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Famous Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors
Criteria Lists
Lists of Awards, Best-Sellers, Historically Influential SF, etc.


Skip down to lists of links to related resources

This page presents much of the supporting material used to choose the authors included in the "Famous SF/F Authors" list. Links and brief explanatory notes are provided, as well as full or partial lists.

The sources listed below provided supporting material, but were not the only factors. Selection of the most famous sf/f authors was not done by a formula or some sort of point total. Historically important authors such as Shelley, Wells, Verne, Borroughs, etc. are certainly included, even though they do not appear on many of these more modern lists.

Over half of the authors listed in the "Famous" list were determined before referring to any of the materials below, based on our own experience and knowledge of the field. Many authors were added as it became evident that, although we were less familiar with them, they had been influential or popular. Some of the authors we originally listed were removed.

Some of the resources listed below refer to literature in general, and not specifically to sf/f. Authors such as Bradbury and Vonnegut who are well-known outside of genre literature are often even more famous than those who have been successful primarily within the sf/f genres.

Lists on this page:

Authors whose names are in bold are those listed in the "Famous SF/F Authors" list.

SF/F Novels Among the 100 Greatest Novels (Reader's Choice poll)

Many of famous science fiction and fantasy authors have works which were voted among the 100 greatest novels of the century in the reader's choice survey conducted by the Modern Library Board (The complete list is available online from Random House). The readers' poll for the best novels published in the English language since 1900 opened on July 20, 1998 and closed on October 20, 1998, with 217,520 votes cast. Authors with works in this Top 100 list are underlined in the "Famous SF/F Authors" list above.

  • Robert Heinlein: Citizen of the Galaxy; Double Star; Starship Troopers; Stranger in a Strange Land; The Door Into Summer; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; The Puppet Masters
  • L. Ron Hubbard: Battlefield Earth; Fear; Mission Earth
  • George Orwell: 1984; Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451; Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Stephen King: It; The Stand
  • Frank Herbert: Dune
  • Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game
  • Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse-Five
  • Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings

SF/F Authors Who are Major Characters in Feature Films

Movies are such a popular form of popular media that they are often a major contributor to the fame of authors on whose work they are based. An even greater indicator of fame, and sometimes a cause of fame, is when movies are actually about an author. We've moved information about this subject to its own page: SF/F Authors Who are Major Characters in Feature Films.

Internet Top 100 SF/F Survey (Cooke)

As of Nov. 1, 1999, the Internet Top 100 survey had compiled the votes of 2,510 people. Readers were asked to submit names of SF/F books, along with a rating between 1 to 10. The webmaster for this site is T. Cooke, of Adelaide, Australia. The top 10 highest-ranked books or series are shown below.

RankBook/SeriesAuthorVotesScore
1Lord of the RingsJ.R.R. Tolkien10518.88
2The Ender SagaOrson Scott Card 8608.6
3The Lions of Al-RassanGuy G. Kay728.54
4The Vorkosigan SeriesLois M. Bujold1038.47
5TiganaGuy G. Kay2108.4
6DuneFrank Herbert9008.4
7The Annals of the Black Company Glen Cook898.35
8Flowers for AlgernonDaniel Keyes1608.34
9The Discworld SeriesTerry Pratchett1248.31
10A Clockwork OrangeAnthony Burgess888.3


Some of the other authors in the Top 100 as of October 1999 include: Roger Zelazny (20, 21, 32, 33, 96); Robert A. Heinlein (16, 31, 75, 83); George Orwell (34); Ray Bradbury (44); Harlan Ellison (46); Philip K. Dick (48); Robert Silverberg (50); Cordwainer Smith (58, 72); Isaac Asimov (60); Larry Niven (64); Walter M. Miller (66); C. J. Cherryh (67); Theodore Sturgeon (68); C.S. Lewis (71); Ursula K. Le Guin (84, 94); Arthur C. Clarke (85); Gene Wolfe (87); Douglas Adams (88); Timothy Zahn (91); Kurt Vonnegut (97).

