The Top 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Writers

It was a painful vote for many of you, especially to narrow it down from over one hundred nominations to the top ten sci-fi writers of all time. As so many of you pointed out, there are wonderful writers that should have been on the list! But, according to our tallies here on the Discover Sci-Fi blog, and over on the Facebook group these were the top 10 writers you all voted for, interestingly, in a slightly different order on Facebook than on the blog.

If you'd like to view the original nomination list here on the blog, you can find it here.

Of course, it's impossible to really list all the great works of these phenomenal writers, so we've just chosen one to highlight, but please, share with us your favorites in the comments below!

And now, without further ado, here are the top 10 writers in order from tenth to the very best sci-fi writer of all time (according to you!)!

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our Facebook group and on our blog.


10. Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl (1919 – 2013) had an illustrious career spanning nearly 75 years. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards among many other awards. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms including Charles Satterfield, Paul Flehr, Ernst Mason, Jordan Park (two collaborative novels with Kornbluth), and Edson McCann (one collaborative novel with Lester del Rey). One of his later works, The Last Theorem, he worked on with Arthur C. Clarke, another writer on this list!

It was The Space Merchants with which Pohl blasted onto the literary scene, writing it while he was fighting during World War II. As would become his future style, The Space Merchants demonstrates his uncanny trend-forecasting style for futurism and satire. An author within a genre that wasn't really a genre for another decade or so.

Share some of your other favorites of Pohl's incredibly long and varied career in the comments below. And if you're looking for The Space Merchants, you can find it on Amazon, here.


9. Larry Niven

Larry Niven (1938 – ) has won Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, Nebula awards, among others. (You're going to see a lot of award winners on this list!) He has written numerous novels and short stories, beginning with his 1964 story “The Coldest Place”. His other writing endeavours have included TV scripts and also writing for the DC Comics character Green Lantern!

One of his most famous books (which became a series) is Ringworld. The concept is based on his idea of a kind of Dyson sphere world, in this case, a Ringworld: a band of material, roughly a million miles wide, of approximately the same diameter as Earth's orbit, rotating around a star. This influenced Iain M. Banks in his Culture series, which features about 1/100th ringworld–size megastructures.

As a mega sci-fi influencer there are many other works we could have highlighted to demonstrate Niven's influence on the sci-fi genre. Want to recommend some others? Drop a line in the comments below. You can find book one of Niven's influential Ringworld series on Amazon here.


8. Anne McCaffrey

We are so proud to have Anne McCaffrey (1926 – 2011) on this list as she is the only woman to have made this top 10 list… something we hope to see changing over the coming years as more female authors get exposure. McCaffrey held a 46-year career as a writer, and she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award.

She is probably best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Marvellously, her 1978 novel The White Dragon (the third in the series) became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list. Another favorite that we've shared when McCaffrey was on our top 10 list of favorite bio-tech enhancements was The “Brain & Brawn Ship series” (or Brainship or Ship series) which starts with The Ship Who Sang.

Please share with us your other McCaffrey favorites in the comments below. And you can find the first book of the Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonflight) series on Amazon, here.


7. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) worked in a number of genres, including fantasy, horror and mystery fiction, but is perhaps best known for his science-fiction. He was the recipient for numerous awards, including a Pulitzer citation, and had an impact crater on the Earth's moon named Dandelion Crater by the Apollo 15 (1972) astronauts, in honor of his novel Dandelion Wine!

One of his most famous works is Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian science-fiction novel in which television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, since rather than putting fires out, firemen start them, and have burned almost all the books known to have existed. This kind of dystopic, societal-critique is a common theme in Bradbury's work, including in his many short stories.

It's terribly hard to choose just one Bradbury work to feature, and his Martian Chronicles would be the next we would choose. Do you have another recommendation? Share it with us below!

And you can find Fahrenheit 451 on Amazon, here.


6. H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946) is often referred to as the “father of science fiction” alongside Jules Verne. He wrote in many genres and, as many of these great authors, was a social critic and wrote about politics. The science fiction historian John Clute describes Wells as “the most important writer the genre has yet seen”, and notes his work has been central to both British and American science fiction.

