Hello lovely humans. Today’s video is all about some great SF authors. I’ve spoken briefly in a previous video about how I’ve found that familiarity with author’s names or books can help us want to pick them up or spot them in the bookshop. Well, today I want to share with you a whole bunch of well known and not so well known SF authors and tell you a little tiny bit about them to share the love and introduce those new SF to some great names. And if you’re interested in trying some new things maybe you’ll pick them up too. Plus I’d really love to know if you’ve got any recommendations for more SF authors that I should know about or missed out. But enough ramble, let’s get going (a written version of the entire thing is below the video).
Ursula Le Guin – the obvious. No list is complete without her. An American born in 1929 and first published in the 1960s she is the undisputed queen of science fiction and fantasy. Her Hainish cycle of interlinked but standalone works incorporate some of her very best science fiction novels including The Left Hand of Darkness and Planet of Exile. Read her for beautiful prose and ideas bigger than the books.
Aliette de Bodard is a French-American author who writes some of the most enchanting but often dark short works of science fiction. In particular her Xuya universe set in an alternate history future of mindships and space stations controlled by human minds implanted into the technology.
C.J. Cherryh is an american author who has published over 60 novels since 1970s. Just woah. Her original degree was in classics and I feel like this shows through with the really deep way her worlds are drawn with histories and beliefs and languages that inform the present of their situation. One of her best known book is Downbelow Station which won the 1982 Hugo Award and is very good.
Octavia Butler is another one of science fiction great names. She published from the early 1970s until just before her death in 2006 exploring ideas about society, race, gender, alienation, all kinds of things and often using science fictional themes to reflect the lives of african-american in the 20th century.
Joanna Russ was an american writer of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction best known for her strong feminist stance. She wrote a lot of short fiction and literary criticism and was extremely critical of the male-dominated science fiction industry. Two of her best known works are The Female Man set on a world much like ours but with only one sex, and How to Suppress Women’s Writing a terrifyingly still relevant guidebook.
Kameron Hurley is an american writer I only discovered recently and her work is just so interesting. It’s this amazing combination of science fiction and fantasy brought together in brutal and cleverly imagined worlds that play with your ideas about society and technology and what science fiction and fantasy can be all at the same time.
James Tiptree Jr was an american science fiction author who is held up as the person who broke down the idea that science fiction writing was inherently gendered. Because James was actually Alice Sheldon. In addition to smashing people’s preconceptions when her identity was revealed her works also have astrong feminist voice and she has a literary award named in her honour.
Ann Leckie – moon of my life, my sun and stars, writer of the all award winning Ancillary Justice AKA the best book ever. Ever. In addition to the nearly complete imperial Radch series Leckie has been writing short fiction for many years and it is very very very good.
Lois McMaster Bujold is an american multi-Hugo award winning superduper star of SFF. She’s well known for both her fantasy series and her science fiction work. The Vorkosigan Saga is a huge sprawling series of space opera novels about an intergalactic mercenary spy detective guy. Fun times.
Pat Cadigan has been a science fiction editor and author of both novels and short fiction. She is usually known as a cyberpunk author – her writing is all wrapped up with the ideas of the human brain and its interaction with technology and how that affects our perceptions of reality.
Connie Willis is a science fiction author with a whole lot of awards to her name. 11 Hugos, a handful of Nebulas, and a bunch more. Probably best known for her works incorporating time travel she creates big seriously studied worlds that question the effect of technology on society but whilst also maintaining a sense of fun.
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of both science fiction and fantasy and works that blur the boundaries between. She brings in elements of mythology, fairytale and folklore and incorporates them into strangely familiar visions of the future.
Well there you go. That’s quite a long selection but far far from complete. Yes, I’m aware that this list turned out to be all women – and? It more than stands up to any other list of great authors I could have made so don’t even try and sulk. I’d love to hear your suggestion for great science fiction authors that I failed to include or don’t yet know about or if you’ve read any of these guys and want to squee about them then please talk to me in the comments or over on twitter.