Hugo Awards for Best Novel

TitleAuthorYear
The Mule
(printed in Foundation and Empire)
Isaac Asimov1946
The Demolished ManAlfred Bester1953
They'd Rather Be Right
(retitled The Forever Machine)
Mark Clifton and Frank Riley 1955
Double StarRobert A. Heinlein1956
The Big TimeFritz Leiber1958
A Case of ConscienceJames Blish1959
Starship TroopersRobert A. Heinlein1960
A Canticle for LeibowitzWalter M. Miller, Jr. 1961
Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein1962
The Man in the High CastlePhilip K. Dick1963
Way StationClifford D. Simak1964
The WandererFritz Leiber1965
...And Call Me Conrad
(re-issued as This Immortal)
Roger Zelazny1966
DuneFrank Herbert1966
The Moon Is a Harsh MistressRobert A. Heinlein1967
Lord of LightRoger Zelazny1968
Stand on ZanzibarJohn Brunner1969
The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. Le Guin1970
RingworldLarry Niven1971
To Your Scattered Bodies GoPhilip Jose Farmer1972
The Gods ThemselvesIsaac Asimov1973
Rendezvous with RamaArthur C. Clarke1974
The DispossessedUrsula K. Le Guin1975
The Forever WarJoe Haldeman1976
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm1977
GatewayFrederik Pohl1978
DreamsnakeVonda McIntyre1979
The Fountains of ParadiseArthur C. Clarke1980
The Snow QueenJoan D. Vinge1981
Downbelow StationC. J. Cherryh1982
Foundation's EdgeIsaac Asimov1983
Startide RisingDavid Brin1984
NeuromancerWilliam Gibson1985
Ender's GameOrson Scott Card1986
Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott Card1987
The Uplift WarDavid Brin1988
CyteenC. J. Cherryh1989
HyperionDan Simmons1990
The Vor GameLois McMaster Bujold1991
BarrayarLois McMaster Bujold1992
A Fire Upon the DeepVernor Vinge1993
Doomsday BookConnie Willis1993
Green MarsKim Stanley Robinson1994
Mirror DanceLois McMaster Bujold1995
The Diamond AgeNeal Stephenson1996
Blue MarsKim Stanley Robinson1997
Forever PeaceJoe Haldeman1998
To Say Nothing of the DogConnie Willis1999
A Deepness in the SkyVernor Vinge2000
Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ.K. Rowling2001

All Winners of Multiple Hugo Awards in Novel Category

Note that many of these have won Hugos in other categories. The novel category, however, is the most predictive in determining fame.
AuthorNumber
of Hugo
Awards for
Best Novel
Robert A. Heinlein 4
Lois McMaster Bujold 3
Isaac Asimov 3
David Brin 2
Orson Scott Card 2
C. J. Cherryh 2
Arthur C. Clarke 2
Joe Haldeman 2
Ursula K. Le Guin 2
Kim Stanley Robinson 2
Connie Willis 2
Roger Zelazny 2
Vernor Vinge 2

Nebula Awards for Best Novel

Presented by the Science Fiction Writers Association.
TitleAuthorYear
DuneFrank Herbert1965
Babel-17Samuel R. Delany1966
Flowers For AlgernonDaniel Keyes1966
The Einstein IntersectionSamuel R. Delany1967
Rite of PassageAlexei Panshin1968
The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. Le Guin1969
RingworldLarry Niven1970
A Time of ChangesRobert Silverberg1971
The Gods ThemselvesIsaac Asimov1972
Rendezvous With RamaArthur C. Clarke1973
The DispossessedUrsula K. Le Guin1974
The Forever WarJoe Haldeman1975
Man PlusFrederik Pohl1976
GatewayFrederik Pohl1977
DreamsnakeVonda McIntyre1978
The Fountains of ParadiseArthur C. Clarke1979
TimescapeGregory Benford1980
The Claw of the ConciliatorGene Wolfe1981
No Enemy But TimeMichael Bishop1982
Startide RisingDavid Brin1983
NeuromancerWilliam Gibson1984
Ender's GameOrson Scott Card1985
Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott Card1986
The Falling WomanPat Murphy1987
Falling FreeLois McMaster Bujold1988
The Healer's WarElizabeth Ann Scarborough1989
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea Ursula K. Le Guin1990
Stations of the TideMichael Swanwick1991
Doomsday BookConnie Willis1992
Red MarsKim Stanley Robinson1993
Moving MarsGreg Bear1994
The Terminal ExperimentRobert J. Sawyer1995
Slow RiverNicola Griffith1996
The Moon and the SunVonda McIntyre1997
Forever PeaceJoe Haldeman1998
Parable of the TalentsOctavia Butler1999
Darwin's RadioGreg Bear2000
The Quantum RoseCatherine Asaro2001

All Winners of Multiple Nebula Awards in Novel Category

AuthorNumber
of Nebula
Awards for
Best Novel
Ursula K. Le Guin 3
Orson Scott Card 2
Arthur C. Clarke 2
Samuel R. Delany 2
Joe Haldeman 2
Vonda McIntyre 2
Frederik Pohl 2

Locus Award for Science Fiction Novels

TitleAuthorYear
RingworldLarry Niven1971
The Lathe of HeavenUrsula K. Le Guin1972
The Gods ThemselvesIsaac Asimov1973
Rendezvous with RamaArthur C. Clarke1974
The DispossessedUrsula K. Le Guin1975
The Forever WarJoe Haldeman1976
Where Late the Sweet Birds SangKate Wilhelm1977
GatewayFrederik Pohl1978
DreamsnakeVonda N. McIntyre1979
TitanJohn Varley1980
The Snow QueenJoan D. Vinge1981
The Many-Colored LandJulian May1982
Foundation's EdgeIsaac Asimov1983
Startide RisingDavid Brin1984
The Integral TreesLarry Niven1985
The PostmanDavid Brin1986
Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott Card1987
The Uplift WarDavid Brin1988
CyteenC. J. Cherryh1989
HyperionDan Simmons1990
The Fall of HyperionDan Simmons1991
BarrayarLois McMaster Bujold1992
Doomsday BookConnie Willis1993
Green MarsKim Stanley Robinson1994
Mirror DanceLois McMaster Bujold1995
The Diamond AgeNeal Stephenson1996
The Rise of EndymionDan Simmons1998

