus awards are in red. "B-a-M reviews" indicate how many entries there are for this author in the SF/F Book-A-Minute series, as of Nov. 29, 1999.

Authors which have not won Hugo, Nebula or World Fantasy awards are not necessarily less talented or less significant than other authors. Some of these authors pre-date contemporary awards, but are major figures in the development of the field: Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, etc. Some authors may not have won major awards, but are very widely read.

Adams, Douglas
Alexander, Lloyd
Anderson, Poul
Anthony, Piers
Asimov, Isaac
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Blish, James
Bova, Ben
Bradley, Marion Zimmer
Bradbury, Ray
Brin, David
Brooks, Terry
Bujold, Lois McMaster
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
Capek, Karel
Card, Orson Scott
Cherryh, C. J.
Chesterton, G.K.
Chopra, Deepak
Clarke, Arthur C.
Crichton, Michael
Davidson, Avram
Dick, Philip K.
Ellison, Harlan
Farmer, Philip Jose
Foster, Alan Dean
Gibson, William
Greeley, Andrew
Heinlein, Robert A.
Henderson, Zenna
Herbert, Frank
Hickman, Tracy
Hubbard, L. Ron
Jordan, Robert
King, Stephen
L'Engle, Madeleine
Larson, Glen A.
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Leiber, Fritz
Lem, Stanislaw
Lewis, C. S.
Lucas, George
McCaffrey, Anne
Niven, Larry
Orwell, George
Perry, Anne
Pohl, Frederik
Rice, Anne
Robinson, Kim Stanley
Roddenberry, Gene
Sagan, Carl
Shelley, Mary
Silverberg, Robert
Simmons, Dan
Smith, Cordwainer
Stapledon, Olaf
Stephenson, Neal
Straczynski, J. Michael
Sturgeon, Theodore
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Turtledove, Harry
Verne, Jules
Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt
Miller, Jr., Walter M.
Wells, H.G.
Willis, Connie
Wolfe, Gene
Wolverton, Dave
Zelazny, Roger

Name Religious
Affiliation
Representative Works / Notes
Douglas Adams Anglican; Agnostic; Atheist [1 B-a-M review] Hitchhiker's "Trilogy" (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [Ranked 88th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. Hitchhiker's was ranked 10th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 6th at SF Vote]; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless); Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Hitchhiker's Guide was adapted to big-budget movie (2005), and was previously written by Adams for popular radio and TV adaptations.
Lloyd Alexander Christian (denomination unknown) [3 B-a-M reviews]; The Black Cauldron (Newbery Medal Honor; Child's Study Association for America's Children's Books of the Year); Taran Wanderer; (School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year); The High King (Newbery Medal; Child's Study Association for America's Children's Books of the Year; National Book Award Finalist; American Book Award Finalist for Fiction); Westmark (American Book Award); The Kestrel (American Book Award Nominee); The Fortune-tellers (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award); The Wizard in the Tree; August Bondi: Border Hawk (Nat'l Jewish Book Award); plus other awards.
Poul Anderson agnostic The Saturn Game (1982); Hunter's Moon (1979); Goat Song (1973); Operation Luna; Operation Chaos; Fire Time; The Boat of a Million Years; The Day of Their Return; The Devil's Game; The Fleet of Stars; Harvest of Stars; Harvest the Fire; Inconstant Star; A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows; No Truce with Kings; The Queen of Air and Darkness (1972); The Sharing of Flesh (1969); "No Truce with Kings" (1964); "The Longest Voyage" (1961); The Shield of Time; Starfarers; The Stars Are Also Fire; War of the Gods; The Gods Laughed; Anderson was ranked 12th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Piers Anthony Quaker; agnostic [4 B-a-M reviews] Xanth series; Tarot series; A Spell for Chameleon [Ranked 71st in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Macroscope; Omnivore trilogy; Battle Circle trilogy
Isaac Asimov Jewish; Humanist; atheist [4 B-a-M reviews] Asimov is one of history's most prolific authors, and has published in nearly every conceivable field. Foundation series (Hugo, 1966), including Foundation's Edge (1983) [Ranked 75th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. The Foundation Trilogy was ranked 60th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. Foundation was ranked 9th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 2nd by at SF Vote.]; Robots novels (including The Caves of Steel, which was ranked 11th at SF Vote, and I, Robot, ranked 25th); The Stars Like Dust; Nightfall; Asimov: A Memoir; "Gold" (1992); Foundation's Edge (1983); "The Bicentennial Man" (1977); The Gods Themselves (1973) [Ranked 14th at SF Vote. Ranked 33rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; The Mule (1946)
L. Frank Baum Theosophist Influential writer of "Oz" series (children's novels), whose writing has spawned numerous film, TV and stage adaptations, including The Wizard of Oz (1939), one of most popular and widely-seen movies ever made. Oz books Baum wrote are: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; The Marvelous Land of Oz; Ozma of Oz; Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz; The Road to Oz; The Emerald City of Oz; The Patchwork Girl of Oz; Tik-Tok of Oz; The Scarecrow of Oz; Rinkitink in Oz; The Lost Princess of Oz; The Tin Woodman of Oz; The Magic of Oz; Glinda of Oz. Other authors later continued series, eventually leading to the "Famous Forty" books which are considered "canonical." Baum's non-Oz fantasy books include: Dot and Tot of Merryland; American Fairy Tales; The Master Key: An Electric Fairy Tale; The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus; The Magical Monarch of Mo; The Enchanted Island of Yew; Queen Zixi of Ix; John Dough and the Cherub; The Sea Fairies; Sky Island. Other books include: The Maid of Arran (play); The Book of Hamburgs (poultry guide); By the Candelabra's Glare (poetry); Mother Goose in Prose; Father Goose: His Book; The Army Alphabet; The Navy Alphabet; Songs of Father Goose; The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors.