A renowned futurist and “visionary”, Wells foresaw the advent of aircraft, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the World Wide Web. His first novel was The Time Machine, a science fiction tale about a gentleman inventor living in England, who traverses first thousands of years and then millions into the future, before bringing back the knowledge of the grave degeneration of the human race and the planet.

As a prolific author, it's hard to recommend just one of his titles. What do you think, have you read this one, or do you prefer one of his others? Share in the comments below. And as always, you can find The Time Machine on Amazon, here.


5. Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert (1920 – 1986) held a number of other titles (ecological consultant, photographer, journalist, etc.) as well as being a famous science-fiction author. As with many other of these great authors, Herbert's debut on the sci-fi scene was with a short story, “Looking for Something”, in 1952. Herbert was the first science fiction author to popularize ideas about ecology and systems thinking. He stressed the need for humans to think both systematically and long-term.

Herbert's novel Dune is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time, and the whole series is widely considered to be among the classics of the genre. The novel originated when he was supposed to do a magazine article on sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon. He became too involved and ended up with far more raw material than needed for an article. The article was never written, but instead planted the seed that led to Dune.

The Dune series is a marvelous one, but he wrote several others, including some that were published posthumously. Do you have a preference for one of his other works? Please let us know about it!

And you can find the first novel in the Dune saga on Amazon, here.


4. Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick (1928 – 1982), sometimes known as PKD, also wrote under a couple pen names, including Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland. He started publishing science fiction in 1951 but it wasn't until 1962 when he published the alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle that Dick earned acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.

A variety of popular Hollywood films based on Dick's works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Meanwhile, the novel The Man in the High Castle (1962) was made into a multi-season television series by Amazon, starting in 2015.

The movie Blade Runner (1982) is now a classic, and the novel that inspired it Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a thrilling one, published in 1968 in the middle of Dick's heyday. It's a prescient novel to read (or re-read) now, since it is set in 2021, when the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.

Philip K. Dick's works are stunning and thought-provoking. What are some of your favorites? Mention them in the comments below. Or check out Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? on Amazon, here.


3. Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist,[3] inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He was made a Knight Bachelor “for services to literature” at a ceremony in Colombo.

Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel and he is famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke was a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability. 2001: A Space Odyssey, was extended well beyond the 1968 movie as the Space Odyssey series. This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.

What are your other favorites of Clarke's? Share them below and check out 2001: A Space Odyssey, the first in the Space Odyssey series, on Amazon, here.


2. Robert Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein is another author who has made our top 10 lists multiple times, including top military sci-fi books and top sci-fi books of all time. The favorite around here is often Starship Troopers.

Heinlein was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer. Sometimes called the “dean of science fiction writers,” he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally. And rightfully so! His work has appeared in almost every one of the top 10 lists we host here on this blog.

Heinlein used his science fiction as a way to explore provocative social and political ideas, and to speculate how progress in science and engineering might shape the future of politics, race, religion, and sex. Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the nature of sexual relationships, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.

What are your other favorites of Heinlein's? Share them below and check out Starship Troopers, here.


1. Isaac Asimov

We heard you! With over 500 total votes, Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) was the resounding top science fiction favorite of all of us Discover Sci-Fi readers.

Asimov was one the world's most celebrated and prolific science fiction writers, having written or edited more than 500 books over his four-decade career. His Foundation Trilogy is recognized by sci-fi fans everywhere as one of the greatest books in the genre. In 1966, the Foundation Trilogy received the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, beating out the Lord of the Rings.

Some well-deserved praise for Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series:

“A true polymath, a superb rationalist, an exciting and accessible writer in both fiction and nonfiction, Isaac Asimov was simply a master of all he surveyed.”Greg Bear

“Asimov served wondrous meals-of-the-mind to a civilization that was starved for clear thinking about the future. To this day, his visions spice our ongoing dinner-table conversation about human destiny.” David Brin

What are your other favorites of Asimov's? Share them below and check out the Foundation Trilogy on Amazon.

So… What do you think of that list? Did you agree with all of the books chosen on this list? Join us here in our Facebook group to chime in on the debate, and then check out our most recent poll while you're there. Don't have Facebook? You can share your views in the comments below.

