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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.

Rank Book/Series Author Votes Score
1 Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien 1051 8.88
2 The Ender Saga Orson Scott Card 860 8.6
3 The Lions of Al-Rassan Guy G. Kay 72 8.54
4 The Vorkosigan Series Lois M. Bujold 103 8.47
5 Tigana Guy G. Kay 210 8.4
6 Dune Frank Herbert 900 8.4
7 The Annals of the Black Company Glen Cook 89 8.35
8 Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes 160 8.34
9 The Discworld Series Terry Pratchett 124 8.31
10 A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess 88 8.3


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

Title Author Year
The Mule
(printed in Foundation and Empire)
Isaac Asimov 1946
The Demolished Man Alfred Bester 1953
They'd Rather Be Right
(retitled The Forever Machine)
Mark Clifton and Frank Riley 1955
Double Star Robert A. Heinlein 1956
The Big Time Fritz Leiber 1958
A Case of Conscience James Blish 1959
Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein 1960
A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr. 1961
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein 1962
The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick 1963
Way Station Clifford D. Simak 1964
The Wanderer Fritz Leiber 1965
...And Call Me Conrad
(re-issued as This Immortal)
Roger Zelazny 1966
Dune Frank Herbert 1966
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein 1967
Lord of Light Roger Zelazny 1968
Stand on Zanzibar John Brunner 1969
The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin 1970
Ringworld Larry Niven 1971
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Philip Jose Farmer 1972
The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov 1973
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke 1974
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin 1975
The Forever War Joe Haldeman 1976
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm 1977
Gateway Frederik Pohl 1978
Dreamsnake Vonda McIntyre 1979
The Fountains of Paradise Arthur C. Clarke 1980
The Snow Queen Joan D. Vinge 1981
Downbelow Station C. J. Cherryh 1982
Foundation's Edge Isaac Asimov 1983
Startide Rising David Brin 1984
Neuromancer William Gibson 1985
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card 1986
Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card 1987
The Uplift War David Brin 1988
Cyteen C. J. Cherryh 1989
Hyperion Dan Simmons 1990
The Vor Game Lois McMaster Bujold 1991
Barrayar Lois McMaster Bujold 1992
A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge 1993
Doomsday Book Connie Willis 1993
Green Mars Kim Stanley Robinson 1994
Mirror Dance Lois McMaster Bujold 1995
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson 1996
Blue Mars Kim Stanley Robinson 1997
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman 1998
To Say Nothing of the Dog Connie Willis 1999
A Deepness in the Sky Vernor Vinge 2000
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J.K. Rowling 2001

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.
Author Number
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.
Title Author Year
Dune Frank Herbert 1965
Babel-17 Samuel R. Delany 1966
Flowers For Algernon Daniel Keyes 1966
The Einstein Intersection Samuel R. Delany 1967
Rite of Passage Alexei Panshin 1968
The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin 1969
Ringworld Larry Niven 1970
A Time of Changes Robert Silverberg 1971
The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov 1972
Rendezvous With Rama Arthur C. Clarke 1973
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin 1974
The Forever War Joe Haldeman 1975
Man Plus Frederik Pohl 1976
Gateway Frederik Pohl 1977
Dreamsnake Vonda McIntyre 1978
The Fountains of Paradise Arthur C. Clarke 1979
Timescape Gregory Benford 1980
The Claw of the Conciliator Gene Wolfe 1981
No Enemy But Time Michael Bishop 1982
Startide Rising David Brin 1983
Neuromancer William Gibson 1984
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card 1985
Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card 1986
The Falling Woman Pat Murphy 1987
Falling Free Lois McMaster Bujold 1988
The Healer's War Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 1989
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea Ursula K. Le Guin 1990
Stations of the Tide Michael Swanwick 1991
Doomsday Book Connie Willis 1992
Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson 1993
Moving Mars Greg Bear 1994
The Terminal Experiment Robert J. Sawyer 1995
Slow River Nicola Griffith 1996
The Moon and the Sun Vonda McIntyre 1997
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman 1998
Parable of the Talents Octavia Butler 1999
Darwin's Radio Greg Bear 2000
The Quantum Rose Catherine Asaro 2001

