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The Ultimate Guide to New SF&F Writers (from 1990 till now)

The Ultimate Guide to Modern Writers
of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Click here to launch the Guide in new window:

"The Ultimate Guide to Modern Writers of Fantastic Literature: 1990-Now" ->

Making sense out of the current boom in fantastic literature

It is no secret that we live in the Golden Age of Fantastic Literature. With more books published in the genre than ever, plus an ever-increasing availability of obscure titles on the internet, a dedicated fan of science fiction and fantasy literature might think he died and went to heaven.

Not only are the pulp masterpieces of the 30's and 40's easily acquired (for the most part), but the whole history of the genre can be sampled and read in any order, and enjoyed as thoroughly as one likes - and on top of that more than 3,000 new books are published every year, with at least a hundred of utmost quality by new and promising writers. So, speaking of new writers...

(art courtesy Christophe Vacher)

Do you ever feel lost and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of noteworthy authors bursting onto the scene in the past decade? Top names are better known, of course, but the beauty of science fiction and fantasy is in the variety and full spectrum of the sub-genres, topics, and styles offered.

It was much easier to follow the development of the field in the 1980s: fewer books were published and one could follow the writers he chooses - and actually read them all. Starting in the 1991, as Locus magazine puts it, "more books were published that year than anybody could possibly read unless he makes a full-time job out of it." Since then, even if you read books all day, you still can not catch up on more than 10 books issued each day. One needs to have a guide, a directory, and recommendations to complement the offerings of your typical bookstore (just like in music, most good stuff is not even displayed and needs to be discovered by other means)

During last couple of years, Avi Abrams from Dark Roasted Blend has been compiling information about new and promising writers in science fiction, fantasy, horror and slipstream (magic realism). We decided to make this wealth of information available online as the

"Ultimate Guide to Modern Writers of Fantastic Literature" ->

Click here to launch Guide in new window

This monumental work includes more than 2,000 already established and upcoming writers, tagged by sub-genre, awards, recommendations, and year of achieving prominence in the field. For the first time, each writer's entry contains a link to a related site on the internet (for additional info and instant updates). This is a searchable database, allowing us to publish genre reviews based on this constantly updated data.

example screen picture

Some notes about the structure and contents of this Guide:

We tried to include the full spectrum of genre writers: science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, paranormal romance (only highlights) and even slipstream "magic realism" authors. We arbitrarily drew the line at 1990, and only include writers who were active in the field and writing since that year (if a particular author stopped writing after 1990, he or she is not included, but can be checked out in our general Writer's Directory at DRB SF Site).

All pen names are listed inside the "Notes" field; for a complete list of SF&F pen names we refer you to this page.

1. "Read" simply means if I personally read the work of this writer - my time is limited, but I try to follow the most promising books and stories. Obviously, the color-coded recommendations will correspond to my own tastes (if I have read this writer), but also will reflect how this writer fares with critics and reviewers (based on information published in "year's best" and Locus, among other sources). A bright red square means highly recommended, a pink square means also recommended, a grey square is reserved for all other fiction, and it simply means "as yet unrated".

Please note that while this compilation covers some 2000 writers from this genre we have not included every single writer since 1990. This work will be regularly updated as we investigate further archives and as the industry evolves.

2. "Link" should bring you to the writer's personal site or Wikipedia entry. However, the coding for this link is based on Google's top results for this name, so if the writer is not popular enough, or lacks a personal site, Google might choose some weird page - we are trying to weed out these occurrences, let us know if you find any.

3. "Genre" column: the abbreviations should be self-explanatory, with "h" meaning horror genre, though we are more inclined to call it "dark fantasy". If a writer wrote in many genres, we show only the ones that brought him the most popularity. All "magic realism" and slipstream is labeled as fantasy for simplicity.

4. "Disc." ("Discovered") column shows the year when this writer achieved some degree of popularity (either by inclusion in "year's best" or winning an award). The exception is every year before 1990 - we just put "90" to signify that this author was actively writing in the 1980s, and in rare cases in the 1970s as well.