*Some book-related copy in this post was pulled from Amazon & Wikipedia.

61 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    Thanks for such a great list and quite a few books I must now read.
    It’s interesting to note, and I don’t think you have anywhere, that only one of the authors is still alive. Is it going to be difficult for today’s writers to push the greats off the list?

    Reply
    • John Christianson
      John Christianson says:

      Larry Niven is a god among men and it will be a sad day when it is his time to go. I was going to reference his book Inferno but I’m afraid that some who haven’t read it might take what I way wrong.

      Reply
  2. Sean Patrick Alexander
    Sean Patrick Alexander says:

    This is a great list, I wish that Marion Zimmer Bradley had made it as well as Mercedes Lackey, and David Weber. Thank you for these polls.

    Reply
    • John Christianson
      John Christianson says:

      I love Marion Zimmer Bradley and when it comes to female scifi writers she would be second place right behind Anne McCaffrey but with so many greats on the list I would be hard pressed to replace any but maybe Pohl for Verne and that is only because Verne needs to be on there

      Reply
      • Johann Mitchell
        Johann Mitchell says:

        I also like women writers, and I’m amazed that Loia McMaster Bujold is not included here.

        She seems to be a master of the military SF, but has characters that are amazingly human.

        Reply
  3. Chip G. Younkin
    Chip G. Younkin says:

    Although my body is physically confined to this planet, through all of the above authors I have traveled and explored the entire Universe both in space and in mind. There are many fantastic authors who are not on this list. I guarantee you that 20 years ago this would have been a very different list and 20 years from now it will be an entirely new list. I am very grateful to ALL of you authors out there – past, present and future. My mind and world view has been expanded by you. Please, keep blowing our minds away.

    Reply
    • Wayne Maus
      Wayne Maus says:

      I had the privilege or meeting Isaac Asimov several years ago when he was in Philadelphia. He signed a copy of Foundations Edge for me. It is a prized possession.

      Reply
      • Eleanor Forman
        Eleanor Forman says:

        I met him many years ago at my first SF convention. He offered to sign any body part I might wish. I declined his offer.

        Reply
  4. N. Scott Pearson
    N. Scott Pearson says:

    While I could quibble about the order of the writers within the list, I think that you have nailed the top ten dead on. As an older (60’s) reader, I can attest to the impact that these authors had on my life, drawing me into the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres and holding me there. I too could name a number of authors that should get honorable mention. Perhaps a top-25 list would be more appropriate (though the arguing would take a *lot* longer!).

    Reply
  5. Peter Bruyns
    Peter Bruyns says:

    I voted for Issamov but it could easily have been A.E van Goch. (Bad spell). MZ Bradley wrote some excellent books! By the way, I have ALL the 10 listed books. My dad passed on some and I bought the others. The Dune series is longer than one thinks and Hubert junior has continued the series as well.

    Reply
  6. Dee White
    Dee White says:

    I’m surprised that Andre Norton isn’t on the list, but I’m happy with the ones you have. Anne McCaffrey and her dragonriders were my introduction to Science Fiction. I enjoy her Tower & the Hive series also. Looks like I need to go to my library again, because there are a couple of authors here that I’ve never read.

    Reply
    • Mark Canty
      Mark Canty says:

      I definitely rate ‘The Tower and the Hive’/Talent series up there with the Dragonriders, and I first discovered Anne McCaffery back when I was about 14 from the Dragonriders of Pern. The Crystal singers are also enjoyable. With a longer list, I might also have wanted to maybe see an honourable mention for elizabeth Moon.

      Reply
    • Chartreuxe
      Chartreuxe says:

      Where are the women? A WOMAN, Margaret Cavendish, wrote the FIRST sci fi novel in 1666. THE BLAZING WORLD was a portal story.

      What about Mary Shelley, who wrote FRANKENSTEIN? Pat Cadigan predicted the Internet & implants in her cyberpunk-creating book, SYNNERS.

      What about Tanith Lee, who was the first woman to win the August Derleth Grandmaster Award in British fantasy & sci fi?

