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SF/F Actor Authors
This page lists famous actors who have written (or co-written) science fiction or fantasy.
Early in the process of generating our list of the most famous science fiction and fantasy authors we realized that many individuals have only tangentially been science fiction/fantasy writers, yet are very famous for their accomplishments in other fields. The "Famous List" is intended to be a list of famous and influential writers who have written science fiction and fantasy, so even though some of the authors on the list are not primarily considered sf/f authors (Stephen King, Anne Perry, Carl Sagan, etc.), we nevertheless listed them. These and other individuals may not be in the core of the sf/f writing community, but they've certainly written their own books, in addition to being well known.
If our criteria were purely twofold: 1) the person has written science fiction or fantasy; and 2) the person is famous, we would have to admit that there are many individuals left off this list. These are actors who have become famous through television and film work, and then, because of their fame, been awarded contracts to write fiction. In most cases, these actors have co-authored the resulting novels. Readers have no way of knowing exactly how much of the writing was actually done by the actor, and how much was done by the collaborator. In most cases, the actors have worked with a professional writer to generate story ideas, and the bulk of the writing was actually done by the writer.
If one measures "fame" in terms of raw number of people who are familiar with an "celebrity", then the fame of TV and film actors nearly always trumps literary fame. Even a mediocre actor on a poorly rated sitcom is likely to be more "famous" than all but a tiny handful of science fiction and fantasy writers. As painful as the observation may be, more people in the world are familiar with Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") than with Anne McCaffrey (Dragonriders, etc.)
Lately, one of the major sources of actor-authors has been the Star Trek casts. Along with many science fiction fans, we have enjoyed the TV and film work of many of these actors, and we wish them well in their writing projects. But we do not wish to change the overall dynamic of the "famous sf/f authors" list by including every Star Trek author who happens to have co-written a novel, even if LeVar Burton ("Geordi" on Star Trek: The Next Generation) is better known by the general population than Philip K. Dick.
William Shatner has a large number of science fiction novels to his name, including "Star Trek" novels as well as other series. Had he actually written all of these himself, we would include him as one of the most famous science fiction writers. But apparently Shatner's novels are ghostwritten.
Another actor who is different from others in this list is film star Richard Dreyfuss. He co-write the very literary alternative history The Two Georges with Harry Turtledove. The original story idea, and much of the writing, was Dreyfuss's. Also, he isn't famous as an actor in the science fiction genre. Although his fame as an actor may have given him access to author Turtledove, he really came to this project as a fan of literature and an original storyteller.
Note: This is a list of people who have written (or co-written) fiction, but who are not primarily known as authors. This list does not include authors who are best known for their writing, and who happen to have made guest appearances on TV shows on in movies, or who have hosted a TV series (e.g. Arthur C. Clarke).
Also, this list does not include authors who have been portrayed in film. That is a separate list: SF/F Authors Who are Major Characters in Feature Films.
If you are a fan of "real" science fiction, are shocked that this page (about actors who have written "science fiction") exists, and wonder why I would have compiled this data... Let me just say that I'm a sociologist, not a literary critic. Hence, I think that people like Jack Weyland, Tim F. LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, J. K. Rowling, Poppy Z. Brite, and Starhawk are important writers. We don't expect that every reader will be interested in every one of these books, but many people could enjoy many of them, especially people who fans of the associated actor-author, television show or movie. And, there are some real literary gems among these works. For example, Richard Dreyfuss's The Two Georges was nominated for a Sidwise award and is a fine book, regardless of who wrote it. I've heard wonderful things about Andrew J. Robinson's novel about his character "Garak." Some people may have hated Walter Koenig's Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot, but it received some critical acclaim.
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