Top 15 Greatest Science Fiction Writers of All-Time Comments -


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ConstantGeographer 2/2/2009 3:26:37 PM

Good list. Gibson is where he belongs, for the time being. Time will tell.

Also, not only should Brian Herbert walk away from Dune, but somebody, please tell Kevin J Anderson to walk away period. Everything he touches turns to suck.

BlatchSkree 2/3/2009 3:20:02 PM

I'm surprised L. Ron Hubbard doesn't get a mention. His works are the basis for an entire religion. I'm no scientologist, but isn't that a fairly significant achievement.

yeremenko 2/4/2009 6:05:43 PM

G,day it is good to see the pioneers of such a great genre. The pc gaming world is still a new art genre too. I liked the advent of comic books which helped bring about changes in peoples perspectives.I love sci-fi writing and have a novel called Doom Of The Shem. Doom Of The Shem is a science fiction novel that incorporates the horror of military action with the unavoidable hostilities that occur when an alien species invade a planet in search of food. The barbarity of war is brought to light by the work achieved by the nurses and medical personnel of the planets inhabitants. While a full blown military action story emerges from an ensuing war that involves the whole planet. It is especially centered on a squad of the planets army forces, who fight the alien invaders.

Gargoyle 2/5/2009 7:02:47 AM

I'd agree that Baxter (if he keeps writing) will make this list.  My first thought after the article was Crichton, but can agree that he, like Turtledove, really can't be listed as a pure SF writer.  Piers Anthony came to mind, but he's probably more noted as a Fantasy writer, and even as SF probably wouldn't make the top 15.

AriochRIP 2/9/2009 2:13:53 PM

I realize he won an out of court settlement, but saying that the Terminator was "based on" two of Ellison's stories is really a stretch.  Even the credit that he won does not claim that.  I don't mean that to bash Ellison whatsoever - on my list, Ellison would probably be #1 or 2.  Very worthy list.

Arct00rus 3/2/2009 12:47:28 PM

Well I hate to be a curmudgeon, but I don't think it's much of a list.  I wish you'd been more accurate with your title and called it "14 Most Influential American Science Fiction Writers since 1926, Arthur C. Clarke"; I'd have much less to argue with then.  But you say "Of All Time" and I guess just assume that nobody will care that you don't list anybody not writing in English, or anybody whose work pre-dates Smith's.  Saying "most people agree" that the "sci fi" era began in 1926 doesn't cut it.

Anyway I won't deny the importance of most of these writers, though the majority of them are important far more for their ideas than the quality of their prose - Dick, Bradbury, Ellison, LeGuin and possibly Herbert are the only ones I'd call "great writers."  But "sci fi" doesn't demand good writing still, and it certainly didn't in Smith's day.  At any rate, apart from the ones I mentioned, I'd probably drop everybody else on your list in favor of

Gene Wolfe, Stanlislaw Lem, the Strugatsky brothers, Jack Vance, James Tiptree Jr, Olaf Stapledon, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, David Lindsay and Samuel R. Delany.

And I'll admit that's certainly very limited as well (why'd you just pick 15?  Maybe if you'd picked 50 or 100 it would have been a more interesting list) but it does show that SF isn't just limited to a bunch of American writers born between 1890 and 1940 or so...

Anyway I don't mean to be nasty - I just hate it when I see "great" lists like this and they are so extraordinarily limited in scope.  It's like best movie lists that only include Oscar winners or best music lists that ignore anything before The Beatles (or anything before Radiohead).   "Best of All Time" just doesn't mean Americans of the past 80 years, I'm sorry.

neglet 3/4/2009 12:04:26 PM

I'd call this list the best/most influential SF writers of the 20th century, because it looks no different than if you had compiled it in 1980. It's also a shame you didn't give consideration to any women on your "missed the cut list," because any of the following deserve thought:

  • Connie Willis, 6 Nebulas, 10 Hugos
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, 3 Nebulas, 4 Hugos,
  • Nancy Kress, 3 Nebulas, 1 Hugo, 2 Campbells
  • Octavia Butler, 2 Nebulas, 2 Hugos, MacArthur "Genius" grant

And that's just off the top of my head.



GeneralDisarray 4/11/2009 11:14:29 PM

I was happy to see the Honourable Mention to Douglas Adams.

tyroniko 6/19/2009 12:59:16 PM

I understand that in this talented group not everyone can make the top 15, but... Not even an honourable mention for Dan simmons? His Hyperion Cantos is, in my opinion, one of the most superb works of Science Fiction ever written.

asromatifoso 3/20/2010 7:17:45 AM

 Gibson should be on the list.

Delany should be on the list.

Neal Stephenson should be on the list.

Bruce Sterling should be an honorable mention.


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