A Master List of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

The other day on Twitter I tweeted the following:

My intention was to capture a go-to list of authors that I can read, from various subgenres of fantasy and science fiction, and mostly from eras when a good story was considered more important than ham-fisted activist drivel masquerading as plot. An easy reference for when I’m in second-hand bookshops or surfing online, but more importantly, to compile a list of must-read authors that can be shared with other readers and in doing so, keep these authors’ names and stories alive for the next generation.

I still believe that part of the reason why fewer boys and young men read today than what they used to twenty or fifty years ago is due to the quality and nature of the stories currently being published by legacy publishers. Revisiting the old masters of pulp and authors of subsequent eras will reintroduce you to an exciting and diverse world of storytelling that celebrates beauty and optimism and rejects fatalism.

The response from my fellow Twitter users was amazing. A bunch of people responded with their suggestions and recommendations, as can be seen below.

I ended up with a list of over 70 90 94 names. Some authors here are from the wrong era but all-in-all, a solid list. And as promised, I compiled all the suggestions into a master list in this blog post, not just for posterity but also to share it with readers and visitors of this blog.

  1. Robert E. Howard
  2. Edgar Rice Burroughs
  3. Karl Edward Wagner
  4. Lester Dent
  5. Barry Hughart
  6. Manly Wade Wellman
  7. Leigh Brackett
  8. Henry Kuttner
  9. Edmond Hamilton
  10. Yoshiki Tanaka
  11. Hiroyuki Morioka.
  12. David Drake
  13. Frederik Pohl
  14. Lester del Rey
  15. A. E. van Vogt
  16. Cordwainer Smith
  17. Alfred Bester
  18. R. A. Lafferty
  19. Poul Anderson
  20. James Tiptree Jr.
  21. Octavia Butler
  22. Ursula K Le Guin
  23. H Rider Haggard
  24. Sax Rohmer
  25. Walter Brown Gibson, writing as Maxwell Grant
  26. Charles Williams
  27. Baroness Orczy
  28. Guy Boothby
  29. Robert Hugh Benson
  30. Raymond E Feist
  31. Lord Dunsany
  32. A. Merritt
  33. HP Lovecraft
  34. C. L. Moore
  35. Clark Ashton Smith
  36. Jack Vance
  37. Fritz Leiber
  38. Roger Zelazny
  39. E. C. Tubb
  40. H. Beam Piper
  41. Brian Aldiss
  42. Jerry Pournelle
  43. Tim Powers
  44. George Alec Effinger
  45. Fredric Brown
  46. Mick Farren
  47. Bruce Sterling
  48. Michael Swanwick
  49. Ben Aaronovitch
  50. David Wong
  51. Robert Anson Wilson
  52. Seabury Quin
  53. James Blish
  54. Walter M Miller
  55. Glen Cook
  56. Steven Erikson
  57. Robert Jordan
  58. CS Lewis
  59. JRR Tolkien
  60. Anne McCaffrey
  61. Andre Norton
  62. John Campbell
  63. Robert Heinlen
  64. Isaac Asimov
  65. Alan Dean Foster
  66. Orson Scott Card
  67. John Steakley
  68. Melanie Rawn
  69. Jack L Chalker
  70. KJ Parker
  71. Iain M Banks
  72. Jack London
  73. Arthur C Clarke
  74. Tanith Lee
  75. John Brunner
  76. Eric Flint
  77. Philip Jose Farmer
  78. Clifford Simak
  79. Ray Bradbury
  80. Michael Moorcock
  81. Gene Wolfe
  82. Ben Bova
  83. Jack Whyte
  84. Piers Anthony
  85. Dennis L. McKiernan
  86. Terry Brooks
  87. Gregory Benson
  88. George R.R. Martin
  89. Philip K. Dick
  90. Theodore Sturgeon
  91. Harlan Ellison
  92. Greg Bear
  93. Tad Williams
  94. Guy Gavriel Kay.