      Fritz Lang’s wife wrote METROPOLIS. Thea von Harbou is her name. She worked on the screenplay as well. The film was based on HER writing.

      Virginia Woolf’s book ORLANDO was published in 1928. Orlando, the protagonist, a wealthy young man awakes one morning to discover himself changed into a woman.

      Leigh Bracket wrote the original script for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. She wrote books, too. Her dystopian novel is fascinating.

      Kate Wilhelm’s book, WHERE LATE THE SWEET BIRDS SANG won the Locus & the Hugo awards in 1977. Zenna Henderson’s books about THE PEOPLE are another series that deserve inclusion.

      I could go on but surely my point is made. 😡

      We women make up 51% of the population. Only 10% of this list is a made up by a single solitary woman. Women exist, we create and we’ve been writing since the written word. A token woman on this list is another example of the current white entitled male culture.

      Whomever created this list is not well-read. Women continue to be marginalized in this the 21st Century in this millennium. Appalling.

      Reply
      • Jonathan
        Jonathan says:

        These were the results of a poll. Of course there are many incredible writers who are women in this genre. Are you suggesting they disregard the results and arbitrarily insert 51% women writers here?

        Reply
        • Baron Greystone
          Baron Greystone says:

          As you say, Jonathan. Since it’s a post of the results of a reader poll, it’s funny when commentators take offense at the results, as if some authors were “slighted.” I didn’t know about the poll, so I didn’t get to vote, but I tried making my own list of “masters” today and easily ran up to almost thirty candidates. Not necessarily including my own personal favorites, because that’s not what the poll is about. As to those who comment that the consensus is “older” authors, if you’re voting for the absolute best, how can you imagine that those who established the field in the first place wouldn’t dominate the results? Should they be disqualified because they’ve passed on? It’s like voting for the top ten musical composers of all time, and then discarding Mozart because he’s “old.” Really? You like Beyonce, so she should be one of the top ten? If you want to list your own subjective favorite artists of any kind, no problem, have fun. But if we’re purportedly talking about he greatest, most talented, most influential, most ground-breaking creators, then it’s going to be pretty hard to top the originators of the genre, the acknowledged masters. You can start off with this list; it’s pretty hard to argue…
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damon_Knight_Memorial_Grand_Master_Award

          Reply
      • Eleanor Forman
        Eleanor Forman says:

        Agreed. I nominated women, but they didn’t get enough votes. Women have found it harder to break into SF. Alice Sheldon had to start out writing ultramasculinely under a pseudonym, James Tiptree, Jr. The Golden Age of SF was aimed at 12 year old boys, so there are more grown boys voting based on what actually got published and pushed. Ursula K. Le Guin, Alice Sheldon, and others got cheated in this unscientific fictional poll.

        Reply
    • Edward Philipp
      Edward Philipp says:

      Andre Norton easily fits into this group or at least the top twenty. She made you love the way we (her characters) can learn and progress in life and skills. Her use of psychic abilities combined with hard science fiction intrigued me in a time when they were usually not used together. She drew me in when many others only excited me.

      This is a great list. I would put Eric Flint in the top 25 if there is to be one. I love his Ring of Fire/Asanti Shards series.

      Reply
  7. Brooke Gehring
    Brooke Gehring says:

    Andre Norton’s Star Rangers aka The Last Planet was the very first science fiction book I ever read while I was in elementary school and lead me down a wonderful path of many fantastic science fiction writers. Her body of work is amazing and I hoped she would have made the list.

    Reply
  8. Marla
    Marla says:

    I first read Asimov’s Foundation when I was registering for Hollywood High School. I loved Asimov but I thought he had no clue that women are not men in dresses. I still love Asimov!

    Reply
    • Neal Vandewalle
      Neal Vandewalle says:

      Great choice. Hyperion is a beautiful sci-fi Canterbury Tales. Simmons proves many times his love and appreciation for the western literary canon

      Reply
  9. Fletcher Hawkins
    Fletcher Hawkins says:

    I am now 70. Clarke, Bradbury and Andre Norton have all been a part of my world since I was eight. I have read every author on this list, and prefer Clarke to Asimov of Clarke’s Against the Fall of Night (later rewritten, if memory serves, as Childhood’s End) and because I despise politics. I agree with those who wanted a Top 25 list, because so many, like E.E. “Doc” Smith, David Drake, David Weber, John Ringo, Williamson, Pournelle and so many more deserve mention. But thank you for this!

