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Real Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors
Who have been Major Characters in Feature Films


INTRODUCTION: This is a list of films in which real-life genre authors (science fiction or fantasy writers) have been featured as characters. These films include a mix of documentaries (Trekkies), semi-historical (Shadowlands), and outright fiction (Time After Time).

Author: John Jacob Astor

Some books by this author: A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future (1894)

Film: Titanic (1997) - played by Eric Braeden
Film: S.O.S. Titanic (1979 made-for-TV movie) - played by David Janssen
Film: Titanic (1996 made-for-TV movie) - played by Scott Hylands
Film: Titanic (1953) - played by William Johnstone
Film: Titanic (1943) - played by Karl Schönböck
Film: Little Old New York (1923) - played by Andrew Dillon
Film: Little Old New York (1940) - played by Roger Imhof
Film: This Woman Is Mine (1941) - played by Sig Ruman


Author: James Ballard

Some books by this author: The Crystal World (1966)

Film: Empire of the Sun (1984, Steven Spielberg). This film is based on Ballard's autobiographical account of growing up in a Shanghai internment camp.


Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Some books by this author: Lost World; Sherlock Holmes series

Film: FairyTale: A True Story (1997). Doyle played by Peter O'Toole
Film: Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war (1937). Played by Paul Bildt
Film: The Great Houdini (1976 TV movie). Played by Peter Cushing
Film: Conan Doyle (1972 TV movie). Played by Nigel Davenport
Film: Photographing Fairies (1997). Played by Edward Hardwicke
Film: Mark Twain's Greatest Adventure: 'It's a Matter of Time' (2000). Played by Ken Howard
Film: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (1999 TV). Played by Robin Laing
Film: Houdini (1998 TV). Played by David Warner


Author: C.S. Lewis

Some books by this author: Narnia series; Mere Christianity; The Screwtape Letters

Film: Shadowlands (1985). Directed by Norman Stone. Joss Ackland played C.S. Lewis in this made-for-TV romance.


Author: Jack London

Some books by this author: Call of the Wild

Film: Jack London (1943). Directed by Alfred Santell. Michael O'Shea played Jack London in this film about the adventurous life of this American novelist (1876-1916) who sometimes wrote science fiction.

Film: Klondike Fever (1980). Directed by Peter Carter. Jeff East stars as Jack London in this semi-autobiographical movie based on London's novel.


Author: Anne Perry

Some books by this author: Tathea (fantasy); mostly known for mystery novels starring Thomas Pitt, William Monk and the Crimean nurse Hester Latterley. Notable among her many novels are Sins of the Wolf and The Cater Street Hangman (which was made into a movie).

Film: Heavenly Creatures (1995, starring Titanic star Kate Winslet as Perry in this film set in New Zealand.)


Author: Ayn Rand

Some books by this author: Anthem; Atlas Shrugged; Fountainhead

Film: The Passion of Ayn Rand (1999). Directed by Christopher Menaul. Written by Barbara Branden and Howard Korder. Helen Mirren plays Ayn Rand in this true story about the atheist eccentric author who has an affair with a much younger, and married man... to the dismay of those close to her.


Author: Carl Sagan

Some books by this author: Contact; Cosmos (non-fiction)

Film: My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988). Directed by Richard Benjamin. Written by Timothy Harris and Jonathan Reynolds. Harry Shearer has a minor role as Carl Sagan.


Author: William Shatner

Some books by this author: Star Trek novels (The Ashes of Eden; Avenger; Dark Victory; The Return; Spectre); The Law of War; Man O'War; Tek novels (Teklords, Tekwar, etc.)

Film: Free Enterprise (1998). Directed by Robert Meyer Burnett. William Shatner plays himself in this film about two hard-core Star Trek fans who meet William Shatner. Also: Shatner appears as himself in the 1997 film documentary Trekkies.


Author: Mary Shelley

Some books by this author: Frankenstein

Film: Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Elsa Lanchester played Shelley.
Film: Remando al viento (1987). Lizzy McInnernyp played Shelley.
Film: Gothic (1986). Natasha Richardson played Shelley.
Film: Frankenstein Unbound (1990). Bridget Fonda played Shelley.


Author: H.G. Wells

Some books by this author: Time Machine; The Invisible Man; In the Days of the Comet; War of the Worlds

Film: Time After Time (1979). Directed by Nicholas Meyer. A fictional account of H.G. Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell), who creates a working time machine and travelsto contemporary San Francisco to face off against Jack the Ripper.

Film: From Time to Time (1992) Directed by Jeff Blyth. Jeremy Irons stars as H.G. Wells and Michel Piccoli is Jules Verne, as "The Timekeeper" (Robbin Williams) invents the world's first functional time machine. This is a short film shown as part of a Disney theme park attraction.

Film: Testimony (1988). Directed by Tony Palmer. H.G. Wells (played by Brook Williams) is a minor character.


Author: Jules Verne

Some books by this author: 2000 Leagues Under the Sea; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Around the World in Eighty Days; From the Earth to the Moon

Film: From Time to Time (1992) Directed by Jeff Blyth. Jeremy Irons stars as H.G. Wells and Michel Piccoli is Jules Verne, as "The Timekeeper" (Robbin Williams) invents the world's first functional time machine. This is a short film shown as part of a Disney theme park attraction.

Film: Footprints on the Moon: Apollo 11 (1969) Pierre Jalbert was featured as Jules Verne in this documentary by Bill Gibson.

Film: From the Earth to the Moon (1958) Directed by Byron Haskin. This is a movie based on Verne's novel. Carl Esmond plays Verne himself in this film (not a central character).

Film: "Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" (1999). Chris Demetral played Jules Verne in this 1999 Canadian/UK TV series.


Semi-Related Links


Our thanks to Charles R. Rutledge for suggesting "Frankenstein Unbound" with Shelley and "Fairy Tale" with Arthur Conan Doyle.

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