Top 100 Author Countdown: Full List

December 27, 2014

Top 100

    1. J.R.R. Tolkien
    2. C.S. Lewis
    3. George R.R. Martin
    4. Ray Bradbury
    5. Isaac Asimov
    6. Neil Gaiman
    7. Stephen King
    8. Terry Pratchett
    9. Philip K Dick
    10. Douglas Adams
    11. Orson Scott Card
    12. George Orwell
    13. H.G. Wells
    14. Michael Crichton
    15. Dan Simmons
    16. Arthur C Clarke
    17. Jules Verne
    18. Kurt Vonnegut
    19. Frank Herbert
    20. Edgar Rice Burroughs
    21. Neal Stephenson
    22. J.K. Rowling
    23. Robert Heinlein
    24. Madeline L’Engle
    25. Lewis Carroll
    26. H.P. Lovecraft
    27. Ted Decker
    28. Edgar Allen Poe
    29. Roger Zelazny
    30. Patrick Rothfuss
    31. Timothy Zahn
    32. Peter F. Hamilton
    33. Andre Norton
    34. Anne McCaffrey
    35. Walter M. Miller Jr
    36. Amie Kaufman
    37. Gene Wolfe
    38. G.K. Chesterton
    39. K.J. Parker
    40. Margaret Peterson Hadix
    41. Phil Elmore
    42. Ted Chiang
    43. George MacDonald
    44. J.D. Robb
    45. Franz Kafka
    46. Tamora Pierce
    47. Connie Willis
    48. Taylor Anderson
    49. Ernest Cline
    50. Stephen Baxter
    51. Scott Roche
    52. Garth Nix
    53. Alton Gansky
    54. Philip Jose Farmer
    55. Louis Cha
    56. John Crowley
    57. Ally Condie
    58. Shirley Jackson
    59. Mary Shelley
    60. Naomi Novak
    61. Peter David
    62. Joel Parisi
    63. William Goldman
    64. Italo Calvino
    65. Greg Taylor
    66. Susanna Clarke
    67. Thomas Malory
    68. Diane Carey
    69. Ben Jeapes
    70. Lois McMaster Bujold
    71. A.E. Van Vogt
    72. Jim Butcher
    73. Arhur Conan Doyle
    74. Scott Sigler
    75. Antoine St. Exupery
    76. Terry Goodkind
    77. Katie Lynn Daniels
    78. Stephen Lawhead
    79. Alan Dean Foster
    80. Max Brooks
    81. Glen Hirshberg
    82. Harry Harrison
    83. Anne Rice
    84. A Lee Martinez
    85. Andrew Robinson
    86. Tad Williams
    87. Allan and Aaron Reini
    88. Henry James
    89. Alfred Bester
    90. David Weber
    91. Susan Cooper
    92. Diana Wynn Jones
    93. Octavia Butler
    94. Brandon Mull
    95. Kevin J. Anderson
    96. Megan Spooner
    97. Thomas Ligotti
    98. Mickey Zucker Reichert
    99. Andrew Mayne
    100. Lemony Snickett


Runner’s Up (unranked)