All Winners of Multiple Nebula Awards in Novel Category

Author Number
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

Title Author Year
Ringworld Larry Niven 1971
The Lathe of Heaven Ursula K. Le Guin 1972
The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov 1973
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke 1974
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin 1975
The Forever War Joe Haldeman 1976
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm 1977
Gateway Frederik Pohl 1978
Dreamsnake Vonda N. McIntyre 1979
Titan John Varley 1980
The Snow Queen Joan D. Vinge 1981
The Many-Colored Land Julian May 1982
Foundation's Edge Isaac Asimov 1983
Startide Rising David Brin 1984
The Integral Trees Larry Niven 1985
The Postman David Brin 1986
Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card 1987
The Uplift War David Brin 1988
Cyteen C. J. Cherryh 1989
Hyperion Dan Simmons 1990
The Fall of Hyperion Dan Simmons 1991
Barrayar Lois McMaster Bujold 1992
Doomsday Book Connie Willis 1993
Green Mars Kim Stanley Robinson 1994
Mirror Dance Lois McMaster Bujold 1995
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson 1996
The Rise of Endymion Dan Simmons 1998

Locus Award for Fantasy Novels

Title Author Year
Silmarillion J.R.R. Tolkien 1978
Harpist in the Wind Patricia McKillip 1980
Lord Valentine's Castle Robert Silverberg 1981
Claw of the Conciliator Gene Wolfe 1982
Sword of the Lictor Gene Wolfe 1983
Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley 1984
Job: A Comedy of Justice Robert A. Heinlein 1985
Trumps of Doom Roger Zelazny 1986
Soldier of the Mist Gene Wolfe 1987
Seventh Son Orson Scott Card 1988
Red Prophet Orson Scott Card 1989
Prentice Alvin Orson Scott Card 1990
Tehanu Ursula K. Le Guin 1991
Beauty Sheri S. Tepper 1992
Last Call Tim Powers 1993
The Innkeeper's Song Peter S. Beagle 1994
Brittle Innings Michael Bishop 1995
Alvin Journeyman Orson Scott Card 1996
Earthquake Weather Tim Powers 1998

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

All Winners of Multiple Locus Awards

Author Number
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

Author Number 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.

Title Author Year
Beyond Apollo Barry N. Malzberg 1973
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke 1974
Malevil Robert Merle 1974
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Philip K. Dick 1975
The Year of the Quiet Sun Wilson Tucker 1976
The Alteration Kingsley Amis 1977
Gateway Frederik Pohl 1978
Gloriana Michael Moorcock 1979
On Wings of Song Thomas M. Disch 1980
Timescape Gregory Benford 1981
Riddley Walker Russell Hoban 1982
Helliconia Spring Brian W. Aldiss 1983
The Citadel of the Autarch Gene Wolfe 1984
The Years of the City Frederik Pohl 1985
The Postman David Brin 1986
A Door into Ocean Joan Slonczewski 1987
Lincoln's Dreams Connie Willis 1988
Islands in the Net Bruce Sterling 1989
The Child Garden Geoff Ryman 1990
Pacific Edge Kim Stanley Robinson 1991
Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede Bradley Denton 1992
Brother to Dragons Charles Sheffield 1993
Permutation City Greg Egan 1995
The Time Ships Stephen Baxter 1996
Fairyland Paul McAuley 1997
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman 1998
Brute Orbits George Zebrowski 1999
A Deepness in the Sky Vernor Vinge 2000
Genesis Poul Anderson 2001

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).

Author Number 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
Gateway Frederik Pohl 1978
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman 1998
Neuromancer William Gibson 1984


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.

Year Author Title
1995 Paul J. McAuley Pasquale's Angel
1996 Stephen Baxter Voyage
1997 Harry Turtledove How Few Remain
1998 Stephen Fry Making History
1999 Brendan DuBois Resurrection Day
2000 Mary Gentle Ash: A Secret History
(Published in U.S. as:
A Secret History
Carthage Ascendant
The Wild Machines
Lost Burgundy
)
2001 J.N. Stroyar The 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.