Greg Bear believes in God Moving Mars; Heads; Star Wars: Rogue Planet; Eon; The Forge of God; "Tangents" (1987); "Blood Music" (1984); "Hardfought" (1983); Sideways Award for Dinosaur Summer (1998) [also won 1999 Endeavour Award]; Darwin's Radio [On Publishers Weekly's "Best Books 99" list; nominated for Hugo award.] Has won Campbell 1st and 2nd place awards for: Blood Music; Queen of Angels; Moving Mars; and Slant.
Ben Bova atheist [Beyond Bova's considerable body of writing, he is well known as one of the best, most influential SF editors of the last few decades of the 20th century. He has won 6 Hugo awards in the Professional Editor" category.]; [1 B-a-M review] Return To Mars; Moonwar; Moonrise; Mars; Brothers; Orion Among the Stars. Non-fiction: Immortality; Welcome to Moonbase; Assured Survival
James Blish atheist / Anglican A Case of Conscience (1959. This is one of the main classics in religious sf.); Cities in Flight; The Seedling Stars; large body of Star Trek scripts, novels and stories; "Surface Tension"; "Common Time"; "How Beautiful with Banners"; Earthman Come Home
Marion Zimmer Bradley Episcopalian Mists of Avalon (#15 on Amazon.com's list of the "25 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Century"); Darkover series; The Colors of Space; Tiger Burning Bright; many more books; Founder of her own popular fantasy magazine.
Ray Bradbury raised Baptist; Unitarian Universalist [1 B-a-M review] Martian Chronicles [Ranked 14th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 19th by SF Vote]; Farenheit 451 [Ranked 8th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 15th at SF Vote]; Something Wicked This Way Comes [Ranked 44th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999.]; 1977 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award
David Brin Jewish background Startide Rising (1984) [Also: Locus Award. Ranked 21st by SF Vote]; The Uplift War (1988); Earth; The Postman (1985) [Won 1st place Campbell Award. Made into the 1997 feature film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. Won commendation from the American Library Association.]; Sundiver; The Practice Effect; Heart of the Comet; Earth; Glory Season; Otherness (anthology); "The Crystal Spheres"; Brightness Reef; Infinity's Shore; Transparent Society; Heaven's Reach; Foundation's Triumph; Some of these novels have received Nebula, Hugo, or Locus nominations without winning.
Terry Brooks ? [6 B-a-M reviews]; Shannara series [The Sword of Shannara (1977) was the first work of fiction to appear on the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, remaining there for five months.]; "Magic Kingdom Of Landover" series (including Magic Kingdom For Sale--Sold!); Witches' Brew; A Knight of the Word; Running With the Demon; best-selling novelization of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace; novelization of movie Hook
Lois McMaster Bujold ? [Bujold has won more Best Novel Hugo awards than anybody except Heinlein.] The Vor Game; Barrayar; Mirror Dance; Falling Free; "The Mountains of Mourning"; "Weatherman" (Nebula nominee); Memory (Nebula nominee)
Edgar Rice Burroughs ? Mars Series (A Princess of Mars; The Gods of Mars; etc.); Venus Series; Earth's Core series; Tarzan books
Karel Capek Catholic; Pragmatist Celebrated Czech novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright. Famous for R.U.R., early s.f. story that coined the word "robot."