James Swallow
China Mieville
Eoin Colfer
John Scalzi
L Frank Baum
Christopher Paolini
Megan Whalen Turner
Dean Koontz
Gregory J Keyes
Conn Igulden
AA Milne
J.C. Hutchins
Christopher Priest
Andy Weir
Lois Lowry
Terry Brooks
Jane Austen
Norton Juster
HM Hoover
Wu Cheng’En
Cormac McCarthy
Gail Carriger
Chris Walley
Raymond F Jones
Shane Johnson
Tim Powers
Warren Hammond
Jake Bible
Ken Grimwood
Charles Dickens
Frank Peretti
Richard Matheson
Bram Stoker
Clive Barker
Robert Jordan
Suzanne Collins
Kevin Hearne
Patricia C Wrede
Ursala K. LeGuin
Michael Stackpole
Mercedes Lackey
Rick Riordan
Niven and Pournelle
Brian Aldiss
Bryan Litfin
Nathanial Hawthorne
Roald Dahl
Robert Louis Stevenson
Ian Banks
Lloyd Alexander
Aldous Huxley
Poppy Z Brite
Harry Turtledove
Hans Christan Anderson
P.D. James
Diane Duane
Felix Palma
Lucius Shepard
Robert C. O’Brien
Gene Roddenberry
David Brin
Brandon Sanderson
David Levithan
John Flanagan
Natalie Babbitt
Jean D’Arras
Ken Liu
Brian Jaques
Robert Silverberg
William Gibson
Spider Robinson
Sarah J Maas
John Ajvide Lindqvist
Jasper Fforde
Richard Adams
Peter Straub
J.L. Bourne
Jake Yolen
Jack Vance
J Grace Pennington
Daniel H Wilson
Michael J. Sullivan
Sherry Thomas
Jeff Vandermeer
Marie Lu
Vonda McItyre
Nancy Kress
Maggie Shayne
Apostle John
SM Stirling
T.H. White
Charles Williams
Lynn Reid Banks
Raymond E. Feist
Nathan Lowell
Joe Haldeman
Jonathan Swift
Stephen Donaldson
Robert Aikman
Laini Taylor
John Mandeville
Mikhail Bulgakov
Harlan Ellison
Mark Twain
Seth Graham-Smith
Washington Irving
Philip Pullman
Ken Scholes
Charles De Lint
Monica Hughes
Cj Cherryh
Robert Aspirin
Cindy Dees
Tom Clancy
Robert Howard
Jaqueline Moriarty
J Sheridan La Fanu
Brothers Grimm
Kristine Cashore
Patrick W. Carr
Bruce Coville

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5 comments on “Top 100 Author Countdown: Full List

  1. Scott Dec 28, 2014

    Ben, I liked your description that some authors have great ideas but are not great writers, and others are great writers but do not have great ideas. Who from the top 100 list would you say are the top 5 authors who both have great ideas and are also great writers?

    • Ben De Bono Dec 28, 2014

      Good question. 5 is too hard, so I’m going to give you a top 10. These are in a rough order, meaning that while I’d definitely put Tolkien at the top the rest of the order is more or less arbitrary. I’m also including some from the runners up list

      1. J.R.R. Tolkien
      2. George R.R. Martin
      3. Neil Gaiman
      4. Roger Zelazny
      5. Shirley Jackson
      6. Christopher Priest
      7. Dan Simmons
      8. Richard Matheson
      9.Ursula K. LeGuin
      10. Madeline L’Engle

      Just for fun, here are a few that I consider to be great writers but not great idea people (for the record, I still consider them very much worth reading)

      1. C.S. Lewis
      2. Ray Bradbury
      3. Douglas Adams

      And some who are great at ideas but not so great at prose

      1. Isaac Asimov
      2. Arthur C. Clarke
      3. Philip K. Dick (though you could argue his manic, unskilled prose is on some level brilliant)
      4. China Mieville
      5. H.G. Wells
      6. Michael Crichton
      7. H.P. Lovecrat

  2. Great list, Ben! Thanks for sharing that!

  3. Scott Dec 31, 2014

    Thanks so much for the list. I have read some of the authors on the lower lists (Asimov, Clarke, Lewis, Bradbury, and Adams), but only Tolkien from the primary list. I am looking forward to discovering these other authors in 2015. I think I will start with “The ocean at the end of the lane” since it had such a great review from you.

    • Ben De Bono Dec 31, 2014

      You’re welcome! I would recommend all of the authors on all the lists – or at least I’d recommend some of their works. Some from the lower lists I even personally prefer to those in the top list. But the ability to have great ideas and great pose is a rarity and they deserve to be recognized for possessing it

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