The Greatest Science Fiction Writers of All Time, According to Ranker
In many ways, science fiction is one of the most difficult genres to write, because you have to strike a delicate balance between creating a unique and creative fictional world, but basing it on scientific reason and logic that makes it credible.
What really makes sci-fi writers a league of their own is that they can do all of this without direct experience with crazy ideas like traveling in space or interacting with robots it all comes from the power of their mind. There are plenty of fantastic sci-fi writers out there, but Ranker’s vast community of experts stepped in to vote on the best sci-fi writers of all time.
ten Stanislaw Lem
Born in Lwów, Poland, during the interwar period, Stanisław Lem came from a wealthy Jewish family, but his life was turned upside down by World War II and the Holocaust. Lem survived the war and started writing science fiction novels, although he had to endure a lot of censorship in the new communist state of Poland.
With the thaw of communist censorship in the late 1950s, Lem’s works propelled him to international fame, with many critics praising his satirical tone and exploration of philosophical themes of extraterrestrial technology. His most famous work is the 1961 novel Solariswhich has been adapted for film several times, and follows a group of astronauts at a remote research station as they attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.
9 Ursula K. Le Guin
Best known for the creator of the series of high fantasy novels set in the fictional world of earthseaUrsula K. Le Guin also found great success in her series of science fiction novels hainesestarting with The left hand of darkness. the hainese the novels speculated that humans did not originate from earth, but are instead interstellar settlers from long ago.
A major theme in Le Guin’s writings was the sociocultural effect of sex and gender norms, particularly through the lens of the ambisexual race of the Gethenians. Le Guin’s diverse novels and short stories explore a wide range of topics from feminism to Jungian psychology.
8 Frank Herbert
The author of the best-selling science fiction novel of all time, Dunesand its five sequels, Frank Herbert began writing for pulp science fiction magazines in the 1950s before he was inspired to begin his seminal series about the war for a priceless desert planet.
Dunes was published in 1965 to overwhelmingly positive critical reception, with many stating that Dunes was the best science fiction novel ever written. Dunes has inspired many famous sci-fi films and has been adapted many times, most recently in Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 remake.
7 Philip K. Dick
best known for blade runner, The Man in the High Castleand Total recall, Philip K. Dick is a controversial figure in the field of science fiction. He was the progenitor of paranoid fiction, which seeks to distort reality through seemingly external and internal forces, such as mental illness, paranoia, and hallucinations.
Growing up, he had several unexplained paranormal experiences, which had a profound impact on his later writing. Many of Philip K. Dick’s novels have since been adapted into a variety of media, from blade runner movies at amazon The Man in the High Castle series.
6 HG Wells
Known as the “Father of Science Fiction”, HG Wells honed his craft during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, during which breakthrough inventions and sciences such as radio, microbiology and airplanes were developing. Some of Wells’ most famous works include The time machine, The invisible Manand War of the Worlds.
War of the Worlds was particularly influential on society and infamously led to mass hysteria and panic during a dramatized radio broadcast in 1936, and his work is still adapted for the screen today.
5 Ray Bradbury
A master of the genre in science fiction, Ray Bradbury incorporated suspense, mystery, horror and fantasy into his extensive body of work, which included mostly short story collections and a few novels, such as Fahrenheit 451which has been adapted for film and television several times.
Bradbury mainly worked in “Speculative Fiction”, which required the author to come up with ready-made elements from scratch that do not exist in reality. He is still one of the most influential dystopian authors of all time.
4 Jules Verne
If HG Wells is the “father of science fiction”, then Jules Verne is the grandfather. Writing in the Victorian era of mass industrialization and new scientific breakthroughs, Verne wrote many of the earliest science fiction novels such as 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
In many ways, Jules Verne paved the way for all future science fiction writers. Verne’s work, which blended 19th century scientific technology and Victorian sensibilities, also inspired the ever-popular Steampunk subgenre.
3 Robert A. Heinlein
A pioneer of the science fiction genre “Hard Science Fiction”, Robert A. Heinlein came from a scientific background as an aeronautical engineer and strived to maintain the utmost scientific accuracy and logical reasoning in his writings from science fiction.
Heinlein’s novel Starship Troopers influenced later “Space Marine” archetypes, including George Lucas’ Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers in star wars, and the Mecha Anime genre. His later works, such as Stranger in a strange land and enough time for loveexplored themes of freedom of expression, individual freedom and emotional love.
2 Arthur C. Clarke
A true Renaissance scientist, Arthur C. Clarke was not only an accomplished writer, but also an inventor, deep-sea explorer and proponent of satellite communications. He not only wrote about science fiction, but actively tried to make it a reality.
Clarke’s best-known work, the space odyssey book series, was written in tandem with Stanley Kubrick’s now-famous screen adaptation, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is widely considered to be the best science fiction film ever made. Clarke actually wrote both the screenplay and the 2001 novel around the same time, with the book coming out right after the movie was released.
1 isaac asimov
One of the most prolific science fiction writers of all time, Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books. Asimov came from humble beginnings, born into a Jewish family in Russia during the tumultuous period of the Russian Revolution. Asimov and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 3 years old and he grew up in New York.
Asimov became a professor of biochemistry at Boston University while writing science fiction novels, his writing quickly became recognized, especially his Foundation series, which won the Hugo Award for “Best Series of All Time” in 1966. Its Robot short story series was also very popular, with I robot be adapted to the cinema in 2004, with Will Smith. Asimov was also well known for writing popular science books on physics, biology, and astronomy.
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