Orson Scott Card Latter-day Saint [3 B-a-M reviews] Ender Wiggins Series (Ender's Game, 1986 [Ranked 7th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 1st by SF Vote as the best SF novel of all time. Ranked 93rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Ranked 32nd in Amazon.com's "Best Books of the Millennium" poll (covering all types of books, not just SF/F).]; Speaker for the Dead [also Locus award; Ranked 51st in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; 3rd place Campbell Award in 1987], [The Ender series was ranked 2nd in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999.], 1987; Xenocide [Hugo nominee. Received the AML Award for best novel in 1991.]; Children of the Mind; Ender's Shadow [On Publishers Weekly's "Best Books 99" list]); Shadow of the Hegemon; Alvin Maker series (including Seventh Son, 1988 [Ranked 10th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Red Prophet, 1989 [Ranked 97th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Prentice Alvin, 1990; Alvin Journeyman, 1996; Heartfire [The Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (the highest sf/f award in France) chose Heartfire as the "Best Foreign Novel," year 2000: award applied to all five "Tales of Alvin Maker" novels.]); Homecoming series (5 vol.: Memory of Earth; etc.); Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus (runner up, 1996 Sideways Awards; won Israel's Geffen Award); Enchantment; Slow Leak; Lost Boys; The Abyss; Sarah ("Women of the Old Testament" series); Songmaster; Hart's Hope; Saints; Wyrms; Treason; How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (1991); "Eye for Eye" (1988); "Hatrack River" (1987); "Unaccompanied Sonata" (Hugo nominee, 1980); "Mikal's Songbird" (Hugo nominee); Dogwalker; many other works not listed here. Card was ranked 6th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
C. J. Cherryh ? Cyteen (1989) [Ranked 31st in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Downbelow Station (1982); "Cassandra" (1979); Campbell Award 1977; [Chanur's Homecoming was ranked 67th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; Cherryh was ranked 19th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
G.K. Chesterton Catholic [NOTE: Chesterton was not primarily known as a science fiction/fantasy writer, but much of his work is classified as SF/F.] The Man Who Knew Too Much; Manalive; The Oracle of the Dog; How I Found the Superman; The Shop Of Ghosts. Some of his non-fiction works: Heretics; Orthodoxy [In 1999 Orthodoxy was in the Top 10 of the Harper-Collins list of 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.]; What's Wrong With the World; The Everlasting Man; St. Thomas Aquinas; The Catholic Church and Conversion
Deepak Chopra Hindu Chopra is famous as a health/spirituality/wellness guru who promotes Indian/Hindu techniques and philosophies. He has written many books about those subjects. Little known is the fact that he has authored one mainstream fantasy novel, The Return of Merlin (1995), in which Merlin and King Arthur's Camelot suddenly appear in contemporary times.
Arthur C. Clarke atheist, Deist or agnostic [2 B-a-M reviews] 2001: A Space Oddysey (1969 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation); 2010 (1985 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation); Transit of Earth, Fountains of Paradise [Ranked 60th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels], Childhood's End [ranked 12th at SF Vote]; The Fountains of Paradise (1980) ; Rendezvous with Rama (1974) [also Locus award; ranked 4th at SF Vote; Ranked 9th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Campbell Award 1st place]; "The Star" (1956); "A Meeting With Medusa" (1972); [The City and the Stars was ranked 85th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; Runner up in 1998 Sideways Awards for "The Wire Continuum"; "The Nine Billion Names of God"
Michael Crichton believes in God [NOTE: Crichton is such a successful novelist, and has published so successfully in the non-genre press, that he is rarely labeled a "science fiction writer". Yet many of his novels are clearly science fiction, regardless of how they may have been marketed.]; [2 B-a-M reviews]; A Case of Need; Airframe; Congo; Jurassic Park (1994 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation); Disclosure; Eaters of the Dead; Lost World; Sphere; Rising Sun; The Andromeda Strain; The Great Train Robbery
Avram Davidson Orthodox Jew; Tenrikyo [Primarily recognized for short fiction. He was an influential editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction from 1962 to 1965. During his tenure, the magazine received a Hugo Award in 1963] "Or All the Seas With Oysters" (Hugo 1958). "Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper"; "In Brass Valley"; "Pebble in Time" (alternative history about the Latter-day Saints settling in the San Francisco valley instead of Utah). Rogue Dragon (Nebula nominee); Won an Edgar award (for mystery) for "The Affair at Lahore Cantonment". Masters of the Maze; Joyleg; Vergil in Averno; Ursus of Ultima Thule; The Phoenix and the Mirror; The Island Under the Earth; Peregrine: Secundus;"The Boss in the Wall" (1998 Nebula Nominee); "The Necessity of His Condition" (Queen's Award); Clash of Star-Kings (Nebula nominee); The Enquiries of Doctor Eszterhazy (1975); "Naples" (1978) Recipient of the 1975 Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Fantasy Convention. Anderson was ranked 83rd on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Philip K. Dick Episcopalian [1 B-a-M review] The Man in the High Castle (1963); Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (The movie Blade Runner, based on this story, won the 1983 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation); Radio Free Albemuth; The Transmigration of Timothy Archer; The Divine Invasion; VALIS; "Second Variety" (made into movie Screamers); "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale" (made into movie Total Recall); 1967 British SF Award for The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch; Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (Campbell Award 1st place in 1975); and the 1979 British SF Award for A Scanner Darkly (also won Campbell Award 3rd place); [Ubik was ranked 48th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999. Ranked 24th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century]
