Isaac Asimov was an American writer. Best known for his science fiction works, Asimov was regarded as one of the Big Three writers along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein. Asimov is credited with influencing most sci-fi writers since the 1950s. Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman stated that one of Asimov's works inspired him to take up Economics.
Philip K. Dick was an American writer who was known for his work that explores varied social and philosophical themes. Dick's novels have inspired films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, his novel Ubik was included in Time magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published in English since 1923.
Science-fiction author Kurt Vonnegut is best remembered for the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which became a New York Times bestseller. The Hugo Award-winner had also fought against the Germans in World War II and expressed his anti-war and atheist views through his works, which also include short stories, plays, and autobiographical works.
H. G. Wells was an English writer. Although he was prolific in many genres, he is best remembered for his work on sci-fi novels, for which he is often referred to as the father of science fiction. His 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon became so influential that a lunar impact crater is named after him.
English author, screenwriter, and essayist, Douglas Adams, is most remembered for his comedy science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As a screenwriter, he wrote two stories for the TV series Doctor Who. He advocated for environmentalism and spoke about environmental issues in his non-fiction radio series Last Chance to See.
Robert A. Heinlein was an American author, naval officer, and aeronautical engineer. Heinlein is credited with pioneering a literary subgenre called hard science fiction as he was among the first to stress the importance of scientific accuracy in fiction. Robert A. Heinlein is one of the most influential science-fiction writers of all time.
American author, newspaper-journalist, book-reviewer, lecturer, photographer, and ecological consultant Franklin Herbert is most noted for his 1965 sci-fi novel Dune and its five sequels. Dune won the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award and spearheaded the Dune franchise. The novel is cited as the best-selling sci-fi novel in history while the series is counted among the classics of the genre.
One of the finest African-American sci-fi authors, Octavia Butler was raised single-handedly by her widowed mother. Best known for the Patternist series and the short story Bloodchild, she often mingled mythology and spirituality in her work. She was the first sci-fi author to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
William Gibson is an American-Canadian essayist and speculative fiction writer. He is widely credited with pioneering cyberpunk, a science fiction subgenre. His early works, which he produced during the late-1970s and early-1980s, helped create an iconography for the information age even before the dawn of the Internet in the 1990s. William Gibson is also credited with coining the term cyberspace.
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.
13 C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis was a British writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide after having been translated into over 30 languages. His works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, have inspired the works of other famous authors. Lewis' work continues to attract readership and he was ranked 11th on The Times' 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list.
Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author. In a career spanning almost six decades, Ursula wrote about political and social themes like race and sexuality. Throughout her career, Ursula had a major influence on speculative fiction. Her book A Wizard of Earthsea is credited with inspiring ideas like 'wizard school', which was later popularized in the Harry Potter series.
Michael Crichton was an American filmmaker and author. He wrote several science-fiction books, which have sold more than 200 million copies. Many of his books, such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Congo, Rising Sun, and Disclosure, have been adapted into highly successful films. He is also credited with creating the popular medical drama TV series, ER.
16 Andy Weir
Software engineer Andy Weir soared to fame with his debut novel The Martian, which was later made into a hit film by Ridley Scott. Born to a physicist father and an electrical engineer mother, Wier grew up interested in topics such as relativistic physics and orbital mechanics, although he didn’t graduate.
17 Liu Cixin
Liu Cixin is a Chinese science fiction writer who has won the prestigious Galaxy Award on nine occasions so far. He is best known for his novel The Three-Body Problem, which earned him the Hugo Award in 2015. In 2017, Liu Cixin won the Locus Award for his work Death's End. Many of his works have been adapted into films.
The American actor, who shot to fame following his success in the television series How the West Was Won, Bring 'Em Back Alive and Scarecrow and Mrs King, starred in Babylon 5 films. Bruce William Boxleitner is also known for his comic roles. He appeared in video games and is credited as the author of two science fiction novels.
A reputed English author, Michael John Moorcock began his writing career as a teenager, selling fictions to various British pulp magazines. He became the editor of New World magazine by his mid-twenties. Concurrently, he continued to write, primarily science fictions and fantasies, and received multiple awards and honors for them.
American author, playwright and script-writer Orson Scott Card is best-known for writing the series’ Ender's Game and The Tales of Alvin Maker. First two novels of the Ender's Game series are counted among the most influential novels of the 1980s and won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, while The Tales of Alvin Maker series won the Locus Fantasy Award.
Author Roger Zelazny led the New Wave of science fiction and soared to fame with his series The Chronicles of Amber. The six-time Hugo Award winner published over 150 short stories, too. He made use of anachronisms, minimal dialogue, and heavy references to Hindu, Norse, and Egyptian mythological tales.
22 Dan Simmons
Best known for his Hyperion Cantos series, author Dan Simmons initially taught as part of an elementary school program named APEX. He has trained people in writing and has his own writing curriculum named Writing Well. He is also often found writing at his isolated cabin near Rocky Mountain.
Thomas Pynchon initially joined Cornell to study engineering physics, but changed his major to English after a brief stint with the U.S. Army. A master of black humor, he soared to fame with novels such as The Crying of Lot 49 and Inherent Vice. He is media-shy and is rarely photographed.
Jeffrey Archer is an English author and former politician whose books have sold over 320 million copies around the world. Archer has been a controversial figure; he was convicted of perjury in 2001 after which he was sent to Belmarsh Prison from where he was later transferred to Wayland Prison. His conviction ended his political career.