Locus Award for Fantasy Novels

TitleAuthorYear
SilmarillionJ.R.R. Tolkien1978
Harpist in the WindPatricia McKillip1980
Lord Valentine's CastleRobert Silverberg1981
Claw of the ConciliatorGene Wolfe1982
Sword of the Lictor Gene Wolfe1983
Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley1984
Job: A Comedy of Justice Robert A. Heinlein1985
Trumps of Doom Roger Zelazny1986
Soldier of the Mist Gene Wolfe1987
Seventh SonOrson Scott Card1988
Red Prophet Orson Scott Card1989
Prentice Alvin Orson Scott Card1990
TehanuUrsula K. Le Guin1991
Beauty Sheri S. Tepper1992
Last CallTim Powers1993
The Innkeeper's Song Peter S. Beagle1994
Brittle Innings Michael Bishop1995
Alvin Journeyman Orson Scott Card1996
Earthquake WeatherTim Powers1998

There are also Locus-award winning Horror/Dark Fantasy novels.

All Winners of Multiple Locus Awards

AuthorNumber
of Locus
Awards
Dan Simmons 6
Orson Scott Card 5
David Brin 3
Ursula K. Le Guin 3
Tim Powers 3
Gene Wolfe 3
Isaac Asimov 2
Lois McMaster Bujold 2
Larry Niven 2

Combined Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards for Best Novel

AuthorNumber of
Best Novels
Orson Scott Card 9
Ursula K. Le Guin 8
Dan Simmons 7
David Brin 6
Isaac Asimov 6
Lois McMaster Bujold 6
Arthur C. Clarke 5
Joe Haldeman 5
Robert A. Heinlein 5
Connie Willis 4
Frederik Pohl 4
Gene Wolfe 4
Kim Stanley Robinson 4
Larry Niven 4
Vonda McIntyre 4
C. J. Cherryh 3
Roger Zelazny 3
Tim Powers 3
Frank Herbert 2
Joan D. Vinge 2
Vernor Vinge 2
Kate Wilhelm 2
Michael Bishop 2
Neal Stephenson 2
Robert Silverberg 2
Fritz Leiber 2
William Gibson 2
Samuel R. Delany 2

Campbell Awards 1st Place Novels

The Campbell Award committee chooses a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place novel each year. In recent years the award has been presented at the University of Kansas. Below are all of the 1st place winners.

TitleAuthorYear
Beyond ApolloBarry N. Malzberg1973
Rendezvous with RamaArthur C. Clarke1974
MalevilRobert Merle1974
Flow My Tears, The Policeman SaidPhilip K. Dick1975
The Year of the Quiet SunWilson Tucker1976
The AlterationKingsley Amis1977
GatewayFrederik Pohl1978
GlorianaMichael Moorcock1979
On Wings of SongThomas M. Disch1980
TimescapeGregory Benford1981
Riddley WalkerRussell Hoban1982
Helliconia SpringBrian W. Aldiss1983
The Citadel of the AutarchGene Wolfe1984
The Years of the CityFrederik Pohl1985
The PostmanDavid Brin1986
A Door into OceanJoan Slonczewski1987
Lincoln's DreamsConnie Willis1988
Islands in the NetBruce Sterling1989
The Child GardenGeoff Ryman1990
Pacific EdgeKim Stanley Robinson1991
Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede Bradley Denton1992
Brother to DragonsCharles Sheffield1993
Permutation CityGreg Egan1995
The Time ShipsStephen Baxter1996
FairylandPaul McAuley1997
Forever PeaceJoe Haldeman1998
Brute OrbitsGeorge Zebrowski1999
A Deepness in the SkyVernor Vinge2000
GenesisPoul Anderson2001

Authors from this "Famous List" who have won 2nd or 3rd place Campbell Awards, but never 1st place: Robert Silverberg, Carl Sagan, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut, Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey, Poul Anderson.

Winners of Multiple Campbell Awards

These are all the winners of multiple Campbell awards, through 1999 (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards are all considered in this list).

AuthorNumber of
Campbell
Awards
Greg Bear 5
Frederik Pohl 3
Kim Stanley Robinson 3
Michael Bishop 2
Philip K. Dick 2
William Gibson 2
James Morrow 2
Geoff Ryman 2
Robert Silverberg 2
Bruce Sterling 2
Gene Wolfe 2
Vernor Vinge 2

Triple Crown

Only 3 novels have won science fiction's "triple crown": the Hugo award, the Nebula award, and a 1st place Campbell award. In addition, one (Neoromancer) has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick award.

Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke 1974
GatewayFrederik Pohl1978
Forever PeaceJoe Haldeman1998
NeuromancerWilliam Gibson1984


Triple-Sweep Stories

The following stories have won a Nebula, Hugo and Sturgeon award:

  • "Bears Discover Fire," by Terry Bisson
  • "Schrodinger's Kitten,"by George Alec Effinger


For "Double Crown" information, see Joint winners of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, which has a complete list of the considerably large number of novels and stories which have won both a Hugo and a Nebula award.


Sidewise Awards for Best Alternate History Novel

Alternate history is a sub-niche of speculative fiction. The Sidewise Awards honor the year's most outstanding alternate history novel and story.

YearAuthorTitle
1995Paul J. McAuleyPasquale's Angel
1996Stephen BaxterVoyage
1997Harry TurtledoveHow Few Remain
1998Stephen FryMaking History
1999Brendan DuBoisResurrection Day
2000 Mary Gentle Ash: A Secret History
(Published in U.S. as:
A Secret History
Carthage Ascendant
The Wild Machines
Lost Burgundy
)
2001J.N. StroyarThe Children's War

Most famous s.f. authors who have also been nominated for the Sidewise Award for best novel: Greg Bear (Dinosaur Summer); Orson Scott Card (Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus); Harry Turtledove (Worldwar series).


World Almanac Notable Writers of the Past

The venerable World Alamac and Book of Facts has a list of "Notable Writers of the Past." In the 1998 edition (K-III Communications; Robert Famighetti, senior editor; pages 350-353) there are about 350 writers on this list, including the following who have written science fiction and/or fantasy:
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Anthony Burgess (noted for writing The Clockwork Orange)
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Karel Capek (invented the word "robot")
  • Lewis Carroll (if one counts Through the Looking Glass (Alice in Winderland) as fantasy)
  • G.K. Chesterton
  • Aldous Huxley (A Brave New World)
  • C.S. Lewis
  • George Orwell
  • Mary Shelley
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Jules Verne
  • H.G. Wells

World Almanac Notable Writers of the Present

The 1998 version of the World Almanac (see above) also includes a list of "Notable Writers of the Present" (page 349). 156 different authors are in this list, including the following who have written scence fiction and/or fantasy:
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Michael Crichton
  • William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
  • Stephen King
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Madeleine L'Engle
  • Anne Rice
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

ISFDB Top Authors

The Internet Speculative Fiction Database has an extensive database of authors, books, stories, anthologies, awards, etc. Based on this data, the site presents algorithmically-derived lists of the top SF/F authors. Rankings are based on scores assigned to various. There are three lists: Balanced (the most objective), Critical (emphasizes awards given by a jury and "literate SF"), and Popular (emphasizes awards determined by votes).

The top 20 Authors from the ISFDB Balanced list are below (as of 10 November 1999). It is worth noting that we found this list after compiling this page's list of "Most Famous" SF/F authors, and that only 12 of the top 20 authors from this list were among the 50+ authors we had picked as "most famous." (In the total Top 100 ISFDB list, 23 authors were among the "Most Famous" list.) One major reason for this is that many of the "Top 100 Authors" (such as Mike Resnick) are on the list primarily for awards received for short stories, whereas the "famous authors" on our list were more likely to be novelists.

Also, the ISFDB list is based only on SF/F awards, and does not include extremely well-known authors such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, etc. Nor does the ISFDB list include the many famous people who have written SF/F but are not primarily SF/F writers and have not won awards, such as William Shatner, Carl Sagan, etc. Interestingly enough, even the popular and best-selling Michael Crichton has not won SF/F awards and is not included on "Top Author" lists which are based on awards.

RankScoreAuthor
13739Robert Silverberg
23431Ursula K. Le Guin
33151Connie Willis
42574Kim Stanley Robinson
52573Gene Wolfe
62511Orson Scott Card
72420Mike Resnick
82387Lucius Shepard
92355Harlan Ellison
102355George R. R. Martin
112284Michael Bishop
122004Poul Anderson
131925Roger Zelazny
141901Nancy Kress
151898Stephen King
161879John Varley
171858Frederik Pohl
181704Michael Swanwick
191655C. J. Cherryh
201615Dan Simmons

The other authors from the "Most Famous List" who were among the ISFDB Top 100 Authors (Balanced) list were: Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Greg Bear, Larry Niven, Robert A. Heinlein, William Gibson, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Timothy Zahn, Harry Turtledove, Avram Davidson and Piers Anthony