The list is way too long to discuss all the authors in one blog post. So what I thought I would do is tackle them the way I tackled Art of Fantasy and do a series of blog posts focusing on each of the authors on the list. Now I haven’t read all of them. A few of the names here are new to me. But then, my blog posts won’t review their work, just introduce each author and give a bit of background on their stories, and If I have read their work, give you my take. And then it is up to you to decide if you want to take a chance on the author.

Let me know what you think below.

Enjoy!

Woelf

(Updated to add 16 names. Will commence the new blog series in April 2020)

11 thoughts on “A Master List of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors

  1. Cool list, Wolf! I’m VERY pleased to see H. Rider Haggard on there. He influenced REH, JRRT, Doyle, ERB, Merritt, HPL, CAS, CS Lewis, Brackett, Poul Anderson, Moorcock and a plethora of other pre-1980 authors. Basically, no other genre author has had as much influence on SFF, especially fantasy. Plus, his novels are still perfectly good reads. Much better than the vast majority of SFF being published today.

    Here’s my own post on the man:

    https://dmrbooks.com/test-blog/2018/6/24/forefathers-of-sword-and-sorcery-h-rider-haggard

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know any better until about 5yrs ago. HRH is truly the fountainhead/missing link when it comes to SO much of the literature we love. His influence isn’t just in SFF (as it’s strictly counted). Sax Rohmer (and, by extension, Ian Fleming) and Michael Crichton were HRH fans. As I say in my post, Haggard basically gave birth to the entire macro-genre of “exotic adventure”. Modern authors like Cussler, Preston and Rollins should pay a tithe to HRH as well.

        Looking forward to your series. Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. After your comment I started researching him. He genuinely was responsible for so much of the future adventure tales we love and enjoy. I’m currently rereading King Solomon’s Mines and I’ve started writing the first post which features him and his work.

        Like

  2. Outstanding! I’m so glad you’re enjoying your read. I wasted a LOT of years not reading HRH. However, he wrote 60-70 novels, so that means I have a lot of great reading to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ran across you on Twitter today. Liked some nonsense I posted @wiz_is :thanks for the like. Noticed you’re a writer so thought I’d take a look. Studied writing for over a decade. Writers are often as interesting as what they write.

    My eyes aren’t what they used to be, so I do audiobooks mostly, but think I’ll add The Seals of Abgal to my list.

    I’m writing because you asked about writers. I see you have everyone I’d suggest already. Few authors or stories ever stay with me but a few stay forever. Asimov, of course, but Octavia Butler actually effected me physically reading https://smile.amazon.com/Dawn-Xenogenesis-Trilogy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B008HALOEQ/ Read it again 4-5 years ago and not so much, but the first time…

    Only recent book to effect me for months and months is Cure. https://sagelyfox.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-cure-by-douglas-e-richards.html. Richards is a relatively new & entirely a commercial style writer, but this one kept surprising me like “The Sixth Sense” did, except repeatedly. Been over 5 months & bet I’ve thought about it 3 or 4 times a week since reading it.

    It’s graphically horrible to begin with, but you’ll have reader’s whiplash more than once if you get to reading it.

    BTW. Memory sucks here too. Stopped statins & memory has improved a bit. I’ll see if I’ve been stupid in a month or so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the support and thanks for adding to the list. I’ve been meaning to do regular posts on each of the authors listed and I have started with Haggard (almost done actually), but you know how it is when juggling life and family while trying to dodge curveballs.

      With Seals of Abgal I tapped into Sumerian lore and channeled a bit of Lovecraft. Let me know what you think. I’ve looked at doing audiobooks but I live in New Zealand and audible is not yet available here.

      Anyway, thanks for visiting and following my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree on activism hampering vivid storytelling and reducing plot to political diatribes. Because of how trendy post-modernism has become, the kind of romanticism that fueled beautiful works like Lord of the Rings and inspired so many isn’t as mainstream today. Romanticism is seen by many to not as insightful or edgy as the cynical narratives that are so praised in the mainstream. At the end of the day, it’s the romantic that inspires. Let’s keep passing the romantic writers down the generations and hope that popular writers such as Brandon Sanderson keep the romantic alive in speculative fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

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