25 Larry Niven
Best known for his iconic Ringworld series, science-fiction author Larry Niven has won multiple accolades, including the Hugo and Nebula awards. The grandson of oil magnate Edward L. Doheny, Niven had initially studied math but later devoted himself to writing. He has also penned scripts for sci-fi TV series.
William Golding was a British playwright, novelist, and poet whose novel Rites of Passage earned him the Booker Prize in 1980. In 1983, Golding was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1988, William Golding was knighted for his contributions to literature. In 2008, he was mentioned in The Times' list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
27 Iain Banks
N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.
29 James Doohan
Canadian actor James Doohan was initially a soldier in the Canadian army and had even sustained injuries in World War II. He later soared to fame with his Saturn Award-nominated role of Montgomery Scott in the Star Trek film and TV franchise. He also voiced the character in various video games.
Best known for his Xanth novels, such as Well-Tempered Clavicle and Esrever Doom, bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Piers Anthony was born to Quaker parents in Britain, who later settled in the U.S. He lives with his wife in a remote forest area in Central Florida.
Best known for his mythical series The Inheritance Cycle, author Christopher Paolini had started writing his first novel, Eragon, at 15. He also stepped into the world of adult sci-fi with To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. He holds the Guinness record for being the youngest bestselling author.
J. G. Ballard was an English novelist, satirist, short story writer, and essayist. Renowned for his uniqueness, Ballard's style of fiction is referred to as Ballardian in the literary world. Many of his works have inspired movies, such as Crash and High-Rise. J. G. Ballard’s work has also inspired other popular writers like John Gray, Terry Dowling, and Lee Killough.
Known for his science-fiction novels such as Dhalgren, Babel-17, and the Nèverÿon series, author Samuel R. Delany often touches upon themes of sex, race, and language. A descendant of civil rights activists, he dropped out of college to write. Though gay, he was once married to lesbian poet Marilyn Hacker.
35 Ted Chiang
Born to Chinese immigrant parents, author Ted Chiang is a qualified computer scientist and works as a technical writer. The Hugo- and Nebula-winning writer is best known for his short stories, novelettes, and novellas such as Tower of Babylon and Seventy-Two Letters. He is also known for his signature ponytail.
Best known for his Pulitzer-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon is known for dealing with themes such as nostalgia, divorce, and Jewish identity. He has also contributed to TV and film projects, such as the Star Trek series. He is married to novelist Ayelet Waldman.
Anne Inez McCaffrey was an American-Irish writer, whose unpretentious down-to-earth style made her popular with children and adult alike. A prolific writer, she had around 100 titles to her credit, several of which were written in collaboration with her son. Best known for her juvenile fictions, including her Dragonriders of Pern series, she had been honored with many distinguished awards.
40 Nora Roberts
An author who has penned over 200 romance novels, Nora Roberts is also known by her pseudonyms such as J. D. Robb and Jill March. Apart from writing New York Times bestsellers such as Hideaway and Under Currents, she has also penned the suspense series In Death.
Russell T Davies is a Welsh television producer and screenwriter who contributed immensely to the success of the popular science fiction television show Doctor Who. When Davies was working for the show, Doctor Who received five successive National Television Awards starting from 2005. He has also won prestigious awards, such as the British Academy Craft Award and the Cymru Award.
Best known for works such as the Mistborn trilogy and The Emperor's Soul, sci-fi and epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson had initially studied biochemistry and then switched to literature. He has also worked as a missionary in South Korea and now teaches creative writing at his alma, Brigham Young University.
43 Jim Butcher
Hugo Award-nominated author Jim Butcher soared to fame with his bestselling urban fantasy series The Dresden Files and Codex Alera. He is an avid gamer, too, and often uses his pseudonym Longshot for a lot of his online writings. The Dresden Files was later adapted for TV audiences.
45 Junot Díaz
Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American writer who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a creative writing professor. He is also known for his association with the quarterly political and literary magazine Boston Review, where he works as a fiction editor. In 2017, he was made an inductee of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who despite being afflicted motor neurone disease that severely limited his physical abilities, was able to build a phenomenally successful career. He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking was ranked 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2002.
47 Martin Amis
Martin Amis is a British novelist, memoirist, screenwriter, and essayist whose memoir, Experience, earned him the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2000. Martin Amis' works have influenced several other British novelists like Zadie Smith and Will Self. In 2008, he was mentioned in The Times' list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Madeleine L'Engle soared to fame with her Newbery Medal-winning bestselling young adult novel A Wrinkle in Time, which was made into a Disney film later. Born to a writer father and a pianist mother, L’Engle had penned her first story at age 5 and had also tried her luck in theater.
49 Will Self
Will Self is an English author, political commentator, journalist, and broadcaster. Apart from writing novels and short stories, Self also contributes to major publications like The New York Times, Harper's, The Guardian, and the London Review of Books. Over the years he has also contributed as a columnist for publications like The Times, Observer, and the Evening Standard.
50 Jack Vance
Jack Vance initially dabbled in a variety of subjects, such as mining engineering, physics, and journalism. The Hugo- and Nebula-winning science-fiction and fantasy author, known for works such as The Man in the Cage, later went blind but wrote with the help of a software. He was also an amateur sailor.