ISFDB Top Novels

The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (described above) presents three lists of Top 100 SF/F Novels, using algorithmically-derived rankings, with the same divisions as for authors: Balanced, Critical, and Popular. The rankings mentioned in the "Most Famous Authors" list on this page are based on the "Top 100 Novels (Popular)" list, which gives more weight to awards based on votes. The top 15 novels from this list (as of 10 November 1999) are listed below:
RankScoreNovelAuthor
11246NeuromancerWilliam Gibson
21025The Sword of the LictorGene Wolfe
3906RingworldLarry Niven
4896Little, BigJohn Crowley
5895The Forever WarJoe Haldeman
6882The DispossessedUrsula K. Le Guin
7875The Time ShipsStephen Baxter
8856The Shadow of the Torturer Gene Wolfe
9844Rendezvous With RamaArthur C. Clarke
10842Seventh SonOrson Scott Card
11842The Claw of the ConciliatorGene Wolfe
12830Doomsday BookConnie Willis
13825All the Weyrs of PernAnne McCaffrey
14825GatewayFrederik Pohl
15822Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein

Amazon.com's 25 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Century

Amazon.com's list of the best SF/F books of the century, available online, was chosen by the Amazon.com staff:
RankBookAuthor
11984George Orwell
2A Canticle for LeibowitzWalter M. Miller, Jr.
3A Clockwork OrangeAnthony Burgess
4Brave New WorldAldous Huxley
5Camp ConcentrationThomas M. Disch
6DuneFrank Herbert
7Ender's GameOrson Scott Card
8Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury
9FoundationIsaac Asimov
10The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyDouglas Adams
11The HobbitJ. R. R. Tolkien
12The Last UnicornPeter S. Beagle, Mel Grant
13The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. Le Guin
14The Martian ChroniclesRay Bradbury
15The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley
16NeuromancerWilliam Gibson
17NorstriliaCordwainer Smith
18The Once and Future KingTerence Hanbury White
19The Princess BrideWilliam Goldman
20Shadow and Claw:
The Shadow of the Torturer/the Claw of the Conciliator
Gene Wolfe
21The Stars My DestinationAlfred Bester, et al
22Snow CrashNeal Stephenson
23Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein
24UbikPhilip K. Dick
25Watership DownRichard Adams


SF Vote

On the SF Vote web site, which went live on August 11, 1999, readers can vote for and rank science fiction novels. According to the site:
How does it work? It's Easy! Just go through the free Signup form and then you're all set. Then go to your favorite novels, and rate them from 0-10 (decimals are allowed). As long as more than a quarter of our members have voted for a book, it's rating is a straight average. Otherwise, the rating is computed with a formula intended to prevent books from rising to the top with only a few people having rated it.

As of 8 November 1999, the rankings were:

RankTitleAuthor
1Ender's GameOrson Scott Card
2FoundationIsaac Asimov
3DuneFrank Herbert
4Rendezvous With RamaArthur C. Clarke
5The Moon is a Harsh MistressRobert A. Heinlein
6The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
7Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein
8HyperionDan Simmons
9Starship TroopersRobert A. Heinlein
101984George Orwell
11The Caves of SteelIsaac Asimov
12Childhood's EndArthur C. Clarke
13The Mote in God's EyeLarry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
14The Gods ThemselvesIsaac Asimov
15Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury
16The Stars My DestinationAlfred Bester
17RingworldLarry Niven
18Have Space Suit--Will TravelRobert A. Heinlein
19The Icarus HuntTimothy Zahn
20The Martian ChroniclesRay Bradbury
21Startide RisingDavid Brin
22A Canticle for LeibowitzWalter M. Miller
23The Demolished ManAlfred Bester
24Flowers for AlgernonDaniel Keyes
25I, RobotIsaac Asimov

Enigma (UCLA) Recommended Science Fiction Books

The following short list of recommended science fiction books comes from Enigma, the science fiction and fantasy club at UCLA (the University of California at Los Angeles), as of 20 Dec. 1999.
TitleAuthor
The Foundation TrilogyIsaac Asimov
I, RobotIsaac Asimov
The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man Alfred Bester
Rendezvous with RamaArthur C. Clarke
Stranger in a Strange LandRobert A. Heinlein
DuneFrank Herbert
Always Coming HomeUrsula K. Le Guin
RingworldLarry Niven
The Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy Douglas Adams
Startide RisingDavid Brin
Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card
WatchmenAlan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Hyperion CantosDan Simmons
Snow CrashNeal Stephenson
A Fire Upon the DeepVernor Vinge
Doomsday BookConnie Willis

Enigma also has a short list of Recommended Fantasy Books, which recommends Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Zelazny's First Chronicles of Amber, and seven other works.

Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors who are Characters in Feature Films

  • John Jacob Astor
  • James Ballard
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Jack London
  • Anne Perry
  • Ayn Rand
  • Carl Sagan
  • William Shatner
  • Mary Shelley
  • H.G. Wells
  • Jules Verne

Source: "Real Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Who have been Major Characters in Feature Films", Adherents.com.

