Famous 20th Century Science Fiction Writers

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 1 
Isaac Asimov
(Writer Best Known for His Hard Science Fiction Novels and Professor of Biochemistry)
Isaac Asimov
8
Birthdate: January 2, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia
Died: April 6, 1992

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.

 2 
Philip K. Dick
(American Science Fiction Writer)
Philip K. Dick
8
Birthdate: December 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 2, 1982

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.

 3 
H. G. Wells
(British Author Who Has Been Called the 'Father of Science Fiction')
H. G. Wells
6
Birthdate: September 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kent, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 13, 1946

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.

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 4 
Kurt Vonnegut
(Writer Known For His Satirical and Darkly Humorous Novels)
Kurt Vonnegut
14
Birthdate: November 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: April 11, 2007

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.  

 5 
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke
(Science-Fiction Writer Known for His Novels: ‘Childhood's End’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and ‘Rendezvous with Rama’)
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minehead, Somerset, England
Died: March 19, 2008
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his short story The Sentinel, which became the basis of the screenplay of Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke spent the final years of his life in Sri Lanka and hosted shows such as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World.
 6 
Douglas Adams
(Author of the BBC Radio Comedy Series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy")
Douglas Adams
12
Birthdate: March 11, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: May 11, 2001

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.

 7 
Robert A. Heinlein
(American Novelist Best Known as the 'Dean of Science Fiction Writers')
Robert A. Heinlein
8
Birthdate: July 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Butler, Missouri, United States
Died: May 8, 1988

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.

 8 
Frank Herbert
(Science Fiction Author Best Known for His 1965 Novel 'Dune' & Its Sequels)
Frank Herbert
8
Birthdate: October 8, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, United States
Died: February 11, 1986

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.

 9 
Octavia Butler
(American Author Known for Her Science Fiction Novels)
Octavia Butler
12
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Died: February 24, 2006

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.

 10 
William Gibson
(Science-Fiction Writer Known for His Novel ‘Neuromancer’ and a Pinoeer of 'Cyberpunk' Genre)
William Gibson
10
Birthdate: March 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Conway, South Carolina, United States

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.

 11 
Stanisław Lem
(Polish Novelist Best Known for His Novel 'Solaris')
Stanisław Lem
7
Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. He was also a noted essayist who wrote on varied subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. His books, which have been translated into over 50 languages, have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. 

 12 
Ursula K. Le Guin
(American Author Best Known for Her Works of Speculative Fiction)
Ursula K. Le Guin
8
Birthdate: October 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: January 22, 2018

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.

 13 
Anne Rice
(American Author Best Known for Her Series of Novels ‘The Vampire Chronicles’)
Anne Rice
4
Birthdate: October 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
 14 
Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Creator of Tarzan)
Edgar Rice Burroughs
6
Birthdate: September 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 19, 1950
 15 
Dan Simmons
(American Science Fiction and Horror Writer Best Known for His 'Hyperion Cantos' Series)
Dan Simmons
3
Birthdate: April 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, United States

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.

 16 
Orson Scott Card
(American Writer Best Known for His Science Fiction Novel 'Ender’s Game')
Orson Scott Card
12
Birthdate: August 24, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Richland, Washington, United States

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.

 17 
Roger Zelazny
(American Poet, Short Story Writer, Science Fiction Writer and Novelist)
Roger Zelazny
3
Birthdate: May 13, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Euclid, Ohio, United States
Died: June 14, 1995

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.

 18 
Larry Niven
(American Science Fiction Writer Best-Known for His Novels: 'Ringworld' and 'Lucifer's Hammer')
Larry Niven
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 19 
Iain Banks
(Scottish Novelist and Science Fiction Writer)
Iain Banks
5
Birthdate: February 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dunfermline, Scotland
Died: June 9, 2013

While he began writing at age 11, Scottish author Iain Banks first gained fame with his first novel, The Wasp Factory. Known for his sci-fi tales, he has also been featured on various BBC radio and TV shows. He has also been associated with theater and is quite vocal about political issues.

 20 
Thomas Pynchon
(Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer)
Thomas Pynchon
6
Birthdate: May 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glen Cove

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.

 21 
William Golding
(Novelist)
William Golding
6
Birthdate: September 19, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newquay
Died: June 19, 1993

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

 22 
James Doohan
(Screenwriter, Television actor, Film actor, Actor, Novelist, Science fiction writer)
James Doohan
10
Birthdate: March 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vancouver
Died: July 20, 2005

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.

 23 
Piers Anthony
(Author Best Known for His Long-Running Novel Series Set in the Fictional Realm of 'Xanth')
Piers Anthony
9
Birthdate: August 6, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oxford, England

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.

 24 
John Wyndham
(Science-Fiction Writer Best Known for His Novels: 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'The Midwich Cuckoos')
John Wyndham
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dorridge, Warwickshire, England
Died: March 11, 1969

John Wyndham was an English writer best remembered for writing science fiction stories set in post-apocalyptic landscapes, such as The Day of the Triffids. His books have inspired other works of art like movies and radio. John Wyndham’s 1957 science fiction novel The Midwich Cuckoos was filmed twice under the title Village of the Damned.