5. "Awards" - this Guide does not intend to replace the excellent Locus' Guide to SF Awards, we only include the highlights of a writer's career, for the details you can check out Locus' database here. Winners are indicated by letter "W", otherwise all listed award references signify nominations ("r-up" also means "runner-up for this award") We will be updating the awards section per writer at least every other month, so check back often.

6. "From" shows the country of writer's citizenship, the default is U.S., "UK" means United Kingdom, "Can" means Canada, "Au" means Australia, "NZ" means New Zealand, all other countries are specified in Notes.

7. "Notes" field contains a very short description of writer's predominant style and sub-genre, plus most often-used pen names and "claims to fame".

(art courtesy Christophe Vacher)

We will be regularly updating this database, publish certain "slices" and overviews by sub-genre, or by year - and ultimately incorporate it with our "Wonder Timeline" of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Check back often, as we travel on the road of discovery of the most brilliant and life-enriching literature of the Fantastique.

Please contact us with your suggestions, thoughts and input.


Click to go to "Dark Roasted Blend" site



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your "ultimate" sci fi list of writers does not include Simak (highway to eternity, special deliverance), a very good sci fi writer.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Simak's great, but he died in 1988 - our list starts from 1990 and only includes writers who were active after that.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Gavin Burbidge said...

I'm rather disappointed with the curt description of Robert J. Sawyer. I've been reading him since the mid '90s and found his writing style very enjoyable and easy to slip into his world. By no means is a comparison to Isaac Asimov a bad thing, but 'kind of like Isaac Asimov' does Robert J. Sawyer a disservice.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Gavin, the description is amended, wish we had more space there.

11:16 AM  
Blogger bloggeratf said...

Is there anyway I can use that list so I can tick off what I have written? Great work by the way.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, a downloadable version would be great for visitors to follow along with.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

We are still working to complete this guide. After completion, we will consider offering slices of it for download (per sub-genre); it will also be continuously updated... stay tuned!

9:26 AM  
Blogger delboy said...

ahh geek heaven!


12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could search through descriptions and sort by recommendation. Thanks for the great list!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Once we publish the full list, it will be searchable by keywords from your browser.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can you repeat the A-Z selection links at the bottom? I typically scan the page top to bottom but then have to go back to the top to pick another letter.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Unfortunately, this is not a feature provided by Google Spreadsheets, so I am not sure quite yet how to do it.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Karlos said...

Great list Avi. Looking forward to the final product.

Really hoping you can fix the "Au means Australian (including New Zealand)" thing tho' ...that just pi55es off us Kiwis :)... it's that whole "US means United States of America (including Canada)" thing that I'm sure you Canucks are familiar with.

After all Au & NZ are 1400 miles apart (London's closer to Africa!)

6:00 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Yes, Karlos, we fixed it. NZ gets its own searchable key.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Boris and Arkady Strugatsky,greatest Russian Sci-Fi writers, Arkady died 1991. but Boris is still alive and active.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Yes, but we only include NEW writers who came on the scene after 1990. Otherwise, there are just too many writers to include!

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

This is the best!! I have been searching for new authors and to have them all in an easy format with ultra-brief descriptions is super rad! Thanks

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Frank said...

Nothing by Hugh Howey who is very popular and meets your criteria.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just two words: Thank you!

3:59 PM  
Blogger tbritz13 said...

Has this file been deleted? I get a File does not exist page.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too... :(

1:47 AM  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Fixed! Please check it out now.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Kevin Hearne (the Druid Chronicles)or Larry Correia (Monster Hunters, Grimnoir Chronicles)? They're both current authors-- please consider adding them.

Very nice list! I was impressed that you had an entry for Andrzej Sapkowski-- I'm constantly surprised at how few people know the popular "Witcher" games are based on his books.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Ahrvid Engholm said...

The country column only gives country of origin for English-speaking countries.

12:09 AM  

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Collecting Pulp Magazines

Ephemera Interview with Avi Abrams

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
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William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

Also read recent posts:
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"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.