The "Essential Science Fiction/Fantasy"

SF/F Books listed on the "Essential Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror" page, an Amazon.com associate (Date: 10 November 1999). Listed in alphabetical order, as these were not ranked.
I, RobotIsaac Asimov
ExcessionIain M. Banks
The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester
Startide RisingDavid Brin
War With the NewtsKarel Capek
Ender's GameOrson Scott Card
2001 A Space OdysseyArthur C. Clarke
Starship TroopersRobert A. Heinlein
The Chronicles of NarniaC.S. Lewis
China Mountain ZhangMaureen F. McHugh
The Forgotten Beasts of EldPatricia A. McKillip
Red MarsKim Stanley Robinson
Snow CrashNeal Stephenson
The HobbitJ. R. R. Tolkien
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne
Cat's CradleKurt Vonnegut
Doomsday BookConnie Willis

Amazon.com Millennium Poll

Amazon.com's Millennium Poll was conducted in late 1999 among its customers, who were asked to pick their favorite book written in the last thousand years. These included any type of book -- fiction or non-fiction. About 20 of these were science fiction or fantasy, as shown in the list below:
RankBookAuthor
1The Lord of the RingsJ.R.R. Tolkien
5Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J. K. Rowling
6The StandStephen King
101984George Orwell
12The HobbitJ.R.R. Tolkien
14DuneFrank Herbert
19Left BehindTim F. Lahaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
25The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
31Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein
32Ender's GameOrson Scott Card
34ItStephen King
36Brave New WorldAldous Huxley
39Animal FarmGeorge Orwell
48Slaughterhouse-FiveKurt Vonnegut, Jr.
55Jurassic ParkMichael Crichton
63The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley
68FoundationIsaac Asimov
72OutlanderDiana Gabaldon
87NeuromancerWilliam Gibson
93A Clockwork OrangeAnthony Burgess
98Eye of the WorldRobert Jordan

Literary Science Fiction

Jason Voegele's Literary Science Fiction web page promotes "the idea that science fiction can be more than just the juvenile, escapist literature that it is often perceived to be. Science fiction's greatest achievements stand among the greatest works of the century. Voegele's ten favorite literary science fiction books are:
RankBookAuthor
1The Book of the New SunGene Wolfe
2Hyperion (and successors)Dan Simmons
3The Left Hand of DarknessUrsula K. LeGuin
4The Fifth Head of CerberusGene Wolfe
5Deathbird Stories (collection)Harlan Ellison
6The Man in the High CastlePhilip K. Dick
7The Einstein IntersectionSamuel R. Delany
8NeuromancerWilliam Gibson
9The Worthing SagaOrson Scott Card
10Childhood's EndArthur C. Clarke

Multiple Yahoo Web Links

Yahoo's Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors links page certainly does not list every web site devoted to individual SF/F authors. But Yahoo is by far the most widely-used human-mediated web directory. Examining the Yahoo directory to see which authors have multiple web sites devoted to them is one measure of an author's popularity.

On 16 November 1999 there were 256 authors listed individually on Yahoo's Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors page. Of these, there were multiple links for 75 of them. The 36 authors with five or more links are listed below.

24 of the 36 authors with 5 or more Yahoo links were on this list of "famous authors". The most surprising name was Robert Jordan, who had more Yahoo listings (57) than any author other than J.R.R. Tolkien. Robert Jordan has not won any Hugo or Nebula awards, nor did his name show up in any of the other "most popular" author or novel lists examined in preparation of this page. But the author is heavily involved with the Internet, apparently associated with many MUD, MUSH, and other online communities. A very web-centric fan base may explain the relative abundance of Jordan-associated links. Based on Jordan's popularity on the web, and also because we learned he is one of the top-selling SF writers today, we added him to the "Famous" list.
AuthorLinks
Tolkien, J.R.R.98
Jordan, Robert57
Adams, Douglas32
King, Stephen29
Pratchett, Terry27
Herbert, Frank24
McCaffrey, Anne23
Sagan, Carl17
Verne, Jules15
Lovecraft, H.P.16
Hubbard, L. Ron14
Dick, Philip K.11
Heinlein, Robert11
Brooks, Terry10
Gibson, William10
Burroughs, Edgar Rice 10
Clarke, Arthur C.9
Crichton, Michael9
Shelley, Mary8
Anthony, Piers7
Banks, Ian7
Barker, Clive7
Card, Orson Scott7
Norton, Andre7
Salvatore, R.A.7
Wilson, Robert Anton7
Andrews, V.C.6
Eddings, David6
Ellison, Harlan6
Lawhead, Stephen R.6
Asimov, Isaac5
Feist, Raymond E.5
Herbert, James5
Moorcock, Michael5
Wells, H.G.5
Zelazny, Roger5


It should also be noted that there were many Yahoo links for individuals on the "famous list" who are not primarily SF/F authors (such as George Lucas, Anne Perry, William Shatner, Andrew Greeley, etc.), but their links were not on this Yahoo page (or cross-linked to this page, as with some authors, such as Stephen King, Carl Sagan, etc.).