 25 
Russell T Davies
(Screenwriter, Television producer, Science fiction writer)
Russell T Davies
8
Birthdate: April 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Swansea

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.

 26 
Bruce Boxleitner
(Best Known for His Roles in TV Series ‘How the West Was Won’ and ‘Bring 'Em Back Alive’)
Bruce Boxleitner
16
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Elgin, Illinois, United States

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.

 27 
Michael Moorcock
(English Writer Best-Known for His Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels)
Michael Moorcock
5
Birthdate: December 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Surrey, England

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.  

 28 
Samuel R. Delany
(Author and Literary Critic Best Known for His Novels: 'Babel-17' and 'The Einstein Intersection, Hogg')
Samuel R. Delany
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

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.

 29 
Liu Cixin
(Science fiction writer)
Liu Cixin
9
Birthdate: June 23, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yangquan, China

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.

 30 
Ted Chiang
(Science Fiction Writer Known for His Short Stories: ‘Division by Zero’, ‘Tower of Babylon’ and ‘Exhalation’)
Ted Chiang
7
Birthdate: April 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Port Jefferson, New York, United States

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.

 31 
Kim Stanley Robinson
7
Birthdate: March 23, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States
 32 
Jeffrey Archer
(Politician, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer, Children's writer)
Jeffrey Archer
10
Birthdate: April 15, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London

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.

 33 
Neal Stephenson
(Novelist)
Neal Stephenson
7
Birthdate: October 31, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Meade, Maryland, United States
 34 
Richard Matheson
(Writer, screenwriter, novelist, science fiction writer)
Richard Matheson
3
Birthdate: February 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Allendale, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 23, 2013
 35 
Grant Morrison
(Comics writer, Writer, Science fiction writer)
Grant Morrison
5
Birthdate: January 31, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Glasgow
 36 
Stephen Hawking
(Theoretical Physicist - First to Set Out a Theory of Cosmology)
Stephen Hawking
8
Birthdate: January 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: March 14, 2018

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.

 37 
George R. R. Martin
(Author of Epic Fantasy Novels 'A Song of Ice and Fire')
George R. R. Martin
4
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
George R. R. Martin wrote the epic fantasy series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the iconic Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Also known as the "American Tolkien," he was featured on TIME 100. He has earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, too.
 38 
J. Michael Straczynski
(Screenwriter, Film producer, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer)
J. Michael Straczynski
5
Birthdate: July 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paterson

The son of a manual laborer, J. Michael Straczynski grew up to graduate in psychology and sociology. Best known for writing the Marvel Comics series The Amazing Spider-Man, he has written for both TV and films, apart from authoring his own books and creating the sci-fi TV show Babylon 5.

 39 
Jack Vance
(American Mystery, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Writer Famous for His 'Dying Earth' Series)
Jack Vance
5
Birthdate: August 28, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: May 26, 2013

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.

 40 
Henry Darger
(Novelist, Artist, and Writer)
Henry Darger
5
Birthdate: April 12, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: April 13, 1973
Henry Darger was an American novelist, artist, and writer. He achieved posthumous fame when a 15,145-page fantasy novel of his was discovered after his death. Along with the novel, watercolor illustrations and several hundred drawings for the story was discovered. Henry Darger's artwork is now considered a fine example of outsider art.
 41 
Michael Chabon
(Writer, Essayist, Screenwriter, Novelist, Columnist, Science fiction writer)
Michael Chabon
9
Birthdate: May 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

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.

 42 
Harry Turtledove
(American Author Best Known for His Works: 'Southern Victory', 'Worldwar' and 'Crosstime Traffic')
Harry Turtledove
7
Birthdate: June 14, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

An expert in Byzantine history, author Harry Turtledove is known for his historical fiction and science-fiction books, such as How Few Remain and the Opening of the World series. Regarded as the “Master of Alternate History,” he has also won awards such as the Hugo Award for the Best Novella.

 43 
J. G. Ballard
(Novelist, Writer, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer)
J. G. Ballard
6
Birthdate: November 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shanghai
Died: April 19, 2009

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.

 44 
Junot Díaz
(Best Known for His Novel 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao')
Junot Díaz
7
Birthdate: December 31, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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.

 45 
Marion Zimmer Bradley
5
Birthdate: June 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: September 25, 1999
 46 
Anne McCaffrey
(American-Irish Writer Known for the 'Dragonriders of Pern' Science Fiction Series)
Anne McCaffrey
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: November 21, 2011

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.

 47 
Will Self
(Writer, Journalist, Novelist, Science fiction writer)
Will Self
7
Birthdate: September 26, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westminster

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. 

 48 
Vernor Vinge
(Computer scientist)
Vernor Vinge
4
Birthdate: October 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waukesha, Wisconsin, US
 49 
Nora Roberts
(Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer)
Nora Roberts
17
Birthdate: October 10, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Silver Spring

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.

 50 
Theodore Sturgeon
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States
Died: May 8, 1985