Harlan Ellison Jewish background; atheist [1 B-a-M review] Deathbird Stories; Strange Wine; Approaching Oblivion; "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" (1966); "City on the Edge of Forever" (Star Trek, 1968. Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation); "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1968); "The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World" (1969); "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans" (1975); "Paladin of the Lost Hour" (1986); "Jeffty Is Five" (1977/1978); "The Deathbird" (1974); "A Boy and His Dog (1969); Angry Candy (1989); Slippage (1997); 1993 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award; [Dangerous Visions was ranked 46th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; Ellison was ranked 9th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Philip Jose Farmer Catholic background; secular humanist Riverworld series; Dayworld; Jesus on Mars; To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1972) [Ranked 53rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; "Riders of the Purple Wage" (1968)
Alan Dean Foster ? [2 B-a-M reviews] Cyber Way; Short story collections: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?, and The Metrognome; Splinter of the Mind's Eye
William Gibson ? Neuromancer (1985) [Ranked 1st in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Ranked 16th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Campbell Award 3rd place]; Count Zero [Ranked 88th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Mona Lisa Overdrive [Ranked 22nd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Burning Chrome; Virtual Light [Ranked 35th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; The Difference Engine [Ranked 48th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Campbell Award 2nd place in 1992]
Andrew Greeley Catholic [NOTE: Greeley's fame is not primarily as a science fiction writer, but as a sociologist, journalist, outspoken parish priest, and writer of non-sf/f.] An Epidemic of Joy; Angel Light; Blackie At The Sea; Happy are the Oppressed; Irish Lace; Irish Gold; Irish Whiskey; Summer at the Lake; White Smoke; Windows: A Prayer Journal; Contract with an Angel; Starbright; A Midwinter's Tale
Robert A. Heinlein raised Baptist; atheist [2 B-a-M reviews] Citizen of the Galaxy; Double Star (1956); Starship Troopers (1960); Stranger in a Strange Land (1962) [Ranked 23rd in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century. Ranked 15th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Ranked 31st in the Amazon.com Millennium Poll.]; The Door Into Summer; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1967) [Ranked 16th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. 3 other works were on this list. Ranked 5th at SF Vote. 3 other works were in the top 25 at SF Vote. Ranked 43rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; The Puppet Masters; Job: A Comedy of Justice (1985)
Zenna Henderson Latter-day Saint; Methodist [Arizona teacher/writer.] Author of dozens of stories (most now found in collections still in print): The Anything Box; Holding Wonder; The People: No Different Flesh; Pilgrimage: The Book of the People. "The People" (a television movie starring William Shatner), was based on her series. Also, Disney's "Escape to Witch Mountain" movies are attributed to Henderson and/or Key. Among her dozens of People stories are "Ad Astra"; "Angels Unawares"; "Ararat"; "Come On, Wagon!"; "Crowning Glory"; "Gilead"; "Jordan"; "Pottage"; and "Captivity" (1959 Hugo Nominee). [Web site]
Frank Herbert Catholic; Zen Buddhism [3 B-a-M reviews] Dune series (including Dune, [The Dune series was ranked 6th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. Dune was ranked 6th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century, and ranked 3rd at SF Vote. Ranked 29th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. Ranked 14th in Amazon.com's Millennium Poll.], 1966)
Tracy Hickman Latter-day Saint [4 B-a-M reviews] Dragonlance series (With Margaret Weis; Over 12 million sold worldwide. Bestsellers on New York Times, Locus, Walden and B. Dalton, Publishers Weekly lists); Requiem of Stars; The Immortals; Deathgate Cycle series (with Margaret Weis); Starcraft no. 3: Speed of Darkness; The Bronze Canticles; Darksword series (New York Times Best Seller)
L. Ron Hubbard founder of Scientology [Created the Writers of the Future Contest. Had over 100 million books in print when he died. Official website: http://www.lronhubbard.org] Battlefield Earth (1982 Golden Scroll Award); Mission Earth series; Fear; Typewriter in the Sky; The End Is Not Yet; The Kingslayer; Return to Tomorrow; Ole Doc Methuselah (1992 Golden Scroll Award)
Robert Jordan ? [Real name: James Oliver Rigney, Jr.]; [4 B-a-M reviews]; Historical novels (under name Reagan O'Neal): The Fallon Blood, the Fallon Pride, the Fallon Legacy. Sequels to Robert Howard's Conan the Barbarian series. Wheels of Time fantasy series (Eye of the World; The Great Hunt; The Dragon Reborn; The Shadow Rising; The Fires of Heaven; Lord of Chaos; A Crown of Swords; etc.)