Authors included in the "famous list" who had 2, 3 or 4 Yahoo links were: Larry Niven, Gene Wolfe, Ray Bradbury, Alan Dean Foster, and Timothy Zahn.

Multiple Open Directory Project Web Links

The Open Directory Project bills itself as the "largest human-edited directory on the web." In this it is similar to Yahoo. The Open Directory is newer and less selective than Yahoo, but its links are used directly by a variety popular web portals, including Lycos and AltaVista, while Yahoo links are proprietary.

On 21 January 2000 there were 369 different authors with links in the two separate "Fantasy:Authors" and "Science Fiction:Authors" sections (after eliminating many duplicates which were on both lists).

Because the Open Directory links are heavily cross-referenced, many authors in Open Directory fantasy and science fiction author sections are primarily known in other fields. The work of many of these authors is rarely classified as speculative fiction in the modern sense. These include Lord Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, William Butler Yeats, and others. It is true that many of these authors, such as Dante and Voltaire, wrote what would clearly be classified as science fiction or fantasy today, and the only reason they are not considered sf/f writers is because they lived and wrote before the modern literary schism between speculative and "literary/mainstream" fiction. For example, there is only one set of Open Directory links for Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), but this set can be accessed from the science fiction authors section, as well as the mystery authors section, and possibly from other sections as well.

To make the table below more focused, we have removed the following authors from it because they are not primarily sf/f authors: Charles Dickens (101 links); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (94); Jonathan Swift (66); Carroll Lewis (55); John Keats (52); Anne Rice (44); William Butler Yeats (41); William Blake (37); Dante Alighieri (35); Rudyad Kipling (33); John Milton (32); Italo Calvino (30); Lord Alfred Tennyson (27); Jorge Luis Borges (26); Umberto Eco (22); Bram Stoker (21); Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17); Voltaire (17); Anne Sexton (17); James Henry (16); Nathaniel Hawthorne (12)

As with the Yahoo list above, the numbers of multiple links that appear in the list below are for all links pertaining to a particular author, not just those links pertaining to the author's science fiction and fantasy writing.

While only 36 authors had five or more links at the Yahoo web portal, 116 authors had five or more links at the Open Directory site. In the table below, we are listing only those authors with ten or more links at the Open Directory site.

AuthorLinks
Tolkien, J.R.R.304
Jordan, Robert155
Burroughs, Edgar Rice 113
Gaiman, Neil49
Adams, Douglas38
Stephenson, Neal35
Heinlein, Robert A.34
Dick, Philip K.31
Wells, H. G.30
Bradley, Marion Zimmer 29
Hubbard, L. Ron28
Lewis, C.S.28
Verne, Jules27
Anthony, Piers26
King, Stephen26
Sterling, Bruce25
Baum, L. Frank24
Le Guin, Ursula K.23
Pratchett, Terry23
McCaffrey, Anne22
Noon, Jeff21
Zelazny, Roger21
Goodkind, Terry20
Adams, Richard19
Banks, Iain M.19
Barker, Clive19
Cook, Glen19
Brooks, Terry17
Lem, Stanislaw17
Asimov, Isaac16
Laumer, Keith16
Piper, H. Beam14
Bujold, Lois McMaster 13
Eddings, David13
Powers, Tim13
Card, Orson Scott12
Lovecraft, H. P. 12
Willis, Connie12
Atwood, Margaret11
Hardin, Valerie11
Niven, Larry11
Smith, Clark Ashton11
Cadigan, Pat10
Lichtenberg, Jacqueline10

Other authors on the "famous list" who have Open Directory links (but less than 10): C.J. Cherryh (9); Ben Bova (8); Frank Herber (8); Dan Simmons (8); Ray Bradbury (7); Arthur C. Clarke (7); Alan Dean Foster (7); Gene Wolfe (7); Madeleine L'Engle (6); David Brin (5); Michael Crichton (5); Walter M. Miller, Jr. (5); Harlan Ellision (3); Philip Jose Farmer (3); Tracy Hickman (3); Cordwainer Smith (3); Theodore Sturgeon (3); Greg Bear (2); James Blish (2); Avram Davidson (2); Timothy Zahn (2); Poul Anderson (2); Robert Silverberg (1); Harry Turtledove (1).

