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The Essentials of Modern Science Fiction

The following is a short list, featuring twenty of the most prominent and prolific authors of modern science fiction (from the mid-1970s through the early 2000s), whom you would commonly find on any list of this genre's "classics" or "essentials." A list of the "best" authors in any category has to be considered subjective under the best of circumstances -- particularly when many of these authors are competing against newer and more cutting-edge authors in today's market. However, based on the criteria of which authors' works have continued to stand the "test of time," whose works have remained relevant to contemporary readers, and which authors have contributed ground-breaking works to the science fiction field, the twenty authors listed here are a good place to start. Fans and/or students of Science Fiction are also encouraged to check in with any of our librarians for additional recommendations and thematic booklists!

classic. Among the best of a class, of the highest quality in a group...a work that endures. -- Harper Handbook to Literature

The author links in this booklist are to the complete listings of all materials in the Lincoln City Libraries' collections by these authors. The links connect directly to our library catalog, so that you may check on the current availability of titles. Covers shown below are relative samples of some of these authors' best-known works.

Douglas Adams

[1952-2001]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

HHGG'  Restaurant at the End of the Universe  Life the Universe and Everything  Dirk Gentley  Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul

Brian W. Aldiss

[1925-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Frankenstein Unbound'  Helliconia Spring  Helliconia Summer  Supertoys Last All Summer Long  White Mars

Iain M. Banks

[1954-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Consider Phlebas'  Look to Windward  Matter  Player of Games  Use of Weapons

Greg Bear

[1951-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Blood Music'  Darwin's Radio  Dinosaur Summer  Eon  [Slant]

Gregory Benford

[1941-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Cosm'  Great Sky River  The Martian Race  title  Worlds Vast and Various

David Brin

[1950-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Earth'  The Postman  Kiln People  Startide Rising  Sundiver

Lois McMaster Bujold

[1949-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Barrayar'  Brothers in Arms  Cryoburn  Falling Free  Young Miles

Octavia Butler

[1947-2006]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Bloodchild and Other Stories'  Fledgling  Kindred  Parable of the Talents  Wild Seed

Orson Scott Card

[1951-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Children of the Mind'  Ender's Game  Ender's Shadow  The Lost Gate  Speaker for the Dead

C.J. Cherryh

[1942-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

The Chanur Saga'  Defender  Hammerfall  Pretender  Collected Short Fiction

William Gibson

[1948-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Burning Chrome'  Idoru  Mona Lisa Overdrive  Neuromancer  Virtual Light

Joe Haldeman

[1943-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Accidental Time Machine'  Forever Free  Forever Peace  The Forever War  None So Blind

Ursula K. Leguin

[1929-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Birthday of the World'  The Dispossessed  Lathe of Heaven  The Left Hand of Darkness  A Wizard of Earthsea

Anne McCaffrey

[1926-2011]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Crystal Singer'  Dragondawn  Dragonsinger  Killishandra  Dinosaur Planet

Larry Niven

[1938-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Ringworld'  Three Books of Known Space  Ringworld Throne  N-Space  title

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

[1938-    ] [ See Wikipedia and Internet Speculative Fiction Database entries for each individual author ]

football'  Legacy of Heorat  Lucifer's Hammer  The Mote in God's Eye  Oath of Fealty

Jerry Pournelle

[1933-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Exiles to Glory  Janissaries'  King David's Spaceship  The Prince  Starswarm

Neal Stephenson

[1959-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Anathem'  Cryptonomicon  Snowcrash  System of the World  Zodiac

Vernor Vinge

[1944-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Children of the Sky'  A Deepness in the Sky  Marooned in Realtime  Rainbow's End  True Names

Connie Willis

[1945-    ]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

All Clear'  The Doomsday Book  Passage  Remake  To Say Nothing of the Dog

Roger Zelazny

[1937-1995]  [ Wikipedia entry for this author ]
[ Internet Speculative Fiction Database entry for this author ]

Damnation Alley'  Donnerjack  Doorways in the Sand  Lord of Light  Sign of the Unicorn

Compiled Feb 2012 sdc
Adapted and expanded for the Web Feb 2012 sdc

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