    Reply
  10. Rachelle Lerner
    Rachelle Lerner says:

    I may not have read all the authors you listed. I have met many Science Fiction writers and artists at Philcon and World Cons. I was able to meet Andre Norton, James White, Hal Clement, and Asimov. I had read their works when I was younger but met them when I was older. My late husband had many more science fiction books than I did. I have been reading mysteries more in the present and not much science fiction.

    Reply
  11. George Stateson
    George Stateson says:

    I am astounded that Roger Zelazny did not even make the list. Winner of 11 combined Hugo and Nebula awards, author of “This Immortal,” “Lord of Light,” “Creatures of LIght and Darkness,” and the Amber series? After Tolkien’s “Lord of The RIngs,” the Amber books are the ones that I wish would be made into major motion pictures.

    Reply
  12. Robert Burke
    Robert Burke says:

    A top whatever list will always be a hard list to generate depending on who chimes in, and who just reads…..opinions will differ. With that in mind this top ten has some of the greats listed, and all who I have read pieces from. Some like Frank Herbert’s Dune took me about three tries to finally get into and immensely enjoy. Somewhere down the list, I would have to selfishly add Alan Dean Foster. His Commonwealth/Pip and Flinx, Icerigger, Star Trek and Star Wars movie novelizations (plus the ever forgotten Splinter of the Mind’s Eye) really stood toe to toe in pulling me into all those Science Fiction novels many a year ago.

    Reply
  13. Shelby Michlin
    Shelby Michlin says:

    I only”discovered” YOU when this article came up on my news feed. Glad to see so many grand masters here, but while I might quibble over a few I’m astonished that Harlan Ellison isn’t here. Also I would have swapped McCaffrey out to include Andre Norton instead. IAC, kudos for having readers familiar with the history of SF. While newer authors have produced some classics too, the longer the genre exists the less room there is in something like a “Top 10” list.

    Reply
  14. Meg Olsen
    Meg Olsen says:

    I’m baffled by how you could leave Jules Verne off a list like this. He virtually invented the genre. And speaking of virtual, where’s William Gibson? I think you need a bigger list!

    Reply
    • Nex Prager
      Nex Prager says:

      Yeah, Jules Verne is the obvious missing author here! Sci fi for a long time was either Verne optimism or Wells pessimism. I see those two to sci fi as say Plato and Aristole are to philosophy. They laid the groundwork by disagreeing on everything!

      Reply
    • John Christianson
      John Christianson says:

      I would probably replace Frederick Pohl with Jules Verne for a perfect top ten list since I seriously can’t see replacing any other when you consider literary impact

      Reply
  15. Volker Tristram
    Volker Tristram says:

    I remember fondly the ROBOT series by Asimov. Actually, I like them better than the Foundation trilogy.

    Reply
  16. Blue Biro
    Blue Biro says:

    I was surprised to see Anne McCaffrey but not Ursula LeGuin – a much more significant SF author imo. Pleasantly surprised to see Pohl as I loved the early Gateway books.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. I enjoyed McCaffrey, but to me, after a few books in any of her series that I have read, it just seems like more of the same thing.

      Reply
  17. Johann Mitchell
    Johann Mitchell says:

    Another great series from Anne McCaffrey is actually two series. She wrote the Doona books first, and then wrote The Death of Sleep, Sassinak, and The Planet Pirates, which then segue into the Doona books.

    If you’re looking for great books written by women check out Lois McMaster Bujold’s work, particularly starting with Shards of Honor and Barrayar. There are a lot of other books in the series. Look for “Miles Vorkosigan” on the cover.

    Reply
  18. Ken Kendall
    Ken Kendall says:

    I voted for Robert Heinlein. I loved his work and he and Ray Bradbury got me into science fiction. My two favorite books of Heinlein’s are “Glory Road” and Stranger in a “Strange Land”, both of which I read in high school and many times since.