Book-a-Minute Reviews

Books included on the Book-a-Minute Reviews web site are usually chosen by vote. Many selections may represent a more popular, less "literary" branch of SF/F. On 4 January 2000 there were 105 reviews in the Book-a-Minute SF/F section (some reviews are for more than one work, such as "The Collected Work of Anne McCaffrey"). The following are authors for whom there were multiple reviews (17 of the 25 authors with multiple B-a-M reviews are on the "Famous Authors List"):

AuthorNumber
of B-a-M
Reviews
C. S. Lewis7
Terry Brooks6
Robert Jordan5
T. H. White5
Lloyd Alexander4
Piers Anthony4
Isaac Asimov4
Don Callander4
Tracy Hickman4
J. R. R. Tolkien4
H. G. Wells4
Margaret Weis4
Orson Scott Card3
Frank Herbert3
Alan Dean Foster2
Arthur C. Clarke2
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.2
Larry Niven2
Michael Crichton2
Robert A. Heinlein2
Stephen R. Donaldson2
David Eddings2
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.2
John Peel2
Stephen R. Lawhead2
Melanie Rawn2

Authors on the "famous list" with one B-a-M review: Douglas Adams, Ben Bova, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Carl Sagan, Timothy Zahn.

SF/F on 1996 Amazon.com Best Sellers List

Ten science-fiction and fantasy titles were on Amazon.com's 1996 annual bestsellers' list, listing the top 100 bestselling titles in the entire store, regardless of type or format (all types of fiction and nonfiction as well as paperbacks and hardcovers were counted). Source.

6. Idoru, William Gibson, hardcover.
33. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card, paperback.
51. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan, hardcover.
53. The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer, paperback.
61. The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson, paperback.
65. Neuromancer, William Gibson, paperback.
66. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson paperback.
74. Servant of the Bones, Anne Rice, hardcover.
81. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, Douglas Adams, hardcover.
82. Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson, paperback.

Novels Studied in Paul Brian's SF Class at WSU

The following novels are studies in Paul Brian's course on science fiction, taught at Washington State University:

  • War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells
  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
  • The Dispossessed, Ursula LeGuin
  • Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson

Authors of Work Which May Have Inspired Babylon 5

One good indicator of an sf/f author's fame is being referred to by other fiction. John Cletheroe has created a web page identifying possible references that the Straczynski TV series "Babylon 5" has made to various science fiction and fantasy literature. [Update: Cletheroe's page, at http://freespace.virgin.net/john.cletheroe/b5/ref.htm, wasn't found on 29 May 2000, but a similar page is the Babylon 5 SF References List.] Some of these connections would seem to be obvious "tip-of-the-hat" homage, some may be unintentional inspiration, and some connections are laughably tenuous. But it's an interesting list. Below are the authors identified on this list (as it appeared on 12 January 2000).

  • Patrick McGoohan
  • Alfred Bester
  • Walter M. Miller Jr.
  • Frank Herbert
  • C.J. Cherryh
  • Michael Moorcock
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Larry Niven
  • Jerry Pournelle
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Anne McCaffrey
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Ray Bradbury
  • George Orwell
  • E.E. Doc Smith
  • L. Ron Hubbard
  • Robert Jordan
  • Clifford D. Simak


"One Book" List at rec.arts.books

In 1994 Paul Philips submitted a message to the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.books that read in part:
My proposal is this: I would like for each of you to decide on a single book that you would most like for the world to read for inclusion in the list. The book that, for you, was the most influential, or thought-provoking, or enjoyable, or moving, or philosophically powerful, or deep in some sense you cannot properly define, or any other criteria you wish to set.

I will include your name and email address, along with any commentary care to include on why you chose this book above all others.

This was is in no way a popularity contest, but authors who have three or more submissions are listed below (as of As of Jun 29 1998, at which time the list had 777 different books suggested by 1014 people). Note that most of these authors are not science fiction/fantasy authors. Of those who are, nearly all are on the "famous list".

  • Herman Hesse (6)
  • John Steinbeck (6)
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (5)
  • C.S. Lewis (4)
  • Dr. Seuss (4)
  • William Shakespeare (4)
  • Margaret Atwood (3)
  • Jane Austen (3)
  • Richard Bach (3)
  • Ray Bradbury (3)
  • Italo Calvino (3)
  • Albert Camus (3)
  • Truman Capote (3)
  • Orson Scott Card (3)
  • Louis-Ferdinand Celine (3)
  • Arthur C. Clarke (3)
  • James Clavell (3)
  • Pat Conroy (3)
  • Robertson Davies (3)
  • Philip K. Dick (3)
  • Harlan Ellison (3)
  • William Faulkner (3)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (3)
  • William Goldman (3)
  • Robert Heinlein (3)
  • Ernest Hemingway (3)
  • John Irving (3)
  • James Joyce (3)
  • Jack Kerouac (3)
  • Stephen King (3)
  • Barbara Kingsolver (3)
  • Dean Koontz (3)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin (3)
  • Cormac McCarthy (3)
  • Vladimir Nabokov (3)
  • Ayn Rand (3)
  • Tom Robbins (3)
  • J.D. Salinger (3)
  • Dan Simmons (3)
  • Alice Walker (3)
  • Robert Anton Wilson (3)
  • Jeanette Winterson (3)
  • Thomas Wolfe (3)

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Web page created 28 October 1999. Last modified 5 February 2006.