Stephen King Methodist NOTE: King is normally classified a horror writer, although much of his work could certainly be classified as science fiction/fantasy. He is said to have created his own genre. Major books include: It [Ranked 73rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; The Stand [Ranked 6th in Amazon.com's Millennium Poll]; Bag of Bones. Danse Macabre (Hugo for non-fiction, 1982); "The Man in the Black Suit" (1995); King was ranked 15th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Glen A. Larson Latter-day Saint [NOTE: Larson is famous primarily as the creator of the movie and TV series "Battlestar Galactica", and other shows such as "Knight Rider", "Automan", "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century", "Manimal", "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "Night Man". He produced many non-SF shows, including "Magnum P.I.", One West Waikiki", "The Fall Guy", "B.J. and the Bear", "The Hardy Boys Mysteries", "Quincy, M.E.", and "The Virginian" (later named "The Men from Shiloh"). Larson's work as a SF/F novelist is less well-known.] Books: Battlestar Galactica series (including the New York Times-best selling novelization of the pilot/movie, as well as: Apollo's War; The Cylon Death Machine; Experiment in Terra; The Living Legend, etc.); Knight Rider series (including Knight Rider; Hearts of Stone; Trust Doesn't Rust); The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (Made into a film in 1977.)
Madeleine L'Engle Anglican A Wrinkle in Time (winner of the Newbery Award); A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet (other books in same universe: The O'Keefe Family Series; The Austin Family Series and more); Ilsa; The Journey with Jonah; The Sphinx at Dawn; 1997 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award
Ursula K. Le Guin Taoist; Feminist [1 B-a-M review] The Left Hand of Darkness (1970) [Ranked 13th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 25th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Earthsea Trilogy (A Wizard of Earthsea was ranked 84th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999.)); Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, 1990 [Ranked 86th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; World Fantasy Award]; Three Hainish Novels; "Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight" (1988; also World Fantasy Award); The Dispossessed (1975) [also Locus award], [Ranked 94th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999. Ranked 6th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; 1975 Campbell Award 2nd place]; "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (1974); "The Word for World Is Forest" (1973); "The Day Before the Revolution" (1974); "Solitude" (1995); "Foregiveness Day" (1995 Sturgeon Award); The Lathe of Heaven (1972) [Ranked 64th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Le Guin was ranked 2nd on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Stanislaw Lem Catholic; atheist Acclaimed Polish author, many of whose novels and stories have been adapted to film, including Solaris; One Human Minute; "Victim of the Brain"; "Hospital of the Transfiguration". Other books include: Eden; The Astronauts; The Chain of Chance; The Cyberiad; Fiasco; The Futurological Congress; Golem XIV; Eyewitness Account; The Investigation; The Magellan Nebula; Peace on Earth; Mortal Engines; The Star Diaries; Tales of Pirx the Pilot; etc.
Fritz Leiber Jewish; Freya's Folk (Neo-Pagan) World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award; Hugo/Nebula winners: The Big Time; The Wanderer; Gonna Roll the Bones; Ill Met in Lankhmar; Catch That Zeppelin!; Ship of Shadows; Our Lady of Darkness; Hugo/Nebula/World Fantasy nominees: Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-Tah-Tee; A Deskful of Girls; Scylla's Daughter; The Unholy Grail; Stardock; The Good New Days; Four Ghosts in Hamlet; Cyclops; Answering Service; Midnight by the Morphy Watch; Belsen Express; Dark Wings; A Rite of Spring; The Button Molder; Horrible Imaginings; Heroes and Horrors; The Leiber Chronicles: Fifty Years of Fritz Leiber. Numerous other stories, novels, collections.
C. S. Lewis Anglican [7 B-a-M review] Space Trilogy; The Narnia Chronicles [The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was ranked 71st in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; The Screwtape Letters; The Great Divorce; The Dark Tower and Other Stories. [In 1999 Mere Christianity and the Chronicles of Narnia were both in the Harper-Collins list of 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.]
George Lucas Buddhist Methodist Lucas is certainly not famous as an author, but as a moviemaker and story-teller. He is included on this list as the originator of the stories and screenplays behind the Star Wars films, although he was not the actual author of the novelizations. Star Wars won the 1987 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. The Empire Strikes Back won in 1981 and The Return of the Jedi won in 1984. Lucas has also written Shadow Moon and Shadow Star, with Chris Claremont. Regardless of how he is judged as an author, Lucas's tremendous impact on film, science fiction, and pop culture is undeniable.
