Famous American Science Fiction Writers

‘If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live. I wouldn’t brood. I’d rather type faster’ – that for you is Isaac Asimov, America’s one of ‘Big Three’ science fiction writers, others being Robert A Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke. The trio have till date exerted a great and lasting influence on the science fiction genre. Be it Asimov’s ‘Robot’ or ‘Foundation’ series, Clarke’s ‘Space Odyssey’ or Heinlein’s ‘Destination Moon’, the threesome laid the groundwork for most of the modern science fiction. What’s more, they have been guiding light and inspiration for many futurist science fiction authors of the present times. But the list for America’s topmost science fiction authors does not end here. There have been loads of other American writers who have virtually come up with ground-breaking novels in the genre of science fiction. William Gibson introduced to the world cyberspace with his book, ‘Neuromancer’. The fast-paced, high density, cyber-punk thriller captivated readers till the last word so much so that science fiction has never been the same again ever since the book came into being. Other exemplary writers of the genre include Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card and so on. Check this segment to discover interesting facts about American science fiction writers, their life, their works and their fantasies.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov
6
Famous As: Novelist, Professor
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

Philip K. Dick
4
Famous As: Novelist
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 Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
4
Famous As: Writer
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.  

 4 Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein
6
Famous As: Science Fiction Writer
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.

 5 Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 8, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, USA
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.

 6 Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler
8
Famous As: Science Fiction Writer
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.

 7 Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin
4
Famous As: Author
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.

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 8 Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton
6
Famous As: Author, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: October 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: November 4, 2008

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.

 9 Bruce Boxleitner

Bruce Boxleitner
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 10 Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs
4
Famous As: Creator of Tarzan
Birthdate: September 1, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 19, 1950

 11 Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon
4
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer
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.

 12 N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.

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.

 13 Andy Weir

Andy Weir
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 16, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Davis, California, USA

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.

 14 Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini
4
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Science fiction writer, Children's writer
Birthdate: November 17, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York

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.

 15 Roger Zelazny

Roger Zelazny
3
Famous As: Poet
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.

 16 Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card
6
Famous As: Novelist
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 Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons
3
Famous As: Fiction writer
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.

 18 Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Port Jefferson, New York

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.

 19 Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer
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.

 20 Larry Niven

Larry Niven
3
Famous As: Writer
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.

 21 Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 31, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fort Meade, Maryland, United States

 22 Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon
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Famous As: Writer, Essayist, Screenwriter, Novelist, Columnist, Science fiction writer
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.

 23 Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 26, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Independence, Missouri, USA

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.

 24 Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.

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.

 25 Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 23, 1952
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States

 26 George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin
0
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 27 Samuel R. Delany

Samuel R. Delany
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City New York, New York, US

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.

 28 Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Best known for writing the Twilight series, a New York Times bestseller which has also been made into a hit film franchise, Stephenie Meyer made it to Time 100 in 2008. Initially a receptionist, she had planned to attend law school. She and her husband, Christiaan, were childhood friends

 29 Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 29, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York,United States
Died: September 6, 2007

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.

 30 J. Michael Straczynski

J. Michael Straczynski
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer
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.

 31 Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 14, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

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.

 32 Marion Zimmer Bradley

Marion Zimmer Bradley
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: September 25, 1999

 33 Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson
3
Famous As: Writer, screenwriter, novelist, science fiction writer
Birthdate: February 20, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Allendale, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 23, 2013

 34 James Rollins

James Rollins
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: August 20, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 35 Jeff Vandermeer

Jeff Vandermeer
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, United States

Jeff Vandermeer is an American author, literary critic, and editor. Dubbed the King of Weird Fiction by The New Yorker, VanderMeer's works are renowned for eluding genre classifications as he often incorporates elements of postmodernism, New Weird, eco-fiction, and post-apocalyptic fiction into his writing. He has won many prestigious awards like World Fantasy Awards, Locus Award, and Nebula Award.

 36 Jack Vance

Jack Vance
3
Famous As: Writer
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.

 37 Ann Druyan

Ann Druyan
3
Famous As: Journalist, Film producer, Writer, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

 38 Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge
2
Famous As: Computer scientist
Birthdate: October 2, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waukesha, Wisconsin, US

 39 John Scalzi

John Scalzi
3
Famous As: Science Fiction Writers
Birthdate: May 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fairfield, California, USA

 40 Brian K. Vaughan

Brian K. Vaughan
3
Famous As: Comic Book Writer
Birthdate: July 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

 41 Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Philosopher, Essayist, Playwright, Psychologist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: January 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: January 11, 2007

 42 Chris Metzen

Chris Metzen
3
Famous As: Artist, Comics artist, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Voice actor, Visual artist, Author, Computer scientist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: November 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: United States of America

 43 Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Michael Shermer is an American historian of science and science writer. He is credited with founding The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization that aims at promoting scientific skepticism. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of the organization's magazine Skeptic. From 2001 to 2019, he was a major contributor to Scientific American magazine.

 44 Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: November 18, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City

Popular author of fantasy and science fiction, Alan Dean Foster has so far penned down eleven standalone novels apart from several book series. He is also known for novelizations of many film scripts, taking credits for most of them except Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, a novel that he ghostwrote, leaving the credit solely to George Lucas.

 45 Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 26, 1918
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States
Died: May 8, 1985

 46 Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 7, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: April 14, 2019

 47 James Dashner

James Dashner
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 26, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Austell, Georgia, United States

 48 David Brin

David Brin
2
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: October 6, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glendale, California, United States

 49 Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 28, 1988
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

 50 Greg Bear

Greg Bear
2
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States