Rank Score Author
1 3739 Robert Silverberg
2 3431 Ursula K. Le Guin
3 3151 Connie Willis
4 2574 Kim Stanley Robinson
5 2573 Gene Wolfe
6 2511 Orson Scott Card
7 2420 Mike Resnick
8 2387 Lucius Shepard
9 2355 Harlan Ellison
10 2355 George R. R. Martin
11 2284 Michael Bishop
12 2004 Poul Anderson
13 1925 Roger Zelazny
14 1901 Nancy Kress
15 1898 Stephen King
16 1879 John Varley
17 1858 Frederik Pohl
18 1704 Michael Swanwick
19 1655 C. J. Cherryh
20 1615 Dan 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:
Rank Score Novel Author
1 1246 Neuromancer William Gibson
2 1025 The Sword of the Lictor Gene Wolfe
3 906 Ringworld Larry Niven
4 896 Little, Big John Crowley
5 895 The Forever War Joe Haldeman
6 882 The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin
7 875 The Time Ships Stephen Baxter
8 856 The Shadow of the Torturer Gene Wolfe
9 844 Rendezvous With Rama Arthur C. Clarke
10 842 Seventh Son Orson Scott Card
11 842 The Claw of the Conciliator Gene Wolfe
12 830 Doomsday Book Connie Willis
13 825 All the Weyrs of Pern Anne McCaffrey
14 825 Gateway Frederik Pohl
15 822 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert 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:
Rank Book Author
1 1984 George Orwell
2 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.
3 A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
4 Brave New World Aldous Huxley
5 Camp Concentration Thomas M. Disch
6 Dune Frank Herbert
7 Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
8 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
9 Foundation Isaac Asimov
10 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
11 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien
12 The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle, Mel Grant
13 The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin
14 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury
15 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley
16 Neuromancer William Gibson
17 Norstrilia Cordwainer Smith
18 The Once and Future King Terence Hanbury White
19 The Princess Bride William Goldman
20 Shadow and Claw:
The Shadow of the Torturer/the Claw of the Conciliator
Gene Wolfe
21 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester, et al
22 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
23 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
24 Ubik Philip K. Dick
25 Watership Down Richard 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:

Rank Title Author
1 Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
2 Foundation Isaac Asimov
3 Dune Frank Herbert
4 Rendezvous With Rama Arthur C. Clarke
5 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein
6 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
7 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
8 Hyperion Dan Simmons
9 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein
10 1984 George Orwell
11 The Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov
12 Childhood's End Arthur C. Clarke
13 The Mote in God's Eye Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
14 The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov
15 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
16 The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester
17 Ringworld Larry Niven
18 Have Space Suit--Will Travel Robert A. Heinlein
19 The Icarus Hunt Timothy Zahn
20 The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury
21 Startide Rising David Brin
22 A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller
23 The Demolished Man Alfred Bester
24 Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes
25 I, Robot Isaac 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.
Title Author
The Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov
I, Robot Isaac Asimov
The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man Alfred Bester
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
Dune Frank Herbert
Always Coming Home Ursula K. Le Guin
Ringworld Larry Niven
The Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy Douglas Adams
Startide Rising David Brin
Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead Orson Scott Card
Watchmen Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Hyperion Cantos Dan Simmons
Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge
Doomsday Book Connie 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, Robot Isaac Asimov
Excession Iain M. Banks
The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester
Startide Rising David Brin
War With the Newts Karel Capek
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
2001 A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke
Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein
The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis
China Mountain Zhang Maureen F. McHugh
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld Patricia A. McKillip
Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson
Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne
Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut
Doomsday Book Connie 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:
Rank Book Author
1 The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
5 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J. K. Rowling
6 The Stand Stephen King
10 1984 George Orwell
12 The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
14 Dune Frank Herbert
19 Left Behind Tim F. Lahaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
31 Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein
32 Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
34 It Stephen King
36 Brave New World Aldous Huxley
39 Animal Farm George Orwell
48 Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
55 Jurassic Park Michael Crichton
63 The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley
68 Foundation Isaac Asimov
72 Outlander Diana Gabaldon
87 Neuromancer William Gibson
93 A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
98 Eye of the World Robert 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:
Rank Book Author
1 The Book of the New Sun Gene Wolfe
2 Hyperion (and successors) Dan Simmons
3 The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. LeGuin
4 The Fifth Head of Cerberus Gene Wolfe
5 Deathbird Stories (collection) Harlan Ellison
6 The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick
7 The Einstein Intersection Samuel R. Delany
8 Neuromancer William Gibson
9 The Worthing Saga Orson Scott Card
10 Childhood's End Arthur 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.
Author Links
Tolkien, J.R.R. 98
Jordan, Robert 57
Adams, Douglas 32
King, Stephen 29
Pratchett, Terry 27
Herbert, Frank 24
McCaffrey, Anne 23
Sagan, Carl 17
Verne, Jules 15
Lovecraft, H.P. 16
Hubbard, L. Ron 14
Dick, Philip K. 11
Heinlein, Robert 11
Brooks, Terry 10
Gibson, William 10
Burroughs, Edgar Rice 10
Clarke, Arthur C. 9
Crichton, Michael 9
Shelley, Mary 8
Anthony, Piers 7
Banks, Ian 7
Barker, Clive 7
Card, Orson Scott 7
Norton, Andre 7
Salvatore, R.A. 7
Wilson, Robert Anton 7
Andrews, V.C. 6
Eddings, David 6
Ellison, Harlan 6
Lawhead, Stephen R. 6
Asimov, Isaac 5
Feist, Raymond E. 5
Herbert, James 5
Moorcock, Michael 5
Wells, H.G. 5
Zelazny, Roger 5


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.

Author Links
Tolkien, J.R.R. 304
Jordan, Robert 155
Burroughs, Edgar Rice 113
Gaiman, Neil 49
Adams, Douglas 38
Stephenson, Neal 35
Heinlein, Robert A. 34
Dick, Philip K. 31
Wells, H. G. 30
Bradley, Marion Zimmer 29
Hubbard, L. Ron 28
Lewis, C.S. 28
Verne, Jules 27
Anthony, Piers 26
King, Stephen 26
Sterling, Bruce 25
Baum, L. Frank 24
Le Guin, Ursula K. 23
Pratchett, Terry 23
McCaffrey, Anne 22
Noon, Jeff 21
Zelazny, Roger 21
Goodkind, Terry 20
Adams, Richard 19
Banks, Iain M. 19
Barker, Clive 19
Cook, Glen 19
Brooks, Terry 17
Lem, Stanislaw 17
Asimov, Isaac 16
Laumer, Keith 16
Piper, H. Beam 14
Bujold, Lois McMaster 13
Eddings, David 13
Powers, Tim 13
Card, Orson Scott 12
Lovecraft, H. P. 12
Willis, Connie 12
Atwood, Margaret 11
Hardin, Valerie 11
Niven, Larry 11
Smith, Clark Ashton 11
Cadigan, Pat 10
Lichtenberg, Jacqueline 10

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"):

Author Number
of B-a-M
Reviews
C. S. Lewis 7
Terry Brooks 6
Robert Jordan 5
T. H. White 5
Lloyd Alexander 4
Piers Anthony 4
Isaac Asimov 4
Don Callander 4
Tracy Hickman 4
J. R. R. Tolkien 4
H. G. Wells 4
Margaret Weis 4
Orson Scott Card 3
Frank Herbert 3
Alan Dean Foster 2
Arthur C. Clarke 2
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 2
Larry Niven 2
Michael Crichton 2
Robert A. Heinlein 2
Stephen R. Donaldson 2
David Eddings 2
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. 2
John Peel 2
Stephen R. Lawhead 2
Melanie Rawn 2

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.