Note that this partial list contains some authors whose works of fantastic fiction would today be called science fiction, even if they predate or did not work in that genre. There is also a considerable overlap with the List of fantasy authors, since many authors are equally comfortable with both genres, and since some works deliberately combine the two or blur the distinction. Most science-fiction authors write as novelists or short-story writers, and in the 21st century, often as playwrights or screen writers.
A useful book for looking up authors is A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction, by Baird Searles, Martin Last, Beth Meacham, and Michael Franklin (1979). It also tells you whom else you might like if you like one author.
Other invaluable works include The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls (2nd. Ed. 1991), The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by George Mann (1999) (ISBN 0-7867-0887-5 or ISBN 1-84119-177-9), and Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, edited by Curtis C. Smith (1981) (ISBN 0-312-82420-3).
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