Anne McCaffrey lapsed Catholic [1 B-a-M review] Pern series (including The White Dragon, 1973 [Ranked 17th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; "Weyr Search", 1968; Dragonrider, 1968; Dragondrums won the Balrog award in 1980. All the Weyrs of Pern was ranked 13th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. The Dolphins of Pern was ranked 68th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels; Dragonsdawn, Campbell Award 3rd place in 1989); Crystal Singer novels
Walter M. Miller, Jr. Catholic A Canticle for Leibowitz (Hugo Award, 1961) [Ranked 2nd in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 22nd by SF Vote. Link: an academic study guide to Canticle, from Washington State University.]; "The Darfsteller" (1955)
Larry Niven agnostic [2 B-a-M reviews] Known Space Series (Ringworld Books, including Ringworld [also Locus award; Ranked 17th at SF Vote; Ranked 3rd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels], 1970/1971; Gil Hamilton Books; World of Ptavvs; Neutron Star; All the Myriad Ways; The Integral Trees (1985); The Smoke Ring); Limits; The Magic May Return; More Magic; "The Borderland of Sol" (1976); "The Hole Man" (1975); "Inconstant Moon" (1972); "Neutron Star" (1967); [Neutron Star, a compilation of stories, was ranked 64th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; The Mote in God's Eye [Ranked 13th at SF Vote]
George Orwell ? [1 B-a-M review] 1984 [Ranked 1st in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century; Ranked 10th at SF Vote. Ranked 10th in Amazon.com's Millennium Poll]; Animal Farm (1946)
Anne Perry Latter-day Saint [NOTE: Perry is not famous as a science fiction/fantasy writer, but as one of the world's best-selling mystery writers. Her most famous characters are Thomas Pitt, William Monk and the Crimean nurse Hester Latterley. She is also famous for her involvement in one of New Zealand's most famous real life murder cases, which was made into director Peter Jackson's 1995 film Heavenly Creatures, starring Titanic star Kate Winslet as a young Perry.] The Cater Street Hangman (based on her novel) was nominated in the "Best Television Feature/Mini-Series" category of the Edgars. The Sins of the Wolf received the AML Award for best novel in 1994. So far, Perry's only published SF/F is the fantasy epic Tathea (winner of the 1999 AML best novel award). website
Frederik Pohl Unitarian; secular humanist [Through the 1960's Pohl became the best editor in SF. Editor of both Galaxy and If.] Heechee series; "Fermi and Frost" (1986); Gateway (1977/1978. Also Campbell Award 1st place) ; [Also Locus award. Ranked 14th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; "The Meeting" (1973); Man Plus (1976. Also won Campbell Award 2nd place); The Coming of the Quantum Cats; Outnumbering the Dead; Search the Sky; Wolfbane; "Quaker Cannon"; Years of the City (Campbell Award 1st place 1985). Pohl was ranked 17th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.; Made a grand master of SF by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1992.
Anne Rice Catholic Best known for her gothic vampire novels, particularly those featuring the vampire named Lestat; e.g. Interview with a Vampire; non-sf works include Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
Kim Stanley Robinson Buddhist [self-described Buddhist] Red Mars; Green Mars; Blue Mars; The Wild Shore; The Gold Coast; Pacific Edge; Forty Signs of Rain; Fifty Degrees Below; Icehenge; The Memory of Whiteness; A Short, Sharp Shock; Antarctica; The Years of Rice and Salt. 24 Hugo/Nebula nominations, incl. 5 wins
Gene Roddenberry Baptist; Humanist Author or co-author of novels Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); Great Birds of the Galaxy (1992); Star Trek: The God-Thing (1995); The Star Trek Readers I thru IV (w/ James Blish); The Star Trek Scriptbooks: The Q Chronicles. Editor of anthology Best of Star Trek (1992). Best known not for prose fiction, but as writer/creator/producer of the immensely popular and influential "Star Trek" TV series and movie franchise, as well as the spin-off series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Subsequent series based on his characters and fictional future universe include "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Enterprise." Other series he wrote or produced for include: Andromeda; Alias Smith and Jones; The Lieutenant; G.E. True; Target: The Corruptors; Dr. Kildare; The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor; The DuPont Show with June Allyson; Bat Masterson; Naked City; Alcoa Theatre; Have Gun - Will Travel; Boots and Saddles; West Point; The Kaiser Aluminum Hour; Dr. Christian; Highway Patrol; Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre; Mr. District Attorney; Gruen Guild Playhouse.