    Reply
  19. Alex Kallend
    Alex Kallend says:

    Just wondering – these are all old authors. Are you really telling me that all the best science fiction has already been written? That no one who was primarily active in the last 20 years makes the cut? This is like one of Rolling Stone’s “top albums” lists that seemingly stops in the 70s, as if nothing recorded in the last 50 years could possibly compare to Sgt Peppers.

    Reply
  20. BCL1
    BCL1 says:

    When I saw the title, I was expecting to see a list of more recent authors. Surprisingly, though this list is not fashionably trendy. I have read almost every book that you mentioned under each authors name (with the exception of your #10).

    Reply
    • Baron Greystone
      Baron Greystone says:

      You haven’t read Pohl?! Read Gateway. It won the 1978 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1978 Locus Award for Best Novel, the 1977 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1978 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

      Reply
  21. Sean Patrick Alexander
    Sean Patrick Alexander says:

    I have read all of the authors and books on this list and yes they are mostly older authors, however, that probably has a lot to do with those of us that voted in the poll. maybe we need a poll of The Best Science Fiction Author of the last twenty years?

    Reply
    • Eric Copeland
      Eric Copeland says:

      That’s not a bad idea at all. For that matter, a list of top women sci-fi authors wouldn’t be out of place. Others have mentioned Le Guin, L’Engle, Cherryh, and Cadigan, among others, in addition to McCaffrey, but there’s certainly enough talent there to make a solid list.

      Reply
  22. Wolf
    Wolf says:

    I would have had Heinlein, the master first. Then PKD, Asimov, Bradbury, Wells, Herbert, L’Engle,(can’t remember how to spell her name) Verne, Shelley, S.M. Stirling.

    Reply
  23. Nan McVicker
    Nan McVicker says:

    I’m stunned and saddened that the late Ursula LeGuin is not among the top 10. Her magnificent stories (” The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”) and novels (The Left Hand of Darkness) have quietly influenced many other writers.

    Reply
  24. Bob Brandon
    Bob Brandon says:

    I understand most of you are to young to remember E. E. Doc. Smith. If you read his books you will see he was at the fore front of modern Sci-fi He should be on this list.

    Reply
  25. Sean Patrick Alexander
    Sean Patrick Alexander says:

    The problem with E.E. Doc Smith is that a lot of his books are hard to find, and aren’t in the public eye. I read his books back in my youth and again just a few years ago.

    Reply
  26. Baron Greystone
    Baron Greystone says:

    I first read Smith’s Lensman series in the mid 70s. (My brother was reading the Skylark series at the time). I had fun with it. The covers at the time, the white-bordered ones, I found particularly evocative. But I tried re-reading them a few years back, after I learned that they were one of MAR Barker’s inspirations for Tekumel. I struggled through the first one, and maybe the second, nut although I’m often compulsive I just couldn’t force myself to continue. I just didn’t find his style enjoyable any more. By way of comparison, I’ve also recently re-read Norton and Asimov and Tubb and Burroughs, and I still find them as enjoyable as ever. So, Smith isn’t on my Masters list.

    Reply
  27. Carolyn a Atkinson
    Carolyn a Atkinson says:

    Andre’ Norton was a GREAT woman writer. I thought she was a man for years with the first name. I lived for her books in middle and high school. She was my first introduction to science fiction.

    Reply
  28. Ed Golden
    Ed Golden says:

    Started reading sci-fi with Heinlein’s Red Planet in Boy’s Life and have been reading the genre ever since. Think I’ve read something by every author mentioned — and in general the comments are pretty accurate in my estimation although my list would run slightly differenttly— but that would be quibbling. I’m still reading contemporary sci-fi; sadly, few of the new authors have the vision and communication ability of the “old”authors. And the editing is atrocious!

    Reply
  29. Barry Rabichow
    Barry Rabichow says:

    I was surprised and disappointed to find that Ursula Le Guin did not make this list. IMHO, I think she ranks with Asimov, Herbert, Dick, and Heinlein.

    Reply

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