Carl Sagan agnostic [1 B-a-M review] NOTE: Sagan is not primarily famous as a science fiction writer, but as an astronomer. His best known science fiction novel is Contact (1985), which was made into the movie that won the 1998 Hugo award for best dramatic presentation. Also wrote Cosmos (Hugo for non-fiction, 1981)
Mary Shelley ? Frankenstein, considered the first science fiction novel. Also: Last Man
Robert Silverberg Jewish "Born With the Dead" (1974); "Nightwings" (1969); "Enter a Soldier. Later: Enter Another" (1990); "Gilgamesh in the Outback" (1987); "Passengers" (1969); A Time of Changes (1971); "Good News from the Vatican" (1971); "Sailing to Byzantium" (1985); Lord Valentine's Castle (1981); [Dying Inside was ranked 50th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999. Ranked 66th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Runner up in 1998 Sideways Awards for "Waiting for the End"; The Stochastic Man (Campbell Award 2nd place in 1976). Silverberg was ranked 1st on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Dan Simmons agnostic? Hyperion (1990); The Rise of Endymion (1998); Fires of Eden (1995); Children of the Night (1993); Summer of the Night (1992); The Fall of Hyperion (1991); "This Year's Class Picture" (1993 Sturgeon Award); Simmons was ranked 20th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Cordwainer Smith
a.k.a. Paul M. A. Linebarger
Anglican Norstrilia [Ranked 17th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century]; He mostly wrote interconnected short stories, which are available in together in various volumes. "No, No, Not Rogov!"; "Scanners Live In Vain"; The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith; Space Lords; The Instrumentality of Mankind; "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard"; Planet Buyer; The Underpeople. [Website]
Olaf Stapledon Unitarian / Quaker / agnostic [Stapledon is called the heir to H.G. Wells, and was of immeasurable importance in the early days of science fiction.] Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future; Odd John; Star Maker; Sirius; Last Men in London. Non-fiction: A Modern Theory of Ethics; Beyond the 'Isms
Neal Stephenson ? The Diamond Age (1995; also Locus Award; Nebula nominee) [#61 on Amazon.com's 1996 bestsellers' list; #8 best-selling SF/F book at Amazon.com in 1999]; Snow Crash [Ranked #22 in the Amazon.com Millennium Poll; #66 on Amazon.com's 1996 bestsellers' list; 4th best-selling SF/F book at Amazon.com in 1999]; Cryptonomicon [Hugo nominee; British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee; 2nd best-selling SF/F book at Amazon.com in 1999; was 1 of just 8 SF/F books on Publishers Weekly "Best Books 99" list]; Also: "Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, The System of the World); The Big U; Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller; Interface; The Cobweb; In the Beginning...Was the Command Line; Interface. One of the only authors ever to write fiction for Time magazine.
J. Michael Straczynski atheist [Straczynski is known primarily as the creator of the TV series "Babylon 5". This series has won the Hugo award for Dramatic Presentation in 1997 for the episode "Severed Dreams" and 1996 for "The Coming of Shadows".] Demon Night; Othersyde; Tales from the New Twilight Zone; Babylon 5 novels (Point of No Return; A Call to Arms; The Price of Peace); comic book author of his own series "Rising Stars" and Marvel's "Spider-Man"
Theodore Sturgeon Christian (denomination unknown) Bianca's Hands; More Than Human; "Slow Sculpture" (1970/1971); Godbody; 1985 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award; "Microcosmic God"; E Pluribus Unicorn
J.R.R. Tolkien Catholic [4 B-a-M reviews] The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings [The Lord of the Rings ranked 1st in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. Ranked 96th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. Ranked 1st in the Amazon.com Millennium Poll. The Hobbit was ranked 25th. The Hobbit was ranked 11th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century. Ranked 12th in the Amazon.com Millennium Poll. In 1999 The Lord of the Rings was in the Harper-Collins list of 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Century.]; Silmarillion (1978) [Ranked 42nd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Tolkien has 98 Yahoo links - more than any other author; Tolkien was ranked 1st, as the favorite author of the millennium, in the Amazon.com customer-based Millennium Poll.
Harry Turtledove Jewish The Great War: Walk in Hell; How Few Remain (Sideways Award 1997); WorldWar series (1996 Sideways Honorable Mention); The Two Georges (1995 Sideways Honorable Mention; co-written w/ Richard Dreyfuss); "Must and Shall (1996 Hugo nominee; 1995 Sideways Honorable Mention; 1996 Nebula nominee); Agent of Byzantium series
Jules Verne Catholic 2000 Leagues Under the Sea; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Around the World in Eighty Days; From the Earth to the Moon
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Humanist [2 B-a-M reviews] Cat's Cradle (1972) [Ranked 97th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, as of Oct. 1999.]; Mother Night (1972); Palm Sunday (1984); God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1974); Slaughterhouse-Five (1991) (The movie version of Slaughterhouse-Five won the 1973 Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation.); Hocus Pocus (1990); Timequake (1997); Galapagos (Campbell Award 2nd place in 1986)
H.G. Wells atheist [4 B-a-M reviews] [Wells is often called the "Father" of science fiction.] Men Like Gods; The Time Machine; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Invisible Man; The War of the Worlds; The First Men in the Moon; The Food of the Gods; In the Days of the Comet
Connie Willis Lutheran; Congregationalist Doomsday Book (1992; also Locus Award 1993) [Ranked 12th on the ISFDB Top 100 Novels list.]; To Say Nothing of the Do (1999); "The Soul Selects Her Own Society ..." (1997); "Death on the Nile" (1994); "Fire Watch" (1982 / 1983); "A Letter From the Clearys" (1982); "The Last of the Winnebagos" (1988 Nebula / 1989 Hugo); "At the Rialto" (1989); "Even the Queen" (1992 Nebula / 1993 Hugo); "Newsletter" (1997); "Jack" (1991 Nebula Nominee); "Bellwether" (1997 Nebula Nominee); Lincoln's Dreams (Campbell Award 1st place, 1988). Willis was ranked 3rd on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Gene Wolfe Catholic Book of the New Sun Tetralogy [Ranked 87th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999.]; The Urth of the New Sun; The Castle of the Otter; Soldier of the Mist (1987); Sword of the Lictor (1983) [Ranked 2nd in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; Soldier of Arte; Operation Ares; The Fifth Head of Cerberus; Peace; The Devil in a Forest; "The Death of Doctor Island" (1973); The Claw of the Conciliator (1981) [also Locus award. Ranked 20th in Amazon.com's Best SF/F Books of the Century. Ranked 11th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels]; The Shadow of the Torturer [Ranked 8th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. Won Campbell Award 3rd place in 1981]; Stories From the Old Hotel (1989); 1996 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award; The Citadel of the Autarch [Ranked 74th in ISFDB Top 100 Novels. Won Campbell Award 1st place in 1984.]; Calde of the Long Sun (1995 Nebula Nominee); Wolfe was ranked 5th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.
Dave Wolverton Latter-day Saint [Director of the Writers of the Future Contest. Wolverton holds the world record for the largest single author book signing, in the Guinness Book of Records. The record book signing took place late 1999 with his signing of 1,845 copies of the New York Times best-selling novel, A Very Strange Trip.] Courtship of Princess Leia (New York Times Best Seller); Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice: The Rising Force; The Golden Queen; A Very Strange Trip; Lords of the Seventh Swarm; Beyond the Gate; On My Way to Paradise (won a Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award as one of the best SF novels of 1989); Path of the Hero; Serpent Catch; The Mummy Chronicles; "After a Lean Winter" (1996 Nebula nominee for best novelette); L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest Grand Prize; Runelords series (written as "Dave Farland": The Runelords, The Brotherhood of the Wolf)
Roger Zelazny ? Chronicles of Amber (including Trumps of Doom, 1986 [The First Chronicles of Amber were ranked 20th in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999. 4 other works were also on this list.]); "He Who Shapes" (1965); "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" (1965); "Home is the Hangman (1965); "Permafrost" (1987); "Twenty-four Views of Mount Fuji, by Hokusai" (1986); "Unicorn Variation" (1982); Lord of Light (1968) [Ranked 21st in the Internet Top 100 Survey, Cooke, Oct. 1999.]; And Call Me Conrad (1966); A Night in the Lonesome October (1994 Nebula Nominee); This Immortal; Zelazny was ranked 13th on the ISFDB Top 100 Authors list.

Additional information about the religious affiliation of these famous sf/f authors:

If known, the religious affiliation of the author is mentioned in the table above. But for these authors, a single word such as "Catholic" or "agnostic" is certainly no indicator of what their work is like. In science fiction and fantasy, a writer's worldview invariably affects their writing, but not necessarily in ways which alienate or are offensive to readers with different beliefs. Books by some of the most solidly agnostic or atheist writers on this list deal extensively with religious issues and frequently feature well-rounded, intelligent, likeable characters who are actively religious, such as the Muslim linguist in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land; Palmer Joss, the Protestant preacher in Sagan's Contact; or John Mendoza, the Latter-day Saint U.S. senator in Bear's Moving Mars. On the other hand, in books by authors who are religious, the heroes are not necessarily religious. The most famous character created by the actively religious Orson Scott Card is a well-known agnostic: Ender Wiggins. Isaac Asimov, an atheist, wrote in essays that he never used his writing for any kind of proselytizing of his theological views. Indeed, Christians and other religionists who have read Asimov have frequently said they've found nothing offensive to their faith.

The worldviews of SF/F writers are a combination of traditionally recognized philosophies, such as Catholicism, atheism, rationalism, etc., as well as the science fiction and fantasy genre itself. From a sociological perspective, the community of science fiction/fantasy authors and avid readers can be categorized as a discrete belief and social community, a functional "tribe" or religion. Various markers of a religious community, such as generally-recognized practices, beliefs, taboos, sources of authority, shared history, rituals, etc. can all be identified within this tradition as much as within classically-recognized religions such as Islam or Buddhism.

If science fiction may be said to have a creed, Ben Bova may have expressed it most simply: "...the principles of science fiction [are] based on the fundamental principles of science: that the universe is understandable, and human reason can fathom the most intricate mysteries of existence, given time. Science fiction is a fundamentally optimistic literature. We tend to see the human race not as failed angels, but as evolving apes, struggling toward godhood." [Source: Ben Bova. "Introduction: The Art of Plain Speech" in Twice Seven. New York: Avon Books (1998), pg. 5.]

The "religious affiliations" provided in the table above are based on information from a variety of print and online sources, especially biographies, interviews and official web sites authorized or created by the authors. Nearly all of the affiliations provided are based on a clear statement of religious self-identification by the author. This information is never based on the content of an author's fictional writing. Some (but not all) of the source material and some additional notes pertaining to the religious affiliations of these authors can be found in the pages linked to the religious affiliation column in the table above.

Continue to Famous Science Fiction Authors Page 2: Criteria for Fame.

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Web page created 28 October 1999. Last modified 9 January 2006.